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There are two main aspects that
must be considered before the Forestry Department or Water, Land and Natural
Resources Ministry decide to issue new forest guidelines, deemed a sensitive
issue with all the states in peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

Each state would have its own
‘plans’ for its forested lands. How it is to be developed to benefit the state
and sometimes decisions are made at the expense of exploiting the forests. The
respective chief ministers have jurisdiction on the issuance of licenses, which
most often than not is subject to abuse.

We refer to your report on June 8, 2019, “Let proper experts run Sabah Forest Industries, says ex-banker”.

We beg to differ from John’s Lo comments on Sabah Forest Industries (SFI) because the perception that is created serves to favour the state’s viewpoints and not the changing business landscape and facts of law.

It must be made clear that the “two” points central to the case, as raised by John Lo (state’s insistence to have pulp and paper expertise as a prerequisite and decision to reject the issuance of the licence) were a mere after-thought by the government to disrupt the sale and purchase between Pelangi Prestasi and Ballarpur Industries.

We all
know that mining can be detrimental to the ecological system. Apart the
physical degradation in terms of extensive erosion and causing sinkholes,
mining can also result in the loss of biodiversity, contamination of soil,
groundwater and water tables, ultimately impacting surface waters. This could
create public health concerns.

However,
it must be noted that every industry that affects
the environment and ecological systems can be managed and controlled with
proper legislation and enforcement. The same goes for the mining industry, that
is with stringent conservation and preservation protocols and practices, the
industry could be considered on a lesser scale.