Archive for December, 2009

SAM threat to Nation or BN’s cronies?

Posted on December 30, 2009. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-dapmalaysia.org-

Statement by Thing Siew Shuen, Special Officer to Penang Chief Minister on Environment in George Town on Wednesday, 30th December 2009:

Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil should prove that whether activities and campaigns by SAM against commercial logging, plantation development, and the building of dams in Sarawak threaten the nation’s interest or rather the interest of BN’s politicians and cronies

The BN Government announced with much fanfare that it targets to reduce carbon dioxide emission to 40%. However, how is the government going to reduce carbon dioxide emission to 40% if the BN government does not dare to face the criticisms of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and even threatens to deregister it?

During the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that Malaysia is adopting an indicator of a voluntary reduction of up to 40 per cent in terms of emissions intensity of GDP (gross domestic product) by the year 2020 compared to 2005 levels subject to assistance from developed countries.

However, the Registrar of Societies (RoS) Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil has clearly shown his indifference to the commitment of the government in Copenhagen. On top of that, he is threatening to take action against the organisation which has been actively campaigning for environmental protection and defending environmental justice for the disadvantaged groups for over 30 years in the country.

While SAM is actively involved in the campaign against indiscriminate and unregulated logging and plantation development, it campaigns as well against the construction of mega dams that deprives the Penan and other indigenous communities of their rights, tradition, culture and livelihood. Clearly, SAM is working to protect the human rights of Malaysians and preserving the natural heritage of the nation.

Therefore, instead of rushing off to make a statement against SAM, Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil should prove whether the activities and campaigns of SAM against commercial logging and plantation development, building of dams in Sarawak is threatening the nation’s interest or the interest of BN’s politicians and cronies?

We oppose any attempt to oppress and deregister SAM. The Registrar of Societies (ROS) headed by Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil should not act like a puppet to the BN government by suppressing the freedom of association in Malaysia. This freedom is a fundamental right which is guaranteed in Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in Article 10 in our Federal Constitution. Therefore we firmly believe that he should withdraw his baseless accusations immediately.

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Show proof SAM threat to nation, ROS told

Posted on December 30, 2009. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-The Sun- GEORGE TOWN (Dec 30, 2009) : The director-general of the Registrar of Societies (ROS) has been asked to show proof of his claims that activities and campaigns by Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) may be threatening the nation.

Thing Siew Shuen, the special officer for environment to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, has asked Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil to show if SAM’s work against commercial logging, plantation development, and the building of dams in Sarawak threatened national interest.

In a statement today, she said Mohd Alias had shown indifference to the government’s commitment to the environment and clean air during the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

She said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced at the conference that Malaysia was adopting an indicator for voluntary reduction of emissions to 40% of levels recorded in 2005.

“How is it going to reduce carbon dioxide emission to 40% if the Barisan Nasional (BN) government does not face criticism from Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)?” she asked.

“On top of that, he is threatening to take action against the organisation which has been actively campaigning for environmental protection and defending environmental justice for the disadvantaged groups for over 30 years in the country,” she added.

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Do Not Misunderstand Nuclear Power Use: Ongkili

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Energy |

(Bernama) — Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili has urged the people to not misunderstand the use of the words ‘nuclear’ or ‘atom’ that were quite often linked to destruction.

He gave as example X-ray technology as one form of nuclear technology used in the field of medicine.

“Actually we are not aware that nuclear technology has provided much benefit to the community at large,” Ongkili said at a ceremony to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Malaysian Nuclear Agency (Nuclear Malaysia) and Growarisan Sdn Bhd.

He added that nuclear technology in Malaysia was not only limited to the medical field but was also used in other socio-economic sectors like agriculture, industries, manufacturing, engineering and the environment sector.

“For example the use of nuclear technology is in ensuring the standards of oil and gas plants; sterilising medical products; disinfecting agriculture products and flowers for import and export; water resource research; air pollution research; and much more,” Ongkili said.

He said the government was considering nuclear power as an additional source of energy under the national energy policy.

