KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will lift the log export ban that was enforced in May 2018 by the then Warisan Plus state government.

Chief Conservator of Sabah Forest Datuk Frederick Kugan, in confirming that the ban would be lifted with effect from Jan 3, said it would be replaced with restricted log export from natural forests.

“This is capped at 20% of the annual log production based on the annual work plans and is only applicable to long-term Sustainable Forest Management licence holders and production areas with government link interest,” he said when contacted.

However, Kugan assured the downstream industry of 80% supply from natural forests.

“While there is no cap on planted timbers, preference must first be given to the domestic industry,” he added.

He said the supply would be monitored by a coordination committee involving representatives from the upstream and downstream players, including relevant government agencies.

The former Warisan administration implemented the log export ban to ensure adequate supply to the local downstream timber industry, which at that time was complaining about a log shortage.

Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), which took over the state government in September last year, maintained the ban though Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had said they would review it.

Many of the timber downstream companies had to either scale down or shut down due to the inadequate supply of logs.

The GRS state government had allowed for the lifting of the export ban and a circular “Limited Log Export Programme” was sent out to relevant departments.