Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Logging in Perak

Logging (Tempoh) from June 08 till Dec 08. Entrance to logging
area at 11.3 km from Grik-Kulim Highway (N5deg 29.236' E101deg 03.886')

Logs and Gunung Kenderong at the background.


Elephant dung just a kilometer from the new highway.

There was so much news on logging in Kedah (read the news below). Penangites are worry too - "Penang fears Kedah logging could jeopardise water supply" (news attached below).

But are you aware that PERAK is also going on a logging spree? How come Penang is not worry that the logging in Perak will affect Penang's water supply too?

Look at the
google map and you could see that the streams and rivers from the present logging sites (the area left of Gunung Kenderong and Gunung Kerunai) in Perak empty into Sg Kupang and joining Sg Muda.

The new highway from Kulim to Grik actually cut through pristine jungle. Wildlife are abundant. On one of my camping cum exploring trip, I saw elephants' dungs and foot prints of large animals like deers, wildboars, bears and heard an unconfirm wild cat (tiger?).

This area around the two mountains (which ironically an important limestone outcrops) is also rich in biodivisity. We have seen fireflies at night and rare hornbills eating bayas fruits in the jungle. A scientific expedition could only reveal more flora and fauna in that area.

If you check the map, with the new highway (still not shown in google map yet), the area has been disected into smaller area. And I wonder whether they can sustain the wild elephants and wildlife. It will come a time when conflict of elephants and human will be seen...and that will be very soon if nothing was done to stop the logging.
Are we going to wait till our water supply jeopardised before we take any action? Is our Pakatan Government really care a hoot about our environment? or are they just like Barisan Najis?


----------News on Logging in Kedah from Staronline------------

Monday June 23, 2008
Kedah told to be alert for loggers

ALOR STAR: The state government has been told to not deal with “environmental culprits” from Sarawak who eye logging tenders in catchments.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) coordinator Mohd Nizam Mahshar claimed that logging companies in Sarawak had bad track records.

He said this in response to Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak’s announcement that the state would hold discussions with a logging company from Sarawak that knew how to carry out selective logging in catchments without causing adverse impact on the environment.

Mohd Nizam said environment groups would go all out to object to the heli-harvesting plan in the 122,000ha Ulu Muda forest reserve that housed the Ahning, Muda and Pedu dams.

“Allowing logging in the area would be a big mistake as it would have far reaching implication on food security, and water supply,” he said.

Azizan, however, has given a personal guarantee that the environment would not be affected as only the old and decaying trees would be removed.

He likened the process as “removing grey hairs.”

“We are merely rejuvenating the forest by removing old trees to make way for new ones,” he said after a ceramah at Muasasah Datul Ulum in Pokok Sena, held in memory of PAS leader Datuk Fadzil Noor who passed away six years ago.

In any case, he said the state would not proceed with the plan without approval from the relevant authorities, including the Department of Environment.

---------
Tuesday June 24, 2008
A folly to log in Kedah just to make ends meet


A COUPLE of years ago the nation was shocked with the image of Lojing in Kelantan; mighty trees and greens of thousands of years fell from the greed of men. After some finger-pointing the news trail turned cold, no one was to blame and no one was to take the responsibility.

Now the new PAS-led government, after winning another state, is reliving the past. Logging in Kedah is not a major industry.

The past state government once planned to log the Muda Reserve but the plan was scrapped over environmental concerns.

But now the same idea has re-emerged and this time by the new government.

It is true that money is needed by the state, not just Kedah, but every other state to ensure a well-run government which in turn would benefit the people. But to destroy something to achieve another is a folly.

HARITH JAMALUDIN @HH,

Sungai Petani.

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Sunday June 22, 2008
Kedah to use heli-harvesting
By SIRA HABIBU


ALOR STAR: The Kedah Government is going ahead with its plan to allow selective logging in the Ulu Muda catchment areas using the heli-harvesting technique.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak, however, assured the public that the catchment areas would still be preserved because only selective logging to remove decaying trees would be allowed.

“We will be using the heli-harvesting technique to remove the decaying old trees that are more than 100 or 200 years old.

“That means we will only be removing a few trees every hectare,” he said.

He said Kedah had no other choice as it had to cope with rising expenditure.

“We are desperate to increase the revenue to make ends meet as the Federal Government is not keeping its promise to pay RM100mil annually in compensation for sparing the catchment areas,” he said.

Azizan said this in response to objections from various quarters against the state’s plan to carry out logging activities in catchments.

Azizan said the state need not carry out selective logging in reserved forests covering 122,000ha if the Federal Government fulfilled the promise made in 2003 to pay RM100mil a year as compensation for preserving the catchment areas.

The Federal Government had paid the money once when Datuk Seri Syed Razak Syed Zain was mentri besar, he said.

On calls by Sahabat Alam Malaysia for the Penang Government to pay compensation to Kedah for preserving catchments that are crucial to ensure continuous water supply to Kedah, Azizan said they would appreciate it if Penang contributed.

“But it is not our intention to disturb Penang and Perlis that are dependent on water sources from Kedah,” he said.

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Saturday June 21, 2008
Penang fears Kedah logging could jeopardise water supply
By ANDREA FILMER and SIRA HABIBU


GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Government wants Kedah to rethink its plan to allow logging in the Muda catchment area because it could jeopardise its water supply.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government was deeply concerned over the move as 80% of Penang raw water came from Sungai Muda.

“We believe that logging in the Muda dam catchment area will have an adverse impact on water resources and utilisation in Penang.

