Massive logging operation undermines Malaysia’s international credibility

Malaysian Borneo’s last primary rainforests under threat despite international conservation promises

(Ba Data Bila, Sarawak, Malaysia) A massive logging operation in Sarawak’s Upper Baram region poses an immediate threat to the Malaysian state’s last primary rainforests in the heart of Borneo. According to community sources, logging operators linked to the Malaysian tycoon Hii King Chiong (“Hii”) have started an onslaught on Sarawak’s last primeval rainforests that is feared to have a severe impact on the biodiversity in the region.


Hii, a political crony of Sarawak’s recently deceased former governor Abdul Taib Mahmud, seems to have secured logging rights over a large swath of forest for his company, Borneoland Timber Resources Sdn Bhd. The logging concession is inside the “Upper Baram Forest Area”, an internationally funded forest conservation collaboration between Malaysia, the International Tropical Timber Organization, ITTO, and nonprofits. 


Penan communities fear the logging activities may devastate the rich biodiversity near Gunung Murud Kecil, a major landmark in the Upper Baram region. “All 18 Upper Baram Penan communities are opposed to this logging operation”, said Penan leader Komeok Joe. “We request that Sarawak Premier Abang Johari will stop this encroachment into our forest.”


“It is disturbing that Malaysia allows the logging of one of Sarawak’s last primeval forest areas inside an internationally funded conservation area. We call on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to clarify the situation with the Sarawak authorities”, said Lukas Straumann, director of the Bruno Manser Fonds.
Despite the Sarawak government’s repeated sustainability promises, the current logging operation appears to be occurring without the required certification.

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