Press Statement, 3rd March 2014, Kuala Lumpur – Transparency International-Malaysia (Ti-M)’s Forest Governance Integrity Project (FGIP) team has started to engage the indigenous community in this country to support forestry authorities in enhancing forest governance through greater vigilance over our forest.
This initiative relates to the FGIP’s Conference on 7th January, 2014 addressing issues pertaining to states’ land use policies that result in attrition of forest land due to competing claims for land.
Ti-M believes that Orang Asal, as one of the main-stakeholders, can play an important role as a watchdog not only to monitor and provide information but also to report encroachment and suspicious activities in forested areas to the relevant authorities and agencies. This would help complement the monitoring work of the state forestry agencies.
Ti-M recently leads two workshops on 23rd January and 26th February, 2014 with a group of 27 Orang Asal representatives from Kelantan, Kedah, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor. It is noteworthy that all 27 delegates also signed up as Voluntary Forest Monitoring members of the Forest Watch Initiative set up by Ti-M. To facilitate the gathering of information, these Monitoring Units will be established by Jaringan Kampung-Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM). Currently JKOASM have identified monitoring representatives in Kelantan, Pahang, Perak and Negeri Sembilan. At these workshops, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was roped in to provide guidelines on how best to report suspicious forestry related activities. Later this year, the FGIP team intends to hold similar workshops with the Orang Asal communities in Sabah and Sarawak, with the same objective of setting up Monitoring Units in these two states.
The JKOASM Monitoring Units, comprising indigenous people and other volunteers, will work closely with Ti-M in collaboration with the forestry agencies in the states as well as the MACC to monitor forested areas and help identify forest encroachments and potential problems. These Monitoring Units will also be assisted by Ti-M’s forestry experts, who will liaise with both the authorities and members of the indigenous communities.
Ti-M is providing the necessary platform to involve the indigenous Community to serve as watchdogs on illegal forest encroachment. We aim to help build in the capacity of the indigenous people to actively play their part in minimising illegal forest activities and in the process protect their livelihood.
Issued by :
Dato’ Akhbar Satar, President Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transparency International Malaysia Mobile: 017-256 0811