“At a time when our forests are dwindling, logging, especially in catchment areas, is not seen as sustainable development,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He added that the country should be focused on reducing logging, not expanding it.

“I understand that Kedah has been put in a difficult position following the Federal Government’s failure to deliver compensation. However, I feel that conducting RM16bil worth of logging is not a proportionate sentiment,” Lim added.

On Wednesday, Kedah Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak announced that the state would be calling for tenders for logging activities at the Pedu, Muda and Ahning dam catchment areas to cover high state expenditure following the petrol price hike earlier this month.

Azizan said Kedah had to resort to such a move because the Federal Government had failed to deliver annual compensations of RM100mil after the state called off heli-harvesting of timber in the catchment areas in 2003.

Lim said he had instructed Penang Water Supply Corporation General Manager Jaseni Maidinsa to write to Azizan. If necessary, Lim would see him directly.

Jaseni, who was present at the press conference, said Penangites might see the effects of the logging in the next five years if the plan went ahead.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) coordinator Mohd Nizam Mahshar said Penang should pay for the conservation of water catchments since Kedah needed at least RM650mil annually to maintain the Ulu Muda forest reserve.

“As both states are now Pakatan Rakyat states, they should help each other out,” he said.

SAM president S. M. Mohd Idris said the Government should pay a premium to any state government that took measures to protect catchment areas and the biodiversity.

He said 65,000 farming families depended on the irrigation from Ulu Muda, adding that it would have an adverse impact on the current food crisis.
--------------
'I want to make money from God's timber gift'
NST Online
2008/06/26
By : Tan Chew Chin

ALOR STAR: Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak yesterday made light of plans to log RM16 billion in timber logging in the Ulu Muda forest reserve, saying he was missing sleep due to calls from friends on the matter.

He said his friends wanted to know what the fuss was about and that he had told them former menteri besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had once said that Perlis did not have to pay for water as it was a gift from God.
"I am now saying timber is also God's gift and I want to make money from it. What's wrong with that?" he said to laughter from reporters after chairing the weekly state exco meeting at the Padang Terap District Council office near here yesterday. Referring to Kedah Umno Youth chief Md Rawi Abdul Hamid's call for a referendum on the proposed logging of an area twice the size of Singapore, he said "maybe someone just learned the word referendum". He described the call as "unnecessary", adding that referendums were normally held to change the constitution or system of government.

"This is just chopping down a few trees and you want us to hold a referendum?" he asked. Md Rawi was among several people including Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who had asked Azizan to reconsider the proposal.
Several non-governmental organisations, including Sahabat Alam Malaysia and the Malaysian Nature Society, had condemned Azizan's plan to log timber in the water basin.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia honorary secretary R. Meenakshi, who estimated about one million trees would be chopped down, had described Azizan's claim that the proposed logging would be environmentally friendly as "nonsense and untrue". Azizan said his logging plan was not new, but similar to what the former BN state government had proposed in 2002, which was rejected by the cabinet. "We are doing what the former state government was afraid to ask from the Federal Government."
State Secretary Datuk Wira Syed Unan Mashri Syed Abdullah said that the previous Federal Government had failed to honour the cabinet's agreement to pay the state government RM100 million for sparing the forest reserve.
"We have been helping the country preserve the area for clean water. If the Federal Government gives us compensation, we will preserve the forest reserve," he said.
---------------------
Lim says Kedah MB not properly advised
NST Online
2008/06/26
By : Amy Chew reporting from Jakarta

CHIEF Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday accused the Kedah government of working with timber concessionaires from Sarawak close to the Barisan Nasional in water catchment areas in the Ulu Muda forest reserve.

He said Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak should reconsider the idea in view of the link to BN."We hope he will reconsider because he is teaming up with these timber concessions from Sarawak which are closely-linked to BN parties." He said it was ironic Azizan was doing so and that "perhaps he was not properly advised" on the matter.
"After winning power, to be working so closely with BN vested interests is something quite unexpected."
Lim said the DAP was opposed to the move as it would affect water resources in both Kedah and Penang.He was speaking to the New Straits Times in Jakarta after a presentation at the 2nd World Peace Forum yesterday.
The controversy began after Azizan urged the Federal Government to allocate RM100 million annually or face the possibility of logging in water catchment areas in the state.
He had said that the state government was losing millions in revenue because they could not log trees for timber.Azizan, who said that timber near the catchment areas was worth over RM16 billion, ran into criticism for suggesting that the Ulu Muda forest reserve be logged.
Among his fiercest critics was Lim who had said that logging in the area would lead to catastrophic effects, especially at the Muda Dam. Meanwhile, he told the forum that globalisation was a better model for world peace than geopolitics.
"Globalisation creates ideas, the ability to acquire knowledge. Geopolitics decides whether or not we go to war."
--------------------

Bar: Kedah can’t log trees near river reserve
Friday June 27, 2008 MYT 5:16:55 PM
Staronline

PETALING JAYA: The Kedah Government has no right to cut down trees near the Ulu Muda River Reserve as water catchment areas fall under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959, the Malaysian Bar Council said.

Environmental Law Sub-Committee chairman Roger Tan said that while all forest produce on state land were the property of the state government, most states had laws against polluting water catchment areas.

“The reason for this is because the management of water catchment areas will affect the quality and quantity of water,” he said in a statement.

He added that deforestation would cause irreversible ecological damage that would cause soil pollution especially near the Muda Dam.

“Deforestation hastens soil erosion which in turns affects water quality. This then results in higher cost of water treatment,” he said.

