Archive for July, 2012

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Groups get up to RM50,000 each for projects

Posted on July 25, 2012. Filed under: Environmental Economics |

-New Straits Times-

.Shell Malaysia country chair Iain Lo (left) presenting a Shell Sustainable Development Grant placard to Tatana Roots Community founder Suzane M. Samy. With them is Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. Pic by Malai Rosmah Tuah

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KOTA KINABALU: FIVE non-governmental organisations (NGOs) received Shell Sustainable Development Grants here yesterday to undertake environmental and sustainable livelihood projects.

The recipients were Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos) Trust, Land Empowerment Animals People (Leap), Tatana Roots Community, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society and Persatuan Warisan Bung Bratak from Sarawak.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and Shell Malaysia country chair Iain Lo were present during the ceremony.

The five organisations were part of 16 NGOs chosen nationwide for the RM560,000 grants programme. Each NGO will receive between RM30,000 and RM50,000.

Masidi said: “The Shell Sustainable Development Grants has given out more than RM2.5 million over the years to assist and educate our communities and youth, while simultaneously ensuring the initiation of key environmental projects in Sabah and other parts of the country.

“This programme is yet another manifestation of its commitment to sustainable development.

“After four years, this programme has grown to reflect a true testament of how much excellent progress can be achieved when key stakeholders, NGOs, government departments and the community, work hand in hand.”

He encouraged communities and NGOs to overcome environmental and social issues and not depend on the government.

Lo said that in promoting and initiating more projects, Shell Malaysia would accelerate its progress towards sustainable development in the country.

He added that such funding would act as a catalyst for groups and individuals to achieve their targets on environmental conservation as well as sustainable livelihood.

“The programme seeks to empower Malaysian-based NGOs to initiate sustainability projects.

“By working together, we can leverage on the reach and insights of NGOs and other like-minded organisations to uncover hot spots in the nation that require attention.

“These partnerships also enable Shell to place funding where it warrants, and with the NGOS, deliver the results we need to make a difference in our communities, youth and environment.”

All projects selected at the event had been judged based on their practicality, direct benefits, financial needs and sustainability factors.

The Pacos Trust, Leap and Tatana Roots Community received grants under the sustainable livelihood category while Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society and Persatuan Warisan Bung Bratak came under the environmental conservation project category.

Read more: 16 NGOs get Shell ‘green’ grants – General – New Straits Times

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NUKE POWER OR CALAMITY: Can greedy BN be trusted not to MESS UP?

Posted on July 25, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

-Malaysia Chronicle-

Is the MNPC (Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation) planning to go nuclear to produce power? The MNPC is said to be preparing a Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Plan by 2013 to deliver Malaysia’s first nuclear power plant by 2021.

It was reported that a pre-feasibility study on nuclear energy for electricity generation was completed in 2010, while construction of two nuclear power plants has been identified. Apparently, the government is expected to finalise plans to build two units of nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 2 Gigawatts by 2014 in spite of the present 40 percent energy reserves the country has.

Purportedly, the government is tacitly pursuing with the idea when a few possible coastal and inland sites were named. The assigned contracts is said to be worth RM21.3bil that would easily escalate to more than RM60 to RM80 billion before the project could be completed.

Quietly opting for nuclear energy

Is the government discreetly opting for nuclear power plants without any due process? Are the people informed or aware of the pros and cons of this nuclear scheme?

Disengaging the stakeholders – the people – the project may land up like what has happened to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) – a rare-earth refinery plant located 25 kms from Kuantan, Pahang – now ready to operate despite all the protests against its operation.

Snubbing any consultation with the public, non-governmental organisations and rights groups representing various fields have come together to voice their dissension over the government’s implicit plan to build the nuclear plants.

Many energy experts opine that there is no urgency in embarking on a nuclear energy project when Malaysia enjoys a 40 percent energy reserves. The financial resources made available for the nuclear plant can well be diverted to more research into exploiting many other forms of renewable energy which are environmentally safer.

