Samling Group refutes claims that Sarawak communities were not given enough info prior to logging

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The communities say the forests are not only key to their food supply but is their main cultural and economic backbone. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
The communities say the forests are not only key to their food supply but is their main cultural and economic backbone. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — A company that manages two logging concessions in Sarawak has denied the allegations of the local Dayak communities and non-governmental organisations that it has been less than transparent about its certification.

Samling Group said that it had not received any “formal request” to share its Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) reports, and that normally the consultants responsible for these assessments are the ones who communicate the findings to the communities.

“Thus, to allege that Samling has refused to release these reports is totally untrue, and to say they were not made available to the communities is also incorrect,” it said in a statement today.

Samling added that its two concessions, or forest management units (FMUs) as it is called in the industry, known as Gerenai and Ravenscourt in Miri and Limbang respectively, had complied with requirements and guidelines from the Malaysian Timber Certification Council.

It said it also passed inspections from international non-profit organisation Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and certifying body Sirim QAS International Sdn Bhd.

It said the allegations tarnished and questioned the reputations of these bodies.

Samling said it has embarked on “numerous community projects” aimed at uplifting the economy and the education of rural communities, such as the providing of 20,000 food packs and a bursary scheme for students for 58 schools across Sarawak.

On May 20, 36 Dayak communities in Ulu Baram and Ulu Limbang filed an official complaint with the Malaysian Timber Certification Council that certification given to the two FMUs was granted without their “free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)” and without them having full access to the key documents about logging operations on their lands.

The communities say the forests are not only key to their food supply but is their main cultural and economic backbone.

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