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Progress on Addressing Illegal Logging in Sarawak

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Soon after taking over from his predecessor, Abdul Taib bin Mahmud, the new Chief Minister of Sarawak, Adenan Satem, made it clear he was going to crack down on illegal logging. During the former Chief Minster’s 33-year rule, the state was regularly the subject of international criticism for the widespread destruction of its rainforests and enormous sums of money certain parties made from this.

While visiting London recently, the new Chief Minster renewed his pledge to save the remaining forests and to fight timber corruption. In his speech he told the audience, which included investigative journalist Clare Brown, the founder and editor of the highly critical website, Sarawak Report, that he was committed to a sustainable timber industry and would work with all parties to achieve this.

The Malaysian Anti Corruption commission is now engaged in ongoing activities to address the problem and recently announced it had conducted another major offensive against illegal logging, raiding various log ponds (where they store logs prior to milling), saw mills, and businesses. This apparently resulted in them freezing several hundred bank accounts containing some RM600 million as well as seizing logs to the value of RM1.5 million.

Even sceptics should now appreciate that action is finally being taken to address this issue which has given Malaysia a bad name in the international community.

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Source: The Expat Magazine June 2015

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