It appears like the government has not deliberated on the realities of nuclear power economics. How much of taxpayers’ money will be required to make nuclear power economically realistic? Is it wise to invest billions in expensive nuclear energy when investments can be made in alternative renewable energy and energy efficient technologies?

The Lynas debacle has now made citizens more aware of the danger of radioactive wastes. And certainly there are more lasting and terrifying environmental hazards from a nuclear mishap, as what occurred in the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters, and later in March 2011 in Fukushima.

For this reason, a coalition of NGOs (Malaysian Coalition Against Nuclear (MyCAN) are already objecting against the government’s plan to opt for nuclear energy by constructing nuclear power plants in the country.

To comfort and appease public protests

The sitting government may coax the public into thinking that nuclear energy is good for the economy, alright with the environment and the country.

But the people cannot forget the despicable attempt by the government to cover up the 1992 illegal and unacceptable dumping of radioactive thorium near Bukit Merah New Village by Mitsubishi’s Asian Rare Earth company.

Public trust in the government and promoters of nuclear power is actually at its lowest ebb. To shape public perception, in most cases governments and the nuclear industry do not reveal certain vital information on the death-traps, structural plans and operations of these plants.

Sieving and bowdlerising information are common by industrial players. Facts, information and figures are often scripted to comfort and appease public protests. The aggrieved Japanese population, for instance, is well aware of this culture of nuclear cover-ups.

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) owns and operates the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. In 2002, the company’s top management had to resign when the Japanese government discovered that they had covered up the existence of structural damage to reactors. TEPCO admitted that it had been fabricating data about reactor coolant materials.

Fukushima nuclear tragedy

It seems like most governments believe in their own ballyhoo and spin about nuclear energy. Lamentably, the present Malaysian government has not taken the Fukushima nuclear radiation leakage episode as a lesson.

Japan was in a kind of lurch after the man-made nuclear crisis since March 2011. An unprecedented earthquake – 8.9 on the Richter scale – off the north-eastern coast of the Japanese island of Honshu followed by a soaring ten-metre tsunami impaired the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Overheating and explosions caused the plant to release radioactivity into the environment. It will however take scientists months before the real effects of this radioactive on the population could be traced. The radioactive isotopes of greatest concern in a nuclear accident are iodine-131 and caesium-137.

Japan was involved in a nuclear warfare in August 1945 when two atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The instant and long-term catastrophes inflicted by the radiation – the gruesome effects and after effects – have lived on until today.  350 000 people died of this devastation and more than a million people have been permanently mutated.

Human errors

The chances of a nuclear calamity in Malaysia are not unconceivable. Human errors, a terrorist attack or a plane crash will see multitudinous wreckage to human lives and the environment. Natural disasters are not the only causes of a nuclear mishap.  Human errors too can lead to a nuclear disaster. This has happened before in Chernobyl, Sellafield and Three Mile Island.

Nuclear power plants are usually sited in physically secure environments, determined by geologists. But geological or physical knowledge can be unreliable when it comes to locating hazardous radioactive cauldrons such as what had happened to the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Experts thought the location for this plant was planned safe enough – expecting an earthquake no greater than a magnitude of 7.9 and a tsunami no higher than 6.7 metres if at all they were to happen – until it turned out to be a tragedy.

There are a number of unidentified geological faults on the western margins of the Pacific Rim of Fire and close to earthquake-prone Indonesia and the Philippines that experts could not decipher them accurately.  In fact, damaging earthquakes have been known to originate from cagy faults.

Malaysia has often felt tremors of severe earthquakes happening in the western and northern seas of Sumatera and some parts of the country were once devastated by tsunami. Thus the possibility of a destructive earthquake or tsunami happening in the country in the future cannot be ruled out.

