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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Malaysia to ban import of Indonesian logs, but illegal logging continues

Malaysia to ban import of Indonesian logs, but illegal logging continues

Date : 6th July 2002, Source : Newsgroup


Here's the latest update on efforts to curb the rapid depletion of Indonesia's old growth forests. Look for this issue to heat up over the next several years, because Indonesia's rainforests are extremely endangered and a number of U.S. companies import and sell Indonesian rainforest wood.

Now, Malaysia is announcing that it will no longer import Indonesian logs. Indonesia had already banned log exports for the past year, but Malaysian companies continued to import them illegally anyway. Malaysia's new ban is only a small improvement because there is still no enforcement mechanism. Until the ships carrying logs are seized en route or in the ports, Malaysia's policy will be meaningless.

Here's some points on the situation with Indonesia's rainforest:

- Malaysian imports aside, Indonesia's own manufacturing industries demand three times more natural resources than the forests can sustainably produce.

- Additionally, Indonesia's forests continue to be infested with Malaysian logging equipment and crews that are taking advantage of the Indonesia's chaotic political situation to extract as many logs as possible from the rainforests, either illegally or for a ridiculously small fee.

- It is estimated that up to 70 percent of wood used by these Indonesian timber companies comes from illegal sources and that the companies use false documents and fraud to hide the fact that their timber was illegally logged.

- The lowland rainforests of Indonesia are likely to go extinct in this decade, taking hundreds of thousands of species down with them, including the last wild orangutans.

- Indonesia's forests need a real logging ban, not a log export ban. Last month Indonesian President Megawati joined over 144 Indonesian NGO's calling for an all out logging moratorium as long as the rampant illegal logging continues unabated.

RAN is urging U.S. companies like Boise Cascade to support President Megawati to and stop buying Indonesian wood and paper products until Indonesia has worked out its problems under a logging moratorium. For more information, visit and

For the forests,



Jennifer Krill
Old Growth Campaigner
Rainforest Action Network
415/398-4404 x. 328

-----Original Message-----
From: Cynthia Josayma
Sent: Friday, June 28, 2002 10:53 AM
Subject: ForestPacRim: Malaysia ban import of Indonesian logs

A Message from the Pacific Rim Forest and Trade List

New Straits Times >> Frontpage
Blue Column: Total ban on Indon logs imposed

By Dalila Abu Bakar
26 June 2002

June 26: MALAYSIA has imposed a total ban on Indonesian logs with immediate effect in line with the republic's decision last October to cease the exports, says Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik.

All logs from Indonesia entering Malaysia will be confiscated by the relevant authorities, he said, but they will continue to be imported from elsewhere, including Africa, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

The ban will be in force indefinitely, until the Indonesian Government decides to lift the export ban, the minister said.

" ...until then, we can work out something. We have to be assured that the logs come from sustainably managed forests," Dr Lim said.

This is to ensure that Malaysian timber products do not run foul of green regulations in the major markets, he explained.

"I talked to Indonesia's Forestry Minister in September. He said Indonesia would ban the export of logs to Malaysia for six months.

"I told him to make the ban permanent," he said after officiating at an international workshop on "Growth and Yield of Managed Tropical Forests" in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Malaysia produces 15 million cu metres of timber annually from its sustainably managed forests and buys only about one million cu m of logs from Indonesia.

"I do not want that just one million cu m to spoil 15 million cu m of our products that go into the international market. It also makes sense to ban Indonesian logs because illegal logging is very rampant in Indonesia at the moment," Dr Lim said.

The decision will also help erase negative perceptions against Malaysia's timber industry.

Dr Lim said when he was in Europe for an official trip recently, he saw a British Broadcasting Corp clip which claimed that Malaysia was laundering illegal logs from Indonesia.

Malaysia's reputation has been tarnished by allegations of involvement in illegal timber trading and exporting timber products made from illegally procured timber, he added.

The Government views this seriously and the decision to ban Indonesian logs would assure buyers that all timber and timber products from Malaysia are from legal and sustainable sources, the minister said.

In addition, the implementation of the national timber cerification scheme under Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) can now proceed smoothly.

President of Timber Exporters Association of Malaysia, Lee Leh Yew, welcomed the move, saying that Indonesia had totally banned export of logs for a while now.

On the one hand, it will protect Malaysia's industry, and on the other illegal logging in Indonesia will be curbed, he pointed out.

The country's sawnmillers will not be affected much, as only a handful of them were buying logs from Indonesia.

"But some quarters might still want to maintain Indonesia as an alternative source of logs," Lee said.

A timber trader said the industry had expected the move as Indonesia has had problems curbing illegal logging.

"I think Indonesia requested for help from the neighbouring countries, and we have responded," he said.

