Revision of Sarawak EIA Logging standards

By:

Zarris

Affiliations:

CSO Platform for Reform - Environmental Sector

Policy Code:

3j Environment

Problem Statement:

Sarawak has the highest primary forest loss in Malaysia, with data from 2002 to 2020 showing Sarawak had lost 1.60Mha (Mha: Million Hectare) of humid primary forest, the highest compared to other states. (globalforestwatch.org, 2021)

The Current EIA Standards following the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance (Cap. 84 - Laws Of Sarawak, 1958 Ed.) only require an EIA for logging activities if the “ Extraction or felling of timber from any area exceeding 500 hectares which have previously been logged or in respect of which coupes have previously been declared to have been closed by the Director of Forests under the provisions of the Forest Ordinance (Cap. 126 (1958 Ed.)).”

Therefore, no EIA is required for the logging of virgin/primary forest which has never been processed for extraction of felling of timber. This leaves Primary Rainforest exposed to unethical and destructive logging methods without regulation.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

EIA logging standards should be in line with international standards. Especially for rainforests which are biologically sensitive and rich areas.

Proposal of Solution:

Federal Government should legislate national laws to regularise the implementations at the state jurisdictions.

The Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance (Cap. 84 - Laws of Sarawak, 1958 Ed.) was last revised in 2004. The ordinance should be amended with a focus on strict and clear EIA logging requirements for Primary and Secondary forests of a reasonable size. In addition, there should be more emphasis on conservation and careful management requirements of its forest resources.
A solution would be for Malaysia to revise its EIA procedures and requirements to follow international standards of logging and forest management. This should be enacted in all states in Malaysia to promote uniform standards of logging and enforcing sustainable practices & better management of the rich rainforest that covers our land.

The Malaysian government must enlist the help of national, regional, and international CSOs to co-develop the revised EIA as a committee, to improve the EIA standards covering ALL states in Malaysia. This committee must investigate solutions to mitigate loopholes and grey areas to avoid issues such as dividing large areas into smaller concessions to not require an EIA, and other weaknesses of the current regulations.

Additional Information:

- Sarawak, Malaysia Deforestation Rates & Statistics | GFW (globalforestwatch.org)
- ceaa0b40b089ad8e671c2e79890a6f03.pdf (apn-gcr.org)
- The Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance (Cap. 84 - Laws Of Sarawak, 1958 Ed.)
- Monitoring deforestation in Sarawak, Malaysia, using multitemporal Landsat data, 2011. Satoshi Tsuyuki (University of Tokyo)

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