RE-CONSIDER REVIEW OF FMUs: YONG
(1 January 2002) BM
Kota Kinabalu: Former Chief Minister Datuk
Yong Teck Lee yesterday claimed that the comment by the Chief Minister about the FMU was contradictory to his answer to a
question by the Party Bersatu Sabah President in the State Legislative Assembly on Nov 7, 2001.
The Chief Minister, through his Assistant Minister, had replied that:
"There are 15 (not 17) FMU holders. Eleven of these FMUS are active, with
some already received approval of Forest Management Plan (FMP). Three FMP are under preparation.
Only one is inactive and 100,000 ha are the most viable size for forest investment."
"The current policy is the outcome of the Cabinet Committee on Forestry
(chaired by Datuk Pandikar Amin Hj Mulia) formed in 1994.
"The Policy was approved when Datuk Sri Panglima Salleh Tun Said was Chief
Minister and implemented during the term of Datuk Yong Teck Lee and Tan
Sri Bernard G. Dompok.
"The Policy took into consideration the Yayasan Sabah (one million
hectares), and the Sabah Forest Industries concessions and the KTS
(Sarawak) FMU approved during the PBS-era," Yong said in a statement
Yong was commenting on statement by Datuk Chong Kah Kiat two days ago.
"After terminating several lop-sided agreements involving local government
authorities, the Sabah government has now turned its attention to unfavourable agreements between
the State government and private organisations under the Forest Management
Unit (FMU) programme," Chong was quoted by Bernama as saying.
Yesterday, Yong said: "The 10 Sustainable Forest Management Licenses
Agreements (SFMLAs) (including Yayasan Sabah) of 1997 are in compliance
with International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) principles. They
are very much in favour of the State Government, even to the extent that
the Federal Primary Industries Minister (Dato' Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yeik) had
complained that the SFMLAs are not commercially viable for the companies.
"If any of the licenses is in breach of the agreements, then there can be
a termination of the agreements, forfeiture of the RM5 million bond and the whole FMU reverts
to the State Government. In other words, the State Government is well
"In fact, the SFMLAs had replaced several of the Special Licences to
extract timber issued in the 1980s to private companies without sustainable forest management
practices. If not for the SFMLAs, these privileged companies would have
been allowed to simply take out all the logs ever since the 1980s until
2005 and 2011.
"I hope the proposed review of Sustainable Forest Management Licence
Agreements is not an excuse to dismantle the sustainable management
framework in order to bring back cluster-bombing log extraction licences
of past temptations.
"Without SFMs, the entire commercial forests become vulnerable to
clear-fell practices, as shown in the Benta Wawasan (Kalabakan) area in 2000 which the State Government
has not yet fully explained the environmental impact and policy framework.
"Since the Chief Minister has revealed that agricultural crops will be
allowed in forest reserves, the State Government has to be careful so that agricultural crops within
FMUs do not become "back door degazetting of forest reserves."
"And we hope that this review of FMUs is not a distraction from other
important issues of the economy, illegal immigrants and national unity."
Datuk Yong Teck Lee
of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas