Sarawak: Where did the billions in logging royalties go?


Sarawak should have earned RM19bn in logging royalties from an estimated one hundred million trees chopped down over the years, says an Aliran correspondent. So why are so many in the state still poor?

He adds: “To help visualise what 100000000 trees are, let us assume that all logging is carried out according to law and that the average tree has a diameter of 50cm. Then, one hundred million trees, side-by-side at the trunk, would come to 50000km. They would circle the earth at the equator and have 10000km left over!”

In his article for Aliran, Philip Khoo wrote:

By official statistics, Sarawak chopped down over 370 million cubic metres of logs between 1980 and 2006. Since up to 40 per cent of the tree goes to waste, this amounts to something like 620 million cubic metres of trees. That is a lot of trees: if we estimate a tree to average 6 cubic metres, that’s something like 100000000 trees* — one hundred million trees! — and that’s not counting all the trees that are damaged irreparably by logging activity.

Let’s be conservative and use the present royalty of RM50 per cubic metre to estimate that these 370 million cubic metres of logs would have resulted in about RM19bn in royalty over the years.

RM19bn in royalty — not counting all the other revenue that logging contributes to — and Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Rural Development Alfred Jabu Numpang says that rural Sarawak is still lacking in basic infrastructure? Whatever happened to the RM19bn? Did others just numpang on it, while the rural people saw the forests disappear before their very eyes?

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Nelson Joshua

I do agree, normally people say ” pain in the … ” but every time I went back to Kuching…its ” pain in the eyes ” Maybe i make the right move to go on self exile, thats what i call it and am happily settling down in KL to be exact Selangor (residence). Look at the Road Condition, what has the government done…. CMS as the main Con, what are the safety features????? NONE. Since I am in The Road Traffic Safety business, I have done much to some of the Roads in KL, especially in safety aspect. Just… Read more »


Despite decades of promises to improve the quality of Malaysian life, eradicating poverty regardless of race and promoting a noble culture and good values, among many others, Malaysians are seeing the country’s social and mental health slipping into critical territory. News headline can be shocking: a baby thrown out of an apartment window, abandoned babies left at garbage sites, Childline Malaysia receiving 3,243 calls from children about mental health problems or a eight-year-old school girl raped within the school compound. Are these just the “tip of the iceberg” of our social health under the BN government whose priority is mega… Read more »


This must happen:

(1) Motion for Sarawak State Assembly to decide whether Taib should take “leave of absence” until fully cleared of corruption allegations both in the country as well as internationally; and

(2): Motion to set up an opposition-headed committee of inquiry into Taib’s “grand corruption” allegations comprising equal number of Assembly representatives from both BN and Pakatan.


Idi Amin of Uganda fled to Saudi Arabia after people’s uprising.

Ben Ali of Tunisia fled to Saudi Arabia after the recent Jasmine Revolution.

Some collect coins, others collect stamps. Saudis collect deposed corrupt dictators.

Heard that Taib visited Saudi Arabia recently…


According to the Petronas charter, our oil wealth is for investment in economic assests includng education. After the March 2009 financial year-end, the Petronas chairman said all payments to the goverment since 1976 was RM 620 billion (310 for the preceeding 5 years alone under Mr. Clean). No Opposition state goverment got a cent. This did not include other expenses Petronas was ordered to undertake against its charter: orchestra, motor racing, ships, planes, office buildings, university, hospital, maybe even Putrajaya.


Taib has the answer and also he knows damn well there is nothing the corrupted morons in Umno can do about it. You don’t go round shooting yourself. Besides Taib has full control of Sarawak not to mention Umno is east Malaysia needs Taib and his cronies’ support in Sarawak to stay alive so to keep corrupting themselves. The pot cannot call the kettle black ! Taib and his cronies can just swift their support any where they decide and that will be the end of Umno. Cannot imagine Umno will (be) pressed by their own kind, what a pay… Read more »

charlie chan

aiyah – the billions in royalties were send wrongly to a differrent n wrong bank account. sorry this is malaysia where things do go wrong. WRONG ACCOUNT


If our local unis are up to mark and produce quality grads, I am fine. But after decades of education decline, most of the local grads are still lacking in many skills thanks to the way our education system is managed by inept leaders and politicians. Lets face it, at least there is Asean scholarship from Singapore to cater for qualified students which PSD “rejects”, regardless of race & religion. However, do not think too highly that these talents will be willing to contribute to the nation in future since they are not recognized in the 1st place by their… Read more »


Sarawak did earn the money but…

You see putting a BN moron at the helm, you find gazillion of dollars disappeared…

There was once a crooked man, who married a crooked woman.
They have crooked siblings, who behave like their crooked parents.
They build a crooked kingdom…..(Gerakan K, be my guest, fill in the rest).

Gerakan K

Haha, what about illegal logging ???

Who pays for that ??? Or better yet, what about internet pirated goods such as software, music and video ??? Must be over gazillions of dollars !!!

We can then wrap the world with dollar bills !!!

Andrew I

You know, Gherkin, you’re becoming more and more vague. What’s the matter? Running out of money and excuses? What’s happening with your Penang surprise? You forgot to tell us about the MCA surprise: line clear with PAS.

Being a BN supporter these days is like standing on a log. You’ll never know which way it’s going to roll.

Gerakan K

You need to upgrade your senses and IQ because any issues/news for you are just another issues/news. You can’t see the hidden meanings, plots and consequences.

Still asking where is Penang surprise ???

Those points already taken by voters of particular religion. Only waiting for election time that they will cast their votes.

Andrew I

You must have a lot of free time on your hands now … Your imagination is working overtime, though.

Either that or you should keep up with the news. Even some in your group don’t believe in that fairytale.

Gerakan K

Hah, finally you know what I mean.


… Upgrade senses? IQ? you r kidding right?
If you are not kidding, i’d advise you to carry on being the court jester….you are getting the knack of being a funny idiot.

But really how blind can you be? … Wake up Gherkin.


Andrew I,
Just like the log, he is trying to tilt over to whichever side that will be victorious knowing full well that UMNO and BN chances are not that bright anymore. What do we call this type of people !!!! Froggies


Penangites complaint about rapidPenang ?
Wait till you are at Kuching (Sarawak) bus station (which in actual fact not a station because thre is no proper sheltered station for the rakyat sarawak), where you can recall the 70’s type of Penang buses (yellow bus, hin bus & even recent Milan bus) as poor re-conditioned buses line-up by the sides of the shophouses near the state mosque.

with billions worth yet Sarawak can’t even build a proper station like KL Sentral or Melaka Sentral ?

my message to Kuching folks : better wake up to ask for what u deserve !!!


I agree fully. I went to Kucing many times. Each time I have to wait under hot sun for the bus at the uncovered ‘bus terminal’ near the state mosque. What a shame!

I can be wrong if all Kucing flers drive cars and do not take public bus.


Will Taib every build a Kuching Sentral for Sarawakians?