Public safety is not government’s concern

Lynas Plant – an Australian reject – was quietly built 25 Kms from Kuantan Town in the east coast of West Malaysia and this project has now irked the people in Kuantan and nearby areas. And now with the push for nuclear power plants Malaysians in general feel that public safety is not the government’s concern.

Is the government preparing to build nuclear power plants surreptitiously without engaging the public first? Where and how does the government plan to scrap the nuclear wastes that will remain radioactive for thousands of years, when the nuclear industry and even advanced countries have not found a solution to it?

Nuclear power plants produce lethal radioactive waste that will remain radioactive for thousands of years. The half-life of plutonium-239 is 24,000 years and that of uranium-235 is 731 million years.

Even Lynas has yet to find a solution where to dump its radioactive wastes. The thousands of gallons of water used for processing the rare earth daily at the plant would most likely be allowed to seep underground or into nearby streams and rivers.

If truth be told, no country in the world has been able to safely dispose of its radioactive or nuclear waste safely. In most cases they stock or hole these wastes deep underground or shed them into the sea.

It seems like the Malaysian government remains adamant to pursue the nuclear energy trail, despite previous calls by concerned groups to scrap its plans. Any proposal to go ahead with nuclear energy in the country deserves a national debate and a referendum. The sitting government cannot make a unilateral decision just based on reports made by companies with vested interests.

“We are disappointed with the government’s plans to develop nuclear energy despite the significant concerns that have been raised against the option,” said a concerned citizen in Kuantan.

“The civil society groups have joined forces to embark on a public campaign to call on the government to abandon its plans for the construction of nuclear power plants,” said an environmentalist attached to an NGO. “The billions of ringgit invested in nuclear energy could be wisely used to tap renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies,” he added.

The government is still blank

Seemingly, most Malaysians disagree with KeTTHA (Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water that nuclear is the best option for cheap, reliable and low carbon power. Scientific studies have shown that having nuclear power option would increase carbon dioxide in the air. A nuclear power plant indirectly radiates between 376,000 and 1,300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

It is profoundly inconsistent if the government’s decision to opt for nuclear energy is to achieve its declared goal of reducing carbon emissions intensity. Nuclear power releases four to five times more carbon dioxide per unit of energy compared to renewable energy.

The existence of nuclear power plants will therefore only increase the number of cancer patients and multitudes of other terminal, incurable and permanent ailments.

In the case of Lynas, the government is still blank as how to resolve the fundamental issue of handling of radioactive wastes and the disposal of the daily use of millions of gallons of wastewater from the plants. How then is the government going to tackle the handling of nuclear wastes and wastewater from the nuclear reactors?

Never be the concerns in any public relations

The health and safety aspects of radioactive-emitting plants have never been the concerns in any government public relations exercise thus far. The danger of radioactive wastes and the claims of the nuclear industry that nuclear power is both safe and vital are wowed with whimsical rhetoric. The masses though are more well-informed of the industry that is going to deliver a dark message about the environment.

Nuclear fallout and radioactive daubing of the sea and land in due course enter the food chain and the human body that will lead to significant health risks. This will adversely affect the immune system, causes infertility and birth defects, and retards physical and mental growth.

Studies have concluded that nuclear power cannot meet energy needs; that it is disproportionately expensive and that it creates environmental and security threats. New evidence has shown that environmentally safe and sustainable and renewable energy technologies can be developed to meet growing energy needs.

As such, plans by the government for nuclear power should be phased out and a serious pledge made to invest in renewable energy. Instead of investing billions in nuclear power, it would be much more cost-effective to commit Malaysia’s limited resources to research and development of renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and water.

The setting of LynasCorp plants in this country – when Australia denied the company a site on its vast desert land – bypassed local public consultations. Malaysia’s decision on nuclear power should thus come after due process and after public consultations.

No matter what, opting for renewable energy is still the best option for a small country like Malaysia. Besides, the cost of nuclear energy is escalating world over while the costs of renewable energy have been declining. Politicians have short-term interests. Nuclear waste is not a legacy they should bequeath future generations.

