Sarawak’s timber policy is in need of a review, Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said today, claiming that “certain people” who became very rich from it over the years from are now unfriendly to the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
“If it is true that people in the timber industry are not being nice to us in this coming state election, then we appeal to the chief minister, in the interest of and for the people, to relook and revamp the current timber industry policy,” he said at the PBB mini-convention for the central zone of Sarawak here…
He said there is no doubt that the state has benefitted from the timber industry through the imposition of taxes and royalty.
“But at the same time, the industry has made certain people very rich, and it is time for the state government to come out with a new policy, restructure the whole industry and do how things should be done for the overall benefits of the people,” he said.
With all this talk of ‘restructuring the timber industry’ the PBB secretary-general is clearly seeking to threaten those from the charmed circle of timber cronies who have started to stir up opposition to his GPS coalition – cronies who have benefitted from his party’s policies are expected to remain loyal.
Yet in the process, he has confirmed that Sarawak Report has been right all along in saying that the plunder of the rainforest has “made certain people very rich” and it is indeed time for policies designed for the “overall benefit of the people”.
He should know, since he is one of those very rich people who has inherited the benefits of major shares in vast concessions handed to companies such as Rajang Wood and Keresa Timber, which chopped down hundreds of thousands of hectares.
The Linggi family would deny that these privileges were granted in return for their key support of the Sarawak kleptocrat Taib Mahmud and the PBB party, of which Alexander Linggi is now himself Secretary General.
Of course, such disgraceful patronage ought to be got rid of and of course timber concessions should be openly tendered at the right price and maximum public advantage.
However, Linggi is plainly saying this merely as a pre-election talk to tar his rivals from PSB (funded by timber interests) and convince poor voters for the hundredth time that the GPS parties will do something for them …. finally.
The sad fact is there is no more timber to have a policy about. What is needed is a thorough review of all corruptly issued concessions and a reparation of the proceeds.
Next Sarawak must look forward to greener policies that can restore the forests and deliver for the people not the plunderers, who include his own super-rich family.
GPS have refused to take this path and people should vote them out.