Sarawak denies exporting illegal timber to Japan
Sarawak has denied reports of exporting illegal logs as all of its timber have proper certification.
According to the Borneo Post, the state’s Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, said there was no proof to the allegation that the state was exporting logs to Japan illegally.
He said the logs produced in the state were checked thoroughly by relevant agencies and were only issued permits after inspection.
According to a Global Witness report, two Japanese companies, Sojitz Corporation and Itochu Corporation, were buying illegally-logged timber from the state’s endangered rainforests and labelling much of it as ‘legal’ under a government-sanctioned certification scheme.
The two Japanese companies were getting timber from two of Sarawak’s largest logging companies Samling Global and Shin Yang Group. The 24-page report alleged that these two companies have close ties with Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Taib was in the international spotlight in March this year after Global Witness released a video documentary showing he received millions of ringgit in kickbacks over land deals that have stripped bare the Borneo state.
Both the Japanese companies, however, have denied the allegations of illegal logging. – September 12, 2013.