Malaysian High-ranking Official Suspected of Illegal Logging

Malaysian High-ranking Official Suspected of Illegal Logging
Wednesday, 09 April, 2008 | 15:49 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Indonesian Police headquarters suspected a Malaysian high-ranking official as being involved in illegal logging in Indonesia. But the police cannot act further about it. “We cannot get into their judicial system,” said the head of Indonesian Police, General Sutanto.

The involvement of the Malaysian official is reported after the Indonesian Police headquarters revealed the illegal logging in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, last March. “There is a company named Hardwood Timber SDN BHD,” said Commissioner Bambang Kuncoko, Head of General Information for the Indonesian Police Public Relations.

According to the police, at least 30 boats carrying Indonesian logs to Malaysia and intercepted by the sister company of Serawak Timber Industry Development Corporation.

Head of Unit III for the environment, Directorate of Criminal Actions, Investigation and Criminal Division, commissioner Mardi Rukmianto, said that the wood company owned by the Malaysian official was used to change the log status from illegal in Indonesia into legal in Malaysia. “Illegal logging was stamped in Hardwood,” he said.

Hardwood distributed the logs to 12 wood industries in Kuching. “Then it exported this to various countries and also to Malaysia,” he said.

Only from this case, Indonesia will lose Rp 12.96 trillion every month. Hardwood has been often reported in the illegal logging investigation in Indonesia. In August 2000, two NGOs for the environmental issue, Yayasan Telapak and Environmental Investigation Agency, also reported the sister company of Serawak Timber Industry Development Corporation as illegal logging activity.

The economic consul at the Indonesian General Consulate in Kuching, Rafael Walangitan, said that he has met the Director of Serawak Timber, Datuk Len Talif Saleh, and head of the Malaysian Police, Musa Hasan,at the end of last year. “We want this illegal logging case to be investigated and accessed by the media ,” he said.

According to Rafael, it is obvious that the logs are illegal. “The stamp on the document was spelled wrong such as prodinsi while it is supposed to be provinsi,”

The Malaysian Ambassador for Indonesia, Datuk Zainal Abidin Zain, said that he does not know about the Hardwood company. “I haven't heard about it,” he said.

He is disappointed that his country has been mentioned as storage for illegal logging. “This case has to be finished here in Indonesia,” he said. Malaysia, he said, will not mind helping the investigation.

The Indonesian ambassador for Malaysia, Da'i Bachtiar, promised to discuss this issue with the Malaysian government.


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