Malaysian News : General
June 25 , 2002 13:53PM

Malaysia Bans Log Imports From Indonesia For Indefinite Period

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian government is imposing a total ban on the importation of logs from Indonesia for an indefinite period with immediate effect.

All logs from Indonesia entering Malaysia would be confiscated by the relevant authorities, Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said Tuesday.

The ban was in reaction to the move by the Indonesian government to ban the export of logs last October to combat the problem of illegal logging in that country, he said.

The ban did not involve the import of logs from other countries, such as Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, he told a news conference after launching the International Workshop On Growth And Yield Of Managed Tropical Forests, here.

Dr Lim said the ban would continue even after Indonesia lifted the ban on the export of logs, unless both Indonesia and Malaysia could come up with a plan to assure Malaysia that the logs or timber came from sustainably managed forest.

He noted that illegal logging in Indonesia was rampant now.

Malaysia produced 15 million cubic metres of logs annually and imported about one million cubic metres annually from Indonesia, he added.

"We don't want the one million cubic metres of logs from Indonesia to spoil the name of our 15 million cubic metres timber, which are certified to come from sustainably managed forest," he said.

He said the decision was taken in the interest of the country and to erase the negative perception of the Malaysian timber industry.

It was also to assure buyers that all timber and timber products exported from Malaysia were from legal and sustainable sources and to ensure that efforts to implement the national timber certification scheme under the Malaysian Timber Certification Council would not be jeopardised.

Recently, Malaysia's reputation was tarnished by allegations that the country was involved in trading in illegal timber from Indonesia, he said.

"We have been accused of importing illegal logs from Indonesia and selling the timber products produced from these illegal logs to consumers worldwide," he said.

He added that as far as the issue of illegal logging in Indonesia was concerned, Malaysia had always expressed the view that this was an internal problem and that Indonesia had to enforce its own laws and regulations.

Malaysia could not combat illegal logging in Indonesia since it would tantamount to infringing on the territorial rights of another sovereign country, he said, adding that illegal logging in Malaysia was not a problem. -- BERNAMA

Wednesday, 26 June 2002
New Straits Times >> NewsBreak
Review ban on Indon logs, say barter traders
By A. Hafiz Yatim (

June 26: The Primary Industry Ministry should review its immediate ban on the import of logs from Indonesia as such move will cause importers and barter tarders to suffer huge losses.

Speaking on behalf of the importers and barter traders, Mohd Said Yusof said today the Ministry should provide a time frame to those involved rather than enforcing an immediate ban beginning today.

He said most of the importers had already paid for the consignment of logs well in advanced, some as early as two months.

"Because of the ban, we cannot bring those logs into the country despite having paid for them. All we are asking from the Ministry is to provide us with ample time, say, about a month, to enable us to minimise our losses," he told a press conference today.

Mohd Said, who is also Purnama Mutiara (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd's managing director, alleged that the 10 permit holders in the State would lose about RM1 million due to the immediate ban.

He said there were 10 timber importers in Malacca who are operating from the newly completed barter trading ports in Sungai Rambai and Kuala Linggi.

"The importers in Malacca imported about 15,000 tonnes of timber from Indonesia, with about 80 per cent being the bintangor wood tree which are normally used for making furniture.

"With this immediate ban, the furniture industry in Malacca, especially those in Bukit Rambai, will be severely affected," he added.

Mohd Said said he had written and fax a letter to Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik today and was hoping for a positive reply.

In a similar reaction, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam urged the Ministry to check if the logs brought in by importers were illegal as alleged.

"The Malacca Government had spent millions to build the two ports at Kuala Linggi and Sungai Rambai for the barter trading operators and the facility will go to waste if the ban stays," he added.

The Primary Industry Ministry yesterday announced the ban on Indonesian logs with immediate effect in line with the republic's decision last October to cease exports.

Dr Lim said the ban was only for Indonesian logs. The import of logs from other countries, including Africa, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand stayed.

He said the ban would be in force immediately until the Indonesian Government decides to lifted the export ban.

Malaysian News : General
June 26 , 2002 21:53PM

Review Timber Import Ban From Indonesia, Federal Govt Told

MELAKA, June 26 (Bernama) -- The Melaka Government on Wednesday asked the Primary Industries Ministry to review the ban on timber imports from Indonesia as it may jeopardise the barter trade at two ports in the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the ban would also affect several timber merchants whose livelihood depended on the timber trade.

"I urge the ministry to give a grace period before enforcing the ban," he told reporters after chairing the weekly state executive council meeting at Seri Negeri here Wednesday.

He was asked to comment on Malaysia's move to enforce an immediate ban on timber imports from Indonesia for an indefinite period.

Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said the ban was a retaliation against the Indonesian Government's move to stop timber exports effective October 2001 to check illegal logging in the republic. -- BERNAMA

Document last updated on Wednesday 01 August 2018

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