KINABALU, 12 JULY 1998
FMUs SURE TO FAIL
KINABALU, Sun. - Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) today reaffirmed
its objection to the alienation by the State government of some
2.7 million hectares of commercial forest reserves to scores of
public listed companies and corporations through the forest management
units (FMUs) because the action contradicted the basic concept of
sustainable forest management.
deputy president Dr Maximus Ongkili said in a statement the party's
stand on the matter was now being shared by most people especially
those in the timber industry including primary industries minister
Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik.
was commenting on the statement by chief minister Tan Sri Bernard
Dompok that there was no problem faced by FMU owners.
Ongkili said PBS stand was very clear in that the granting of such
a massive area of forest reserves to companies which have no track
record in reforestation, no technical know-how, and limited financial
capacity would only lead to further exploitation of the State's
dwindling forest resources.
important of all, the alienation with a lease of 100 years to companies,
most of which are non-Sabahans, without resource inventory and forest
management plans being prepared was simply a sellout of the State's
forest and land resources. It is an action that is void of economic
logic and conservation practices.
believe the State government has been misusing the name of the International
Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) because it has always cited
the so-called ITTO guidelines as justification for its action. Put
simply, the ITTO recommendation simply states that by the year 2000
timber producing countries should ensure that majority of harvested
timber should come from substantially managed forests including
ITTO never recommended that massive areas of forest reserves should
be alienated for 100 years. Indeed it advises that basic practices
such as the preparation of resource inventory and forest management
plans must be undertaken before the issue of privatising commercial
forests is even considered," stressed Dr Ongkili.
Bandau member of parliament said from forest sustainability point
of view, the FMU concept was sure to fail not only because the companies
awarded the forest reserves have no technical and financial capacity
to implement the agreement but also the FMUs given to the companies
are still being logged to the last tree by logging companies which
were given licences by the government to operate within the FMU.
urge the government to inform the Sabah public the latest situation
as to the new list of companies awarded an FMU area recently, the
number and names of companies which have prepared a forest management
public also wishes to know the number and name of companies which
have started work on their FMUs in accordance with the signed agreement,
and the number and names of companies which have sold their FMUs
to other companies," he said.
Ongkili said the government must try to live up to its promise of
ensuring transparency by providing latest details on the FMU rather
than pretending to be unaware of the serious problems facing the
implementation of the FMU concept.