No massive logging activity being done in upper Baram region, says forest dept

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Workers laying water supply pipes in the Ulu Baram area. – Photo by FDS

KUCHING (July 10): Forest Department of Sarawak (FDS) has denied the claim made by the Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) that a massive logging activity is being done in the upper Baram region by a company.

Instead, its director Datuk Hamden Mohamad pointed out that the FDS is now collaborating with a local elected representative and the company to implement several community projects and programmes in the area.

He stressed that Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg had agreed that the area be developed and its local communities be provided with basic amenities.
“The NGO (BMF) is not helping much but only talked and complained,” he told The Borneo Post.

The BMF had issued a statement claiming that a massive logging activity is being conducted at the Ba Dita Bila rainforests by a company, posing a threat to Sarawak’s “last primeval rainforests”.

Hamden pointed out that previously, the area was under a timber company, whose operation in the area recently was opposed by the local people, including the Penan but now it had pulled out their whole operation in Baram and left the area.

“Actually, the claims by BMF are baseless and not giving a true picture. The area is a production forest and ex-concession area of the former company.

“To continue the development of the area, the state government had agreed to have a new company to help the people and uplift the livelihood of the people in these areas.

“The company has re-constructed a road as the area was not connected after the previous company left the area last year.

“This new company also provides school trucks for the students’ transportation to school and many more facilities.”

A bridge which the new company had repaired in the Ulu Baram area. – Photo by FDS

Last year, a local elected representative approached the premier, informing the latter about the hardships of the community in the area and that all the roads there were damaged and not connected, said Hamden.

Therefore, members of the local communities that depend on the existence of logging camps and logging works there are now experiencing hardship, he added.

“The local representative then requested for a new company approved by the communities to operate there, assist the people, build for them houses, repair or upgrade the damaged roads, and provide children with transportation to schools,” said Hamden.

“The people there welcomed the new company with open arms to start its operations. People now want development to be carried out within their area,” he added.

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