Where are these huge logs coming from?



A lorry laden with logs heading east near the exit to Kota Bharu: Where are all these logs coming from – and where are they heading?

Greetings from a dingy hotel in Kota Bharu, en route to Kuala Terengganu!

Had some tongkat ali coffee(!) this afternoon and then drove for almost six hours non-stop from Penang to the East Coast, accompanied by a friend. We left Penang at about 3.00pm and arrived in the midst of a steady monsoon rain in Kota Bharu just after 9.00pm.

It was a fascinating, cool drive along the East-West Highway from Gerik; magnificent views of rolling valleys and forest-clad hills. Along the way, we noticed signboards cautioning us to look out for cows, deer and even elephants. After Belum, thicks clouds hugged the hills and blanketed the highway, the dense fog forcing motorists to switch on their headlights in the early evening, and even then visibility was poor.

What was disturbing was the sight of lorries laden with timber. And these were not your regular logs; many of them had obviously come from huge trees with massive trunks measuring three to four feet in diameter.  We must have seen about two dozen such lorries mostly in the area around the Belum reserve in Perak, many of them trundling towards the east. At one stage, we noticed a convoy of half a dozen lorries full of thick logs parked by the side of the highway.  That’s not all. As we drove eastwards, we counted almost a dozen lorries filled with processed wood, rumbling in the opposite direction.

Most of these lorries were seen before we approached the Kelantan border.

Imagine, if we saw two dozen timber-laden lorries along our journey in the space of a few hours, I would estimate there could at least 100, maybe 200 or more full lorry-loads of logs being carted out daily. Now, where are these logs coming from and where are they heading to?

Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, we will drive south towards Kuala Terengganu to check out the by-election scene.

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15 Jan 2009 10.20am

I did meet a gentleman in a Sarawak small town nearby the Niah Cave during my backpacking tour in 1997, I noticed there is an inspector from Forestry Department stationed at a road exit.

This local gentleman frankly told me money can settle everything…

14 Jan 2009 11.51am

Hi Anil,

For your information the Forestry Department of Malaysia did specify that commercial trees >60 cm dbh (diameter at breast height) are not allowed to be felled, how this law is being followed or not, nobody knows..