Tan added that trees were important for the protection of water catchment, carbon balance, evapo-transpiration, photosynthesis and production of wood.

“It is disappointing to learn that a state government is willing to sacrifice the environment all in the name of development,” he said.

Gerakan is also against Kedah's decision to cut down trees for profit.

“I had objected strongly against a similar move by the Kedah Government in 2002-2003,” party acting president and former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said in a statement.

He added that he had approached then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and then Primary Industries Minister Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik to seek their assistance.

“I had stressed on the importance of the water catchment area to Kedah, Penang and Perlis to the present and future generations,” Dr Koh said.

He said this led to Kedah, which was then governed by the Barisan Nasional, to relent and drop the logging proposal.

Dr Koh urged Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to convince his PAS counterpart in Kedah to abandon the logging plan, adding that Lim should also get Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to assist him.

Foreign workers eating dog meat

Wednesday June 25, 2008
Staronline
By WANI MUTHIAH

KLANG: Stray puppies are ending up as meals for foreign construction workers keen on reducing their food bills.

Indonesian construction worker Wagang Saring said the high prices of food and the need to send as much money to families back home had forced him and his friends to eat pooches.

“Puppies are the best as their meat is tender,” said the 37-year-old Saring. “The meat gives us energy to work at construction sites. Three puppies will do for five men.”

Saring was approached by The Star at a petrol kiosk in Bukit Tinggi after he was seen hitting a puppy with a piece of wood.

He knocked out the puppy with two blows and carried it back to his kongsi where his friends had already built a fire.

Fellow Indonesian worker Marcel Jeheta, 30, said the large number of stray dogs in Klang provided ample supply of meat.

Jeheta, who comes from Flores Island, said dog meat was a popular source of protein back home.

“Dog meat is widely eaten in Flores Island and we continue the practice in Malaysia,” he said.

A check around the construction site found many dogs, mostly females, that appeared to have littered recently . But there were no puppies in sight.

Cleaner Suriyati Norsalim, 40, from central Jawa, was quick to point out that only some Indonesians ate dog meat.

“Only those from Flores Island, who are not Muslims, and some non-Muslim Bataks (from Sumatra) eat dog meat,” she added.

Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Thu, 25, who works at a factory in Klang, said she noticed her countrymen eating more dog meat recently.

She said dog meat was a popular delicacy in Vietnam.

Animal welfare activist Sabrina Yeap said dog eating was gaining momentum among foreign workers because there was no law against it. “It is not illegal and so no action can be taken against those who do so,” she added.

Yeap, who manages the canine sanctuary Furry Friends Farm, said it was time the Government banned dog eating as it involved inhumane killing methods.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let orang asli manage their plantations

Tuesday June 24, 2008
Staronline
By CHRISTINA KOH

THE Perak Government wants the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA) to surrender oil palm and rubber plantation it manages on behalf of the orang asli.

State executive councillor Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu said he was confident that the orang asli were capable of running their own plantations which were currently run by third parties.

“This is not right. The orang asli are professionals and most of them are graduates.

“By right, they should get their land back,” said Mohd Osman, the state Tourism, Hu-man Development and Non-governmental Organisations Committee chairman, after Yayasan Orang Asli Perak’s (YOAP) annual general meeting in Ipoh recently.

He was responding to complaints by YOAP chairman Suki Mee that the orang asli were being victimised as they were not allowed to run their own plantations.

Mohd Osman said he would check the terms and conditions, both federal agencies, to determine if there was a loophole.

Suki said the orang asli had 18 plantations in Perak covering some 7,200ha which had been contracted to Risda Smallholders Plantations Sdn Bhd and other companies to manage.

He said the problem began 15 years ago when the federal government decided to take land reserved for orang asli and develop it through JHEOA on behalf of those who had little capital.

The department then tasked Risda with the job, with the understanding that the plantations would be returned to the orang asli after four years, said Suki.

“But until now, this has not been done. JHEOA tells us that we are not ready or not capable enough. But we are capable. This is our land,” he added.

The orang asli were only given low dividends as infrequently as once a year, said Suki.

He said he planned to propose that the government set up an orang asli advisory committee on all matters that affected the community.

Perak Orang Asli Affairs Department director Mohd Zamri Mustajap could not be reached for comment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sarawak's 12 new dams alarm environmentalists


Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
Jun 19, 08 1:46pm
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/84715

Sarawak has proposed to build 12 massive dams in the next decade to harness its hydroelectric power, putting the state in a collision course with environmentalists.

The bold plan, which has not been made public, has irked activists who fear further destruction to Sarawak’s rainforests - considered as one of the world’s oldest - and the forcible relocation of thousands of indigenous peoples.

While the state does not need more power, it hopes to generate electricity for energy-guzzling industries and for export - both to Peninsular Malaysia and neighbouring Indonesia.

Half of the power produced by the controversial Bakun dam is expected to be consumed by an aluminum smelter to be built in Bintulu by mining multinational Rio Tinto, while the rest will be transported to Peninsular Malaysia through undersea cables.

The mega-smelter is a joint project between Rio Tinto and Cahya Mata Sarawak, a conglomerate owned by family members of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Document made public ‘accidentally’

Sarawak’s bold ambition of generating a colossal 7,000MW of electricity between 2008 and 2020 - which include the 2,400MW Bakun dam - was unwittingly revealed in document made available on a China-based website.

The document appeared to be a slide presentation made by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) managing director Abdul Aziz Husain in October last year at the China-Asean Power Cooperation and Development Forum in Nanning, China.

