The state government of Sabah is considering overturning the existing ban on the export of logs from the state. This ban was imposed during former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s tenure in the position.
The Sabah Government’s Current Stance
In a speech made during a state assembly sitting yesterday, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Abidin Madingkir said that the state government would conduct an analysis on the feasibility of the ban. A decision would then be made on whether to retain or reverse the ban. The current Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government has not yet made a final decision on the matter and is not expected to do so for some time.
“The government will assess from all angles whether it will continue with the ban or lift the ban on the export of logs,” Abidin said during his speech. “We will take into consideration the short, medium, and long-term effects and needs.”
Abidin, who serves as a STAR assemblyman for Paginatan, made his speech in response to Darau assemblyman Azhar Matussin’s remarks. Azhar, a representative of Warisan, had previously urged the state government to maintain the ban. Azhar said that by doing so, key industries in the state would be protected. In this way, Sabah’s economy would go on to thrive.
Why the Ban Was Imposed
The former Warisan-led Sabah government banned log exports from the state in May 2018. The ban which Shafie introduced had been a widely-debated and controversial decision at the time. This ban was accompanied by a review of logging concessionaires across the state. The primary reason for the ban on log exports was that of regulation of Sabah’s timber industry practices.
Supporters of the ban said that it would do much to put an end to government crony contracts in the timber industry. On the other hand, those who opposed the ban claimed that it would have severely harmful effects on the industry. This damage caused to the industry would in turn have major negative effects on Sabah’s economy as a whole.
Shafie’s primary reasons for imposing the ban were twofold. One was that of improving the condition of the state’s logging downstream industries. The second was to promote the furniture-making industry in the state.
On an unrelated matter, Abidin also mentioned that the state government is considering upgrading the status of the town of Kinarut to that of a sub-district. It might also upgrade Tungku’s status from that of a sub-district to one of a district.
“The state government welcomes the suggestion from Kawang assemblyman (Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan Bahadar) on upgrading Kinarut’s status into a sub-district. Tungku assemblyman (Assafal Alian) has pushed for Tungku to become a full district. The application will be considered by the state government,” he said. Abidin added that the state government would conduct further discussions on this matter at some point in 2021.
23rd December 2020 06:53
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