KUCHING, May 17 — The Forests (Amendment) Bill, if passed by the state assembly, will make Sarawak the first state in Malaysia to grant a licence, for a specific term, to any person to carry out forest carbon activity in any permanent forest, state land or alienated land.

The Bill, to be tabled in the Sarawak State Assembly for the first reading tomorrow, will be debated and put to the vote on May 19, after the second and third reading.

The Bill, to be tabled by Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, seeks, among others, to insert a new section 70A to the Sarawak Land Code as a special provisions relating to carbon stock.

Section 70A (1) of the Bill seeks to empower the director of Forests to grant a licence, with a written approval from the state minister of Natural Resources and Urban Development.

In the case of the alienated land, the licence shall be issued to the registered proprietor of such land or with the written approval of the registered proprietor or his authorised representative.

Subsection 70A (2) says a carbon licence granted shall be subject to such payment of fees and other charges and grant the holder full legal and beneficial title to the carbon stock or greenhouse gas (GHG) stock associated with the forest carbon activity.

Under subsection 70A(3) of the Bill, a licence holder shall be entitled to participate in the carbon trading to which it has full legal and beneficial title in accordance with the applicable Carbon Standard Rules.

Subsection 70A(4)states that a carbon licence granted shall contain such other terms and conditions as the director in consultation with the minister may specify.

Any person who contravenes subsection 70A(4) shall be guilty of an offence and while subsection 70A(5) seeks to impose a fine not less than RM100,000 and not more than RM5 million and an imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.

The Bill also seeks to empower the court to order the offender to pay an amount equivalent to 10 times the value as assessed by the director of forest produce or other properly related to or involved in the commission of the offence.

Subsection of the Bill refers to carbon stock or GHG and any carbon credit issued by the Carbon Standard to be included as part of the Nationally Determined Contribution and reported by the director to the appropriate body in the government of Malaysia.

The aim of the Bill, according to the explanatory statement, is to enable forest carbon activity to be carried out in permanent forests, over state land and alienated land with the intent to create carbon stocks and carbon credit united verified under Carbon Standard Rules recognised globally, in line with universal efforts to reduce the adverse impact of climate change.

The Bill also seeks to improve the provisions of the Forest Ordinance including the interpretation of certain terms like forest produce, to be added new definitions like amenity forests, carbon stock, inland waters and licensed sawmills.