‘Datuk Seri’ held over illegal logging

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PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu Forestry Department has arrested a “Datuk Seri” and two other men for conducting illegal logging in a forest reserve, New Straits Times reported today.

The report said the 52-year-old businessman from Kemaman, and the two other men in their 40s, were in the Cerul forest reserve and an adjacent Orang Asli reserve, when they were stopped by the department’s officers.

The trio produced a letter, stamped and signed by a high ranking officer in the Orang Asli Affairs Department, purportedly allowing them to log in the area, but failed to produce logging and extraction permits issued by the department.

Terengganu Forestry Department director Ahmad Fadzil Abdul Majid said when his officers arrived at the logging area on Tuesday afternoon, workers fled into the jungle, leaving an excavator and a lorry behind.

The officers seized 200 tonnes of logs of various species, worth RM1 million – the biggest seizure by the department this year.

The three suspects are out on bail and are expected to be charged under Section 15 of the National Forestry Act, which carries a mandatory fine of RM500,000, one to 20 years in jail, or both, upon conviction.