Earlier, the managing director of Growarisan Sdn Bhd, Azlan Nasir Yeo, said his company had set up a department for X-ray film audits called the X-ray Quality Assurance centre.

The department was important as it was responsible to ensure that X-ray film sent by X-ray centres registered with Growarisan followed procedures set out by the Health Ministry.

The company set up in December 2006 has 225 panel doctors, 67 X-ray centres and 20 medical laboratories throughout Sabah.

At the ceremony, Nuclear Malaysia director-general, Datuk Dr Daud Mohamad, and Azlan signed the MoU for technical and training services cooperation in the field of radiology medicine.

The agreement relates to the desire by both organisations to strengthen cooperation to develop medical radiology services in the aspect of quality assurance as well as to develop expertise in X-ray use through training and continuing medical education (CME).

Meanwhile on Monday, Ongkili said Sabah received an allocation of RM16 million from his ministry under the ‘Technofund’ grant for six projects.

Technofund is an allocation scheme introduced by the ministry for research and development (R&D) priority projects besides meeting the needs of industries in the country.

Ongkili said the grants were given to six Sabah firms as industry partners with the ministry for R&D.

Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the ministry has distrubuted allocations totalling RM800 for 263 projects, whereby 90 of the projects were implemented this year.

“On the whole, the government has allocated RM2.7 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for the ministry for R&D work,” Ongkili said at a dinner with the recipients of the Technofund grants here.

Ongkili said Sabah had very large potential in the field of biotechnology from its biodiversity resources including marine life and insect biotechnology.

In that regard the ministry will strive to find industrial partners in Sabah to develop new technology approaches that still had not been explored.

“This includes enhancing traditional knowledge on herbal medicine through science,” he said, adding the government would do so under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

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PM cites Abu Dhabi’s World Future Energy Summit as global driver of renewable energy development

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Energy |

-ameinfo.com-

The Malaysian Prime Minister has said that the World Future Energy Summit will play a significant role, alongside Copenhagen, in accelerating the uptake of renewable, the future of the energy sector. He will be one of the speakers the Plenary Welcome Session, that will open the World Future Energy Summit for the third year from 18-21 January 2010. Other speakers in the session will include HE President Karolos Papoulias, President, Greece; HE Mohamed Nasheed, President, Maldives; HRH The Crown Prince Felipe de Borbón y Grecia, Spain and HRH The Crown Prince Frederik André Henrik Christian, Denmark.

Mohd Najib, Prime Minister of Malaysia commented on the challenges surrounding the adoption of renewable energy sources, “Each and every one of us has a role to play in driving the swift adoption of renewable energy. For a developing country like Malaysia, the cost of renewable energy generation is still high and is not economically viable because generating a return of investment takes a long time. It is therefore not easy to convince businesses to consider power generation from renewable resources as an attractive business opportunity.”

“Hence why, to jumpstart the development of renewable energy, introducing the right policy support and providing an environment that is conducive is a vital issue that governments must address and Malaysia is working actively towards that. However, it must also be said that this responsibility must be complemented by other stakeholders such as the private sector, industry, banking communities including the general public,” he continued.

The Malaysian government has played an instrumental role in promoting the use of renewable energy having included fiscal incentives in the annual budgets since 2001. The strategy adopted for the growth of renewables in the country is focused towards market forces delivering the intended outcomes. Malaysia has successfully attracted more than US$3 billion in Foreign Direct Investment in the solar PV manufacturing industry and is poised to become a solar PV manufacturing hub.

Mohd Najib, went on to comment on the World Future Energy Summit, “I feel that it is important for me to attend the World Future Energy Summit and partake personally in the development of renewable energy in the global scene. I do believe that the World Future Energy Summit will play a significant role alongside Copenhagen, as renewable energy is the future. The World Future Energy Summit will continue to be one of the global drivers that will accelerate the uptake of renewable energy development in our pursuit of environmental sustainability for the sake of the future generation.”

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In need of proper garbage disposal method

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star- KUALA LUMPUR: The climate changes and high-moisture waste were the factors that made garbage disposal dumps the sole method for efficient garbage disposal in the country.

