Sabah’s Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Sam Mannan, has issued a fresh warning against stealing agarwood, saying his department will not hesitate to take stern action against the culprits.
He said the department views the matter seriously and will charge offenders in court.
“We will ensure they are heavily punished because agarwood is an endangered species and risks becoming extinct if not controlled.
“Our children and grandchildren may not even know that agarwood is part of our forest heritage that has a very high value. So, we have to prevent anyone from stealing it,” he said in a statement.
Sam said this in relation to a case in early November involving an Indonesian national who was caught having in his possession 16kg of agarwood.
Identified as 38-year-old Permadi Marno, the offender was held following a raid by a team of enforcers with support from the K9 Unit (dog unit) in an unnumbered house at Kg Bulot, Tongod.
Their investigation showed the agarwood had been collected from a forest in Pinangah and Tangkulap.
He was later charged in the Sessions Court and sentenced to nine months’ jail on Nov 14.
Also in November, the department seized 82kg of agarwood and detained a suspect during a raid in a house at Jalan Dominic in Tawau.
Using two sniffer dogs, the team recovered pieces of the endangered tree kept hidden in the kitchen area of the house, including inside the suspect’s bedroom.