According to Abdul Aziz, Sarawak's rivers have the potential to generate a total of 20,000KW of power.

Published ‘accidentally’ on the website dedicated to the international forum, it was discovered by Switzerland-based NGO Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF).

According to BMF, an organisation set up by Swiss environmentalist Burno Manser who spent six years with Sarawak’s Penan and subsequently went missing in 2000, the document has since been removed.

But before the document was taken down, BMF was able to make a copy and it is now made available on the organisation’s website [available as PDF file].

A quick search on the Internet revealed such a document - entitled ‘Chinese Power Plants in Malaysia – Present & Future Development’ - had existed, but can no longer be found.

Mulu National Park at risk

The 48-page document provides the specific locations of the 12 new hydropower plants, aside from Bakun dam, which is to be completed in 2010 [see map].

The construction of the RM3.2 billion Bakun dam - the region’s largest dam - wiped out a swatch of rainforests the size of Singapore and displaced 10,000 indigenous peoples.

Understandably, environmentalists fear the worst on hearing the state government’s proposal for another dozen of hydropower plants.

If the plan, described by BMF as “excessive”, is to proceed, hundreds of Sarawak’s native communities in Sarawak’s interior will lose their traditional lands and have to be relocated to elsewhere.

“It is to be expected that all of the proposed dams will adversely affect indigenous communities living in Borneo's unique tropical rainforest environment,” warned BMF in a press statement.

National treasures such as the world-renowned Mulu National Park may also fall victim when parts of it will be submerged under the planned 220 megawatts dam on the Tutoh river in northeastern Sarawak.

The Mulu National Park is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as a world heritage site because of its biodiversity and its extensive network of caves.

No public participation in EIAs

BMF slammed the state government for its lack of transparency in land and forest matters, pointing out that Sarawak legislation does not obligate developers to include public participation in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process.

The NGO also decried that the natives, as in the past, are likely to be “doomed to pay the price for the production of export energy”.

None of SEB’s top officials, including Abdul Aziz, could be reached for comments.

Meanwhile, state DAP deputy chairperson Chiew Chin Sing said the state government should put the interests of Sarawak people before those of multinational corporations.

The Kidurong state assemblyperson added that delivering electricity through 700km of undersea cables to Peninsular Malaysia would result in tremendous wastage.

“Also we cannot deny the indigenous communities their right to their land,” Chiew told Malaysiakini yesterday.

Positive Impact of Petrol Price

This is a positive news for Mother Earth.
I was using the Penang Bridge yesterday at 5.30pm and was quite surprised that there was not many vehicles.


------------------

Fewer vehicles on Penang Bridge
Friday June 20, 2008
Staronline
By PRISCILLA DIELENBERG

SINCE the fuel price increase, the number of vehicles using Penang Bridge daily has dropped by about 4,000 each way.

A spokesman for Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd (PBSB) said statistics on the one-way volume showed that about 63,000 vehicles now used the bridge daily.

“We also noticed that the toll plazas in Butterworth are no longer as congested as before,” she said.

Traffic situation along the coastal highway leading to the Penang Bridge is markedly less after the fuel price hike.

She said the impact was positive.

Traffic flow was smoother, especially during the peak hours, she added.

“However, it was not so good for PBSB in terms of revenue collection,'' she said.

Marketing executive Fatimah Yusoff, 40, who lives in Sungai Petani and works in Bayan Baru, said that before the price hike, she usually reached Penang Bridge at about 8.30am and would be stuck in a bumper-to-bumper crawl until the midspan of the bridge.

“On bad days, it took 30 to 45 minutes to get past that stretch, compared with 15 minutes now. After the price hike, I don't see traffic jams and there seems to be fewer cars but more motorcycles on the bridge.

“Now the traffic is so smooth that I don't even have time to look at my watch,” she said.

Fatimah, who drives a Perodua Viva, said a full tank used to cost her about RM55 and lasted five working days, but now a full tank cost about RM70.

Factory worker Y.T. Ong, 24, said she used to spend about RM50 on toll and petrol for a round trip from Penang island where she works to her hometown in Alor Star twice a month before the price hike.

Almost empty: The coastal road leading to Penang Bridge was almost free of vehibles when the photograph was taken at 6.45pm on June 18.

“Nowadays, I just take an ex-press bus from the Butterworth jetty to Alor Star town and back. It only costs me RM7.50 one-way,” she said, adding that her mother also helped to identify some friends from the same neighbourhood working in Pe-nang so that they could carpool and take turns to drive home together.

Sales executive Jeremy Ng, 52, said he used to experience very bad traffic jams upon leaving his office in Bayan Lepas around 7pm to 8pm daily.

“Now, traffic is very smooth and it only takes me less than 15 minutes to arrive home in Green Lane,” he said.

Ng said he cut down on his driving to save on petrol and only drove for official work purposes or when necessary.

He said he also switched off the air-conditioner to get 20% to 30% of extra mileage.

Perak halts logging after protests

Friday June 20, 2008
Staronline
By CLARA CHOOI

GOPENG: The Perak government has issued an immediate stop-work order to all parties involved in logging near orang asli settlements here.

But that may not be enough to end the longstanding problems faced by some 2,000 villagers.

Yesterday, however, the villagers had an opportunity to vent their frustrations during a site visit by Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman A. Sivanesan, Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, government representatives, and activists.

Also present were officials from Gopeng Bhd, which has come under fire for removing a 14.5km long pipeline, which had run from the Ulu Geroh water catchment area to Gopeng town since November.

