Alarming new logging project exposed in Indigenous conservation zone

Malaysian Borneo’s last primary rainforests under threat despite international conservation promises 

A new logging operation in Sarawak’s Upper Baram region poses an immediate threat to the Malaysian state’s last primary rainforests in the Heart of Borneo. Community sources say operators linked to Malaysian tycoon Hii King Chiong (“Hii”) have started logging some of Sarawak’s last primary forest in the vicinity of the remote Penan village Ba Data Bila. It is feared that this will have a severe impact on the biodiversity in the region. It is also unclear how this project could be operating without the required certification.  

A new logging camp indicates significant operations are scheduled to take place

Hii, who is linked Sarawak’s late former governor Abdul Taib Mahmud, seems to have secured logging rights over a large swath of forest for his company, Borneoland Timber Resources Sdn Bhd. The logging concession is inside the Upper Baram Forest Area, colloquially known as the Baram Peace Park. This is a community-led conservation zone, supported by Malaysia and funded by the International Tropical Timber Organization and nonprofits.  

Penan communities fear the logging activities could devastate the rich biodiversity near Gunung Murud Kecil, a major landmark in the region. “All 18 Upper Baram Penan communities are opposed to this logging operation”, said Penan leader Komeok Joe. “We request that Sarawak Premier Abang Johari will stop this encroachment into our forest.” 

“It is disturbing that Malaysia allows the logging of one of Sarawak’s last primeval forest areas inside an internationally funded conservation area. We call on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to clarify the situation with the Sarawak authorities”, said Lukas Straumann, director of the Bruno Manser Fonds.