Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Malaysia, Indonesia To Continue Talks On Preventing Illegal Logging

Personal note: In my experience the government of Sarawak can never be trusted.


May 18, 2009 Bernama

Malaysia, Indonesia To Continue Talks On Preventing Illegal Logging

KUCHING, May 18 (Bernama) -- Malaysia and Indonesia will continue to hold discussions to enhance cooperation and take all necessary measures to prevent Indonesian timber from being brought into Sarawak without proper supporting documents.

Sarawak Minister of Planning and Resource Management II Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the state government did not condone any illegal activity and would strengthen enforcement along the Sarawak-Indonesian border.

"The Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) which will not hesitate to seize any timber shipment to Sarawak without valid documents, has asked the relevant Indonesian authorities to undertake proper verification before the 'batak' (sawn timber) is taken out of Indonesia," he said in winding up the debate at the State Legistative Assembly sitting, here, today.

Awang Tengah, who is also state Public Utilities Minister, was responding to the allegation by Violet Yong (DAP-Pending) that sawn timber was taken without proper documentation to Sematan, near here, by Indonesian boats.

STIDC had clarified to the Indonesian Consul-General here of Sarawak's continued cooperation with its Indonesian counterparts in dealing with illegal entry of timber, and the matter had also been discussed at the Malaysia-Indonesia Social, Economic and Security Issues (Sosek-Malindo) meetings, he said.

The Sosek-Malindo meeting in 2004 agreed that entry of timber into Sarawak must be accompanied with official documents, Pemberitahuan Eksport Barang (PEB) and Surat Sahnya Hasil Hutan (SKSHH) issued by the relevant authorities in Indonesia to proof legality.

Since 2004, he said, SDIDC had implemented the requirement at the authorised entry points in Sematan, Lubok Antu, Biawak, Tebedu and Batu Lintang.

Awang Tengah said Sarawak did not depend on sawn timber from Indonesia for its timber industry and the volume used was insignificant -- only 752 cubic metres with valid documentation in the first quarter of this year compared to 1.5 million cubic metres of timber produced locally during the same period.

On allegations that Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud was implicated in the illegal importation of timber from Indonesia, he said, it was "totally baseless and absolutely unfounded".

"It is clear from her (Yong) speech in this august House last week, that she did not provide any evidence of wrong-doing by the Sarawak authorities except to repeat unsubstantiated allegations made in the foreign newspapers," he said.