26 Oct 2011
KUCHING: Sarawak PKR today warned the state government of the seriousness of the logs ban imposed by the Dutch government if the state continues not to comply with the conditions of the international timber certification and trade regulations.
Other European countries may follow suit, See Chee How, state PKR vice-chairman said.
“Although the European countries only import about 2% of timber from Sarawak, the consequences of ignoring the conditions for sustainable forest management would be far worse than we can imagine,” he said.
“We do not see the impact now, but in the long run we will suffer,” he added, pointing out that PKR supports sustainable forest management.
See, who is the Batu Lintang assemblyman, said that he would raise the matter in next month meeting of the state legislative assembly.
He said most of Sarawak logs go to Japan which accounts for 38%, India 12%, Taiwan 10% and Korea 9% and the rest to America, other Asian and European countries.
“Such ban will affect timber exports from these countries as the finished products such as furniture will be traced coming from Sarawak,” he said.
“The EU will certainly ban those products later on,” said See.
The assemblyman who is also a lawyer and activist was asked to comment on the ban of logs by the Dutch government.
He said that the state government’s regulations governing forestation were well below world standards.
It does not respect the rights of the natives as well as respecting the decisions of the courts which uphold the rights of the natives over land.
The environmental impact assessments (EIA) in Sarawak are inadequate to assess sustainability and no guarantee can be given that Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) certified forests do not disappear for other land uses such as plantations.
“The government leaders are only interested to make as much money as possible through their cronies. They just ignore long term benefits at the expense of the natives’ rights,” he claimed.
Sarawak is one the world largest exporters of tropical timber. In 2008 alone, more than RM7.4 billion worth of timber products and logs were exported.
In 2009 the exports of timber went down to RM4.15 billion and picked up in 2010 to RM4.75 billion.
The timber exports this year have increased by 20% from the previous year due to higher demands from countries like Japan which suffered due to earthquakes.
It is expected that the value of timber exports may increase to more than RM5 billion by the year end.