Sunday, March 30, 2008

Protected animal parts seized, poacher held

Star Online
Sunday March 30, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) confiscated body parts of protected animals worth about RM10,000 during a raid on a house in Batu Caves, Selangor, on Friday evening.

The department also arrested a man and seized a homemade firearm, 84 bullets of various calibres and an instrument believe to have been used to lure the animals.

Among the body parts confiscated were that of deer, mouse deer and porcupines. Also taken into custody were three hides, two pairs of horns and some wildlife meat. The parts were said to be for sale.

Perhilitan’s law and enforcement division director Sivanathan Elagupillay told newsmen yesterday that he believed the man, who was in his 50s, had been poaching for quite some time.
The punishment for having the three animals was a nine-year prison term or a fine of RM9,000 or both, upon conviction.

Those with information on crimes related to protected wildlife are urged to call or SMS Perhilitan at 019-356 4194. – Bernama

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sarawak goes high-tech to protect forests

If you have been to any protected area, you will notice that it is not easy to enter the rich timber area. There are Forestry Officers manning the area. While you and me are not allow into the area, you will be surpised to see large San Tai Wong (timber lorries) in the vicinity.
You and me always know that high tech devices in government department never really work when needed. Perhaps they work for a year or two before the devices kaput. So when a Forestry Department talk about enforcement using high-tech toys, it could be another case of wastage of public fund. How much training to use PDA and the software? How much wastage for the maintanence? Only time will tell.
Read the story below:


KUCHING: Sarawak's Forest Department is going high-tech in its enforcement against encroachment and illegal logging activities in protected areas.

Its monitoring, enforcement and prevention (MEP) system, which was unveiled during the state-level commemoration of World Forestry Day on Monday, incorporates remote sensing, image processing, mobile mapping and web-based applications to detect illegal activities.
The data is then sent to field officers via a web-based platform from which it will be downloaded to a mobile component such as a PDA.

State director of forests Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the MEP system had been developed by the department using the latest available technology.

"This system cannot operate on its own but it has to be backed up with ground enforcement. To respond to the data, we have helicopters which we can use to drop our officers in a matter of hours," he told reporters after the commemoration ceremony at Sumber Alam Sanctuary here.
With the system in place, he added, the department aimed to minimise encroachment into national parks and other protected areas in the state.

Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the system was in line with the department's efforts to strengthen its enforcement capabilities.
However, he added that enforcement alone was not enough and cooperation from the public was needed as well.

"People must give information with regard to illegal activities so that we can act fast. We don't want to see our protected areas encroached into as this will affect efforts to sustainably manage our forests," he said.

Source: Star Online Monday March 24

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Groups ditch forestry consultation process

NGOs have been used by the Government to hookwink the international communities. Thank God, we still have people who still believe in the fight for the environment in Malaysia. Read this article:

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz Mar 19, 08 7:10pm
Source: Malaysiakini

A multi-stakeholder consultation on ways to prevent the import of illegal timber into Europe came to an abrupt end when two coalitions walked out of the process that had begun last June.

Yesterday, the coalitions - JOANGOHutan and Joas - comprising representatives of indigenous peoples and environmental groups alleged that their presence was aimed only at endorsing a flawed process rather than being allowed to improve it through input.

The plantation industries and commodities ministry has spearheaded consultations with interest-groups since June 22 last year.

The aim is to incorporate their views into the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on timber imports which the government hopes to conclude with the European Commission (EC).

The VPA comes under the EC’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan, a larger European Union (EU) initiative to stop imports of illegally-sourced timber.

It is said that more than 50 percent of all tropical timber and more than 20 percent of boreal timber coming into the EU is illegally-sourced.

However, one activist said the government agencies have not included all the proposals of the lobby groups in the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS), on which the issuance of licences will be based.

“They told us that our proposals would be taken into consideration,” said Sarawak Dayak Iban Association secretary-general Nicholas Mujah when met in Kuala Lumpur today.

“But all this while, most of our concerns and proposals have not been written into the documents at all.”

One of the most significant proposals concern the definition of ‘legal timber’.

The current VPA defines ‘legal timber’ as that ‘harvested by licensed person from approved areas and timber and timber products exported in accordance with the laws, regulations and procedures pertaining to forestry, timber industry and trade of Malaysia’.

Many groups have pointed out, however, that such a definition ignores the incidence of smuggled timber that has been certified as legal in Malaysia.

It also ignores the fact that logging licences have often been issued on land claimed by indigenous communities without their free, prior and informed consent.

