The Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) is studying the Auditor-General’s Report, which claimed that poor management of forests has led to river pollution, erosion, landslides and the destruction of flora and fauna in Sarawak and three other states last year.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah said today Sarawak had a committee to monitor all implementation of its forest policies in accordance with its sustainable management system similar to the mechanism applied by the respective state forest departments in the peninsula.

“We have to see the details and issues being raised in the report,” he told reporters here after the launching of the national level Minggu Alam Sekitar Malaysia (MASM) 2009 by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan at the Borneo Convention Centre here.

The Auditor-General’s Report of 2008 also cited illegal logging, logging in forest reserves or national parks and poor enforcement as some of the factors responsible for the poor management of forests in the state as well as Kelantan, Pahang and Johor.

Meanwhile Dr Chan, who represented Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the function, said the matter had yet to be discussed by the state cabinet, adding :”As far as Sarawak is concerned we are very insistent that we have a sustainable forest management system.”

Len Latif

Len Latif

Commenting on the report, STIDC general manager Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the Auditor-General should have consulted the authorities before passing judgement as the state had been recognised by the United Nations and International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) for sustainable management policies.

He said the Auditor-General’s Office did not have the required expertise to evaluate the Sarawak case, which bascally required technical understanding of the whole isssue.

Len Talif, who is also Sarawak Forest Department Director and Deputy Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Planning and Resource Management, said in this particular case they were not even consulted.

Earlier Johor-born Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo, who is the Director of Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Institute, was named the recipient of the Langkawi 2008/2009 award.