Masing urges S’wak govt not to renew timber operators’ licences following massive logjam at Batang Baleh

A massive logjam which occurred at Batang Baleh recently. Photo Credit: Masing’s Facebook page.

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Aug 22: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing urges the State government not to renew the timber concessionaire of operators which conducted logging at Batang Baleh following a massive logjam at the river.

He noted the logjam which occurred recently at Batang Baleh has more severe consequences because the smooth flow of the river is blocked by the construction of the Baleh hydro electric power (HEP) dam.

Masing, who is also Baleh assemblyman, said logging activities at the watershed of HEP will cause siltation and thus would reduce the lifespan of the Baleh dam.

“The ‘gods’ who caused the logjam are human beings. They are the timber concessionaires. They operate in the headwaters of Batang Baleh with devastating environmental impact.

“In order to stop this logjam from reoccurring, please do not renew their timber licences to operate at upper reaches of Batang Baleh,” he said in a statement today.

Masing, who is also Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister, noted that the serious logjam at Batang Baleh was the second such incident as the first occurred ten years ago while the logjam stretched all the way from Kapit to Sibu.

He said the logjam then had resulted in riverine traffic jam apart from serious environmental impact with dead fishes and wildlife including crocodiles found dead floating in the river.

As a result, he said the Iban residing along the Baleh river were petrified.

Thus, Masing added they did a special offering to pacify the gods in Ulu Baleh, whom they thought were angry at the environmental impact caused by logging activities.

“I was involved and so were the YBs of Kapit division. We thought the gods were pacified by our peace offering, but not for long.

“10 years (August 2021) later it happened. The Iban ‘miring’ ceremony of 2010 did not pacify the right gods, it seems,” he added. — DayakDaily