Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh (centre) visiting the exhibition after officiating the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Seminar 2020 accompenied by Director of Forest Datuk Hamden Mohammad (right). On the left is Deputy Director Jack Liam. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: The state government is planning to extend more forestry areas under the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative to allow continuous effort for conservation and preservation of forest resources.

Assistant Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the initiative required concerted efforts from all various  government agencies and stakeholders.

“The state government has carried out various programmes and projects with dedicated funding from the federal government.

“I was informed that the Forest Department has requested for an allocation under the 12th Malaysia Plan. I hope that the federal government would be able to increase the allocation in line with the planning on the expansion of the HoB area,” he said at the opening ceremony of the Sarawak’s HoB Seminar 2020 here on Tuesday (Sept 22).

He said collaborative efforts through cross-sectoral approach would significantly realise the initiative in line with existing policies and development agenda on digital economy.

“Any programmes planned should take into consideration the existing main initiatives such as development corridors and rural transformation programme to achieve our common goal.

“For example, the policy for all licence holders to possess SFM certification by 2022. The execution of this policy requires collaboration and assistance from other relevant agencies, license holders, non-government organisations and the community.

“This would ensure the restoration of the HoB forest areas be carried out effectively, in line with national aspiration to achieve planting of 100 million trees.”

Aggressive industrial forest plantation on degraded areas, Len pointed out,  was critical during the economic recovery to realise the re-greening of Sarawak initiative.

“It is critical for us to manage these areas based on a sustainable development approach.

“The state government has been promoting coordinated  development and management of water, land and related resources through integrated watershed management.

“This would maximise economic growth, enrich social welfare and equity without compromising the sustainability on the vital ecosystems.”

Len urged all relevant government agencies and stakeholders to support the initiative by giving their commitment in developing more comprehensive action plans.