Reforestation licensees urged to take their responsibilities seriously

Masing (right) with a SSB officer at the SSB plantation in Tawau yesterday (Jan 8, 2019).

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KUCHING, Jan 9: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing asserts that reforestation licensees must carry out their responsibilities dutifully or have their licenses revoked.

He said this following a visit to the Sabah Soft Bhd (SSB) plantation in Tawau yesterday.

“We need to pursue reforestation in a more systematic manner and we should allocate areas to those who are serious in doing reforestation and using the correct species.

“Those who are found lacking in doing reforestation, their licences should be immediately withdrawn and be given to those who genuinely interesting in planting trees. We need to be very serious in doing reforestation using the correct species,” said Masing.

SSB has been given 60,000 ha to plant Eucalyptus Pelita (E. Pelita) to ascertain the protocol of planting the species.

“SSB is given the area to plant this species, amongst other species, as a way to supplement revenue from natural trees which are depleting in Sabah. SSB is planting E. Pelita in a very systematic manner.”

SSB is using E Pelita in its reforestation programme.

Masing who is also Infrastructure and Port Development Minister said he also visited a laboratory conducting tissue culture to propagate the planting of various tree species.

He said E. Pellita is a new species with density equivalent to Sarawak hardwood such as meranti.

“While I was there, I was briefed by SSB officers who have 30 years of experience in planting trees. Their greatest challenge is the lack of research and development (R&D) funds.

“After listening to the briefing, (it seems to me) Sabah’s decision-makers like those in Sarawak seem to be lacking the understanding on the need to have funds for R&D in planting trees,” he said.

Emphasising on the importance of R&D, Masing said the government must intervene by providing R&D funding since the private sector has no capacity to do so at this stage. — DayakDaily