Sunday, 27 September 2009

Political Will, Commitment Needed To Curb Illegal Logging

September 27, 2009 14:32 PM

KUCHING, Sept 27 (Bernama) -- Sarawak needs to exert political will and committment to eliminate or minimise illegal logging to earn the respect of the international community, Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation General Manager Datuk Len Talif Salleh said on Sunday.

Len, who is also State Forests Department Director and Controller of Wildlife, said it could not be denied that some cases were detected but it was also important to get public support and the media to portray the positive aspects of the state authorities' efforts to combat such illegal activities.

"We need to have an integrated approach to tackle these issues so that we have the respect of the international community because in a way, they are all linked to our exports of these products (sawn timber and plywood)," he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house at Jalan Bako here.

Even though rewards would be offered to those providing information on illegal logging, he said, such a practice needed to be carried out carefully to prevent any abuse, whereby the informer could turn out to be the culprit.

On the illegal sales of turtle eggs and other protected wildlife meat, he said, it was under control on the Sarawak side, especially on the turtle islands of Talang Talang and Satang as these items mostly came here through illegal means via the border village of Serikin from the Kalimantan Indonesian side.

Len said enforcement manpower would be beefed up along the border, including conducting operations in Serikin, about 45 minutes' drive from here, on Sundays, when Indonesian traders normally came to sell their products at the weekend bazaar.