Monday June 18, 2012
Forestry Dept brought to task
By RINTOS MAIL
KUCHING: The state Forestry Department has been blamed “for creating issues” in Mambong parliamentary constituency.
Tourism Deputy Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos said the department’s decision to issue a timber licence in a gazetted water catchment and agricultural lot allocated to families affected by the Bengoh Dam had got the people all riled up.
Besides, he said, as the MP of the area, he felt by allowing the areas to be logged out, the department was pitting him and the Barisan Nasional against the people.
“Logging is a very sensitive issue among the natives and it is already a major issue in my area that can turn the people against Barisan Nasional in the coming parliamentary election,” he said.
Dawos was commenting on reports of villagers who have voiced their opposition to logging in the said areas which are the forests in the upper Sarawak Kiri River and the agricultural lot set aside to provide for the resettlment of said villagers.
Timber licences are said to have been issued to some individuals and companies to extract timber from the secondary forest of the native customary right (NCR) land of Kampung Giam, Kampung Semadang and the agricultural lots of the four villagers.
Dawos, who is Mambong MP, said in the first place timber licence should not have been issued in the area because it was a gazetted water catchment area.
Asked how he would tackle this issue in the coming elections, Dawos replied: “The state government should tackle the issue, not me.
“Of course, the people will blame me for not doing anything, but I know for a fact that it was me and the former state attorney general Datuk J C Fong who prepared the gazettement notice and (spell out) the prohibited activities in the area last time and not the director of forest.”
According to him, logging is totally prohibited in the area because it will pollute the water. He said if all the prohibited activities were being done in the water catchment areas then there was no point protecting the quality of our water any more.
“If you allow logging in the area then we can do anything, we can go and throw poisons into the water as you like because government officers themselves are allowing this sort of things,” he said.
He said logging would cause sedimentation because loggers would also use oil and lubricants and when they threw these to the ground they ended up in the rivers.
He said it was “all stupidity not knowing how to manage the environment”.
“I am fed up with all this and I don’t care about election if this problem is not resolved. This thing has given me pain in the neck because the state government agency (Forestry Department) is creating the problem in the area,” he said.