TAWAU, June 20 — The Sabah Forestry Department has dismissed a report that belian wood had been illegally logged in the 218-hectare Bukit Quoin forest reserve here, saying the allegation was intended to tarnish the reputation of the state government.
In a statement today, it said the accusation by the complainant, which was published in a local newspaper, was wrong and without basis.
“The Sabah Forestry Department would like to clarify that the belian wood stated in the article was old logs felled and gathered there since the opening of the land in stages in the 1970s,” the statement said.
The statement said checks by the department showed that no forestry offences had been committed.
“Under the Forest Enactment 1968, for alienated land, the department could not stop land owners from felling or selling logs from their own land for any reason deemed appropriate provided that the applicant meets the conditions and procedures set by the department,” it said.
Besides that, it said, felling and removal of belian wood would only be allowed after all conditions have been met and all taxes and other charges paid to the government.
Yesterday, Sabah Umno communications and strategic director Ghazalie Ansing urged the state government and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal to investigate the alleged logging activities in Bukit Quion.
Ghazalie, who is also Tawau Umno acting chief, claimed that initial reports found that a Chinese contractor had been given the nod by the state government and a well-connected person to bring out the logs.
He alleged that some 2,000 cubic metres of logs had been felled and are waiting to be taken out. — Bernama