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Sarawak ‘timber politics’ era over, says Abang Jo
Published on: Saturday, June 08, 2024
By: Bernama
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Sarawak ‘timber politics’ era over, says Abang Jo
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg crossing a 100m-long bridge made of belian wood at the Sabal forest reserve in Simunjan today. (Bernama pic)
SERIAN: Sarawak, which previously depended on timber exports as a source of income till the term “timber politics”’ was coined, has stepped forward into a new era that prioritises forest restoration.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said forest restoration will generate new income for the state, especially in the global carbon market.

“Our income used to depend on timber, that’s why the politics then were ‘timber politics’. Now we have changed, we don’t rely on timber, we rely on brain power,” he said at the 2024 Sarawak-level International Forest Day celebration at the Sabal Agroforestry Centre, about 60km from here, today.

Abang Johari said the state government has successfully reduced the rate of logging by about two million cubic metres annually thanks to the policy of complying with forest management certification conditions for both natural and plantation forests.

“I want the (timber) industry (players) to know why we reduced exports of logs (and) discouraged the cutting of logs … because now we have alternatives to (develop) our economy,” he said.

He said the policies implemented by the state government have enabled them to retain about 62% forest cover. Currently, it has 26 certified forest management units encompassing 2.38 million hectares, and seven plantation forest management units encompassing 97,966 hectares.

He also expressed his appreciation to the Sarawak forestry department for achieving excellent success not only in forest conservation but also in providing added value and new approaches to balance development and environmental conservation.

He agreed with the proposal of its director, Datuk Hamden Mohamad, to develop the Sabal Agroforestry Centre as a multipurpose centre, especially for forest research, recreational and tourism activities.

The development of the centre, at an estimated cost of RM50 million, could make it another attraction for visitors to the Serian district when it is completed under the 13th Malaysia Plan.

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