Friday, 30 April 2010

Illegal logging linked to political funding by timber companies

Friday April 30, 2010

Illegal logging linked to political funding by timber companies
By NG CHENG YEE Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Political funding by timber companies could be a reason why illegal logging is so rampant in the country, said Transparency International (TI) Malaysia president Datuk Paul Low.

Low said political funding was a grey area in Malaysia in that it was not necessary for political parties to declare their financial sources.

“Political parties have to look for funds from the private sector or individuals.
“There is a possibility that financial aid comes from loggers and these companies ask for favours to carry out illegal logging,” he told a press conference here at the opening ceremony of the Forest Gover-nance and Integrity Workshop here yesterday.

Low said TI Malaysia was currently working on a paper, in collaboration with TI in South East Asian countries, especially Indonesia, to identify corrupt practices in forestry.

“Having identified where corruption risk is highest, appropriate measures and recommendations will be needed to stop the practice,” he said, adding the research was expected to be completed in August.

He said corruption was not just limited to paying bribes but also the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain.

“It may not involve money but it is also about showing favouritism as well as granting concessions without proper evaluation or tender,” he said.