Thursday December 2, 2010
Revised Act to punish illegal logging offenders with RM1mil fine
KUALA LUMPUR: The penalty for illegal logging will double to RM1mil and the jail term raised to between five and 20 years after amendments to relevant laws are made next year.
Currently, the penalty for illegal logging is RM500,000 while offenders can be jailed for between one and 20 years.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the decision was made yesterday to amend the National Forestry Act 1984 (Act 313) to curb illegal logging and forestry offences.
He said the Attorney-General’s office would study the minimum penalty amount before the Bill could be tabled in Parliament next year.
“It is hoped that this amendment to Act 313 will ensure that the forestry sector can progress in line with challenges and issues covering illegal logging and that forest conservation and preservation activities will be more effective,” he said after chairing the 66th National Land Council meeting here yesterday.
Muhyiddin said the National Forestry (Amendment) Act 2010 would emphasise on transferring the burden of producing evidence from the prosecutors to those in possession of illegal logs.
“Through the principle of strict liability, those suspected of being guilty have to prove that logs either at the premises or sites within or outside the permanent forest reserve were legally acquired,’’ he said.
The annual meeting was also attended by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.
Also present were Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.