Illegal loggers may be jailed for threatening forestry officials

CHUKAI, 8 Sept 2017: 

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will review the laws to take sterner action against anyone who threatens its officers over the issue of illegal logging.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said with the new laws, he wants illegal loggers who have been arrested to be detained until their cases are brought to court.

“We want them to be held in the lock-ups until the day of trial. If they are released, we worry that they will threaten the lives of our officers.

“If they are foreigners, there is a possibility that they will return to their country and we will not be able to take action against them.”

Wan Junaidi said such action must be immediately implemented as of late, the forestry officers have had to face violent actions believed to be done by henchmen of illegal loggers who had been apprehended.

“Believe it or not, within these last three months, in one case, our security forces who enforced the logging laws had to face violent action from illegal loggers, one of them was shot although he was not injured.

“In the second case, an officer was stopped in the middle of the road and held for a while because the illegal loggers wanted to get back their machinery and logs which had been confiscated.”

Wan Junaidi said the illegal loggers acted blatantly because they knew the security officers did not carry weapons.

“So we hope criminal laws can be enforced on them, for instance for the offence of stopping government officers from carrying out their duties, and as well as other offences that they commit.”

Wan Junaidi also announced a new, more environment-friendly logging system known as the “Log Fisher” which would reduce damage to the environment.

He said the new method would reduce land clearing and lessen damage to the ecosystem and forest areas affected by logging activities.

“With this method, they do not have to open many side roads, just one main road for tractors and lorries carrying timber logs to pass through.”

Wan Junaidi praised the Terengganu government for being a pioneer in this technique and said the other states should follow suit in order to transform the logging industry to be more environment-friendly.

– Bernama

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