PETALING JAYA: Two environmental civil society organisations have welcomed a forestry council’s move to investigate Miri-based timber company Samling Plywood for alleged illegal logging and violations of forestry policies.
The Borneo Project and Bruno Manser Fonds said a coalition of civil society organisations had lodged a complaint against Samling to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) last October regarding alleged illegal logging activities and forest destruction.
Yesterday, FSC said it accepted the complaint and will investigate the allegations.
In a joint statement today, the two organisations said FSC’s acceptance of the complaint “marks a breakthrough for the communities’ struggle for justice”.
They said the indigenous communities had been using official channels to raise their concerns about logging activities but action had yet to be taken.
Samling and a group of civil society organisations have been at loggerheads recently.
A coalition of 167 civil society organisations had previously urged the company to withdraw its lawsuit against an NGO, SAVE Rivers, and its board for defamation. The case is scheduled to be heard in Miri on May 15.
Samling responded by saying that it was disappointing the organisations had sought to stifle its rights to seek appropriate legal remedy “without understanding the context”.
The company is suing SAVE Rivers for alleged defamatory statements with regards to consultations of local communities under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme. It is seeking an apology, an injunction to stop the NGO from reporting community claims, and RM5 million in damages.