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Foreigner fined RM150,000 for developing govt forest reserve land

16th May, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Building a house, planting crops and cutting trees in a government forest reserve have resulted in a 52-year-old foreigner having to pay a fine of RM150,000.

Sahibil Basar Osman pleaded guilty before Sessions Court Judge Ainul Shahrin Mohamad to committing the offences here at the First Class forest reserve of Pulau Banggi and Pulau Balambangan, Kudat at 11.40am on May 4.

On the first count he was fined RM50,000 in default 12 months’ jail and a year’s jail for building a house in the area. The offence framed under Section 20(1)(b)(i) of the Forest Enactment 1968 which carries a fine of up to RM500,000 and a jail term of between a year and 20 year on conviction.

For the second count, Sahibil was slapped with a similar fine and jail term for cropping at the same area, which is an offence under Section 20(1)(b)(iii) of the same enactment. The indictment provides for a fine of up to RM50,000 and or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.

Sahibil received another RM50,000 fine in default 12 months’ jail and three years’ jail for felling four trees in the area.

The offence is framed under Section 23(2) of the Forest Enactment 1968 that carries fine of up to RM500,000 and a jail term of between a year and 20 years framed on conviction.

All the sentences are to run consecutively and he will be deported.

According to the prosecuting officer from the Forestry Department Pius Primus, a team from the Monitoring Control, Evaluation & Enforcement for Kudat conducted a check in the vicinity of Kampung Talotoh Pulau Banggi.

They found Sahibil who has no identification papers in a hut in the forest reserve, and had planted crops and even cut down four trees.

The unrepresented accused asked for a minimum sentence but the prosecution urged for a deterrent sentence to deter would-be offenders. – NEDM

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