Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak (File pix)
07/05/2024 08:34 PM

KUCHING, May 7 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly today passed the Sarawak Forestry Corporation Bill to refine, strengthen and enhance the legal framework governing the protection and management of totally protected areas and wildlife in Sarawak.

Tabled by Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Urban Development Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, the bill was passed after seven members of the state assembly participated in the debate session.

When tabling the bill, Awang Tengah said the passing of the bill was also to ensure that there are no duplications of duties between Forestry Department Sarawak (FDS) and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

“The passing of this Bill would achieve its objective to improve, strengthen and enhance the law relating to the protection and management of totally protected areas and wildlife in Sarawak and to ensure that there be no duplication of duties between these two government agencies.

“Through the streamlining of its responsibilities, this legislative measure is poised to fortify ongoing environmental preservation endeavors while fostering responsible tourism practices that harmonize with nature's delicate balance,” he said.

Awang Tengah said the amendment signifies a strategic pivot towards the prioritization of Sarawak's abundant biodiversity and natural legacy.

“Empowering the Sarawak Forestry Corporation with the mandate to spearhead wildlife protection initiatives and oversee the preservation of nature reserves and nature parks amplifies Sarawak’s commitment to safeguard its ecological wealth,” he said.

He added that the Sarawak government is targeting to gazette one million hectares of land area as totally protected areas (TPAs) in Sarawak by 2025.

“As of now, we have gazetted a total of 2,118,249.53 hectares consisting of 874,523.53 hectares (land) and 1,243,726.00 hectares (water bodies),” he said.