by Conny Banji, email@example.com. Posted on March 23, 2012, Friday
FOR A GREEN HERITAGE: Awang Tengah (centre) cuts the ribbon to release the balloons to mark the celebration of World Forestry Day.
SIBU: The state will continue with its sustainable forest management policy, said Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.
He said this was not only for economic returns but more importantly to pass on the ‘green heritage’ to future generations.
He said this at a media conference after officiating at the state-level World Forestry Day held at Sarawak Tree Improvement Centre at Mile 13, Oya Road here Wednesday.
Awang Tengah, who is also Public Utilities Minister, said the management policy had been used since the establishment of the Forestry Department in the state in 1919.
“It had been developed to such an extent that it is now praised by world forestry bodies like International Timber Organisation (ITO) and International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO),” he enthused.
He said the good policy had spared Sarawak of serious natural disasters like landslide and flooding.
On the Land Use Policy, he said the government would set aside six million hectares for Totally Protected Areas (TPA) and Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) from the total land size of 12.4 million ha.
TPA would include national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, he said.
“The six million hectares would provide between 15 and 20 million cubic metres of future timber resources for the state besides creating 80,000 to 100,000 job opportunities.
“This is also the biggest area in the ‘Heart of Borneo’ wildlife conservation programme between Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesia,” he said.
On allegations that land development activities in Sarawak had destroyed the natural habitat of Orang Utan, he said they were not true.
“In Sarawak, Orang Utan can only be found in peat areas in Maludam, Sebuyau and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in Sri Aman Division.
“They cannot be found all over the state,” he explained, adding that the state was still 80 per cent forest covered.
“We are blessed with rich natural resources and biodiversity with many of our plants having medicinal value and cosmetic potential,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the state had collected a total of RM731 million in 2010 from timber royalties and taxes.
“This excluded the value from timber and timber product export,” he said.
Assistant Minister of Resource Planning Datuk Naroden Majais, Forestry Department state director Ali Yusop, Sarawak Timber Association chairman Pemanca Datuk Wong Kie Yik and Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapa’ee were among those present at the function.
The function was organised by the Forestry Department.