STIDC (Amendment) Bill allows GM to issue temporary permit for timber activities

Abdul Yakub debating the Bill during the DUN sitting today (Nov 23, 2022). Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) Facebook Live video.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 23: Voicing his support, Balingian assemblyman Abdul Yakub Arbi (GPS-PBB) says the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2022 will empower the general manager of STIDC to issue temporary permits to allow the use of timber for their own use by rural communities, such as when building houses.

The general manager will also be empowered to issue temporary permits to facilitate timber industry activities while waiting for timber industry licences.

“This Bill also seeks to give power to the general manager of STIDC to issue ‘Temporary Permit to Operate’ as a temporary measure to facilitate the timber industry while waiting for the issuance of a Timber Industry Licence or for domestic use, which means any use for the purpose of construction, repair or extension of a dwelling house or making furniture and other goods and utensils to be used in the dwelling house, and not for sale, barter or profit.

“This temporary permit is to be issued by the general manager for a limited period of time to facilitate the processing activities.

“The permit would also be issued to those who carry out timber industry for domestic use. For example, rural communities may apply for this temporary permit to build houses for their own use where the location is in rural areas which is not accessible to any mill or construction material supplier,” said Abdul Yakub while debating the Bill during the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting at the DUN complex here today.

Meanwhile, he said, the amendments were in line with the aspirations of Sarawak Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030) on economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, social inclusivity, digital innovation and green economy.

“Under PCDS 2030, the forestry sector is one of the economic sectors identified by the State to achieve the aspiration of Sarawak to become a developed State by the year 2030.

“In this regard, the timber industry is to increase its export earnings to an annual export value of RM8 billion by the year 2030 through production of high value-added products.

“This Bill will streamline the powers and functions of the three agencies namely STIDC (Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation), Forest Department, and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

“There shall be a distinctive separation of power where STIDC shall regulate and facilitate the downstream industry, Forest Department will be in charge of the upstream activities, while SFC’s roles will be centred on wildlife and conservation,” he said.

He pointed out PCDS 2030 calls for modernisation and efficiency in service delivery to optimise productivity for the benefit and satisfaction of the stakeholders.

With this Bill, STIDC will be the one-stop agency in relation to downstream industry from issuance of licence for mill operations up to the issuance of export and import permits.

This, he added, would create ease of doing business for the timber industry as they would only need to get the licence and permit from just one agency instead of multiple agencies. — DayakDaily