RM35mil light aircraft to curb illegal logging will be based in Sarawak

Xavier at the press conference.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Sept 17: A light aircraft for aerial surveillance, mapping and monitoring of illegal logging activities purchased by the federal government will be stationed in Sarawak.

According to Minister of Water, Land, and Natural Resources, Dr Xavier Jayakumar Arulanandam, the RM35 million four-seater fixed-wing “DA42M-NG Diamond” aircraft will be delivered to the state by the end of the year.

The plane is regarded as very sophisticated that it can identify the species of trees below it, thus, making it an ideal aircraft for Sarawak with its vast land mass, he added.

“The plane will be based here and under the care of Sarawak Forest Department but the scope to monitor our forests, and for the purpose of research and development, can be widened to cover the needs of Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah as well.

“It can also be used by other federal agencies, such as to assist in monitoring the environment and haze throughout Malaysia,” Xavier told a press conference after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, here, today.

He said the aircraft was purchased from an Austrian firm.

File photo of the four-seater model DA42M-NG Diamond special mission aircraft, which will be delivered to the Sarawak government by the end of the year. Picture courtesy of Diamond Aircraft Industries, Austria.

“During my courtesy call with Abang Johari, we discussed on how my ministry, the Sarawak Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation can work together in our efforts to protect the country’s forests and wildlife,” the minister continued. — DayakDaily