From Lynas to nuclear plants is just like emerging from one disaster to fall into a worse one.

Malaysia Chronicle

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WWF to help new teachers on environment

Posted on July 24, 2012. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-New Straits Times-

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry, along with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia), will set up committees and task forces in teacher training colleges nationwide to educate future teachers on the environment.

The ministry and WWF-Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday to support the eco-institute programme in teacher training institutes.

Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Rosli Mohamed said the programme aimed to produce future teachers who were more focused on environmental issues.

“This agreement signifies the cooperation in the 27 teacher training colleges in the country.”

He hoped that both parties would work together to pool ideas and share their experiences in educating teachers who would, in turn, instil the same values in their students.

“It is part of the government’s initiative to transform the education system and expand environmental values with programmes such as the eco-insitute that will continue until 2014.”

The ministry also launched the eco-institute website which will be used to discuss and get feedback.

WWF-Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma said the committees would ensure the smooth running of the programme.

“The committees will be tasked to organise programmes and activities on environmental issues.”

The eco-institute was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in April.
Read more: WWF to help new teachers on environment – General – New Straits Times

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Why allow mining at forest reserve?

Posted on July 23, 2012. Filed under: Forestry/Wetlands |

— Free Malaysia Today– G Vinod

The Sabah Environment Protection Association has questioned the state government’s decision to demote a forest reserve in Tawau and allow private mining operations to be carried out.

PETALING JAYA: Why has the Sabah Forestry Department issued a “whole life” licence to Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd to mine a forest reserve in Tawau when it had rejected its request twice before?

This question aside, the Sabah Environment Protection Association (Sepa) has also criticised the state government’s decision to review the status of the forest reserve in what seems to be a “giving-of-way” to the miner.

Said Sepa spokesman Gary Yap: “When the public complained against quarrying activities in a Class One forest, what surprised us most was to discover that Kukusan forest/Trig Hill reserve was declassified into Class Two by the State Legislative Assembly to allow Hap Seng or its subsidiary to continue operation.

“In fact, not only were they given approval, they were also awarded a whole life operation [15 years] instead of chasing them away or charging them in court.”

Yap said Hap Seng had its licence application rejected twice before but eventually got the nod to blast the hills in May 2011.

“In 2006, Hap Seng Building Material Sdn Bhd applied to DOE [Department of Environment] for quarry operation on Kukusan and in 2007 for pit quarry development at Kukusan and in both cases DOE rejected.

“In May 2011 DOE approved its EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and Hap Seng was given [a licence] for whole life operation.

“This means that until then Hap Seng or its subsidiary was blasting and digging away illegally without a DOE licence, violating the Environment Quality Act 1974, ” Yap said.

Demoted forest reserve

He also asked how the Director of Forestry could have come to the conclusion that Hap Seng’s operation was legal when it had already violated the law.

“In other countries, once a company has violated its law, it is not allowed to operate the business anymore. In our case, we bend the law to accommodate and reward the violator,” he said.

He also expressed puzzlement over the Director of Forestry’s flogging of Section 15 of the Forest Enactment 1968.

“Why is Section 15 so powerful that it allowed Hap Seng, under a Supplementary Agreement, to occupy, quarry and mine our stone in the Kukusan Forest Reserve [155 acres] for 15 years?” he asked.

Yap also criticised the state government’s decision to demote the forest reserve, Kukusan Forest/Trig Hill Reserve from a Class 1 reserve to a Class 2 reserve in 2003.

“Although the Sabah Forest Enactment 1968 empowers the minister to allow miners to work on forest reserves, what guarantee do we have that other forest reserves like the Danun Valley, Maliau Basin and Kinabalu Park will be safe after this?” asked Yap

Class 1 reserve indicates that the land is protected as a forest sanctuary while Class 2 reserves allows mining and logging to be done at the area.

