By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KUALA LUMPUR: One million trees will be planted in the Permanent Forest of Lower Kawag in Lahad Datu, which is part of Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve, as the first site for a massive reforestation programme.
Major oil-palm industry players will fund the planting of the forest trees in the east coast of Sabah over a period of 10 years, Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok announced Tuesday.
She said her ministry and the Sabah Forestry Department have identified 2,500 hectares of degraded forest in Lower Kawag for the planting of the trees as one of the programmes under the “Love MY Palm Oil” campaign.
This campaign also involves forest rehabilitation activities, among other considerations.
Kok and Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew witnessed the agreement signing ceremony between the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and SFD on One Million Forest Trees Planting in the Permanent Forest of Lower Kawag in Lahad Datu, Sabah, here earlier.
MPOC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dr Kalyana Sundram represented the Council while the Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini signed the document for the Sabah Government of at the Media Room of Parliament House.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Liew, who represented the Sabah Government, said:
“I thank the parties concerned, particularly the Minister of Primary Industries, Teresa Kok and her Ministry as well as the Sabah Forestry Department, for their initiative in getting the major oil-palm industry players to fund this programme.
“We are grateful that the Federal Government is assisting Sabah in its reforestation and wildlife conservation and rescue programmes.
Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, was delighted that the concerted effort in this first stage reforestation project in a forest reserve in Lahad Datu entails providing a crucial wildlife reserve and also creating a wildlife food corridor (between the adjacent forests).
Such move, she said, will give more mobility space and protect our endangered species such as the Borneo Pygmy Elephant and the Orang-Utan from poaching and extinction.
Liew described the restoration of Sabah’s degraded primary forest land in Lahad Datu as truly a significant effort to save our environment and make sure our wildlife animals that are dependent on forests for survival are not being driven away from their natural habitats.
“I also take this opportunity to express the State’s gratitude to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) for its donation of RM1.5 million to the Sabah Wildlife Department in April this year for a new population survey on the Borneo Pygmy Elephant and Orang-Utan,” Liew added.
According to Kok, MPOC under her Ministry has been tasked to spearhead this replanting exercise in collaboration with SFD.
She said funding will be outsourced from the Malaysian oil-palm industry and any other suitable funder through MPOC as part of the industry’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
“Given the significant role of the oil-palm industry in Malaysia, the campaign aims to instil national pride and greater appreciation for Malaysian palm oil, focusing on its importance in socio-economic development, health and nutrition as well as food and non-food applications,” she explain