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KUCHING, Aug 29: PRS Youth calls for the relevant government agencies to pool resources together to resolve the Batang Baleh logjam fiasco.
The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth Exco in a joint statement today, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing who is also the PRS president has taken the liberty to understand the problem firsthand and flew to the site to find out the root cause of the problem.
According to the statement, heavy logging at the headwaters of the river has been identified as the real cause of the logjam and not the shifting cultivation activities or the Baleh dam construction.
“The Forestry Department is first to be questioned because it is this department that issues licences to timber concessionaires. However, pushing this problem to Forestry Department Sarawak (FDS) alone doesn’t work because it (Forestry Dept) issues the licence and ultimately will default in enforcement.
“In the words of our Deputy Chief Minister, it (FDS) cannot be the judge, the jury and the prosecutor all rolled in one, and an independent body should be set up with the help of various government agencies related to the fiasco,” the exco said said.
Meanwhile, a PRS Youth Exco member from Kapit, Hemang Yu Abit raised concerns regarding the roles played by the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) and Department of Environment (DOE) in this issue.
“Is there any ordinance of any kind that can guide and allow these two entities to act accordingly?” he asked.
Another PRS Youth Exco member, Ramlie Likong, pointed out that marine species like fishes, reptiles and even mammals, what more human livelihoods, have been affected by the ‘environmental fiasco’.
“This problem happens in our rivers, but surprisingly it is “tight lips” or no response at all from our Sarawak Rivers Board. What’s their roles?
“We don’t have to be academic in approaching this issue because our river is physically threatened by this logjam, it’s real,” he said.
In the same statement, a PRS Youth Exco member from Bintulu, Sam Tugau, also questioned the roles and function of the Land and Survey Department in this matter.
“Why can’t they vet through their jurisdiction (sic) and enforce some kind of regulatory measures as far as our land law allows. These entities are meant to help the government in enforcement,” he said.
Sam opined if everybody is doing “lepas tangan sahaja” (let go of responsibility) and couldn’t be bothered and leave it to the Forestry Department, then why should these government entities exist in the first place.
“We would want to see an effective joint collaboration, coordination and cooperation between these government agencies. Of course being tight lips (sic) is the easiest thing to do, hands-free, so to say,” he added. — DayakDaily