The villagers from Kampung Ulu Kampar, Kampung Ulu Geroh and Kampung Serkal alleged they had been victimised and threatened to resort to “violent action” if the “intrusion on their lands” continued.

“We do not want this anymore. No more logging. No more destruction of our ancestral grounds, our crops, our water source, our rivers, our businesses and our lives,” said nature guide Ahha Bah Udal.

The villagers claimed that the recent approval for a 136.72ha logging concession in Kg Empang Besar to a company would further destroy their lands.

“When Gopeng Bhd removed their pipeline, they destroyed our roads and our rivers with the sludge from their construction.

“Now they want to log this area. We will not accept this,” said Ulu Geroh village development and security committee chairman Bah Azmi Ng Porgi, who spoke on behalf of the villagers.

A visit to several areas yesterday showed hill slopes on the verge of slipping, clogged and murky rivers and a crumbling bridge.

Upon seeing the damage, Sivanesan issued an immediate stop work order pending a meeting to study the matter and its legal implications.

“This order is temporary and will be in force for two weeks.

“I need to study the approval given by the Forestry Department and any of the stipulated guidelines the contractor may or may not have breached.

“If the state finds any form of violation, we reserve the right to withdraw the logging approval and order for compensation for the damage caused,” he said.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Politics Hurting Environment

Sad. Sad day for Kedah, a northern state in Peninsular Malaysia. When politics of hate and revenge by the AMNO will be hurting our environment. These f**kers never have the interest of Malaysia. They are the real traitors to Malaysia. We should condemn them to hell. Read the story below:
A Federation of Independent Malay States in the making
Posted by Super Admin
Thursday, 19 June 2008
http://www.malaysia-today.net/2008/content/view/8997/1/

Kedah approves logging activities
By EMBUN MAJID, The Star

The Kedah Government has approved logging activities at the Pedu, Muda and Ahning dam catchment areas, a move that is expected to generate about RM16 billion in revenue for the state. Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak said the move was necessary to cover the high expenditure incurred by the state following the petrol price increase.

He added that the state would call for tenders soon and award the logging contract to the highest bidder. “We will discuss the logging method to be used with the Forestry Department,” he told newsmen after chairing the state executive council meeting yesterday.

He added that the Federal Government had promised to pay an annual compensation of RM100 million in 2003 following the state’s decision to cancel its proposed heli-harvesting project to log timber in catchment areas. “However, until now the payment has not been made. We have also asked the Federal Government for financial assistance for the water supply to Penang and Perlis and for the rice we are producing for the country. Since the Government cannot assist us financially, we will carry on with the logging activities,” Azizan added.

*************************************************

This is what happens when the federal government squeezes the opposition-led states and denies it the funding it requires. The federal government seems to forget that the granting of funds to the states should not be tied to which political party is running those states. The granting of funds to the states is a clause in the Federation Agreement.

At one time, the Malay states were independent and were known as the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States, or the Unfederated Malay States. Then they all agreed to merge into the Federation of Malaya. In doing so the states agreed to relinquish certain rights like national defence, security and foreign policy while they retained certain rights like land matters, natural resources and religion. Each state would then be given an annual grant plus loans for development, calculated based on the size of its population.

These were the terms agreed in the Federation Agreement and which was the basis for all the states to merge under the Federation of Malaya. And any first-year law student can tell you that an agreement made on the basis of mutual consent can no doubt be changed with the signing of a supplementary agreement, but must also be based on mutual consent. One party can’t unilaterally change the terms of the agreement without the consent of the other party. In the event one party violates the terms of the agreement, then the aggrieved party can either give notice for the termination of the agreement or sue for specific performance, with or without damages (unless there is a specific clause in the agreement that stipulates what happens when there is a breach -- like going for international arbitration, etc.).

Therefore, in this spirit, the federal government has no choice but to give the states grants and loans for development. If the federal government fails to do so then, for all intents and purposes, the federal government has violated the terms of the Federation. And the states will therefore also have no choice but to fend for themselves the best way they can -- which will include cutting down all the trees to turn them into much-needed cash with which to pay for the cost of running the states and to finance development.

Oil and gas is a state resource. Under the terms of the Federation Agreement, oil and gas, which is a state resource, belongs to the states, 100% (just like water, timber, tin, iron, gold, coal, etc.). However, in 1974, the federal government nationalised oil and gas and then forced all the 13 states to sign an agreement with Petronas -- whereby the newly created national oil company will become the owner of all the oil in gas and the states would just enjoy a 5% ‘commission’. Later, the states were forced to sign a supplementary agreement stating that the 5% ‘commission’ would be officially and legally called ‘royalty’.

The states really had no choice in the matter. This was not mutually agreed. What the federal government did was to pass a law in Parliament called the Petroleum Development Act 1974. By law, the states had to relinquish all rights over oil and gas and the federal government, through Petronas, took what belonged to the states ‘by force’. That not being enough, the federal government even violated the Petroleum Development Act plus also the agreement that the states were forced to sign with Petronas. In 2000, the federal government cancelled the 5% royalty due to Terengganu and handed it over to Umno to manage. And they also changed the name ‘royalty’ to ‘goodwill money’ -- which does not appear anywhere in the Petroleum Development Act or the agreement the states were forced to sign with Petronas.

