Sarawak CM issues no-mercy directive against trespassers in national parks

Sarawak CM issues no-mercy directive against trespassers in national parks

MIRI, Malaysia - Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has expressed outrage after illegal loggers infiltrated two national parks in Sarawak, one of which is the state's largest totally protected peat swamp forest.

He issued a no-mercy directive yesterday against the illegal loggers.

Speaking at a press conference in Miri after chairing a meeting with heads of government departments and enforcement agencies here, he said he wanted to see the State Forestry Department nail the culprits.

"Yes, we (state government) have detected illegal loggings happening in the state, including in two national parks - the Maludam National Park and Bukit Tiban National Park.

"We are asking the State Attorney-General to recommend court actions. Enough is enough. I want to see results in the fight against these illegal loggers. I expect the forestry (dept) to deliver concrete results and not give me more of the same.

"I have already stopped issuing new timber licences. Those holding logging licences now have also been warned that they must not cross the line. If they are involved in illegal logging, I will go after them also," he warned.

The Maludam National Park is the largest totally protected peat swamp in Sarawak measuring 432sq km. It is located in the Sri Aman division in southern Sarawak.

Bukit Tiban National Park is located in the Bintulu division in northern Sarawak. Both are home to rare and endangered species of plants, trees and animals.

Adenan also said he wanted to gazette more forests in Sarawak into national parks for protection.

"My aim is to have one-tenth of Sarawak declared as national parks.

"Right now we have 800,000ha of national parks in 37 locations throughout Sarawak. By June next year, I want to see at least one million hectares gazetted as national parks," he stressed.

Adenan also spoke about the "Allah" issue during a dinner gathering with the Orang Ulu communities, also in Miri City, on Sunday night.

He said Sarawak will continue to allow the term to be used by everyone in the state.

"I had my education in a Catholic mission school where they used the name Allah all the time, yet here I am still a Muslim. I have not converted to Christianity. There is no issue, really," hesaid.

Concerning the state's demand for oil royalty increase from 5 per cent to 20 per cent, he said the state government wanted to increase its coffers so that it could have more funds for water and electricity needs in the state.

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