KUCHING: Sarawak Forest Department confiscated 4,825.6 cubic metres of logs of various sizes and species worth RM627,328 in its enforcement operations since April 13.
Its director Datuk Hamden Mohammad said the operations which involved air monitoring, land and water enforcement, were able to detect and break down a series of illegal encroachments and loggings in several locations namely Sibu, Samarahan, Tatau, Bintulu water catchment, and buffer zones in Lawas.
“While adhering to government instructions on the conditional movement control order (CMCO) to control the spread of Covid-19, we have continued our forestry prevention and enforcement operations in the state.
“Through these operations during the movement control order (MCO) period, we have seized 3,712 logs (4,825.6 cubic meters) of various size and species estimated at RM627,328 based on current royalty and cess rates.
“Also seized were two excavators, a lorry and various equipment used to carry out the illegal activities. A suspect was also arrested during the operation for further investigation,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Hamden noted that some parties were trying to take advantage during the MCO period to exploit illegal logging activities.
He added that these parties had assumed that SFD would not conduct enforcement activities during the period.
“However, they have assumed wrong as the department has sufficient modern equipment and personnel to carry out enforcement tasks and monitor every inch of forest in Sarawak.
“The forest raiders’ movements and modus operandi have actually been detected by the department.
“In future, we will continue to strengthen our operation by using a variety of modern equipment to ensure that such illegal activity is fully controlled and curbed,” he stated.
The department also advises the public to provide information if they come across any suspicious logging activity in their area.