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Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources proposes amendment to National Forestry Act

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Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin chairs the National Land Council meeting at Perdana Putra in Putrajaya September 8, 2020. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin chairs the National Land Council meeting at Perdana Putra in Putrajaya September 8, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — The National Forestry Act (1984) (Act 313) needs to be amended, among others, to tighten the process of de-gazetting and replacing permanent forest reserves, said the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.

It said in a statement today that it was also to strengthen forest enforcement and to raise the rate of fines as well as penalties related to forest and environmental damage.

The ministry announced that the implementation of the amendment to the Act was agreed upon at the National Land Council (NLC) meeting today.

“However, the ministry will continue to consult with the state governments and stakeholders before the amendment is finalised,” the statement added.

It said that the 77th meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the first time and was also attended by Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, relevant federal government ministers as well as the Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers.

The statement said the NLC was also told that Malaysia’s forest cover was currently at 18.27 million hectares or 55.31 per cent of the country’s total land area, which is in line with its commitment to the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992.

“Malaysia’s forest management practices are based on the National Forestry Policy 1978 (Amendment 1992) and State Forestry Policy, and under the Sustainable Forest Management (PHSB), the Annual Felling Rationing (CTT) will be fixed at every five-year Malaysia Plan to control the opening of forest areas for harvesting.

“The NLC this time has agreed that the CTT are for the Peninsula be set at 188,550 hectares or 37,710 hectares per year, Sabah at 250,000 hectares or 50,000 hectares per year and Sarawak at 725,000 hectares or 145,000 hectares per year,” the statement said.

The ministry said the CTT was set to balance the rate of logging with the capacity and area of production in the permanent forest reserves or state forest reserves.

The statement also added that for the period of the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), all state governments complied with the stipulated CTT, with a reduction in production by 16.8 per cent compared to the total CTT set.

“At the same time, the NLC also agreed with the proposed development and implementation of the REDD Plus Finance Framework (RFF) as well as the establishment of a special entity called the Malaysia Forest Fund (MFF).

“The REDD Plus financial initiative was drawn up by the Federal government to obtain funding from the private sector to be channelled to state governments to fund activities to maintain, preserve, protect and manage forest resources on a permanent basis,” the statement said.

It added that the 77th NLC also agreed with the proposal to re-establish the National Mineral Council (NMC) to generate efforts to develop the mineral sector.

The NMC will be the main platform between the Federal and state governments in efforts to establish a strong mining industry, apart from monitoring the 2020-2030 National Mineral Industry Transformation Plan (TIM 2020-2030).

According to the ministry, seven working papers were tabled at the NLC meeting, which touched on several important policies relating to land, mineral and forestry. — Bernama

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