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24/05/2023 04:33 PM

KUCHING, May 24 (Bernama) -- A total of 264 cases of illegal logging have been recorded in Sarawak between 2020 and 2022, said Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

He said during that period, timber with an estimated sales value of RM4,027,150 was seized, in addition to RM1.6 million in forest-related offence compounds collected.

“A total of 15 cases have been brought to court, of which 12 cases have been resolved, with five accused having been convicted, while the other three cases are still in trial,” he said while winding up the debate for his ministry in the State Assembly sitting today.

Awang Tengah, who is also the state’s Second Minister of Natural Resources and Urban Development, said that the Sarawak government has established a task force on illegal logging, in addition to creating a clear policy and strong legal provisions to combat the activity.

“In addition, the use of advanced technology, such as drones, hyperspectral, geospatial and imaging satellites, and collaboration with other enforcement agencies,” he said.

Meanwhile, in another development, Awang Tengah said that the evaluation of Niah National Park, to be recognised as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, will be conducted by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) between June and August this year.

He added that the national park was registered in the tentative list of candidates for world heritage sites on Jan 26, and was approved for evaluation two days later by the World Heritage Centre in Paris.

“Publicity programmes, such as online campaigns, documentary videos and community engagement programmes, will continue to be carried out to increase public awareness, to support and strengthen the nomination of Niah National Park as the second world heritage site in Sarawak (after Gunung Mulu National Park),” he said.