KUCHING: Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn Bhd (SFCSB) has been fully absorbed by the state’s statutory body, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), effective yesterday.
This was part of the state government’s decision to restructure and transform the Forest Department and SFC in a meeting last December.
The transfer of function also involves the absorption of SFCSB staff to SFC along with the suggestion to match their job designation in SFCSB to the Malaysia Renumeration System (SSM).
Meanwhile, the department would also be restructured to improve its functions to obtain global recognition.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, when announcing the takeover during a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia yesterday, said that there would be a change in terms of functions for the two organisations.
“The Forest Department will take over SFC’s function under Forest Ordinance, 2015 which is forest management, research, development, engineering, compliance and the collection of products for forests and forest farms.
“SFC in turn would take over the functions under National Parks and Nature Reserves Ordinance 1998, dan Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998.
“This is on the management of National Parks, Nature Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary which also includes the management and maintenance of wildlife,” he added.
Abang Johari also revealed that the transfer of function from SFCSB to Forest Department would involve the transfer of 200 staff members.
“The Forest Department would also take over all assets owned by SFCSB including its vehicles to perform its functions under Forests Ordinance 2015 to ensure that all the function remain unaffected and can be performed smoothly,” he added.
The chief minister explained that the restructuring is carried out to develop the state’s forest industry which ideally should be performed by the Forest Department instead of SFC.
“I asked them to focus on the development of forests as well as its management. As you know, it must remain sustainable through the industrial forest policy.
“We must have our permanent forests and planted forests. This must be done by the Forest Department who is the authority that can engage with international bodies,” he said.
Whether Sarawak would be open to the idea of building a zoo in the state, Abang Johari pointed out that the zoo is an artificial habitat for animals whereas the state’s nature reserves already provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
“Let Borneo be a ‘natural’ zoo. We are giving serious attention to it by obtaining the Forest Management Certification for our Forest Management Unit (FMU),” he said.