The other method, the incinerator like that used in Langkawi was unable to meet the disposal of more than 19,000 tonnes of garbage generated daily by the nation apart from consuming a lot of power.

The cost for constructing an incinerator was also much higher when compared to that for constructing a garbage disposal dump. The former was also able to dispose garbage of much lesser amount.

The other factor was that incinerator was also not cost-effective when coming to garbage disposal.

“A RM1.5bil incinerator can only dispose up to 1,200 tons of garbage daily, but a sanitary garbage disposal dump built at the cost of RM120mil like that at Bukit Tagar is able to dispose more than 3,000 tons of garbage daily”, according to civil engineer Mohd Fatimi Said.

According to a source, the government will upgrade 30 of the 175 existing waste disposal dumps into sanitary facilities by the end of 2010. The move did not include the nine to be constructed sanitary garbage disposal sites to be constructed.

Among the locations marked for the construction of these sanitary garbage disposal dumps were Sungai Udang (Melaka, Lahat (Ipoh, Perak), Bukit Jembalang (Kemaman, Terengganu) and Ladang Tanah Merah (Negeri Sembilan).

Plus the seven existing sanitary garbage disposal dumps, this will bring the number of such facilities nationwide by the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan to 46, said the source.

For the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (PPSPPA), the agency has initiated several measures to overcome the shortage of garbage dumpsites and existence of illegal dumps in the country.

Among them was the implementation of solid waste management strategy based on ‘waste hierachy’ to reduce the volume of garbage sent to disposal sites, as practised in many developed nations.

Among the measures undertaken were the reduction of wastes at the source at all premises, encouraging reuse and boosting the quality of items that can be recycled.

It was learnt that the approach was taken as it did not involve provisions of the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act 2007 (Act 672).

The government had encouraged the private sector to invest in green technology in the effort to boost efficiency of more environmental-friendly energy usage towards facing the changes in the global climate.

At the recent United Nations Organisation Conference On climate Changes in Copenhagen, Denmark, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stated Malaysia’s commitment to cut the percentage of carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by the year 2020 with assistance from the developed nations.

The media has reported that the government had carried out a pilot project on waste separation at source in Putrajaya with the aim of improving public awareness on recycling to reduce the volume of wastes needed to be disposed.

The joint-venture effort by the PPSPPA, Solid Waste Management Department, Putrajaya Corporation, Alam Flora and Konsortium SSI-Schaefer was aimed to reduce by 40% the volume of garbage sent for disposal.

“The Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act focuses on recycling and has a special allocation for separation of wastes at the source,” Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha was quoted as saying in the media.

The pilot project that began last Aug 29 involved 170 apartments at Precint 8, 276 houses (Precint 9) and 105 houses (Precint 10) where each household was provided with two garbage bins of different types, one for organic waste and the other for non-organic waste that can be recycled.

This way, the respondent would be able to recycle and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to disposal sites and at the same time the organic waste can be turned into compost and used for other purposes.

In other words, the separation of garbage at source will assist to lengthen the lifespan of a garbage disposal dump.

PPSPPA Chief Executive Officer Datuk Zaini Md Nor said the corporation viewed the issue based in the overall context and not limited to collection of garbage and construction of dumps.

He said the PPSPPA, established under Act 673 – the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation Act 2007 that began operations on June 1, 2008, was responsible to monitor, supervise and enforce solid waste management and public cleansing in the country.

Among its roles was to enforce Act 672 and made improvisation recommendations whenever necessary.

PPSPPA was also responsible to inculcate public awareness and encourage public participation for sustainable management of public waste and cleansing such as reduction in waste and lodging reports on illegal dumping.

The corporation was also responsible for new technology research related, among else, to recycling technology, ‘waste to energy’ technology, and waste treatment facilitating technology.

According to Zaini, in the short run the corporation would manage the implementation of closing non-operating garbage disposal dumps, upgrading and construction of new disposal sites as planned by the Solid Waste Management Department in the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

“The corporation is the implementor of policies determined by the department”, he said.

