KUCHING, Feb 9 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg revealed today he had threatened to withdraw licenses of timber companies if they did not agree with the state government’s decision to raise timber premium from 80 sen to RM50 per cubic metre.
He said he had asked owners of timber companies to pay more and they had agreed.
“I told them if they didn’t agree, then their licenses would be withdrawn because we know the market prices of logs,” Abang Johari said at the joint opening of the Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) Youth and Women movements’ 14th Triennial Delegates Convention at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.
This is the first time the chief minister, who is also PBB president. revealed the warning he issued to timber companies to pay more in timber premium, effective July 1, 2018.
He said the money collected from timber companies will be channelled to Yayasan Sarawak (YS), among others, to provide more scholarships for students furthering their tertiary education.
He said state government is expected to collect RM300 million annually from the increase in timber premium payment.
The last review of the timber premium, chargeable on all species of logs harvested from hill forests, was made in 1986.
He said as chairman of YS, he wants more students to pursue their studies at a higher level as he believed that the state’s future lies in educating the younger generation.
“We consider education as among our priorities and that is why we need to strengthen our education system,” he said.