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  Straits Times 11 Aug 07
Abdullah: No new logging licences to be granted

SANDAKAN (SABAH) - MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi pledged yesterday not to give out any more logging licences.

Datuk Seri Abdullah said at a World Forestry Day event here: 'I will turn down anyone who comes to me asking for logging licences. 'If I want to make them happy, I will tell them to ask Musa, knowing that he will say no too.'

He was referring to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman. The Prime Minister added that Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan was 'equally stubborn' about not granting logging licences indiscriminately.

Indeed, the Premier added, the government has taken steps under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to promote sustainable forest management such as making timber companies pass stringent certification procedures, increasing water catchment areas and turning forest produce into medicinal products.

On Thursday, the World Wildlife Fund said that about 40 per cent of Sabah's rainforest had been lost to logging and development projects that were also forcing natives from their ancestral lands.

The indigenous communities might cheer to hear, then, that Datuk Seri Abdullah was quoted as saying yesterday that 60 per cent of Malaysia's total land area, or about 19. 52 million ha, will remain forested as there were 'a lot of benefits from the tropical forests, like medicines and so forth'.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar yesterday called on Asean to fight global warming by concertedly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

He noted that Asean was the world's third greatest emitter of such gases after China and India.

On Tuesday, however, Mrs Emmy Hafild, the South-east Asian executive director of global environmental group Greenpeace, told The Straits Times that Asean was actually now the world's second highest emitter of greenhouses gases, after the United States, due to deforestation activities.


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