Archive for September, 2010

Seized animals gone in three months

Posted on September 29, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Sun-

Some 90% of the animals seized by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks from a warehouse in Taman Wahyu three months ago have allegedly either died or gone missing, claims an informant.

The wildlife haul of over 20 species encompassed thousands of birds – including a rare pair of Cenderawasih, also known as the Bird of Paradise said to be worth RM1 million in the black market – as well as leopard cats, albino pygmy monkeys and domestic cats.

Other rare birds seized in the raid were the blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, the black-coloured Palm Cockatoo and the white rump Shama.

The news of the missing or dead animals was revealed by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng who said the informer, who claimed to be a wildlife department staff, approached him a week ago.

“He told me that the animals found deceased had clearly died due to starvation,” Lim said at a press conference today.

He added that the informer had not told him how many animals were dead and how many were missing.
The animals had been handed over to the department in July by the police, who were investigating a stolen car ring, stumbled upon them during a raid on the warehouse.

Lim said he had tried to verify the information with the department last Friday but did not manage to speak to any top official. Instead, he was told the status of the seized animals is unavailable as the case is still under investigation.

“That is unacceptable to me; it has been three months since the seizure. I challenge the Department of Wildlife to tell the public where the animals are,” he said.

Lim also said he hoped that wildlife and animal protection NGOs would join in and put pressure on the wildlife department to reveal the status of the animals seized in July.

The department’s director-general could not be reached for comment.

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Green technology to power 11% of electricity generated nationwide by 2020

Posted on September 29, 2010. Filed under: Energy |

-The Star- MUAR: A target has been set for 2080 megawatts or 11% of all the electricity generated nationwide by 2020 to be sourced from environment-friendly renewable energy, said Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui.

This was in line with a framework of the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak which gave emphasis to the use of such energy, he added.

“Although the application of green technology is still new in our country, we should not lag in taking advantage of opportunities to introduce green technology products,” he added.

Chin said this in a speech at the opening of a new building of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in Jalan Temenggung, Muar, by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, here yesterday.

The text of his speech was read out by the deputy minister, Noriah Kasnon.

Also present were the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and TNB chairman Tan Sri Leo Moggie.

In Kuala Lumpur, Chin said public consultation was crucial before the country decide on having a nuclear power plant.

He added that a timeline from now until 2015 had been set to have nationwide consultations on the proposal.

“At the end of the day, if the public does not wish for a nuclear reactor, we will respect that decision,” he told reporters at the National Water and Utilities Summit here yesterday.

On another matter, Chin said Malaysians might have to bear with higher water tariffs in the future.

He added that state-owned water utility operators needed to repair or replace old water pipes, in which a substantial amount of expenditure would be needed.

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Wildlife Dept officer under MACC probe back at work

Posted on September 29, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-NST-

KUALA LUMPUR: The senior Wildlife and National Parks Department officer at the centre of a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigation has returned to work.It is understood that she is carrying out her normal duties and has not been subjected to any internal probe as yet.

A source said the officer was back after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri break and had resumed normal duties, but the morale at the department was at an all-time low.
This was following endless reports of incompetency, topped by the MACC investigations.

MACC is probing possible abuse of power in the issuance of wildlife permits.

MACC officers reportedly raided the department’s headquarters in Cheras last week and carted away files, documents and laptops related to the issuance of licences and wildlife import and export permits.
The recent developments have affected the morale of the team, but Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas urged his staff to remain positive.

“They should be upbeat with the passing of the new law (Wildlife Conservation Act) after five years of waiting.

“It’s natural that when something goes wrong, the blame goes to those in positions of responsibility, including the minister. But we should look back and strengthen our weaknesses and correct mistakes.”
Segambut member of parliament Lim Lip Eng has demanded that the officer under probe be sacked and not just transferred.

“If possible, those involved should be charged in court or else the crime will be repeated.”

Read more: Wildlife Dept officer under MACC probe back at work http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/2emis/Article/#ixzz10txCXmsV

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Malaysia prepares for nuclear power plant construction

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: Energy |

(Xinhua) — The Malaysian government has started its preparatory works to build its first nuclear power plant.

The plant was expected to start generating power in 2021, Malaysian Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin Fah Kui told reporters here on Tuesday.

“Our plan is for 2021, which now is about ten years, or eleven years gap between the actual implementation where the reactor is functioning,” said Chin.

Chin said Malaysia is now at the preparatory stage of building the plant, adding that the country would have to first sign the relevant international treaties that it did not sign in the past.

“We have to look into proper legislation within the country. While doing that, we will then do the consultation process,” Chin added.

The minister also said public consultation about the plan for nuclear power would take place between now and 2014.

