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Emphasis on value-added
Published on: Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Sandakan: The Sabah Forest Policy 2018 launched Monday will serve as a guide in managing forest and forest resources in Sabah in line with the principles of Sustainable Forest Management.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the policy has been around since 1954 and after thorough scrutiny, the Government saw the need for a change in line with changes in the environment.

"It is also to ensure we not only protect our flora, but ensure our forest resources can be used as best we can. "This policy will be implemented with 13 cores in addition to guidance cores and we will also make sure how the implementation can be complied," he added.


Every department , especially Forestry, has a specific Key Performance Index in the government's efforts to achieve anything in 2018 in terms of forestry policy to protect the fauna and flora as well as replanting measures, selected wood species to be planted.

"This is synonymous with efforts to preserve wildlife, flora and fauna as well as plants," he said.

"It is important for us to ensure that we do not cut down the trees as it will ultimately cause the fauna and plants to erode, including wildlife that we know like the Borneo Pygmy elephants which has the biggest population in the State," he said.

"The Sabah Forest Policy 2018 also ensures healthy air … and that we have more value in terms of timber," he said, after launching the Sabah Forest Policy 2018 at the Sabah Forestry Department, Monday.

Also present were his wife Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib, Forest Conservator Head Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini, Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung and State Attorney-General Datuk Zaleha Rose Datuk Pandin, among others. Shafie said timber production was not as big as in the 60s and 70s when timber was a major revenue for Sabah.

"Today, it is no longer a revenue producing priority because in a year there are about 150 million to 200 million timber products produced through existing royalty. But if we go down to added value like furniture, it will provide employment opportunities for Sabahans in various fields," he said.

"Next week, a furniture factory will be set up where it will export up to Maldives and we will increase their ability to produce timber for the international market," he said, adding there has to be creativity and innovation.

He said if we only wait for results through round logs, it would be about RM200 million a year depending on the market price.


"If we go for value added downstream, we see that it will be able to reach RM10 billion to RM20 billion in the future and if we plant timber species such as red wood, acacia and other timber with high prices, I am confident in the next 30 years, Sabah will have much revenue."

He said, a furniture processing centre would be set up at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Sandakan.

The location would be ideal, besides wanting to increase economic activity in Sandakan which is quiet. "Otherwise, there will be no economic growth in the district over the years," he said.

"One of the approaches to enable us to improve economic growth in Sandakan, since it is close to areas where there is wood management such as Forest Management Unit (FMU) in Lahad Datu and Ranau, and it is not that far for us to ensure that we can send the wood for processing at the POIC here," he said.

This would be the centre for furniture in Sabah, adding he asked the Minister of Industry to do an in-depth approach to identifying supply, not only in terms of water and power supply but also some necessary infrastructure that needs to be improved on the landscape which covers about 500 acres.

The POIC in Sandakan which is previously a palm oil management area, will be arranged at the POIC in Lahad Datu, where it will be at the Sandakan Post under Sawit Kinabalu.

On the extension of a fully protected forest area of 30 per cent set, he said, it is for long-term benefit which needs research. On Yayasan Sabah which has been proposed to extract and sell logs and what will happen to FMU companies, he said, he will look into it and asked the State Attorney in terms of available allocations.

"It is to enable Yayasan Sabah to focus more on this so that the dependency on practices where they cut trees, buy and export timber (companies), we think these practices needs to be stopped, there should be no one company doing it all as it monopolies the system," he said.


"So we know how much is being extracted, how much is being bought, how much royalty being declared and how much royalty after it is exported. We couldn't monitor the activity because it was just one player before," he said, adding it has been a long time practice.

He said the time has come for change and that he wants a lot of focus done by Yayasan Sabah as the entrusted body. "Perhaps they do not have enough manpower but it's time to make sure there is willingness. I don't want companies, or other people to gain profit, I want Yayasan Sabah to profit and the revenue we can obtain and use to help build schools, for example, give scholarships and assist the people.

"We need to make changes and continue to administer the State properly, the time has come for Government Linked Companies such as Yayasan Sabah to help when children need our help," he said, adding that enriching GLCs to help the people instead of asking for corporate social responsibility from companies.

He also does not want any clash between the rakyat and GLCs such as land issues for people who have long occupied GLC-owned land.

He said it was best to avoid court action or make it troublesome for the people, but instead to look for the best solution to help them.

On the potential of oil palm, he said, it must be done creatively, such as the production of diesel that can be sold to the world market and the proposal to be looked into by the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, during his Sandakan visit, Shafie also visited the Rainforest Discovery Centre, the Sandakan Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok and the Sepilok Research Centre. - Mardinah Jikur

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