Illegal logging has became a real menace in Sarawak lately forcing the state chief minister to propose drastic steps including rewarding informants to curb the activities.

Taib received Barack Obama book “Audacity of Hope” from state forestry
director Datuk Len Latif and Dr Yussof Hanifah looks on. (Photo Johnathan Bullet).

Speaking at Sarawak Forestry’s (SFC) 5th anniversary dinner last Friday, Taib said government will set up a fund to be used as incentives for people to alert the state authority of any illegal logging activities in their areas.

“We should think of how to reward them for reports that lead to the conviction of illegal loggers,” Taib was quoted to as saying by Borneo Post on Sunday.

Acknowledging the seriousness and urgency of the matter the chief minister said that they could start setting up the fund the as soon as possible.

“We could start it next year. Then we would have a common interest with the community rather than them thinking of how they can protect themselves against timber concessionaires” he said as reported in a local daily, Sunday.

Taib also said the relevant authorities must protect Sarawak timber at all costs and adding “it must be exploited within rigid rules, and that they must not regress to the 1960s and 1970s style of doing things,”

He suggested that SFC to expand its network of cooperation to include community leaders as they could act as informants to the government.

According to Taib these illegal loggers are remnants of people who used to be working for overnight profits from small forest concessions.

“The concessions are no longer there, but they still think of ways to profit from the timber whether they own it or not.

“They could be the potential menace to the timber industry in the future,” he warned.