Timber thieves to face heftier fines and jail terms

Timber thieves to face heftier fines and jail terms

KUCHING, Sarawak - Timber thieves will face heftier fines and jail terms when a new Forests Ordinance is enacted by the state government.

Among others, it will see the illegal export of logs under the Forests Bill 2015 punishable with a fine of RM100,000 (S$37,000) to RM500,000 and up to five years' imprisonment. Subsequent offences will see a fine of up to RM1mil and 10 years' jail.

Those guilty of not paying royalties or fees face a minimum fine of RM25,000, up to a year's jail and being ordered to pay the government at least 10 times the royalty or fee chargeable on the timber in question.

Previously, the penalty for illegally exporting logs was imprisonment of between one and five years and a RM50,000 fine while that for revenue offences was one year's jail and a fine of RM2,000.

The Bill was passed by the State Legislative Assembly yesterday to repeal and replace the existing Forests Ordinance 1953.

It follows the crackdown on illegal logging and corruption in the timber industry announced by Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem some months ago.

Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan who tabled the Bill said there was a need to regulate the timber industry effectively in order to eliminate malpractices associated with the industry and to meet global demand for timber from legal sources and sustainably managed forests.

Yesterday, Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar dismissed a motion by Baru Bian (PKR-Ba'Kelalan) which sought, among others, a resolution that hudud would never be implemented in Sarawak and that all 31 Sarawak MPs should vote against any Private Member's Bill tabled in Parliament to enable Kelantan to implement hudud.

Asfia said the state government had made its stand clear that hudud would not be implemented in Sarawak.

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