Wrong to  imply JPJ,  Forestry acted  otherwise
Published on: Sunday, August 11, 2019

WE refer to the article in Daily Express, 8th August 2019, page 2 with the headlines “Probe Massive Logging in Sapulut, MACC urged”. 

The convoy of cargo trucks was travelling from the western part of Sabah (which includes districts of Nabawan, Sook, Keningau and Tenom), going to Tawau. 

While the number of trucks seems as if it is carrying a large amount of timber, 56 loads of round logs loaded under JPJ regulation equate to little more than two thousand cubic meters of timber. 

For scale and comparison, that is around the monthly input for a medium sized sawmill, hardly an outlandish volume to be transported at one time. 

On closer examination, photos show the logs were properly chiselled and labelled, which means due processes were followed. 

These processes are closely guarded by the Sabah Forestry Department who are tasked with ensuring any timber utilised in Sabah are from legal and sustainable sources. 

The logs on the lorries were also fully covered in compliance with JPJ requirements. 

The Sabah Forestry Department takes its responsibilities very seriously. Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) is followed and enforced. 

Before calling the MACC for this sensationalised matter, it would have been better to have gathered more facts in order not to waste important public resources. 

What is more worrying is the implied devilisation of the forestry and timber industry as a whole. The government has spoken strongly about halting illegal logging, and rightfully so. However, utilising sustainable sources of wood is one of the keys to a sustainable response to Sabahan’s economic needs and the bigger question of climate change. 

To imply that all logging is illegal, unsustainable and should be stopped is misleading and shows a dangerous and skewed view of facts. 

We take heart in the continued interest of both the government and the wider public in our forests and its related industries. 

TAS will continue to make ourselves available for any party with a genuine interest in understanding and supporting our forests and its industries. 

Norman Wong

Deputy President

Timber Association of Sabah

* In future when such matters arise, we might decide to seek your NGO for response to the public’s queries instead of the authorities like Foresty, JPJ or even the police – Ed

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