KUAlA LUMPUR, July 18 – All state governments will be required to hold a public inquiry before they remove any area of a forest reserve in their state.
This was among some of the regulations that came with the amendments to the National Forestry Act, which was passed at the Parliament today following the second reading of the bill by Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.
Section 11 and Section 12 were the new provisions in the Act that requires state to hold a public inquiry before removing any area from a forest reserve or replacing it.
Other amendments to the Act, said to be aimed at protecting the country’s forest reserves, included heavier penalties for offences in the forest reserves.
These included jail sentences of between five and 20 years and fines between RM100,000 and RM5 million for those convicted of offences involving primary forest produce more than five square metres.
Those convicted for illegal logging will get a minimum jail sentence of between five and 20 years and fines of up to RM1million.
Those who alter forest boundaries for illegal logging purposes could also see a jail sentence of five to 20 years and a fine of RM1 million.
Penalties have also increased for those starting fires in forest reserves or leaving a forest area with fires burning that endanger the area, may see a maximum RM100,000 fine and seven years in jail.