KOTA KINABALU, 12 SEPTEMBER 1997
OBJECTS TO AWARD OF MASSIVE FOREST RESERVE
Kinabalu, Fri: - Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) today reiterated
its objection to the awarding without tender of massive commercial
forest reserve to corporate bodies before forest management plans
(FMP) and resource accounting for the respective concession areas
deputy president, Dr Maximus Ongkili said in a statement the Barisan
Nasional state government seemed in a desperate hurry to award ten
Forest Management Units (FMU) although it openly acknowledged that
the entire programme would only commence in one or two years.
Ongkili was commenting on the government’s Sustainable Forest Management
(SFM) implementation programme launched on Wednesday by Chief Minister
Datuk Yong Teck Lee.
government promised during the 1994 state election to tender the
future award of timber concession areas but until today this promise
has not been honoured, as in the case of the ten companies awarded
a total of one million hectares of forest reserve (FMUs).
seriously, the government will be eventually awarding the entire
commercial forest reserve of the state totaling some 2.7 million
hectares to the private sector in the name of sustainability without
the respective management plans and stock inventory being undertaken
for the FMUs.
some reasons, the government appears to be in a desperate hurry
to award the huge concession areas, thereby ‘putting the cart before
the horse’. The signing of the licence agreements has confirmed
our initial fears and concerns. We join the public in questioning
the real motives behind the massive awarding of forest reserve in
such manner", he said.
Bandau Member of Parliament also criticised the government for describing
the sustainable management approach as "new", when in fact "the
so-called five-pronged approach has been implemented by the Forestry
Department for the last ten years".
reforestation, research and development, re-injection of funds in
forest activities, and upgrading of manpower training have all been
part of the stated mission and objectives of the forestry department
since the late 1980s. There is nothing new in these strategies as
they were formulated during the PBS government era", he claimed.
Ongkili also alleged that Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee was
not being truthful when he accused the previous government for not
implementing forest conservation programme.
has always been committed to conservation and forest sustainability.
The Deramakot Forest Reserve is now world-known and internationally
certified for its sustainable forestry programme.
Deramakot project which was first started in 1989 is the brainchild
of the PBS government. Forestry innovations such as reduced impact
logging (RIL), skyline yarding system and enrichment planting were
first introduced into Sabah by the PBS government.
Yong Teck Lee should know because he was a member of the PBS cabinet
then. He must have a very short memory if he cannot acknowledge
the pioneering contributions of the PBS government in sustainable
forest management in the State", he asserted.
to Dr Ongkili, the PBS government also allocated a lot of funds
to increase forestry manpower and sent many officers for overseas
training through the Forestry department’s in-service training scheme
and Yayasan Sabah’s sponsorship, adding that "a large number of
the present district forest officers in Sabah today are the beneficiaries
of these training schemes".
Ongkili also claimed that the price offered by the government to
buyers of each of Forest Management Units was very much less than
the price charged by the PBS government for similar reforestation
instance, for the 57,000 hectares of forest reserve near the Deramakot
project which the present Chief Minister has been constantly criticising,
the PBS government charged a performance bond of RM5 million and
a bank guarantee of RM50 million.
BN government is now offering the same RM5 million for a 100,000
hectare FMU, which is about half of the price charged by the previous
government. This is clearly a sale out of the state’s natural resources",
Langkon Assemblyman also questioned the technical and financial
capacity of the companies awarded the first ten FMUs.
from Yayasan Sabah, the remaining companies awarded the FMUs do
not have the necessary experience and skills to implement the sustainable
forestry practices of the type being carried out in the Deramakot
project", he claimed.
Ongkili urged the government to disclose the full details of the
licence agreement to the public so that ordinary Malaysians in Sabah
and concerned professionals can monitor and check on the licence
holders to ensure that specified conditions on the agreement as
well as reforestation schedules are truly followed.