JOANGOHutan and Joas had proposed that Malaysian legal timber be defined as that originating from within Malaysia and from lands free from aboriginal or native customary claims.

This definition was not incorporated into the draft TLAS, said Mujah.

‘Meet minimum demand’

Centre for Orang Asli Concerns coordinator Colin Nicholas said the government’s refusal to use the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954 to further define legal timber similarly showed its lack of seriousness to incorporate their views and input.

According to the Act, no licence for the collection of forest produce shall be issued to anyone who is ‘not being aborigines normally resident in that aboriginal area’ without consulting the director-general of the Department of Orang Asli Affairs.

The Act also provides that ‘in granting any such licence it may be ordered that a specified proportion of aboriginal labour be employed’. The government rejected this, however, and contended that the National Forestry Act 1984 - which does not provide for such extensive protection of Orang Asli interests - is “sufficient”.

Commenting on this, Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Association information chief Norya Abas said it was ridiculous to use the Forestry Act to protect human communities. “The Act is to protect the forest. It doesn’t protect the Orang Asli communities that live in them, as does the Orang Asli Act,” he said.

In a joint statement issued yesterday to the chairperson of the consultative process, the coalitions said the issue of defining what constitutes legal timber is only one of their ‘minimum’ demands.

“... A definition which merely requires parties to abide by the law as set out in statutory provisions is simplistic and fails to deal with the real issue,” they said.

The real issue pertains to “respect for the Orang Asal as a people, as an autonomous community with our own customs, laws and institutions and the need to ensure that governmental actions do not jeopardise the very survival of our community but provide for the socio economic upliftment of the same”.

“In view of this unacceptable censuring, we are left with no choice but to officially withdraw from this process until our minimum demand is met. We refuse to continue to participate in a process that is making decisions over our lives and yet expects our participation to be mere endorsement of a process that does not respect us.”

The coalitions had planned to meet ministry officials over the matter today, but the appointment was called off by the ministry. Its spokesperson declined to give reasons, when contacted.

Penan chief's death: Police findings queried

After months of uncertainty, Sarawak police have deemed that the death of Penan anti-logging activist Kelesau Naan was not due to foul play but “natural causes”.

In a March 16 New Straits Times report, acting Sarawak CID chief Zainuddin Zainal said a post-mortem report indicated Kelesau (photo) had died of natural causes.

The pathologist, however, found it difficult to ascertain the exact cause of death as the skeletal remains were incomplete, the report said.

Peninsula-based human rights group Suaram, however, says this raises more questions than answers. Noting that the police had arrived at the same conclusion two months earlier - even before forensics experts had examined the remains of the body - Suaram urged the police to demonstrate that its probe had been thorough and transparent.

Kelesau, 80, had gone missing on Oct 23 last year after telling his wife, Uding Lidem, that he was going to check on an animal trap he had set near their hut. When he did not return, the villagers mounted an extensive search using tracker dogs.

On Dec 17, they discovered Kelesau’s skull and the bones of his thighs, ribs and hands which suddenly surfaced near Sungai Segita, an area which the search party had combed earlier.Family members expressed suspicion that Kelesau was a victim of foul play. As chief of the Long Kerong village in Upper Baram he had long been against the encroachment of logging interests on Penan ancestral land.

Citing claims that there were tensions between the villagers and company workers, as well as threats of violence, Suaram further said the police have yet to say whether they had investigated these allegations. The police also did not say whether they had investigated or taken statements from certain individuals who were allegedly behind a forged letter dated Jan 5 which contained a ‘denial’ by Kelesau’s son Nick of any foul play in his father’s death.
Nick (photo) has disclaimed having signed the letter and has lodged a police report over the matter. He was also alleged to have been offered RM25,000 to sign the letter.

“As various personnel are named, the police will need to show that statements will be taken, if not already, of the people who had been named by the Penan,” said Suaram.

“The late Kelesau Naan may or may not have paid with his own life in the long and hard struggle of the Penan people. All eyes will be on the Malaysian police to see whether questions are answered or more questions are being asked.”

Source: Malaysiakini
Mar 19, 08 10:28am

Thursday, March 13, 2008

One Planet, One Chance

UN Human Development Report 2007-2008
The rich travel by plane but the poor only cycle. The rich uses fossil fuel and natural resources unlimitedly. These affected the climate. And the poor are affected the most by the climate change. Watch the video below:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peat swamp guideline for state govts

The Star,
Wednesday March 12, 2008
MYT 12:30:16 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: A guideline will be drawn up for state governments to ensure conservation and sustainable use of Peat Swamp Forests (PSF) based on the findings of the five-year Peat Swamp Forest Project, Natural Resources and Environment Ministry secretary-general Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin said.

