SIBU: Sarawak received Ecological Fiscal Transfers (EFT) totalling RM55.4 million from 2019 to 2024 from the Federal Government for forest conservation work.

Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the state was the biggest contributor to the country’s overall forest cover, at 7.6 million hectares, or 42.5 per cent, and that the EFT allocations were given to state government to conserve existing forests in the country from 2019.

“The programme started in 2019 with RM^0 million. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim raised it to RM150 last year and this year he’s risen it to RM200 million,” he said during his speech at the Sibu Division-level 2024 International Forest Day celebrations here today.

He expressed his hope that the allocation, which is the largest to any state, would be used fully for conservation efforts and that the ministry would look at several conditions to ensure it would be more effective not only in terms of the quantity of forests conserved, but also their quality.

Nik Nazmi said his ministry was aggressively implementing Malaysia’s greening agenda through the planting of 100 million trees campaign as well as creating awareness and a love for natural heritage in the country.

“We recorded the planting of 89.09 million threes until June 11, 2024 and as we have said, Sarawak has recorded over 35 million trees planted,” he said, adding that Malaysian forests are one of the best and oldest in the world, especially in terms of biodiversity and wildlife, being one of 17 most megadiverse countries.