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Harder soon to degazette forests
Published on: Monday, August 29, 2022
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Harder soon to degazette forests
Hajiji congratulated the Sabah Forestry Department for successfully taking the initial step of setting the target of 30pc of Sabah’s landfill area ahead of other states and regions in Malaysia. - Bernama pic (right) for illustration only.
CHIEF Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the State’s Forestry Enactment 1968 will be amended so that the forestry legal framework is aligned with amendments to the National Forestry Act (APN) 1984 which was approved by the Dewan Rakyat last July.

According to him, the proposed amendment covers aspects that are more challenging in today’s world, including meeting climate change issues, mitigation methods through carbon trading and biodiversity conservation.

“As well as streamlining the cooperation spaces or gaps between the licensees of the Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreement (SFMLA)) with the State Government, in line with the vision of sustainable forest management,” he said at the 2022 Forestry Appreciation Ceremony (MAPT 2022) at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) in Kota Kinabalu on Aug 24.

The Chief Minister said the amendment increased protection of permanent forests and had strict conditions for degazetting any permanent forest reserves in the peninsula.

“In this aspect I believe they emulated us, because it was practised earlier in Sabah. I also understand that through the amendment, additional fines, punishments and penalties to curb forest offences that damage the environment had also been increased.

“I suggest that the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) and related departments such as the State Attorney General’s Chambers and the Land Revenue Secretary’s Office, continue to review the provisions contained in the 1968 Forest Enactment, and assimilate the amendments that had been made, according to the interests of the State Government,” said Hajiji.

According to him, efforts are also needed to continuously strengthen the management of forest reserves in support of the Government’s policy to maintain at least 50 per cent of state land covered in forested areas, as well as achieve 30 per cent Totally Protected Areas (TPA) status.

Hajiji congratulated SFD for successfully taking the initial step of setting the target of 30pc of Sabah’s landfill area ahead of other states and regions in Malaysia.

“Due to the efforts of the Chief Conservator of Forests and the teamwork practised by the foresters, Sabahans are proud that half the state’s land area is still covered by forests. “We are actually one of the main contributors in the mitigation of climate change that is affecting the world.

“Several proactive measures have been taken to prevent our forests from being threatened in the future through the strengthening of enforcement activities and sustainable forest management,” he said, adding among them is a joint venture by the State Government together with SFMLA holders, through the concept of smart partnership. “Through this joint venture, ​​approximately 1.65 million hectares of Class II Commercial Forest Reserve has already been licensed to SFMLA licence holders, to be managed through the concept of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM),” he said.

According to Hajiji, he had visited two SFMLA areas namely Jawala Plantation Industries Sdn Bhd and Sapulut Forest Development Sdn Bhd last July to see for himself the progress of forest plantation development in both areas.

“These two areas have shown positive progress in developing forest plantations in their licence areas. “This achievement should be made as an example by all SFMLA licence holders who have been entrusted to develop forest plantations in Sabah,” he said. Hajiji hoped the momentum of this forest plantation development can be continued and improved in future to support the State Government’s desire to develop the sector in a progressive manner.

Hajiji, who is also State Minister of Finance, hoped SFD staff would digitalise daily services so that the delivery system in public services, especially for the sector, can be continuously improved, delivered faster and give satisfaction to clients and the people of Sabah, in particular.

In conjunction with MAPT 2022, some 63 SFD staff received the Excellent Service Award (APC), while 32 SFMLA holders and 13 SFM Projects were awarded with Compliance Certificates for the year 2021 and 13 received the SFD Conservation Partner Award in recognition of their contribution and commitment in implementing the conservation agenda in this state.   

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