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Illegal to include plantation timber: Firm
Published on: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
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Kota Kinabalu: A plantation firm has appealed to the State Government to exclude logs derived from plantations in its recent export ban.

Benn Osman, the Director of Boonrich Sdn Bhd, in a statement, said to do so may even be illegal under the law and policies of the Government.

He said it was likely that the ban stemmed from rampant illegal logging and influence from the downstream sector, including sawmills wanting logs at lower prices.

However, Benn said the following must be addressed by the State Government:

1) Under what law it had the power to ban log export.

2) Whether plantation wood such as teak and mahogany are also considered forest logs (Kayu Balak).

Benn said the export ban is having a bad impact on the nation's reforestation policy. Those companies and corporations who have engaged in this programme will now be facing problems and unnecessary losses.

He said the decision is also against the policy on reforestation and greening:

- Both Federal and State Government have been directing and encouraging people and corporation to plant trees.

- The Federal Government in the years 2014-2018 allocated a soft loan of RM1 billion to companies and corporations for planting of commercial timber. The soft loan stipulated that it is a 15-year loan and to be repaid after that with 4pc annual interest.

It was reported that 90pc or RM900 million were given out or loaned to companies and corporation in Sarawak while Sabah only got 10pc.

"On the encouragement of the government, without getting any loan, we have planted 2,500 acres of teak wood at Lahad Datu. These teak woods are now 20 years old. We have tried to sell and received good response from Dubai and India, but these buyers shun away because of the log export ban in Sabah," said Benn.

He said they wanted to sell their teak and replant with other species of timber and, therefore, they need both the funds and area for the replanting programme.

"When Malaysia Timber Board (MTOB) was contacted, its executive said one can just apply to the State Government for exemption. We have written to the State Government for exemption when our teak is commercial timber, why the need to ask," he said.

He said the State Government can simply ban the log extracted from Yayasan Sabah and Forest Reserve areas because these are the two areas with fair logs stands.

"Because of this ban we cannot sell our planted teak logs to Dubai and India. Therefore we reserve the right to claim compensation from the State Government for our losses," he said.


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