Thursday, June 9, 2011

Corruption in forestry department ‘deal’?

Corrupt Barisan Nasional l KUCHING: Natives from six villages on the west of Sungai Sarawak Kiri have lodged a report with the MACC against a timber company on the advice their BN MP James Dawos Mamit.
Representatives from the six villages, in and around Semadang and Skio, want the MACC to investigate the logging company’s timber  license.
This is because they believe the company had encroached into an area believed to be a water catchment site.
Villages Action Committee chairman, Joseph Renggas, said the company was logging timber in a 2,112 hectare forest reserve between Sg Tu and Sg Sanga in Semadang and Skio.

He said the committee suspected elements of corruption and decided to report to MACC.
“MACC has assured us that it will start investigations  immediately and that it will be completed within three weeks,” said Joseph.
Kampung Skio village chief Michael Dang, who was also present when the lodging the report, questioned the government’s approval of the timber license.
According to him, the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) had in 1993 applied for the land to plant oil palm.
“But the application was rejected because this is a water catchment area. But this year, a private company had received approval to extract timber from the area.
“Where did this license to extract timber come from?” he asked.

Shared suspicion

On the advice of Mambong MP Dawos Mamit, the villagers also lodged  similar reports at the Forest Department, Land and Survey Department and police station.
According to Michael Dang the license with serial number T/8497 dated April 14, 2011 was approved by Forest Department under Section 49 and 51 of the Forest Ordinance.
The license expires on April 13, 2012 Villagers from the Semadang and Skio areas had met with Dawos over the recent Gawai holidays and conveyed to him their suspicions.
Dawos, who is deputy tourism minister, had ‘strongly’ encouraged them to lodge a report with MACC.
He also shared with them his suspicion that corruption could have been at play since the forest area had been gazatted as a water catchment area.

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