The plan would be canceled if the Malaysian public rejected nuclear power.

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3,000ha Forest Areas And Coastal Strips To Be Replanted With Trees

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: Forestry/Wetlands |

(Bernama) — About 3,000 hectares of forest areas that have been damaged by logging and several coastal areas nationwide will be replanted with trees.

Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said this move was important to provide the flora and fauna for the survival of animals, especially birds, in these areas.

“It is also to absorb the three tonnes of carbon dioxide emission each year,” he said after launching a tree planting programme, ‘A Million Trees, A Million Dreams’, at the Bukit Sungai Puteh Forest Reserve in Cheras, here Tuesday.

It was organised by Shaklee Malaysia with the cooperation of the Forestry Department.

Kurup said to date, five million trees had been planted throughout the country under the campaign themed, “Hijaukan Bumi: Satu Warga, Satu Pokok” (Greening Earth: One Resident, One Tree) since it was launched in April last year.

“Perak recorded the highest number with 3.7 million trees planted,” Kurup said, adding that the programme targeted planting of 26 million trees by 2014.

He praised Shaklee for its effort and commitment to the tree planting programme in the Bukit Sungai Puteh Forest Reserve for a period of three years, and hoped the cooperation would continue after that.

In today’s programme, 150 saplings from 13 species were planted in this forest reserve.

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Malaysia passes wildlife protection law

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

(UPI) — A Malaysian law intended to deal with animal traffickers and poachers may be too late to save some of the country’s endangered species, wildlife activists say.

After years of wildlife being decimated by human activities, Malaysia finally responded with a wildlife conservation law called “overdue,” Inter Press Service reported Tuesday.

Conservationists, concerned that Sumatran rhinos, orangutans, Malayan tigers and clouded leopards a losing their fight for survival, will be watching how the new law is implemented.

“The tough new measures are probably four decades overdue,” conservationist Mohamed Iris said. “Official neglect and corruption is fueling the international trade in threatened species and the tough new law and action against corrupt officials may be too late for some endangered species.”

The bill, with significantly higher penalties and mandatory jail terms for a wide range of wildlife crimes, is expected to come into force as law in December.

“It all depends how seriously and effectively the government implement the new law,” said one conservationist working to preserve wildlife habitat at a forest reserve in East Malaysia.

“If effectively enforced, the law can give wildlife a respite against open and blatant poaching.”

Some feel the agencies selected to enforce the new bill are not up to the job.

“They are not modern, don’t have modern equipment, they don’t use modern technology and their budget is minuscule compared to the challenges they face in protecting wildlife against poaches,” lawmaker Grosgrain Mirages said. “The law is fine but the implementation part is wanting.”

“We have the law,” he said, “but without the budget the battle is lost.”

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Unruffled over water surcharge

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: Water resource |

-The Star- GEORGE TOWN: No big deal. That was the reaction of several people interviewed to the proposed 24-sen surcharge which the Penang Government will impose for every 1,000 litres of water used by domestic consumers exceeding 35,000 litres a month from Nov 1.

Char koay teow seller Ng Kim Seng, 57, who shares his double-storey wooden house in Weld Quay here with the families of his sister and daughter, said the surcharge was not a concern to him.

He said the water bill of their home, which has nine occupants in total, averaged between RM80 and RM110 for two months.

“I pay the water bill without collecting from the rest as the amount is not a big deal,” said the head the household.

Food seller Teoh Yean Ling, 29, also did not find the surcharge worrying.

She said the water bill for her home in Paya Terubong which she shares with her brother-in-law’s family varied between RM90 and RM130 for two months.

“We divide the bill equally,” she said.

Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd corporate affairs manager K. Jeyabalan said the surcharge was aimed at raising awareness among consumers to use water wisely.

“Penang’s water tariff is already among the cheapest in Malaysia. Even with the surcharge, it is still lower than many states,” he said.

He said some consumers may feel that it was all right to use water according to their wish since they were paying for it.

“We hope to change their mindset. Water may be cheap and abundant but it doesn’t mean we should waste it,” said Jeyabalan.

He said the poor and needy had been taken into consideration when the surcharge was proposed, hence the 35,000-litre threshold.

The water bills for domestic users in Penang are currently issued once every two months.

The monthly rate is 22 sen per 1,000 litres for the first 20,000 litres followed by 42 sen per 1,000 litres for the subsequent 20,000 litres, 52 sen per 1,000 litres for the next 20,000 litres and 90 sen for every 1,000 litres after that until 200,000 litres.

Those who use more than 200,000 litres a month are charged RM1 per 1,000 litres for any consumption above the figure.