Yes, the federal government has, time and time again, violated the terms of the Federation Agreement. And they violated it again in 1974 by nationalising a state resource -- oil and gas. And they violated it yet again in 2000 by cancelling the 5% royalty in spite of the 5% being morally wrong in the first place (but made legally right through an Act of Parliament). And now, after the 8 March 2008 general election, the federal government is up to its tricks again by denying the opposition-led states the funds it is legally obligated to give the states.

Sure, the states can’t send the federal government a notice of breach of agreement with 30 days notice to terminate the federation or to sue the federal government for specific performance and possibly for damages as well. But it can do the next best thing. The states still have land, water, timber, tin, gold, iron, coal, and much more. The jungles bordering Kedah, Perak and Kelantan are rich in resources, much of it explored but untouched since the beginning of time. The states can open up these lands and exploit whatever they can find there, timber included. The states have no choice but to do this. But what a great loss to the world when after some time not a single tree is left standing in this country and Malaysia eventually turns into a hot desert and Malaysia’s contribution to global warming will turn this world into a mess.

What will happen when there are no longer any trees in the catchment areas? Well, there will no longer be any rain and the dams will dry up. Then water will cost more than petrol like in Saudi Arabia. And this will happen because Umno wants to punish the opposition-led states by denying it funds although, when these states joined the Federation of Malaya in 1957, it was agreed that the states would receive funding and the agreement did not say that funding will be given only on condition that Umno rules these states.

Sabah too has been expressing its unhappiness all these many years but the grumblings of the Sabahans have fallen on deaf ears. But Sabahans no longer want to take any shit just like how the Sultan of Terengganu decided he too will no longer take any shit and he made this very clear by rejecting Umno’s choice of Menteri Besar. Now, Umno is going to return the 5% oil royalty it stole from Terengganu since 2000. But Terengganu does not want just the 2008 royalty. They want the royalty stolen since 2000, which comes to about RM7 billion, or RM8 billion with this year’s included.

Okay, if Umno does not want the eight Members of Parliament and 28 State Assemblymen from Terengganu to leave Barisan Nasional and become ‘independents’, then the federal government has to hand over RM8 billion this year. If not, then Terengganu Darul Ehsan will become the Independent Sultanate of Terengganu. The ball is at Umno’s feet.

Sabah too is pressing for the federal government to not only honour the Federation Agreement but the 20-point Agreement as well. Under the 20-point Agreement, Sabah is not one of the states of Malaysia equivalent to Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak or Selangor. Sabah is equivalent to Malaya.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the matter:

The 20-point Agreement was written for the main purpose of safeguarding the interests, rights, and the autonomy of the people of Sabah upon entering the Federation of Malaysia. It was originally envisaged that Sabah will be one of the four entities in the Federation, the others being Malaya, Singapore, and Sarawak. However, as times passed, Sabah and Sarawak ended up being merely one of the 13 states in the Federation.

Many do not understand this very important fact. Sabah is not a state as such. Sabah is of the same status as Malaya. Sabah lawyers can freely practice in Kuala Lumpur but Kuala Lumpur lawyers need permission to practice in Sabah. Sabahans can freely travel to West Malaysia but West Malaysians can be denied entry into Sabah (once upon a time West Malaysians needed to show their international passport before they could enter Sabah).

Is this unfair and smacks of double standards? This was what was agreed when Sabah teamed up with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia. Whether it is fair or not is not the issue. The issue is: this was what was agreed and if it is not fair then why agree to it? You can’t agree to something, fair or unfair, just to entice a state to join the Federation and then, after it has joined, you scream about the terms being unfair and unilaterally change the terms against the wishes of the other party.

And this is what the federal government has been doing all this while. It unilaterally changes the terms of the agreement and forces the states to agree to these changes. If also forces the states to sign contracts that are one-sided and a breach of the Federation Agreement or the 20-point Agreement. But now the states are fighting back. Now the states will no longer take any shit. And this is what is happening in the Terengganu, Kedah and Sabah situations. The aggrieved parties are fighting back as they rightfully should. And Terengganu wants back its RM7 billion. Kedah is going to cut down all its trees. Sabah will go for a new government that can increase its 5% royalty to 20% (which should be 100% in the first place) plus a government that can honour the 20-point Agreement, which was the basis for it to team up with Malaya to form Malaysia.
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Friday June 20, 2008
Green groups oppose Kedah plan
Staronline


ALOR STAR: Environmental groups are against the Kedah government’s plan to allow logging at the Pedu, Muda and Ahning dam catchment areas, claiming it will be detrimental to the environment.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Kedah branch chairman Phang Fatt Khow yesterday urged the Pakatan Rakyat state government to reconsider the move to protect water catchment areas as well the surrounding bio-diversity.
“We are against the state’s plan to allow logging because in the long run, it may jeopardise water supply for padi cultivation,” Phang said.
He however agreed that the state should receive compensation from the Federal Government if it had to sacrifice the logging contracts to protect the environment.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris also cautioned against allowing logging at catchment areas as it would cause problems such as water pollution, flooding or droughts.
Yesterday Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak said the state government would scrap its logging plan if the Federal Government paid the state RM100mil annually as promised.
“We have to carry out logging because we need the money to run the state and conduct development for the people. But if we can have other revenue, then we won’t need to do it,” he told newsmen after visiting SK Suka Menanti here.
Azizan had on Wednesday, announced that the state government had approved logging activities at the dam catchment areas which would contribute about RM16bil in revenue for the state.
He had said the move was necessary to cover the high expenditure incurred by the state following the petrol price increase.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Problem or Solution

I received a notice of AGM from MNS (Malaysian Nature Society) today. In it, there was a Proxy Form for a vote on a resolution for the change in membership fee. The proposed membership rate will be RM90.00 from the present RM60.00

Yes, fuel prices increased. And now expenses to run the society increased too.