The PPSPPA also collaborated with the concessionaires to improve the garbage collection schedule that frequently received complaints from the public apart from providing feedback to the local authorities.

The garbage collection issue should be dealt with first before the public’s mentality on recycling is changed.

The corporation, with the staff count of 900 at 52 district and state offices nationwide, was optimistic towards implementing its responsibilities in making Malaysia a clean country as required by its vision.

“To make the vision a success, we need the support of the society”, said Zaini, adding that PPSPPA was conducting a survey on public awareness for recycling that involved over 45,000 respondents nationwide since last August.

“The study is expected to be completed by end of this month. Through it, we will know the level of public awareness, problems and their suggestions in this issue,” said Zaini. — Bernama

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Oil palm players want biomass supply to harness renewable energy

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Environmental Science |

-The Star- KOTA KINABALU: Policies and incentives are needed for the harnessing of renewable energy from Malaysia’s massive oil palm industry.

State owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Dr Pang Teck Wai said that at present, there were not sufficient incentives for oil palm players to consider renewable energy.

Although Dr Pang agreed that there were enough empty fruit bunches from oil palm industry to harness renewable energy. However, he said, nothing compelled the players to reduce their carbon footprint.

He cited the example of Eco Biomass Energy Sdn Bhd, a South Korean investor in the Lahad Datu palm oil industrial cluster (POIC Lahad Datu), which has encountered great difficulties in accessing biomass for its proposed biomass power plant.

“It’s been more than two years now and the eco-biomass company is still unable to secure sufficient long term supply of these bunches.

“The potential suppliers waver in their prices and terms, waiting to take advantage of the situation. There’s no urgency because selling the bunches has never been a major part of an oil palm mill’s income.

“There is no serious enforcement of laws to compel them to dispose of their bunches, which are a major contributor of methane gas when they rot, and methane gas is 20 times more harmful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” he added.

Statistics showed that Sabah produced over 30% of Malaysia’s palm oil but little of its biomass was being commercially utilised, he noted.

He said POIC Sabah had intended for EBE’s plant to produce power and steam to supply the various palm oil-related industries at POIC Lahad Datu, which, to date, has 24 investors in refinery, bio-diesel, fertilisers and logistics.

Dr Pang was commenting on reports quoting Malaysia Palm Oil Board chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad as saying that Sabah could tap its power-generating potential from oil palm biomass, including methane gas, from what was known in the industry as palm oil mill effluent.

Dr Pang said a biomass policy that, among others, spelled out government incentives and strict environmental requirements was necessary for both the production of renewable energy and the country to take advantage of the huge volume of oil palm biomass.

“Unless there are incentives or laws or both, not many mills will bother to capture the gas,” he added.

He also pointed out the numerous difficulties faced by players to claim carbon credits and complying with the Clean Development Mechanism principles under the United Nations.

“We have received feedback that the auditing process is very cumbersome and a disincentive for millers to try for some of the money to fund their carbon-saving activities,” he said.

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SAM to be deregistered if it threatens nation’s interests

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-The Sun-

MIRI (Dec 28, 2009) : Sahabat Alam Malaysia can be deregistered as a  non-governmental organisation (NGO) if there is proof that it is involved in activities which threaten the nation’s interest, says Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil of the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

He said the ROS office had yet to receive an official complaint against SAM which had been actively involved in activities against commercial logging and plantation development, besides the building of dams in Malaysia, reports Bernama.

Speaking at a news conference while visiting the ROS office here yesterday, he said more information was required before they could take action against the organisation which had been active for over 30 years.

He assured that the ROS office would monitor SAM closely and any other NGO which acted in an extreme manner while fighting for their cause.

He said the relevant agencies under the Home Ministry should also take follow-up action to ensure that the organisations do not operate illegally after their registration with ROS had been cancelled.

Mohd Alias said throughout the year, 705 organisations were deregistered.

He said only a small number of cases were caused by their flouting regulations which allowed them to operate legally.

“Most of the organisations were deregistered because they failed to submit  their annual reports,” he said.

