Home in forest reserve: Filipino jailed and fined
Kota Kinabalu: A 52-year-old Filipino was jailed five years and fined RM150,000 for building a house in a forest reserve and planting crops there as well as cutting four trees without a permit.
Sessions Court Judge Ainul Shahrin Mohamad meted out the sentence to Sahibil Bakar Osman who admitted to the three charges.
On the first count, Sahibil was jailed a year and fined RM50,000 or 12 months' jail for building the house at the Pulau Banggi and Pulau Balambangan First Class forest reserve in Kudat at 11.40am on May 4, this year.
The offence under Section 20(1)(b)(i) of the Forest Enactment 1968 carries a jail term of between a year and 20 years, and fine of up to RM500,000, on conviction.
On the second count, he was sentenced to another year's jail and fined RM50,000 in default 12 months' jail for planting crops at the same place and time.
On the third count, Sahibil was jailed another three years and fined RM50,000 or a year's jail for illegally cutting four trees at the same place and time.
Ainul ordered Sahibil to serve the jail sentence consecutively and referred to the Immigration Department after completing his jail sentence.
The court also ordered the house to be demolished by the Forestry Department.
Sahibil, who was not represented, begged for a light sentence to be imposed on him saying that he had family to support.
However, Prosecuting Officer Pius Primus from the Forestry Department urged the court to hand down a heavy sentence on the grounds that Sahibil had a previous record of taking mangrove barks illegally from the forest reserve.
Pius added that Sahibil's act was a serious offence.
The court heard that a team of Monitoring Control, Evaluation and Enforcement from Kudat conducted a check at the area and found Sahibil who has no valid document, living at the house in the forest reserve.
Investigation revealed that Sahibil had built the house, planted crops as well as cut trees at the forest reserve. - Cynthia D Baga