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Going nuclear: ‘Get public support first’

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: Energy |

-Free Malaysia Today- By G Vinod

PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago today urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to hold a public debate and secure a national mandate before building a nuclear power plant as part of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

“In May this year, Najib had said that a ‘comprehensive study’ will be done before embarking on the nuclear energy project.

“Following public outcry, he then said he would get the views of experts and the public… However, to date there had not been any meaningful debate or genuine public consultation by the government,” said the DAP parliamentarian.

However, the nuclear energy issue cropped up again under the ETP and Santiago queried why the nuclear energy programme was included as one of the 131 entry-point projects under ETP, as the government had not received any public feedback.

“If the federal government had embarked on a nuclear programme, then where is the ‘comprehensive study’ that backed this decision?”asked Santiago.

He expressed concern over the matter, saying despite public opposition and the presence of cheaper, safer, and more efficient energy alternatives, the government is still considering the nuclear option.

“Are there vested interests behind the nuclear power plant project?” he asked.

Alternative sources

Santiago recalled that Najib had said that all other alternative energy sources, such as from biomass and wind energy, will be considered as well.

“It is worrying that in the ‘lab’ responsible for developing ETP energy proposals, nuclear agencies were represented while the Malaysian solar industry players were not invited to participate.

“And yet, the ETP plans to make Malaysia the world’s number two solar manufacturer, displacing Germany but there are no plans for making solar power a significant contributor to our national grid.

“If we are to be a leading contender in clean solar energy, why is the riskier, hazardous nuclear option being pursued?” asked Santiago.

On Sept 21, Najib unveiled a massive economic transformation plan worth RM1.4 trillion over the next 10 years, of which 60% would come from the private sector, 32% from government-linked companies and 8% from the government.

Among other projects planned under the programme is a new mass transit system to relieve congestion in Kuala Lumpur and building a huge oil storage facility next to Singapore to form a regional oil products trading hub.

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Resolving human-wildlife conflict

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Star- A group of villagers overcame the problem of rampaging jumbos.AN unusual poster greeted me as I walked into the local watering hole in Lubok Bongor in Jeli, a village in the far eastern fringes of Kelantan. The café is one of those nondescript wooden shacks offering delicious local fares that you often see hugging the sides of shady tree-lined trunk roads in rural Malaysia.

Gajah Masuk Kampung! (Elephants Entering Village!), an A4-sized poster hung on the white wall of the café screamed in bold. The public is urged to contact the Wildlife Protection Unit; a contact number is included on the poster together with a photograph of members of the protection unit.

Lubok Bongor is where one of the country’s first community-based Wildlife Protection Unit has been set up, to help resolve human-wildlife conflict – a critical problem in that village.

Since 2006, more than 3,200ha of the forested area nearby have been cleared for oil palm plantations as part of the state’s anti-poverty programme called Ladang Rakyat or People’s Plantation. But there was no planning for the relocation of wildlife. While smaller fauna perished, bigger games like elephants and tigers were left to roam the forest fringes in search of food.

To scare away elephants from their vegetable farms, the villagers of Lubok Bongor in Jeli, Kelantan light bamboo canons. – Pic courtesy of WWF-Malaysia

Lubok Bongor, which is barely a couple of kilometres away from the Ladang Rakyat scheme, became a target of hungry wild elephants which have been displaced from their usual forest haunts. For months the farming community of 700 families were at the mercy of herds of wild elephants coming and going as they pleased. The elephants would cross the Pergau River into the village, trample on vegetable plots, knock over fruit trees, and eat their way through the village. Terrified, some of the villagers hired poachers to kill the elephants.

In 2008, the Wildlife Protection Unit (WPU), set up by the World Wide Fund for Nature, came into operation. The initial 21 members, made up of farmers and local entrepreneurs, were trained to handle human-wildlife conflict. They did regular night patrols along rivers and jungle paths armed only with flashlights, air horns, loudhailers, and a homemade bamboo canon.

Using these basic tools, the men would create a huge racket to scare the reluctant elephants back across the river. Later, they built electrical fencing around the village. The human-elephant conflict gradually declined and the Lubok Bongor community no longer see the need to kill the elephants.

“We can say that our project was a success. Nowadays we get very few calls to chase away elephants. We heard that the elephants have gone up north,” says farmer Hamdan Musa who was head of the WPU.

But the success also meant that the WWF-sponsored project would be terminated this year. Empowered by their success, the group has decided to continue and expand its work scope and opened its membership to include the entire community. They now call their newly formed group Persatuan Prihatin Konservasi, Kebudayaan, Sosial dan Kebajikan Lubok Bongor (Lubok Bongor Conservation, Cultural, Social and Welfare Society) or PRILUB for short.