When contacted by theSun SAM’s honorary secretary Meena Raman said that the NGO was shocked by Mohd Alias’ statement and said the organisation had no idea how these allegations came about.

“Instead of undermining the nation’s interests, SAM has been protecting the environment for the past 30 years without any problems,” she said.

Meena added that their work was in line with what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said in the recent world climate summit in Copenhagen about Malaysia’s voluntary effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

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Garbage Disposal Sites Getting ‘Critical’?

Posted on December 28, 2009. Filed under: Waste |

By Syed Azwan Syed Ali

This is the first part in a series of two features on garbage disposal

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 (Bernama) — The bustling economic growth experienced by a developing country like Malaysia demanded the effective disposal of its domestic solid wastes.

The government’s commitment in this aspect was proven with the existence of the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry as well as agencies such as the National Solid Waste Department and Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (PPSPPA).

The National Green Technology Policy was also drafted.

In the international level, Malaysia had signed the Kyoto Protocol 1997 to deal with the climatic changes and global warning due to the green house effect.

However despite this commitment, there were several issues that needed immediate action and improvement particularly in the management of garbage disposal in the country.

SEVEN SANITARY DISPOSAL SITES

Only seven of the 289 garbage disposal sites in the country were environmental-friendly sanitary sites.

This means less than 2.5 percent of the existing garbage disposal sites in the country were being well managed while the rest were operated on the ‘open-dumping’ basis.

For Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)’s Prof Ir Dr Hassan Basri, this scenario reflected that solid wastes disposal system in the country was still inefficient.

“It is critical in the long run,” said the professor in environmental engineering.

Hassan’s statement was based on the environmental pollution risks posed by the open-dumping garbage disposal sites.

WATER, AIR POLLUTION

The implication of using open-dumping garbage disposal sites were the permeation (seepage) of ‘leachate’ into the underground water resources and the release of methane gas (CH4) caused by decomposition of the garbage.

The open-dumping sites also required high maintenance costs apart from causing depreciation in the value of the surrounding real estate.

“There are also constraints facing the opening of new open-dumping garbage disposal sites posed by the infrastructure requirements due to the limited land available,” said Dr Latifah Abdul Manaf, a lecturer on environment from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

A visit by this writer to the sanitary garbage disposal site at Bukit Tagar found the facility to have several ‘pleasant’ features.

The site has a ‘liner’ to prevent seepage of the leachate into underground water sources apart from a system of underground pipes that pool the leachate and channelled the susbstance into a treatment plant.

The site was also equipped with the ‘daily cover’ made up of clay and plastic used to cover the garbage to prevent it from being accessible to pests like rodents and crows.

Hence, Bukit Tagar sanitary garbage disposal dump was a much welcomed garbage disposal facility as compared to the open-dumping sites that discharged foul odour that can be smelled kilometres away.

THE BEST CHOICE

Sanitary garbage disposal sites also have a pipe system that absorb the methane gas released from decomposition of garbage that can be used for power generation.

In the case of the Bukit Tagar garbage disposal site, its ‘advance cell’ that was closed in November 2007 after operating for two years, now generated 1.0 Megawatt of electricity used for operations at the site.

The existence of the pipes prevented accidental combustion of green house gases.

The latest example on this was the fire at the 300 feet high garbage pile-up at the illegal dump at Kampung Sungai Kertas, Gombak early last September.

The problems related to disposal of solid wastes was not only faced by Malaysia but also in other countries due to rapid economic development, population boom and limited land.

POPULATION INCREASE

In Malaysia, with the population jump forecast at 2.4 percent or 600,000 a year (since 1994) more solid wastes was expected to be produced, reducing the life span of the garbage disposal dumps.

The scenario was further worsened with the statistics that showed 113 of the 289 garbage disposal sites in the country were no longer operating. Most of them were waiting for ‘decomissioning’.

However the operations of several of theze sites had to be extended, like tha garbage dumps at Sungai Sedu, Banting that received garbage flow from Sepang and Putrajaya. The site was supposed to be closed last June!

And, most of these 113 dumps were not sanitary garbage disposal facilities. Another interesting fact was that these garbage disposal sites were managed by the local authorities or their appointed firms.

