Sarawak: Illegal logging restrictions are not an issue, or are they?
European Union (EU) and United States (US) are reluctance to buy logs
and timber-related products from Sarawak over concern of illegal
logging and violation of native customary land (NCL) issues in the
state claimed a Dayak non-governmental organization based in Kuching.
However the authorities refuted such claim and said the main reason
the EU and US importing less timber from Sarawak were purely economic
in nature Borneo Post said quoting an anonymous source. “In fact the
representatives of EU had met and discussed with the state’s producers
and they did not mention specifically about problems relating to
NGOs,” the daily quoted it anonymous source as stressing. Sadia
disagreed, saying that it is among the ‘stakeholders’ of the Swedish
Forestry Stewardship Council and the Malaysian Timber Certification
Council. Both councils regulate the ‘principles and criteria protocol’
in timber trade. “The US and EU are very sensitive to issues related
to NCR (Native Customary Rights).
They do not want to risk buying the
timbers even if they only suspected that these were extracted from NCL
reserved or catchments areas,” Sidi said. Sarawak timber producers
can’t afford to ignore the huge EU and US market particularly at a
time when they need to find new market for timber products, like
plywood. They must attract the interest of the EU and US market not
only to sustain the sector development, but also to make sure the
state coffers continue to be in healthy condition. The chief minister
knew the stake are high and would be costly as he is facing a state
general election .