KUCHING, Feb 16 ― Short-term licences for timber extraction on state, native customary rights (NCR) and native communal reserve land will now be approved using open tenders, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg said today.
He said the measure is effective immediately and introduced to ensure transparency in the issuance of the permits.
"The licenses, which can be for a duration of one year depending on the size of the forest area, will only be issued after a committee has approved the successful bidders after vetting every application," he told reporters after chairing the state Cabinet meeting.
He said the state Forestry director will only issue the licences after this step.
Previously, the director could issue short term timber licences for extracting timber from a forest area of less than 1,000 hectares without referring to the minister concerned.
Abang Johari, who is also the state's minister of resource planning and environment, said the Forestry Department will prepare the tender documents that will include, among others, the land status, locality, land size, estimate stands and accessibility.
"It will also make an estimate of timber stands that will be valued based on land size and quality of existing stands in order to determine the reserve price for a particular tender," he said, adding that all tenders will be advertised in the local newspapers and website of the Forest Department.
He said the closing of the tenders will be 30 days after the date of publication.