According to the PPSPPA, 114 garbage disposal sites were under the management of the local authorities with 58 in the Peninsula and Labuan Federal Territory, 41 in Sarawak and 15 in Sabah.

LIMITATION, SOLUTION

For Prof Hassan, this issue was rather complex coupled with factors like the shortage of funds and expertise, lack of public awareness apart from the ‘grey’ legal aspects.

Parliament passed the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Act 2007 on Aug 30, 2007 but due to certain reasons, it had yet to be implemented.

According to industry sources, the delay was due to the privatisation of solid waste management which was yet to be finalised despite the fact that the management of solid waste was being handled by Alam Flora, SWM Environment and Idaman Bersih Sdn Bhd according to their respective zones since 1996.

Presently, the ’employers’ of these garbage disposal firms were the respective local authorities.

Back to the garbage disposal dumps issue. The government had implemented the Action Plan 1988 that was aimed at boosting the efficiency of the garbage disposal sites in stages.

The stages — controlled disposal (phase one), sanitary fill-up with daily covers (phase two), sanitary fill-up with leachate circulation system (phase three) and sanitary fill-up with leachate treatment (phase four).

However, it appeared that this action plan was not working well as proven by the fact that only seven garbage disposal dumps in the country were sanitary facilities and they were operated by the private sector.

Three of these sanitary garbage disposal dumps were in Selangor and one each in Kedah, Pahang, Melaka and Johor.

RECYCLING LENGTHENS LIFE SPAN OF DISPOSAL SITES

The situation was further compounded by the society’s lackadaisical attitude on the recycling campaign launched in 1993 and 2000. This was proven by the percentage of recycling being a mere 5.0 percent.

This was a great distance away from the government’s target of 22 per cent by the year 2020. What more when compared to a developed nation like Japan where the recycling percentage was at more than 50 percent.

The time has arrived for the government to come out with a more effective measure apart from conducting campaigns and advertisements.

Problems associated with garbage disposal such as the unregular collection of garbage should be dealt with in a transparent and wholesome manner as the amount of solid wastes was continuing to pile up everyday and expected to reach 30,000 tonnes within the next 11 years.

Hence, the society does not really have much choice except to recycle, and this can begin right in the home.

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By: Ramjit

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Mangrove trees slowly taking root via replanting programme

Posted on December 27, 2009. Filed under: Forestry/Wetlands |

-The Star-
GEORGE TOWN: The Forestry Department and several environmental NGOs have planted more than five million mangrove saplings nationwide over the last five years and they are not slowing down.

Penang Forestry Department director Mohd Puat Dahalan said since 2007, 88,000 mangrove saplings have been planted on 22ha of land with a survival rate of more than 70%.

“We are working closely with NGOs like Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association (Pifwa) in the planting effort which covers locations from Perlis to Johor and Sabah and Sarawak.

“We’ll monitor the saplings to make sure our efforts are not wasted,” he said during the fifth mangrove replanting programme in commemoration of the tsunami at Kuala Sungai Haji Ibrahim in Sungai Acheh, Nibong Tebal, yesterday.

More than 50 fishermen and their children took part, digging up the mud to plant 600 mangrove saplings at the site which was not spared the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

SAM council member Mohideen Abdul Kader said cooperation from the community was vital in ensuring the success of the planting effort as they were able to monitor the situation closely.

“Volunteers are also simultaneously planting 3,500 of these plants in seven other locations in Langkawi, Kerpan, Merbok, Tanjung Dawai in Kedah, Pontian in Johor, Kuala Kurau and Segari in Perak,” he said.

Pifwa chairman Ilias Shafie said mangrove trees were often sacrificed for modern development.

He said mangrove trees were instrumental in blocking the effects of the 2004 tsunami.-

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Energy solution is right here

Posted on December 25, 2009. Filed under: Energy |

-The Star-By DATUK DR HALIM MAN

Biomass, biogas, municipal solid waste, solar and mini-hydro are all possible answers to renewable energy sources. And beyond 2020, solar energy could surpass all other forms of renewable energies for Malaysia. All we need are laws to make it possible.

