Tony Thien | Aug 23, 08 3:55pm
Indonesian logs are being illegally imported into Sarawak and re-
exported as local timber to other countries, including China, Taiwan
and Japan, according to an Indonesian newspaper report.
In the Aug 14 edition of the Tribun Pontianak, the Pontianak-based
Indonesian language daily also implicated chief minister Abdul Taib
Mahmud and Hardwood Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of state agency
Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC).
dominique ng interview 010606 gesturing”The good name of the chief
minister and that of the government-owned company have been marred by
the report,” Sarawak PKR chief Dominique Ng told Malaysiakini.
Ng said PKR will lodge a report with the Anti Corruption Agency on the
matter. According to him, the Tribun Pontianak report was serious
enough to warrant immediate investigation by the authorities here,
especially since Indonesia and Malaysia have an existing agreement
prohibiting the illegal export of logs.
“Let the relevant authorities carry out an immediate and thorough
investigation,” said Ng, who is also assemblyperson for Padungan.
The front-page news report was accompanied by a chart detailing how
logs were being transported illegally from the forests in Ketapang and
how they were being shipped out of West Kalimantan to two places. The
names of some middlemen purportedly involved in the scam were also
According to the report, several individuals were charged in an
Indonesian court for complicity in illegal timber trade, including the
forest controller for the area, a M Darwis. The report said Darwis
admitted to receiving bribe money from the individuals in exchange for
allowing the logs to be iilegally taken out of Ketapang.
The forest controller told the court the bribe money amounted to
between Rp 10 million and Rp 40 million for each shipment of between
800 and 1,000 cubic metres of timber.
About 30 shipments of illegal logs worth some Rp2.16 trillion (about
RM750,000) were being taken out either by land or sea across to the
East Malaysian state every month.
An Indonesian-based NGO together with a UK-based NGO investigating the
illegal timber trade in Indonesia had gone undercover to Sarawak,
where they traced the eventual destination of the logs.
The name of Hardwood Sdn Bhd was implicated, although Tribun Pontianak
erroneously reported the firm was owned by ‘the governor of Sarawak’
Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The news report also highlighted a dialogue the European Commission
had in Kuching with various stake-holders and NGOs on issues of the
legality of the timber being exported to Europe.
The legality issue is tied to, among other things, the sources of the
timber and respect for the rights of indigenuous groups living on the
land from which the timber is extracted.
Malaysiakini understands some of the logs end up being processed by
local industries, which would otherwise face a shortage because of an
increase in manufacturing activities and also because Sarawak still
allowed the export of timber. Up to 40 percent of the total annual
production of round logs is exportable.
Timber is one of Sarawak’s main earners accounting for several
billions of ringgits in export revenue each year.
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment