MACC steps up raids against Sarawak illegal loggers

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Authorities have carried out more raids in Limbang and Lawas in Sarawak as a statewide anti-logging and anti-graft operation goes into full swing.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mission (MACC) director of investigation Datuk Mohd Jamidan Abdullah said MACC personnel seized 400 to 500 illegally-felled logs, eight bulldozers and other machinery worth RM1.7million (S$662,000) during Friday's Ops Tukul raids at the two locations.

He said the commission had also started backtracking the logging activities of more than 10 companies and individuals in Kuching.

"We are investigating them to ascertain how long they have been in operation," he said.

"I believe further arrests will be made soon," he said yesterday.

The MACC had earlier revealed that 10 suspects, including a district CID chief, were hauled up in connection with illegal logging in Sarawak. They are aged between 28 and 72.

On Thursday, MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull told reporters that the suspects were arrested in Limbang, Sibu, Kuching, Miri and Kapit since Monday.

Other suspects include general managers, owners, camp managers and shareholders of 10 local logging companies.

Mohd Shukri also said they had frozen bank accounts worth RM18mil belonging to the companies.

"Nine suspects are believed to have bribed the police officer."

He revealed that in the first nine months of this year, the Sarawak government lost about RM43mil to illegal logging.