Wednesday, June 2, 2021

CM 3rd Anniversary

Developing talents for the digital future

In 2017, the Sarawak government partnered with China telecommunication giant Huawei (Huawei Malaysia) to develop the state’s digital infrastructure and established the Centexs-Huawei Digital Training Lab. Huawei Malaysia again signed another memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government in April this year  ...

Caring for non-Islamic houses of worship

The interest and welfare of non-Islamic houses of worship and religious organisations are not being neglected as far as Sarawak is concerned. It has even set up a special body to cater to their needs called Unit For Other Religions (UNIFOR).  Currently,...

Living smart

KUCHING: Urban renewal centres, smart traffic lights, e-wallets, the rolling out of 5G and more initiatives than one can count. Who could have guessed, three years ago, the bustling city of Kuching, embedded in its rich history, would be embracing the...

Sarawak Coastal Guard to protect state

With an extensive coastline stretching approximately 800 kilometres, there is a distinct need for Sarawak to protect its coastal areas and marine resources from external threats and encroachment. Last year, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced that the state...

100 per cent electricity coverage by 2025

These days, electricity has become a basic necessity in daily life, but Sarawak’s immense landmass and unique geographical terrain make complete electricity coverage state-wide a challenge. Nevertheless, the state government is determined to rise to the challenge and provide for its people, targeting...

Positioning Sarawak in the global market

The Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos) was set up in the Lion City in August last year to position Sarawak in the global market, bring in more investments, promote trade and attract more tourists to the state. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi...

Education in our own hands

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg established the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) on May 7, 2017 — just five months after he took office as chief minister. With the move, the ministry led by Datuk Seri Michael...

Committed to reducing carbon emissions

During the DUN sitting on Nov 9, 2019,  Abang Johari asserted his commitment to reducing carbon emissions. In his winding-up speech, he said that the state government had allocated a sum of RM20.3 million for an applied research grant under the Hydrogen Economy...

First mover in hydrogen energy

2019 was a significant year. It was the year Sarawak’s first Integrated Hydrogen Production Plant and Refuelling Station was launched in Kuching as part of the state’s efforts to enhance the development of a clean and sustainable energy industry. Officially launched on May...

Bakun Dam now ours

The acquisition of the Bakun hydroelectric plant (HEP) from the federal government was made with Sarawak’s long-term future in mind. When Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced the acquisition agreement in March 2017, he remarked that with the power, the...

Latest News

No truth to BMF’s allegations, says Samling

KUCHING: Samling Group has clarified that the allegations contained in a post published on the Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) on May 20 are false and lack any shred of credibility or truth.  The post by BMF contained allegations made against Samling Group in relation to the Gerenai and Ravenscourt Forest Management Units (FMUs), calling into question the certification of the two FMUs by the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) and alleging ‘many discrepancies between the certification requirements and its implementation’. “The allegations have not only tarnished unfairly Samling’s image but have also brought into serious question the good reputations of both MTCC and of the certifying body, SIRIM QAS International Sdn Bhd.  “Additionally, the allegations belittle the value of forest management certification and the integrity of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC),” said Samling in a statement today (June 2).  It said the allegations made in the post by BMF and Borneo Project (BP) had been repeated despite due clarification published by MTCC itself on Aug 13 last year, whereby MTCC clarified that Samling had indeed satisfactorily fulfilled all the requisite certification requirements. The company also clarified that the certification process for the Gerenai and Ravenscourt FMUs was done in accordance with all requirements of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme’s Malaysian Criteria & Indicators, which have been endorsed by the PEFC, and are therefore compliant with international certification standards. “Part of this certification process involves the submission of third-party Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) reports – both of which were duly complied with by Samling.  “The scope the EIA report is under the purview of the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) of Sarawak and not Samling. It is a requirement of NREB that part of the EIA report must be put up for public display in the FMUs’ offices,” said Samling. The findings of the SIA are communicated to the communities – usually by the consultant responsible for the assessment – either by a visit to an individual community or at a meeting held for a group of communities, it said. “Contrary to what was alleged in the BMF post, Samling has not received any formal request to share either the EIA report or the SIA report. Thus, to allege that Samling has refused to release these reports is totally untrue, and to say they were not made available to the communities is also incorrect.  “This practice of lobbing baseless accusation after baseless accusation without any regard for truth or fact is a practice that is unfortunate,” the company said.  It stressed that publishing groundless accusations based on false information does little good for the communities these non-governmental organisations (NGOs) purport to support, and can in fact cause damage to the processes that have been put in place by Samling for the upliftment of the communities involved. Samling said it valued constructive engagement with the communities and had carried out numerous community engagements on its own initiative, which have already been reported by the media. “Samling’s own internal standard operating procedures involve direct and comprehensive engagement between the Group’s liaison officers and the local communities to ensure there is full understanding and agreement of any proposed harvesting activity in areas that lie close to or overlap with community lands recognised under the law.  “This is done before the start of any harvesting operations and holds true also for the Gerenai and Ravenscourt FMUs.” Samling said it understood and respected the community’s dependence on forest produce and had neither denied the importance of the forest to their livelihood nor wilfully caused damage to forests that are used by the communities as food sources. “At the same time, Samling also believes in the empowerment of local communities so that they can discern for themselves their rights and the responsibilities of the Samling Group, and engage directly with Group instead of through NGOs who claim to speak for the communities,” it said.  To help achieve this, Samling has embarked on numerous community projects aimed not only at the economic uplifting of the communities but more importantly at the educational uplifting of their children and future generations. These projects include roads, bridges, schools, as well as medical assistance particularly Covid-19 related medical support, testing, and other equipment and facilities. The company has been present in rural Sarawak for many decades and has been a key partner of the state government in providing roads, education, and healthcare facilities to these areas. “Samling will always maintain its integrity as a responsible corporate citizen by adhering to all the relevant laws and regulations that have been imposed by the state and federal authorities.  “Samling accepts fair criticism and scrutiny as part and parcel of the corporate world but it will not accept baseless and false accusations hurled against the Group and will continue to speak up to defend its reputation and name,” the company said.