Ministry plans special Logging Areas
Logging has wreaked havoc with Malaysia's forests and their ecosystems. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Few activities have inflicted as much damage on Malaysia’s environment as logging, but that may be about to change. Come 2018, logging will be allowed only in a few designated areas with the rest of the country’s trees finally declared off-limits once and for all to chainsaws and axes.
That is according to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who says he has instructed the Forestry Department to identify areas for the resettlement of current saw mills in an effort to protect diminishing forests from further harm. Under the new rules, logging companies will only be allowed to operate within these new areas. Loggers will also be encouraged to reduce wood and timber waste in their operations.
“The move is necessary to reduce illegal logging of the forests,” the minister said. “Industry players should come up with various initiatives to produce as many items as they can with one particular log so that we do not need to chop many trees at once.”
The plan, however, will need the cooperation of state governments, which could complicate matters. “Getting them to work with the ministry is challenging as their main concern is to only boost their state of economy,” Wan Junaidi said. “They have to also bear in mind that they cannot simply chop down trees as they please,” he added. “All states should enforce the laws strictly. They should also understand their responsibility to conserve the environment.”
Agreed. Whereas Malaysia’s states rightfully deserve a degree of independence, that ought not to mean that they are free to squander the country’s natural resources just because those resources happen to fall within arbitrarily drawn state borders. The same goes for companies operating within the borders of those individual states.
Wan Junaidi has called on logging companies to educate their employees about conservation and to enforce rules of environmental sustainability consistently. “They should have guidelines for their employees to follow and take firm action against them if they do not follow the drafted guidelines to help conserve the environment,” he said.
That is a reasonable suggestion. Unfortunately, however, companies often care naught for the environment, especially those, like logging companies, that directly profit from it. A far safer bet is to require companies to abide by rigorously enforced environmental protection laws and regulations.