Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this was to prevent the culprits from jumping bail or escape to another country. Pix by Rozainah Zakaria

KEMAMAN: Illegal loggers detained by the Forestry Department must be held in police lock-up until their cases are brought to court.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this was to prevent the culprits from jumping bail or escape to another country.

"The custodian laws on illegal loggers who may also be involved in poaching of flora and fauna need to be reviewed to include more deterrent measures.

"Three agencies, namely the Forestry Department, National Parks and Wildlife Department and Department of Environment will need to sit together to plug weaknesses in the present laws.

"This is to prevent culprits from running away from the law by crossing over to neighbouring countries," he said.

He said the weaknesses in the law had enabled bailable offenders, especially foreigners, to escape punishment.

Wan Junaidi also said that illegal loggers have become bolder of late and tend to use force to threaten enforcement officers.

He said in the past three months, officers from the department's enforcement unit have been shot at, threatened at knife point and also chased by such armed groups.

"This is a serious matter but we can only solve this by working together with the police and army," he said.

Wan Junaidi was speaking to reporters after launching the national-level World Forestry Day at Bakau Tinggi in Chukai today.

On another matter, he said Terengganu, known for its best forest management practice in the country, is planning to introduce log-fishing technique to reduce damages to the environment caused by logging activities.

"Sarawak has tried this technique successfully. It is a bit costly as the equipment cost about RM1 million each," he said.

Six of the logfishers were already operational at a logging concession in Petuang, Hulu Terengganu.

Wan Junaidi today took a 45-minute helicopter ride to witness first hand how the logfishers work at the concession area.

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