For the longest of time, Sarawak was known to be reliant on timber for its major source of income, but that changed as the state is steadfast in keeping its forests vibrant and diverse, while seeking newer source of income. In fact Sarawak government has been successful in diversifying its revenue stream which has enabled the state economy to be less dependent on timber.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the last state budget showed that timber’s position as one of Sarawak’s major revenue had dropped by chalking about RM300 million, which was even far behind royalty payments for water which was about RM600 million.
“Now we have a new diversified stream of revenues. We are not relying on timber only. We can slow down the contribution of the timber industry to our economy, but at the same time, we must restore our forests by planting trees,” he added.
Timber concessionaires have built their fortune in deforesting the State for decades both with the governments blessing and sometime without, however Chief Minister Abang Johari had put stop to all illegal activities and encouraged ethical practices in his state. The state government had recently worked out a new policy and prepared a RM60 million fund for the Forests Department Sarawak to carry out a forest replanting exercise.
The act of planting is not confined to the government alone, local people are also allowed to plant trees with the seedlings can be obtained from the Forests (FDS) nurseries. Sarawak has managed to bring down the rate of illegal logging activities after the state adopted new data gathering technology and drone aerial surveillance. Technology has been useful in detecting illegal logging activities, enabling officers to respond faster.