Sarawak mulls forestry research hub

Abang Johari (front row, centre) at the opening ceremony of the Industrial Forest Plantation seminar at Pullman Hotel Miri. Also seen are (from left) Ting, Lee, Hamden, Awang Tengah, Len and Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources permanent secretary Datuk Zaidi Mahdi. Photo: JaPen

MIRI: The state government is looking at establishing a forestry research hub in collaboration with two local universities — Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Campus and University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS).

“We propose that these two universities become a research hub for forestry in Sarawak as they have the expertise and facilities,” said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said the state government was willing to allocate funds to undertake collaborative research through the proposed hub.

“I will put this in our budget,” he said when officiating at an Industrial Forest Plantation seminar themed ‘Advancing Sustainable Forestry through Aggressive Industrial Forest Plantation’, at Pullman Hotel Miri today.

The chief minister said the Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) as the anchor agency, could play the role of coordinating the research and development (R&D) activities. At the same time, he said the researchers involved could be trained while also participating in research programmes.

Abang Johari said another aspect which could be explored through R&D was the planting of other fast-growing indigenous species such as Geronggang, Tebulan, Engkabang Jantong, among others.

“Not only planting fast-growing trees but also looking at value-added (products) and diversification of the end products. For example, decorative products, gifts and others, rather than just focusing on traditional products such as plywood and furniture,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Ministers Datuk Len Talif Salleh and Datuk Sebastian Ting and FDS director Datuk Hamden Mohammad.