Toxic lake

Yap said that the mining would not benefit Sabahans in general, adding that the stones would be exported to countries like Brunei and Indonesia for higher profits.

He also said that while the government would earn a few million ringgit in tax profits from the mining activity, Hap Seng stands to earn billions from the high-quality stones at the expense of the Tawau people.

Yap also claimed that the mining activity would leave a toxic lake behind, rendering the place unsuitable to be even converted into a recreational park.

“The day will come when our children will need to import inferior quality stones from other countries to build roads, highways, drains and ports,” he said.

Read more:

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E-waste danger looms

Posted on July 23, 2012. Filed under: Waste |

-New Straits Times-

HEALTH THREAT- Discarded handphones and computers contain heavy metals that can seep into the ground

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIANS’ desire for electronic gadgets, especially handphones, is contributing to rising electronic waste, or e-waste.

The Department of Environment said yesterday that discarded handphones should be recycled to avoid environment-related health complications. There are 37 million registered units.

Hazardous substances division director Datin Paduka Che Asmah Ibrahim said discarded phones, computers and washing machinescontainedlead,mercury and cadmium. “If dumped in landfills, these substances will leach out from

the devices and seep into the ground.” She said this would lead to an increased amount of heavy metals in the soil, which would eventually be exposed to humans.

“If exposed for long periods, these metals can cause learning disabilities in children and damage the lungs, kidneys and liver,” she told the New Straits Times. The local scenario was not as alarming as in developed countries, Che Asmah said, adding that the government was monitoring a household e-waste recycling project in Penang before carrying out the system nationwide.

E-waste is regulated under the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations 2005. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said last week that the amount of e-waste generated from the industrial sector in 2009 was 134,000 tonnes, or 7.86 per cent of the total waste generated.

In 2010, the amount of e-waste had increased by 17.9 per cent to 163,000 tonnes, or 8.68 per cent of the total waste generated.

The combined e-waste generated by households, businesses and institutions sector was 592,391 tonnes in 2006, 639,493 tonnes in 2007 and 624,143 tonnes in 2008; the annual average generated was 635,030 tonnes.

“Therefore, there is a need for a proper collection, segregation and recycling e-waste system to manage the waste.”

Uggah said his ministry was monitoring the Penang project, which was under the guidance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“The DOE will use the project, which ends in May, as a model before we use the results for a nationwide collection system and policy development.”

In the project, e-waste is collected from appliance shops, handphone shops and hypermarkets and sent to recycling plants.

– New Straits Times


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No nuclear plant in Penang – Guan Eng

Posted on July 23, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The Malay Mail by A. Sangeetha

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng hopes the federal government will not built a nuclear power plant in Kedah, one of the seven potential sites said to have been identified for the development.

Although Penang was not one of the potential sites mentioned, Lim said the state has always been clear of its position against nuclear energy.

“If Kedah as a Pakatan Rakyat state decided to allow the proliferation of nuclear power plant, then they deserve to be changed,” Lim said.

To prove his point, Lim said he had written to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui to expressed the objection.

“That is why Penang is not one of the potential sites. We have been against the building of nuclear power plants for a long time,” he said, commenting on Malaysian Coalition Against Nuclear’s (MyCan) statement recently that the federal government had identified seven potential sites for the twin-unit nuclear power plants. The spokeperson Dr Ronald McCoy said the seven sites are located in four states – one in Kedah and two each in Perak, Terengganu and Johor.

“In Penang, we care for the people’s health and the environment. We will never sacrifice these for profits. I am sure Kedah state government will object to it,” he said.

Earlier, Lim said Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) spent RM1.1 million to beautify the heritage area in George Town with 52 caricature sculptures depicting the ‘voices of the people’.

“Though the sculptures are black, they add colour to the heritage area. It tells the unique stories of Penang and anyone can understand it regardless of race or age,” he said.

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OVERHAUL the transport system: How many times must the BN be told!

