Tamin rep calls for probes into illegal forest activities to be expedited, offenders strictly punished

Gira debating the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the august House on Nov 23, 2022.

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, Nov 23: Investigations into illegal forest destruction cases should be hastened and violators must be strictly punished to ensure no room for illegal logging activities in Sarawak.

Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira Sambang said this when supporting the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2022, especially on provisions to enhance enforcement under the STIDC Ordinance.

“Enforcement agencies need to examine and evaluate the entire natural forest area under their management so as to promptly detect, prevent and strictly handle acts of encroachment on forest land, according to the directive.

“We hope with the enhancement of enforcement, there will be no room for illegal logging in the State and our Sarawak government’s priority to transform Sarawak into a respected producer of certified tropical timber can be achieved,” he told the august House when participating in the debate of the Bill today.

The Bill, he said, provides steep penalties for those found guilty of establishing, building, operating or managing any plant, factory or premises for carrying out any timber industry without a Timber Industry Licence or Temporary Permit.

“I am in full support of the STIDC Bill 2022 to enhance the provision relating to offences, prosecution and penalties under Part VII of the Ordinance which relates to the enforcement power such as power to arrest and investigate, power of entry and search, power of seizure and detention, power to stop, and detain timber and timber products,” he added.

While recognising that enforcement is a huge task, he however emphasised that the initiatives to continue combating illegal logging in the State which can bring many negative impacts to the economy, environment and society are necessary.

Gira emphasised that maintaining healthy forests in this part of the world meant that Sarawak could be in a powerful position to minimise climate change which is now a global issue.

“The Sarawak government recognises the importance of Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) within the Heart of Borneo for its rich flora and fauna and its high potential in ecotourism activities.

“With vast areas in the highlands, the government needs to work closely with strong cooperation to assist in protecting forests in the area as well as preserving water catchment areas, rivers and combating illegal logging,” he added.

Gira also commended Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s commitment to environmental sustainability where RM6.5 million has been set aside under the Sarawak Budget for conservation and protection of wildlife and TPAs in order to realise the aspiration of making Sarawak globally recognised in sustainable management of tropical forests and biodiversity while promoting its timber industry. — DayakDaily