“We want to continue our work of protecting wildlife and educating the people about the environment. Now we do gotong-royong with the community, we also have a dikir barat group consisting of young people, and we want to come up with an eco-tourism project to generate income for the community,” says Zaid Omar, the president of PRILUB.

A part of their work includes teaching the community about protection of wildlife. Their dikir barat group, a traditional Kelantanese singing group accompanied by gongs and drums, sing about the need to protect wildlife and the threat of poaching. The group also regularly patrols nearby jungles for tiger snares that were placed by poachers, many of whom are Thais who cross the border illegally. Zaid says the group is in need of sponsors to fund its projects. To support them, contact Zaid (017-901 3182). – By Jules Ong / Wild Asia

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Avatar Programme in Malaysia

Posted on September 27, 2010. Filed under: Indigenous People |

Their Story

Their lands, their forests, their home were destroyed. They are the indigenous rakyat (Orang Asal) in Middle-Baram, Sarawak. They are Malaysians.

They respect the nature, they respect the jungle; their life depends on the jungle, they live harmoniously with the jungle.

Depending on the jungle, they have long been self-sufficient. Now the jungle is encroached by the logging companies, their livelihood and the jungle are being destroyed. They are now compelled to depend on the encroachers for assistance, they are now at the mercy of external forces.

Scattered Penan settlements, devastated jungle, they are no more walking on tranquil and safe jungle trails but to use the logging roads created by the encroachers.

Walking on the logging roads, taking an occasional ride with the logging vehicles, they were subject to sexual abuse, they were raped.

Deep inside the far far land, there is no public transport to travel to the miles-away clinics and to attend classes at the few available primary schools.  Government-built pre-school programme is selective in few villages.  School drop-outs are rampant.

Pre-School Program

Objectives of this Pre-School Project

We think one of the ways to alleviate their problem is through education.

  • To provide community-based pre-school education to Penan children in Middle Baram;
  • To prepare children for entry into primary school educational system;
  • To serve as a model for other community-based, community-run and non-profit pre-school program.

Initiators of the Project

This small and humble project is a joint effort initiated by the Middle Baram Penan community and some concerned individuals including SACCESS, a Kuching-based Community Based Organisation (CBO).

Proposed Location of the Pre-schools

Together with the Middle Baram Penan communities, this project aims to set up two pre-schools Long Itam and Long Pakan in the Miri District. There are two existing community buildings in both Long Itam and in Long Pakan which can be renovated and converted into a school

Initial Projected Budget

No. Expenses (RM) Income via Donation (RM)
2 Pre-school teachers’ salary @ RM500.00 monthly for 12 months in a year for 2 years 24,000
Teachers’ medical fees @ RM250 per teacher per year 1,000
Teachers’ Training @ RM1000 per teacher per year for 2 years 4,000
Teaching Materials @ RM1500 per year per school:

text books, exercise books, pens, pencils, rulers, chalks, colour pensils etc

6,000
Recreational/Physical Education materials @ RM500 per school per year for 2 years 2,000
Annual School Sports cum Year-End Day @ RM500 per year per school 2,000
First Aid Kits & replenishment 500
Building Renovation of RM5000 per school* (one-off event for materials prepared by communities & writing board) 10,000
Transportation 2,000
Misc./contingencies (reports, communication, emergencies, coordinator’s travel etc) 3,500
GRAND TOTAL FOR 2 YEARS 55,000
Note:

a)First Year requirement:

  • RM10,000 for building renovation;
  • Half of all other cost = RM22,500
  • Sub-Total = RM32,500

b) Second Year requirement:

  • RM22,500

c) Total 2 years’ sum of RM55,000 will support 110 students for 2 years; each student at RM500 for 2 years.


Management Committee

A Management Committee comprises of headmen, teachers, Area Pre-school Coordinator,  Sarawak NGO and other volunteers will oversee the planning, setting up and operating of the schools. The Committee welcomes interested organisation/individuals to participate in the project.

What You Can Do

  • Spread words on their predicament;
  • Sign up as volunteer to assist in this project (there are plenty to be done);
  • Involved at the management;
  • Provide accommodation and care to kids from nearby Penan villages;
  • Donate a minimum sum of RM500/= which will support one student for two years.(You may also donate any amount you prefer)

Donation:

  • Cheque please made payable to; KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (please mark at the back of the cheque: “Avatar Programme”)
  • Bank Account: Public Bank 3077 138 310
  • Please send your bankin slip to: email: info@malaysiayouth.com or  fax number: 03-22724089 marked “Avatar Programme”.
  • We operate on an “insist for receipt” policy, kindly indicate to whom the receipt is to be made to.
  • We will publish donors’ list for acknowledgement, kindly indicate name or anonymous to be listed.

For further information, please contact:

Tehyeekeong@gmail.com

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