Posted on July 22, 2012. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-Malaysia Chronicle–

Although the BN-led government has been in power for decades since Independence, there is a dire need by the governing authorities to formulate a comprehensive national Transport Master Plan with the aim of ensuring a sustainable environment.

Under the Government Transformation Plan (GTP), several agencies have been entrusted in creating a systematic public transport system in the country.

However, the National Key Results Area on Urban Public Transport, if read carefully, with input from all quarters, shows that the government has failed to address the common complaints facing the public transport system such as reliability, journey times, comfort, convenience, accessibility and connectivity.

Formation of policy planners

In the middle of 2010 the Land Public Transport Commission (LTC) was formed to become a single contact point for policy planning and regulatory oversight.

The LTC was established to resolve the problems of divisional jurisdiction and limitations on matters of land transport, as there are many agencies involved, each with its own complex and complicated vision and aspiration, in matters governing the public transport sector.

Prior to the setting up of the LTC, there were a whopping 15 (fifteen) agencies involved in the public transport sector, which was supposed to have been deliberately done so as to cause confusion and to create the opportunity to fuel corruption and abuses on a widespread scale from the time of the era of the Mahathir regime, as overlapping powers of authority were exercised by the governing authorities.

The fifteen government agencies involved were the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, Transport Ministry’s Land Division, Railways Department, Road Transport Department, Road Safety Department, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety, the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s Urban and Rural Planning Department, the Energy, Technology and Water Ministry, the Department of Environment, the Works Ministry, the Tourism Commissioner, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Ministry as well as state governments and local authority.

It is precisely the unnecessarily complex and complicated structure put in place by the BN government of overseeing the inland transport system in the country that is responsible for a grossly inefficient and badly managed public transport system which has caused many Malaysians to opt for private transport thus contributing further to traffic gridlock.

LTC deemed ineffective

It is necessary for the LTC, a statutory body set up by the Land Public Transport Commission Act 2010, to draw up a comprehensive, one-stop Transport Master Plan as it draws up policies and gets involved in the planning, regulation and enforcement of laws, rules and regulations involving public land transport.

The powers of the LTC are stated in the Public Land Transport Act 2010 which was also passed by Parliament about the same time as the Land Public Transport Act.

However, the commission so far has been ineffective to establish a public transport system that is reliable, efficient, user-friendly, safe and especially that which is sustainable to the environment.

Perhaps the commission still needs time to get onto the right bandwidth. But the rising problems associated with transport woes especially in the Klang Valley is beginning to take its toll on public transport users and commuters are beginning to voice their complains in growing numbers.

The LTC needs to act fast and get its act together quickly to prevent a transport crisis from looming in the country.

Any further delay in providing a better and more comprehensive transport system for Malaysians may witness the collapse or breakdown of the burgeoning transport sector which is rife with gross inadequacies at present.

What transport experts say

Transport experts say what is needed to be undertaken by the LTC is to draw up a comprehensive Transport Master Plan to look into the overall aspects of the transport system in the country.

It is from there that the LTC should be able to formulate an effective strategy putting into place policies to be implemented to ensure the sustainability of the environment vis-à-vis the transport needs of Malaysians.

The drawing up of this Transport Master Plan must take into consideration future aspects of growth and envisage changes in the landscape of the country.

It must be pliable enough to take into account these factors, and along the way, accordingly update and review and formulate strategies to ensure a sustainable environment is in place to cater to the transportation needs of Malaysians.

Experts state that it is evident that Malaysian transport planners engaged by the BN government lack a clear vision of a congestion-free city in Malaysia which the LTC also seems to be clueless of at present.

Emulate successful transport models

They state that Singapore, despite the limited space of the island-state, is able to maintain free flowing traffic at all times of the day or night and enjoy a relativity higher quality of air and there are less pollutants being discharged by the operation of the different modes of their transport system

Singapore’s model of transport may not be wholly suitable to be emulated by Malaysia, but various aspects and measures of its transport system can be adopted by Malaysia, along with studies of the transport models in Japan and Western Europe as they appear to be successful in lowering their carbon emission from public and private transport vehicles to a large extent.

