Putrajaya buys surveillance aircraft to map Sarawak forests, wildlife

Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

KUCHING: The land and natural resources ministry has purchased a surveillance aircraft for mapping and data collection in Sarawak.

Its minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the purchase of the hyperspectral aircraft was part of the federal government’s effort to protect forests and wildlife in the country.

He said his ministry had earlier received approval from the federal Cabinet.

The hyperspectral aircraft from Austria, costing RM35 million, is expected to arrive in Sarawak before the end of the year.

“It (aircraft) is for mapping the whole of Sarawak, especially in terms of forest, land use and wildlife, including underground.

“It’s good to have big data on Sarawak to be used for the betterment of the state,” he said after paying a courtesy call on Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg at his office here today.

During the meeting, Xavier said his ministry had also proposed to Abang Johari the compilation of the forestry policies of the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak into a single document.

“We are not amending any of the (forestry) policies because it’s a state matter but as a country, we just want all three of these separate policies to be compiled in a single document,” he said.

Xavier said the state government would revert to his ministry regarding the ministry’s proposal to compile all three policies.