SANDAKAN: – The Sabah Forestry Department has completed its investigation into the case of encroachment into 0.53 hectare of riparian reserve land near Kampung Sukau, Kinabatangan.
Its director, Datuk Sam Mannan said the suspect involved would be brought to court soon.
He said the investigation papers had been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers in Kota Kinabalu.
“The deputy public prosecutor has consented to take the case to court,” he said in a press statement on the department’s website today.
He said the department discovered the intrusion and felling of trees on the riparian reserve land in July last year in an operation with the Land and Survey Department and the Department of Environment.
He said the operation was conducted following reports in a local daily which claimed that illegal felling of trees and clearing of land was taking place in the area.
According to him, in the operation, the department found that 0.53 hectare of the riparian reserve land had been cleared.
Sam said the case was investigated under Section 23(2) of the Forestry Enactment 1968, which provides for a fine of up to RM500,000 and a jail term of not less than one year and not exceeding 20 years.
He said the area which was illegally cleared was a popular tourist destination in the state.
As a result, the department set up a Corridor of Life (K-Col) Riparian Patrol Unit in October last year to check illegal encroachment of the reserve land along Sungai Kinabatangan from Kampung Abai to Kampung Batu Putih.