In the final analysis by transport experts in the country, it is argued by them that only a concerted effort and a cooperative approach by all parties in Malaysia will ensure that the country has a transport system that is efficient, comfortable and that which is also sustainable for the environment.

Malaysia Chronicle

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Penang firm partners China’s JiaCheng in JV to produce renewable energy in Msia

Posted on July 17, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

–The Sun– KUALA LUMPUR (July 17, 2012): AT Systematization Bhd, a Penang-based manufacturer and integrator of automated systems, is teaming up with China’s MaoMing JiaCheng Industrial Co Ltd to develop renewable energy in Malaysia.

It will begin with plans by JiaCheng, one of the major players in the renewable energy industry, to expand its production facility by setting up a plant in Malaysia.

JiaCheng chairman Huang Shen said the company would incorporate petrochemical technology such as using ethanol with petroleum to produce renewable energy. Ethanol is 6% cheaper than petrol.

Both companies signed an agreement to seal the deal here today witnessed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz.

According to a press release made available at the signing, both companies would form a joint venture and explore fund-raising through a foreign listing exercise, possibly on the London Stock Exchange, to build the new production facility in Malaysia.

The statement said Malaysia was a suitable choice for the new production facility due to the availability of high quality raw materials which in turn would hopefully provide better production volume and profit yields.

JiaCheng has a current annual production of 600,000 tonnes of renewable energy, supplying to some of the largest and most established companies in China.

Its products include benzene, solvent oil, blending oil, light fuel oil and DM fuel, while its suppliers and customers are established industry players.

Another benefit of the collaboration is that it would complement the global drive, including the government’s drive for a greener future, in line with the green initiatives that the goverment has implemented.

This includes lifting of the import tax for hybrid cars, which will help Malaysia grow into a globally known key place for renewable energy production.

It will also lead to the advantageous transfer of fresh intellectual property and knowledge to develop a new growth sector.

This will increase Malaysia’s role in being the key player whether in production and research and development in the renewable energy industry, the statement said. – Bernama

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Green Technology: Accelerating a sustainable transportation system

Posted on July 17, 2012. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-New Straits Times-

Transportation, public or private, is a topic of much discussion in Malaysia. There is constant talk about the increasing numbers of vehicles on the road, and the subsequent pollution they create. Creating a well-connected capital city and improving connections across the country is one solution to this problem. Another is green transportation.

“Green transportation is extremely important to Malaysia’s economy,” says Ahmad Zairin Ismail, acting CEO of the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (known as GreenTech Malaysia). “The transportation sector is the second biggest emitter of carbon dioxide after the energy sector. The transportation sector is also closely linked to the fuel subsidy. Improvements in fuel efficiency will lead to reducing the economic burden of the fuel subsidy.”

A sustainable solution: While the government has a constant finger on improving the public transportation system, carbon emissions and climate change are issues too big to be ignored even for a moment.

Using green alternatives to fix the current problems in the system ensures that the solutions are long-term, says          Ahmad. Making these solutions long-term includes public awareness and education, and changing mindsets.

“There are various parties that are constantly looking to improve the public transportation system by increasing efficiency not just in terms of convenience to the users but also in terms of energy consumption,” says Ahmad. “The public bus system has recently been looking into more advanced technologies and concepts. A more green-conscious society can be achieved through the application of green technologies to public transportation. It provides the visibility and proof that there are alternatives out there.”

The best example to illustrate both the viability and convenience of introducing green technology to the public transportation system is that of electric busses. Unlike the conventional diesel bus, it does not contribute directly to the carbon emission total and as a bonus there is also a reduction in noise pollution.

