By Nancy Nais and Chris Bishop
SIBU, Oct 3: It is time for the Sarawak government to relook and revamp the current timber industry policy so as to restructure the whole timber industry to provide direct benefits for the people.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi made this call to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the PBB Special Convention held at a hotel here today.
Pointing out that the timber industry players have benefitted from the state policy and became very rich all these years, he however emphasised that the direct beneficiaries should be the rakyat.
“Well, they said that there is no smoke without fire. So if it is indeed true that people in the industry are not being nice to us in this coming state election, we appeal to you (Abang Johari), for the people, please relook and revamp the current timber industry policy.
“No doubt the state may have benefitted through royalty and taxes which have been increased, but that is not quite enough,” he emphasised.
Nanta, who is also federal Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, believed that the people will be with the state government under the leadership of Abang Johari in this pursuit.
“These people have become very rich so it is time that the state government come out with a new state (timber) policy, restructure the whole timber industry including how things are done, for the benefit of the rakyat.
“In fact, the direct beneficiaries should be the rakyat. It is not just Yayasan Sarawak and others which have been benefited indirectly but no doubt Yayasan Sarawak is a brilliant idea that should continue,” he said.
He reiterated calls for the state government to enhance the policy so that the benefits gained from the timber industries, which have been cutting from the backyard of this homeland, can go directly to the people.
“Though I do not know how it could be done but let’s brainstorm the ideas and solutions sometimes. That’s the wishes of the people of the rich resources of our land.
“I believe the people will be behind us, the state cabinet, because we will do something, will drastically change anything that is for the good of the people. Agree? “Nadai takut kitai..” (we are not afraid),” he added.
Meanwhile, Nanta also urged all Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) elected representatives to double and triple their efforts now in preparing to face the upcoming state election due by July 2021.
“We must strengthen our defence and do not be afraid of the enemy, who often plays up fake politics to lure the support of the people.
“They said we are not good but they had been with us in fighting together in the same alliance before. We know who they are. Why did they not voice out when they were with us before?,” he questioned, adding that this clearly showed their intentions – not sincere and only wanting power.
Nanta, who is also Kapit MP, emphasised that PBB and GPS remained committed to develop, help and elevate the state and its people.
“So don’t look back but move forward. Strengthen our machineries to face the upcoming state election,” he urged.-DayakDaily