What I am not happy is the wastage and the ignorant on the concept - conservation and thriftiness.

As a member for at least 20 years now, I have seen council members adopting environment friendly newsletters - using cheap envelopes and cheap papers.

But I don't see any initiative being done now - though it is only a small issue, by huge numbers, it will be costly and a waste on resources. Money should be well spent on conservation and not on expensive newsletters.

But today when I received this notice of AGM, I am heartbroken.

Why did the council use expensive papers and quality envelope? Why use A3 paper? Is it cheaper using A3 paper? Why use a windowed envelope but my address on a sticker was pasted over the transparent window? Is the transparent windowed envelope cheaper?

Why is there no thriftiness in such a small matter? If there is no thriftiness, I doubt there will be much thriftiness in running this nature society.

Is my society now creating more problems? or providing solutions? You decide.

If you are a member, please vote AGAINST the resolution.

Jungle clearing driving ’em out

Saturday June 14, 2008
Staronline
By RASLAN BAHAROM

RAMPANT jungle clearing activities and shortage of fruits in the jungle are forcing wild monkeys into Taiping town to scavenge for food.

Residents in the Larut Matang and Selama district said garbage bins in the town area seemed to be the monkeys’ favourite haunt.

At a dialogue called by Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, residents urged the authorities to look into the clearing activities at the jungle fringes to check the menace.

“Wild monkeys are not only endangering the safety of pedestrians and children but are also trespassing into kitchens to steal what-ever food available,” said a resident.

Kuala Sepetang assemblyman Tai Sing Ng said an operation would be mounted soon to rid the town of wild monkeys following complaints over their growing population.

Tai urged those facing the problem to get in touch with their respective village heads.

“The village chief must report the presence of the monkeys so that an operation can be launched in the affected location,” he said.

Meanwhile, checks at the foot of Bukit Larut in Taiping showed the monkeys being fed with titbits by visitors.

Taiping zoo director Dr Kevin Lazarus advised visitors to stop feeding the monkeys as the act would make them dependent on human beings for survival.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Indonesian caught with pangolin, snakeskins jailed in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur - A Malaysian court sentenced an Indonesian fisherman to 32 months in prison after his boat was found to be carrying scales and skins of pangolins, snakes and monitor lizards, a news report said Tuesday. Zulkarnain Ajib, 43, pleaded guilty to possessing six sacks of Sunda Pangolin scales weighing 199.9 kilograms, 137 pieces of python skin and 100 pieces of water monitor lizard skins, the New Straits Times daily said.

Malaysian marine police raided Ajib's boat on June 3 and discovered the goods, believed to be bound for sale in neighbouring countries.

The animals were believed to have been caught in Malaysian jungles, the report said.

Six other Indonesian fishermen onboard the same vessel at the time of the arrest pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Copyright, respective author or news agency
Source: http: //www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/211256,indonesian-caught-with-pangolin-snakeskins-jailed-in-malaysia.html

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This is only the tip of a huge iceberg. Massive illegals putting up in forests and jungle fringes hiding away from the authorities, working for farms, factories and construction industries are putting an irreversible lost on our wildlife population. I see nothing being done to overcome this issue.
Here were some of the issues I highlighted before:
1. Between 2001-2003, Indonesians workers in the Penang National Park having an enjoyable feast of bats and birds. Mist nets were seen near their squatters. The fu*king park authority must be lame lazy not to keep an eye on the contractor. I wondered what other animals did they feast on other than the bats and birds.
2. Last year 2007, Myanmar workers working on the illegal road at Penang Hill stayed in huts along the forest edge. Animal traps were seen near the vicinity. Trees were tapped for sap on the heritage trail - Moniot Road. The fu*king forest authority don't seem to know about it. We complained about the illegal road and they tried to intimidate us.
3. Last year 2007 (not sure they are still there), Myanmar farmers working in farms along the Mengkuang Dam catchment area were chopping trees and bamboo to build huts. Fishing spots were found near the dam.
Imagine for a small state in Penang with so many illegal foreigners around - and if we duplicate the same senario (hiding and staying in forests and jungles) all over Malaysia....what do you think the rate of disappearance of our wildlife?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Water Wastage

I save water everyday as much as I can. In the public toilets, I had many times closed the dripping taps. Some taps were running as if water was free. I don't understand why some people are so inconsiderate.

I have been using less water at home.

But, I come to think of it, the water wastage, the free flowing water, everywhere....get me wondering. Is it worth my effort to save a little while there you see so many wastages. Water flowing by hours and by days into the drain.

Let me show you some wastages.

Picture below was taken yesterday (4th June 2008) at Mak Mandin, Butterworth. Fuel price was announnced by PM. I was cruising along Jalan Raja Uda and there was a big congestion at a petrol station as everyone is trying to fill up their tanks. I make a diversion and ended up in a small lane. And here I aw a leaking pipe...not 1 but 3 leaks.
Watch the video of the 3 leaking pipes below.

video

Below: Early yesterday, along the main road at Bagan Jermal, Butterworth there was this huge gust of water from the ground. Nobody living beside this water wastage seemed to take any notice. When I phoned the water authority, it was the first report.
Below: This leakage was found below the Jelutong Expressway Bridge over Sg Pinang, just a stone throw from JKR. Apparently, some people are using the free flowing water for bathing.

