Forestry Dept: Satellite images confirms land clearing in Mulu outside national park

Photograph of the disputed land within the vicinity of the Mulu National Park.

KUCHING, Feb 23: The state Forest Department assured that the oil palm plantation clearing works in Mulu was far outside the boundary of the protected areas of Mulu National Park.

It confirmed the location after checks on the latest satellite images of the said area. The department explained that the plot of land being cleared in the area was also legally owned by a legitimate plantation company.

“The state Forestry assured that the government will take action against any companies or individuals found to be encroaching into totally protected areas (TPAs) like national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries under Section 26 of the National Park and Nature Reserve Ordinance 1998.

“The department is also working closely with Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) to ensure all the TPAs including the Mulu National Park are well protected,” the department said in a statement today.

The issue cropped up after activist group Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) accused an oil palm plantation company of deforesting part of Mulu National Park, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

On Thursday (Feb 21), Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok expressed concern over the deforestation issue.

Noting that this was a World Heritage site and that the development was being disputed by the indigenous people, Kok said she had contacted Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to share her concern.

Assistant Minister for Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh yesterday denied that the plantation company encroached into the protected areas. — DayakDaily