Sunday, March 22, 2015

What has become of those confiscated logs and machinery?

21 Mar 07:00 PM

 by Jimmy Adit

SARAWAK FOCUS: Since Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s don’t-mess-with-me warning to illegal loggers and timber thieves, enforcers have been confiscating logs by the truck-loads as well as heavy machinery.
Never mind that no one has been arrested. We now know even Adenan himself believes there is something fishy about all those jungle operations and raids, which thus far have failed to nap the culprits.
Somehow those people involved in cutting down the trees and transporting them just knew when to do the disappearing act, leaving the logs and the heavy machinery for the enforcers to bring back as trophies to declare to the media for public consumption.
Success after success of those raids by the enforcers have made it to the pages of the local newspapers, complete with pictures of the contraband – many times of the enforcers, too, proudly standing by. 
The illegal loggers have had years of “freedom” plundering the state’s forests with impunity and making their millions, so much so that even the global timber market is aware of their activities.
Now, with the chief minister taking a tough stand and showing that he knows the intricacies of the illegal activities in the state’s forests, Sarawakians kind of herald the success of the enforcers, which is something they never could imagine before now.
But not all Sarawakians are convinced. Wanita PKR vice-chief Voon Shiak Ni is one person who is unconvinced that due conclusion has been made for all those confiscated logs and machinery.
Voon was reported as saying she was baffled by the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of illegal logs confiscated by the authorities. 
She said the issue had been raised a few times with the Sarawak Forestry Corporation and the Forest Department but there had been no positive response.
Why Sarawak Forestry Corporation and the Forest Department had not been responsive all this while is anybody’s guess, but this time Voon surely got an immediate response to her queries. 
Forest Department director Sapuan Ahmad said the department’s standard operating procedure (SOP) was to hand over all seized illegal logs to Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd (Harwood), which is a government-linked company, to be disposed of in the domestic market through open tender.
Finally, there is an answer, only it raises more questions: Where are the open tender notices? Who are the successful bidders? And for how much?
What become of the confiscated machinery – tractors, ghost trucks and bulldozers? Auctioned off? Or returned to their owners?
So many questions, but too few answers.
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