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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Look into alleged illegal logging activites occured in 2015, Chan urges GRS


7 Jan 2022

By Wartawan Nabalu News


KOTA KINABALU: The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government should look into the illegal logging activities alleged conducted by a company here instead of sweeping it under the rug, said Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin.


In a statement today, he said the matter was brought in by Cheung Chau Seng who had previously lodged complaints with the Chief Conservator of Forests and the Sabah Foresty Department (SFD) whistleblowing and providing evidences of the illegal activities that had happened in 2015.


“Cheung alleges that the company, which I will refer to as ‘M Sdn Bhd’, had done illegal logging beyond the logging licence granted to the company controlled by two individuals who are the directors and shareholders of the company.


“I am made to understand there are three main complaints against the company and the directors/shareholders, namely:


1. That the company and/or its directors/shareholders had continued logging activities (evidence showing logging and transporting of log activities via invoices dated 30.08.2015 and 21.09.2015) despite their logging licence having expired from 01.06.2015;


2. the company and/or its directors/shareholders and/or their agents had intruded into a Class II Forest Reserve / Virgin Jungle Reserve (VJR) and had conducted logging activities in Tomani, Tenom beyond the area allocated to the company under s. 5A of the Forest Enactment 1968; and


3. the company and/or its directors/shareholders and/or their agents had managed to export these logs obtained illegally to Taiwan and had further avoided paying royalties as required under s. 24C & s. 30A of the Forest Enactment 1968,” he said.


According to Chan, Cheung had requested for a follow up numerous times but were ignored.


At the end, he was informed that the status of his reports had ended up as NFA or No Further Action.


“Cheung had also lodged a complaint against the SFD with the Unit Integriti Negeri Sabah as the SFD had failed to forfeit the RM1,000,000.00 Bank Guarantee which M Sdn Bhd had paid in return for their logging licence despite there having clear evidence of illegal logging beyond the logging licence granted.


“The Unit Integriti Negeri Sabah decided to dismiss the complaint due to a technicality.”


Hence, Chan called on the government to seriously look into all the evidences provided, charge the offenders in court, and to collect the relevant royalties through forfeiture of properties of the company and/or its directors/shareholders.


“During the rule of Warisan Plus, a log export ban was imposed in May 2018. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal had been firm in not entertaining any lobbying attempt for exemption of the ban.


“Shafie’s intention was for logs to be processed locally so that legal sawmills can operate and provide sawn timber and other value-added products, which in turn will create more job opportunities.


“Furthermore, illegal logging were temporarily put to a stop as there was nobody for these illegal loggers to sell their logs to,” he said.


“I find that the GRS-led Sabah Government and the SFD as have shown an inconsistent stand with their recent decisions.


“Whilst Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan seemed to have taken the route towards conservation of forest (so that the state can deal in Carbon offset trading), the Chief conservator of Sabah Forests Datuk Frederick Kugan instead confirmed that the log export ban would be lifted with effect from January 3 and log exports would be allowed from natural forests,” he added.


Chan asserted that the problem with allowing of log exports from natural forests is the reopening of potential illegal logging to the extend of outrightly refusing to forfeit the deposit paid, adding that the SFD and the Chief Conservator of Forests are very reluctant in taking any investigation or bring any criminal actions against illegal loggers and ignoring whistleblowers despite having clear evidences.


It would be better off for log exports from natural forests to continue be banned until the SFD and Chief Conservator of Forests grow a backbone, he added.

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