Sarawak to stop issuing new timber licences: Abang Johari

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will stop issuing new timber licences, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said vast tracts of forests had already been logged and it was difficult to restore them.

"Worse still is the stripping of the forests of all their vegetation by plywood factories operating deep in the forests, ostensibly to clear the land for the planting of oil palm.

"As such, there will be no more new palm oil plantation licences except for Native Customary Rights (NCR) land," he said when winding up debate at the first meeting of the State Legislative Assembly today.

Abang Johari stressed that the state government would continue to fight illegal logging.

"Not only are they just stealing timber in areas which are not licensed to them, they are also intruding into the forest reserve areas.

"If unchecked, we may have no more forest reserves of any kind, fully protected or otherwise. We must protect the forests if we want to retain any of our indigenous virgin jungle," he said. — Bernama