ARI reads the MACC Report 2010 with much interest. Listed below is an Excerpt of a BERNAMA news published on 28th April 2011.
KUALA LUMPUR: It is estimated that the country lost RM754 million in revenue due to rampant sand theft and illegal logging throughout last year. According to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Annual Report 2010, the government lost an estimated RM745 million in royalty due to sand theft and RM8.95 million from illegal logging.
With an estimated 3,000 lorries used to transport illegally-mined sand over the one-year period, the losses could amount to RM600 million, and another RM145 million lost to smuggling of sand to a neighbouring country, according to the report. It said that throughout 2010, MACC received 410 tip-offs on corruption and power abuse related to illegal sand mining.
Forty-five investigation papers were opened, resulting in 43 arrests made, with 22 of the individuals involved charged in court for corruption offences and other wrong-doings related to sand mining. The report said the bribes amounted to RM321,528, with RM88,000 being the highest amount received by an offender uncovered during last year's 'Ops Pasir' (Operation Sand). Six people were also arrested for bribery involving sex.
The MACC revealed in the report that besides offering bribes to enforcement officers, the culprits also issued threats. "The illegal sand mining locations were fenced up and guarded by tontos, with some of the armed with guns. "They not only interfered with enforcement work but also dared to threaten and point their pistols at the enforcement officers," the report said.
With regard to illegal logging, it said the losses were based on the estimated value of the illegally-felled logs seized during 'Ops Balak' (Operation Timber) last year. Throughout last year, 10 investigation papers were opened from 46 tip-offs received on corrupt practices related to illegal logging. Some of the operations against illegal logging were carried out in Johor, Perak and Pahang including along the Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands Road, and in Kedah and Hulu Selangor.
In an enforcement operation at the Bintang Hijau Forest Reserve in Lenggong, Perak, the MACC found 800 logs worth RM250,00O and which were from illegally-felled trees. In another operation at the Tersang Forest Reserve in Raub, Pahang, it was discovered that the stolen logs were sold to buyers at RM2,500 each.
In an operation in Kedah, the MACC arrested the South Kedah District Forestry director, an officer and two forest rangers for asking for bribes from a timber businessman. The report said illegal logging not only caused heavy revenue loss but could also destroy the habitats and their eco-systems, besides threatening the lot of the Orang Asli who depended on jungle produce for a living.