There is no doubt that green transportation can reduce the overall consumption of petroleum and diesel in the country. Electric vehicles also provide an avenue for diversifying sources of energy. Electricity does not have to be generated just through conventional means such as coal, gas and distillates. With increased use of green transportation, more opportunities for renewable sources of electricity such as solar and biomass will open up.

A roadmap for the future: To champion the push towards the use of non-emission vehicles to replace the internal combustion engine, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water has appointed GreenTech Malaysia to coordinate the development of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Roadmap.

This EV Roadmap basically outlines the strategies and action plans for infrastructure, required resources, policy and regulation for electric vehicles in Malaysia.

“The EV Roadmap has set a target of 10 per cent electric vehicles for Malaysia by 2020, which is about 100,000 electric vehicles in the country,” says Ahmad. “This is a great opportunity for Malaysia to push forward in the industry and claim a leadership role.”

In developing the EV Roadmap, GreenTech Malaysia consulted with various industry players who have experience in the industry, and best practices from developed nations with more mature electric vehicle policies were studies for comparison.

Malaysia has the advantage of its own car manufacturer, as well as vibrant automotive, electronics and ICT industries, all of which are the key building blocks for the infant electric vehicle industry, elaborates Ahmad. It is important to capitalise on these strengths.

Implementation: The EV Roadmap has been divided into four phases of implementation; Phase 1, the Checklist and Recommendations for Quick Wins, was completed in August last year. Phase 2, which is being carried out now, comprises pilot demonstration projects with Proton, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Phase 3, slated for next year, will see the completion of the detailed roadmap, and Phase 4 will see the Roadmap’s action plans executed with the goal of achieving the 10 per cent electric vehicle target.

Regulatory framework that will allow electric cars to be driven on Malaysian roads is already in place. Currently, as pilot tests on electric busses are already being carried out, the regulatory framework to enable these public transportation vehicles to operate in Malaysian is being developed.

“One of the most important factors that will enable smooth implementation is putting in place proper infrastructure, especially for charging electric vehicles,” says Ahmad. “The charging infrastructure is foreseen to be a mix of normal chargers, fast chargers, and battery swapping, situated at public locations, homes, office buildings and commercial centres.”

Though studies in other countries have indicated that the utilisation of public charging infrastructure low, it is still necessary to develop a highly visible charging infrastructure so as to alleviate the fear of range anxiety in potential electric vehicle users, he reveals.

There will, of course, be a requirement for this infrastructure to meet certain quality standards. A Standards Working Group focusing on electric vehicle charging has already been set up, and several internationally accepted standards are being reviewed for adoption.

The standards will be based on relevant IEC standards, reveals Ahmad. They will be implemented and enforced by local authorities or municipalities as well as relevant commissions. The IEC – International Electrotechnical Commissions – is the standards organisation for all areas of electrotechnology.

Opening doors: All these plans need human capital to see them through. The EV Roadmap is certainly affording great opportunities to several local universities that actively support the industry.

Business opportunities are also rife in the green public transportation sector, from supplying the charging infrastructure hardware and providing charging services to developing new value added digital applications such as route planning, charging station booking, mapping solutions and more. The electric vehicle industry will inevitably spawn local spin-off industries such as motor and controller manufacturing, battery manufacturing, and battery storage energy solutions.

“Our economy is growing rapidly, and the government is continually supporting the growth of new businesses and incentives channelled through the Malaysian Investment Development Authority,” says Ahmad.

The transition into green transportation will not be a quick and easy one for Malaysia, especially taking into account the heavy fuel subsidy that the rakyat is used to; it seems that going green does not currently offer enough benefits for people to make the shift.

But as the fuel subsidy is phased out and the country slowly moves towards normalising the costs of energy, adopting green technology in all sectors will result in more monetary benefits, which will certainly turn the tide. The transition will then start to accelerate. It is only a matter of time before Malaysia’s economy completes its next cycle of evolution.

Read more: Green Technology: Accelerating a sustainable transportation system – Extras – New Straits Times

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