IN view of the depleting conventional energy sources, global warming and climate change issues are becoming a serious global concern. The Energy, Green Tech­nology and Water Minis­try has been tasked with providing sustainable and long-term national solutions to address the challenges.

Malaysia has been very fortunate to be blessed with fossil fuel energy resources. With the fast depletion of fossil fuel resources, our ministry has been tasked with the responsibility of securing alternative energy sources.

The main objectives of the National Energy Policy are to ensure the provision of adequate, secure and cost-effective energy supplies through developing indigenous energy resources; both non-renewable and renewable energy resources from within and outside the country.

Fossil fuel that the world relies on heavily today generates harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, which have resulted in extreme changes in global climate. As a result, there are now extreme weather conditions such as drought, flash floods as well as food and water shortages in some parts of the world.

We need to be in control of the alternative fuel sources such as indigenous renewable sources without relying on others for supply.

Any new and alternative sources of fuel must provide us with energy autonomy as well as spur new socio-economic growth in the country.

In addition, there must be distributed wealth creation for the people through new job opportunities, development of vibrant green economic activities and a healthier place for society to live in.

This has to be the mantra for Malaysia’s blueprint of alternative energy sources.

Renewable Energy (RE) has been recognised as clean and sustainable. While many are concerned about the high investment costs for green energy, the good news is — market demand for an alternative sustainable source will drive the price down.

According to a research published by the International Energy Agency, it is estimated that as the renewable energy market doubles, the price of RE will be reduced by at least 20%. As the cost of conventional fuel is projected to rise, there will be a point in time when both the price of RE and conventional fuel, i.e. gas or coal, are equal.

When this happens, the country is said to have attained grid parity. Countries currently racing close to grid parities are Japan and some southern European countries. Thus, using renewables in place of fossil fuel resources to generate electricity will be a preferred choice as it is environmentally friendly.

However, until we attain grid parity, Malaysia will need comprehensive and holistic policy instruments in place to generate the market for RE.

In July, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the Green Technology Policy, which is a catalyst for green technology development for the country. In line with the policy, our ministry has established the Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan (REAP), where we are now ready for the implementation stage, pending the approval from the Cabinet.

The sources of RE identified under this policy and action plan are biomass, biogas, municipal solid waste, solar and mini-hydro. Under the REAP, we have also set the medium and long targets of RE growth.

By 2015, the estimated potential for electricity from sources such as biomass and biogas is 330MW and 100MW, respectively. For the same period of time, mini-hydro is estimated to have a power generation capacity of 290MW, while that of solid waste is about 200MW.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) is estimated to have a cumulative capacity of 55MW in 2015.

Beyond 2020, it is predicted that solar energy will surpass all other forms of renewable energies for Malaysia. This is very feasible given that solar energy is the only renewable technology which does not require land area (example, PV in buildings’ applications) and is suitable for urban applications.

Last month, Dr Hermann Scheer, the German parliamentarian who pioneered the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) programme in Germany was invited to Kuala Lumpur to share his experiences in driving national policies on renewable energies.

The FIT is a mechanism that allows electricity that is produced from renewable energy sources to be sold to power utilities at a premium price for a specific term. This principle has been adopted in more than 40 countries.

Germany is a world leader in RE for power generation and today the country has the highest grid-connected renewable energy in the world (34GW last year), while to-date, Malaysia has managed to generate a bit more than 40MW of RE.

The FIT is seen as the most effective mechanism to drive renewable energy development aggressively.

For this mechanism to be effectively implemented there is a need for an effective legal instrument to be in place.

Therefore, there is a need for us to put in place the Renewable Energy Act. This Act will pave the way for a new era for renewable energy development in the country.

As RE is relatively new in the power generation sector, the Government must provide the necessary support and legal tools for it to grow exponentially.

The people must equally embrace this non-traditional way of consuming power for a greener world.

> Dr Halim, the ministry’s secretary-general, can be contacted at halimman@kettha.gov.my

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