By Nancy Nais and Chris Bishop
SIBU, Oct 3: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has given his assurance that the Sarawak government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will relook and revamp the current timber industry policy to benefit the rakyat better.
Replying to Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi’s call this afternoon at the party’s Special Convention for Central Zone here, Abang Johari said, “The delegates have asked us to look into the current policies, particularly in this industry. We already have policies in place but yes, we can improve and restructure it, taking into account on the community’s involvement.”
Earlier Nanta shared the delegates’ views on how timber industry players have benefited and become very rich from the current state policy.
While the state also benefited through taxes collected, Nanta said the direct beneficiaries should be the rakyat, specifically Sarawakians.
As the state government is currently pressing on replanting of forest, Abang Johari opined that one of the solutions which he sees is to encourage the local communities to plant rubber trees on their land.
“One example is the Upper Rajang area where it is now accessible by roads. We can encourage them to plant rubber trees because not only it produces latex, but also the wood itself. There are a lot of NCR (Native Customary Rights) land as well, so we can encourage and give incentives from an agriculture point of view to grow commodities.
“On the point of view with regards to existing license for timber companies, we will look into it and revamp,” he told reporters at a press conference after the event.-DayakDaily