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Sabah leads in certified forests
Published on: Friday, April 07, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Governor Tun Juhar Mahiruddin praised the State Government for managing its forest resources with a touch of excellence and achieving goals above internationally accepted standards.He said under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, State Forestry Policy has become known all over the world with all the unique transformation programmes to demonstrate the State's long term commitment in managing its forests sustainably.

"I wish to once again praise the State Government under the leadership of the Chief Minister for managing the State's forest resources very well. Our Forestry Policy is now famous all over the world," he said when delivering his policy speech during the opening of the State Assembly, Thursday.

He noted, among others, the State Government's initiative in establishing Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) which have now reached nearly 30 per cent or almost 1.9 hectares out of the total land area of the State. In comparison, he said Sabah's TPAs were only 11 per cent or 850,000 hectares in 2004.

"This accomplishment has exceeded the target set by the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) which is 10 per cent and also the UN Aichi which is 17 per cent," said Juhar.

He also noted that under the forest certification programme, Sabah currently has nearly 549,501 hectares of natural and planted forests which are situated in 10 different areas in the State, whereas in 2003 it only had one rainforest – Deramakot Forest Reserves (55,507 hectares) - that was certified with the Gold Standard of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

He was proud to mention that with such size, Sabah has the largest FSC certified forests areas in the country.

"The government will continue to double its efforts to sustain its performance in managing forest resources with excellence and credibility," he added.

On wildlife, Juhar said the Government will also continue efforts to empower the enforcement of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 by using a two-pronged approach which involves law enforcement and implementation of education and public awareness raising programmes.

He also acknowledged actions taken by the Government in implementing the Special Sabah Natives Programme which has successfully reduced issues relating to Native Customary Rights (NCR).

Citing an example, he said in 2016 the government had implemented survey on NCR lands totaling 16,049 hectares, which exceeded its own set target of 13,000 hectares.

He assured that this year the government will continue its effort to further reduce issues concerning NCR claims and set out to survey 17,000 hectares particularly in Kudat, Kota Marudu, Ranau, Tuaran, Keningau, Tenom, Nabawan and Semporna.

As for poverty eradication programmes, Juhar said the Government aims to reduce the poverty rate from four per cent in 2014 to one per cent before the end of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) in 2020.

To achieve this, he said the Government will continue to implement projects under the Rural Transformation Programme to increase the income of the rural population, including the 'Mini Estet Sejahtera' (Mesej) and PPRT (Hardcore Poor Development Programme) Farm projects.

He said expected price increase of commodities such as rubber and palm oil will boost the income of participants in these projects.

Juhar added the government will also expand the "Program Pembangunan Kampung Sejahtera" to 30 villages this year from 20 villages in 2016.

On the overall State economy, he said GDP growth momentum of between four and 4.5 per cent is expected maintained this year due to recovery prospects for commodity prices and the global economy in general.

"The prospect of the world economy and commodity prices which are recovering is expected to stimulate more activities in the tourism, investment, public spending and export sectors," he added. - Leonard Alaza



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