Hard to beat tech-savvy team, illegal loggers

By FMT Staff

MIRI: “Naughty” illegal loggers and their tech-savvy “collaborators” are constantly outwitting Sarawak’s enforcement agencies, Deputy Chief Minister George Tan said.

He said these collaborators used state-of-the-art telecommunication technology to escape the government’s clutches.

“We have good land reserves and we have very good principles… but it is hard to catch these naughty people who are cutting down trees and clearing the land every now and then.

“Even with a helicopter, they somehow warn their people (on the ground) that we are coming,” Chan said at the closing of a workshop on “Best Management Practices” for Sungai Miri River Basin Stakeholder Project here recently.

He said knowing this, the enforcement bodies should keep abreast of technological advancements and be serious about implementing policies that involved all sectors.

“As we progress and improve, we need more enforcers to implement our policies. This is something we have to work hard on…,” he said.

He added that while the government was committed to minimising environmental degradation caused by human activities and development, “it was hard to bring the culprits to justice”.

“We know what is happening… we know these illegal activities may have contributed to the degradation of the environment such as erosion in some rivers in the state, such as the Rajang and Baram Rivers… but it is hard to catch the culprits,” Chan said who was referring to the massive ecological disaster in Sarawak in early October.