Below: Just 5 meters from the manhole above, another leakage from a huge pipe. Water was flowing none stop. I haven't followup on this leakage yet.



Another terrible leakage was at Jalan Thomas, Bukit Dumbar which was below the Bukit Dumbar reservoir - the PBA office. Imagine people working there are not aware of this leakage and it needs someone living in Butterworth to report his water leak. Well, metal thief had stolen the valve.



It hurts when you make an effort to save as much as you can but the little that we saved cannot compare to the enormous wastages as seen above. So, should I continue to save and report water leakage? Or just keep my busy body business and shut up? What's your say?

I had the water utility phone number in my phone book. And I always call this number (04-5096509) to report. I think I have been reporting many cases. I wasted my time, my phone bill and still finding so much water leakage everywhere I went.
Don't tell me not even one worker or staff from the water authority that does not use the same road as I used? Selfish of the employees!
I reported the water wastage not because I wanted to enrich the utility company - but my love for enviroment, the scarcity of water and our future hinged on this beautiful natural resources - waste not a drop, ok!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Garbage, Garbage, O Garbage

June 5 is World Environment Day. We have nothing to celebrate and be joyous on June 5. We should not. We should be mourning.
Garbage is hurting Mother Earth everywhere. It hurts and kills fauna and indirectly human. Lets us think again for a moment. Is this what we want?
There are many celebrations - Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Birthday Day, and many DAYs..... all are for commercial interest. You buy to celebrate. You buy flowers in plastic wrappers. You buy toys in boxes. You eat with plastic cups, plastic plates and plastic spoons. All are thrown after use.

Rubbish floating on a canal going out into the sea in Penang.

Orang asli can protect ‘treasures’

Staronline
Tuesday June 3, 2008
By IVAN LOH

THE orang asli residing in the Royal Belum Forest Reserve can be a valuable ally in protecting the many ‘treasures’ of the forest.

Perak police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said the indigenous community could provide information to police on any illegal logging or criminal activities that happened around the forest.

DCP Zulkifli said the orang asli were living in a strategic place in the forest reserve where many valuable products of the forest were found.

The valuable treasures, he said, provided a livelihood for the orang asli, adding that sandalwood, rattan, and the highly prized agarwood (gaharu) were well sought after,

“We do not want any unscrupulous individuals coming into the forest and taking away the local products,” he said, after visiting the Jahai tribe at the Kampung Sungai Kijar in the forest recently.

“We need to look after the orang asli as well,” he added.

DCP Zulkifli said the orang asli were living a very basic life and outsiders with bad intent could easily influence them.

He said marine police from the beat base in Banding would be making their rounds around the area and reaching out to them.

“They will be keeping in touch with them and at the same time get information on what is going on in the forest,” he said.

DCP Zulkifli, district police chiefs, and police department heads had visited the orang asli settlement with their spouses after their monthly meeting at the Belum Rainforest Resort on Banding Is-land.

The police also presented the orang asli with hampers and gifts.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Tropical forests in Indonesia and Malaysia being axed in favour of palm oil

Malaysia Sun
Monday 2nd June, 2008
(ANI)

London, June 2 : A report in New Scientist has determined that tropical forests in Indonesia and Malaysia are being axed in favour of palm oil.

Between 1990 and 2005 palm plantations rocketed by 1.87 million hectares in Malaysia and by more than 3 million hectares in Indonesia.

With the help of data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Lian Pin Koh at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and David Wilcove of Princeton University in the US, found that more than half the palm plantations came at the expense of forests.

These include the largely pristine, intact forest in Indonesia and previously logged forest in Malaysia.

The rest of the expansion covered pre-existing cropland.

According to the report, the European Commission is drafting a law to ban imports of palm oil crops grown on intact tropical forests.

But, according to researchers, logged forests support nearly as much biodiversity as primary forests, and should also be protected.

Green Acts to save our Mother Earth

I received an email that I would like to share it.

力行減碳333 常保地球999

從前 有一片美麗的大地
因爲地球暖化
海鷗 不見了
企鵝 不見了
海豹 不見了
美麗的生命 正在消失
讓我們一同為地球尋找希望

There was once a beautiful land
Because of Global Warming
Sea gull disappeared
Penguins are gone
Seals are missing
Beautiful life is disappearing
Let us together find hope for our Earth


證嚴上人呼籲:
疼惜大地,我們每個人都有責任。我希望大家都有更大的環保意識,不但要了解問題的起因,更要付諸行動,決不要輕視一己之力。只要人人一起做,全世界人類總合起來,其力量是非常大的!地球的安危,也是人類的安危;唯有地球平安,人類才能平安。

Master Cheng Yen's appeal:
Protecting the environment is a responsibility that all of us share. I hope everyone can live with greater environmental awareness. It is a simple concept, but if we can all put it into practice, the impact can be profound and far-reaching. Only when our world is free of disaster, will mankind be safe.

力行減碳333 常保地球999
333 Green Acts to save our Mother Earth


(1)飲食 Mindful Eating
不肉食 Try vegetarianism
吃低碳里程食物 Purchase local food
不浪費 Reduce food waste

(2)節能 Eco-Friendly Living
少開車,騎腳踏車,多利用公共交通 Drive less, ride bicycle or take public transportation
省水省電 Conserve water, electricity
惜紙 Reduce paper consumption

(3)消費 Frugal Living
不追求流行 Do not pursuit trendy material, buy only what you need
延續物命 Extend product lifespan (repair)
不使用一次性商品 Reduce use of disposable items