Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No timber concession to Pemaju Holdings: Forest Dept

Sabah Virgin Forest (example)

State Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan has firmly denied rumours that the State Government is preparing to give timber concession land to Permaju Holdings Sdn Bhd as reported in the Business Times on Monday.

He said that all the virgin forests in Sabah are protected areas and stressed the false report regarding the timber concession could bring great harm to Sabah's and Malaysia's conservation efforts. Mannan was commenting on the report claiming that Permaju Holdings Sdn Bhd, controlled by Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong, was close to securing some 80,937 hectares of timber concession land in Sabah and Sarawak. The report additionally noted that Yayasan Sabah has awarded the firm with bulk of the land near Keningau. Business Times highlighted that an announcement on the matter will be made by as early as this month. The potential concession is said would make Permaju the single largest land concession owner in the "Land Below the Wind". It said Permaju, at its peak, had some 129ha of state-given land concession in Sabah with some of the land has now been converted for development projects, while the rest has been surrendered to the state. According to the contract, Permaju was supposed to help clear the land, said to be a virgin jungle area, and then plant oil palm. The virgin jungle is said filled with valuable timber, and proceeds from timber will go directly to Permaju. The report also said any proceeds from the planned oil palm estate will be shared with Yayasan Sabah, where the gross proceeds from the timber is easily more than RM1 billion. However, Mannan has denied the report by adding that the whole story was a figment of someone's wild imagination.


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