Sarawak state government has to re-look at its policies and ordinances to strengthen its forest management and wood-based industries to keep abreast of current issues facing the forestry sector locally and globally.
Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said the draft policies were in the final stage of deliberation before they were being endorsed.
Among the policies being reviewed and newly introduced are the Sarawak Forest Policy, Forest Management Certification, Development of Planted or Industrial Forest, Wood Industries Development Plan, raw material for timber industries, and forest revenue, especially cess from downstream products.
“In line with our policy reform, the state government has made it mandatory for all long-term forest timber licences to obtain Forest Management Certification (FMC) by 2022. In the past FMC was merely on a voluntary basis,” he said at the launching of the 18th Malaysian Forestry Conference 2018 (MFC) at a leading hotel in Kuching today.
With growing local and global concern on environmental issues, he said forest management certification had become the main requirement for buyers to ensure that timber and timber products came from sustainably managed forests.
Abang Johari said the state government had placed a well-meaning forest policy statement as early as 1954 to ensure that its forest would not be destroyed in the face of development and modernisation, as part of its commitment in ensuring the forest resources are managed in a sustainable manner.
Earlier Sarawak Forest Department director Hamden Mohamad in his speech said the MFC was a forum for Malaysian foresters to exchange views, information and experience in the administration, management and development of the country’s forest resources.
About 600 participants and observers attended this year’s conference themed, “Advancing Sustainable Forestry Through Digitisation and Technology”.