What Rainforest?


Three killed, seven injured in Sarawak landslide : Tragedy caused by controversial logging operations on native lands
January 27, 2009, 12:44 am
Filed under: Indigenous People, Land, Logging, Press Release, Pulp & Paper

From Bruno Manser Fonds
26 January 2009

Three people were killed and seven injured in a landslide which occurred at a timber camp in the Upper Limbang region of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. According to Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency, the landslide took place on the evening of 23 January. The dead were identified as two Philippine nationals and a Malaysian who worked for a local timber company.

Research by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has shown that the landslide took place near Long Sebayang on the upper reaches of the Limbang river. Logging in the area, which is claimed by local Penan and Kelabit communities, has been controversial since the mid-1980s when locals set up a number of logging-road blockades to prevent the timber companies from encroaching their rainforests.

Logging interests in the area used to be closely linked to James Wong, Sarawak’s former minister of the environment. Logging operations near Long Sebayang are currently being carried out by Lee Ling Timber, a company with its headquarters in Limbang. Further upriver, a second company, Samling, extracts timber on a large scale. Both companies have plans to convert large natural forest areas into tree plantations, which is likely to cause further environmental destruction.

The landslide is a direct consequence of destructive logging practices. The landslide is the third in just over a week in Sarawak. On 16 January, a landslide killed two workers at a petrol station near the city of Miri in Northern Sarawak. Last Wednesday, a landslide severed a section of the Pan-Borneo trunk road near Bintulu, causing hundreds of vehicles to be stranded for hours.


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