“The aim of the guideline, which includes a comprehensive long-term plan until 2020, is to encourage state authorities to manage PSF through informed decisions in managing the forests,” he said at the Symposium on Peat Swamp Forests.

However, he noted that the choice to adhere to the guideline depends on the state governments.

Launching the project’s 15th publication, “Orchids of Peat Swamp Forests in Peninsular Malaysia”, Suboh said that it is crucial that PSF are managed in a sustainable manner as they are a significant mitigating factor in climate change, as demonstrated in the three sites chosen for the project: Loagan Bunut Park in Sarawak, Klias Peninsula in Sabah and the South-East Pahang PSF in Pahang.

"Accounting for 75% (about 1.54 mil hectares) of total wetlands area in Malaysia, PSF provides waters supply, groundwater recharge, carbon storage and sanctuary to a wealth of flora and fauna,” Forest Research Institite of Malaysia (FRIM) director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Mohd Ali said.

Coordinated by the FRIM and implemented by the forestry departments of Pahang, Sarawak and Sabah, the RM19.9mil project was initiated by the Malaysian government in 2002 and received additional RM22.5mil in funding from the United Nations Development Programme/ Global Environment Facility (UNDP/ GEF) in collaboration with Danish International Development Assistance (Danida).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And thou shall not pollute: Vatican lists new sins

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10: Thou shall not pollute the Earth. Thou shall beware genetic manipulation. Modern times bring with them modern sins. So the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of “new” sins such as causing environmental blight.

The guidance came at the weekend when Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, the Vatican’s number two man in the sometimes murky area of sins and penance, spoke of modern evils.
Asked what he believed were today’s “new sins,” he told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger zone for the modern soul was the largely uncharted world of bioethics.

“(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control,” he said.

The Vatican opposes stem cell research that involves destruction of embryos and has warned against the prospect of human cloning.

Girotti, in an interview headlined “New Forms of Social Sin,” also listed “ecological” offences as modern evils.

In recent months, Pope Benedict has made several strong appeals for the protection of the environment, saying issues such as climate change had become gravely important for the entire human race.

Under Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican has become progressively “green”.
It has installed photovoltaic cells on buildings to produce electricity and hosted a scientific conference to discuss the ramifications of global warming and climate change, widely blamed on human use of fossil fuels.

Girotti, who is number two in the Vatican “Apostolic Penitentiary,” which deals with matter of conscience, also listed drug trafficking and social and economic injustices as modern sins.
But Girotti also bemoaned that fewer and fewer Catholics go to confession at all.

He pointed to a study by Milan’s Catholic University that showed that up to 60 per cent of Catholic faithful in Italy stopped going to confession.

In the sacrament of Penance, Catholics confess their sins to a priest who absolves them in God’s name.

But the same study by the Catholic University showed that 30 percent of Italian Catholics believed that there was no need for a priest to be God’s intermediary and 20 per cent felt uncomfortable talking about their sins to another person.

Posted online: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 0042 hrs

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hurray - They Were Booted

Environment activists will be happy that the previous unfriendly environment state government under BN was booted in the General Election held yesterday, 8 March 2008. A new chapter of politicians from the opposition will rule Penang for 5 years. We hope this new state government will not be arrogant, sombong and vengeance seeking.

It started sometime in 2003 when I showcase a website with all the ills, eyesores and environment damages done to our present Penang National Park. I was hunted for blogging on their wrong doings. Instead of rectifying their wrongs, the BN environment portfolio began a witch hunt for me.

See the newspaper cuttings below. Unfortunately, the news was taken up only by the Chinese papers.

It was summarized as, “The Education Department of Penang denied that Forest Ang is a teacher from Penang. The Education Department was asked to take action on me by the Wildlife Department because of the pictorial article on the Dirtiest National Park of Penang.” They can take action on me because as a Government's servant, I am not allow to talk. And it is with such ruling, the governing departments kept detrimentating the national agenda....and because there are stupid fishes.

My blog showed proof of the actual scenario but here in Penang, whatever ugly the management of natural resources, you must not mention about it. You have no right although you are a citizen and a stakeholder. They are the "Rajas". They are the "almighty" of the jungle. They can do what they want. They have the license to "destroy". You shall not speak or you will be "silenced". They play "God".

Here are some articles from my blog on some of the past bad-things done by the previous elected state representatives from the BN.

My original story on the harassment here.

On shooting crow:

Wasting money on campaign on Wood Museum that never materialize:

Destruction of Penang Hill:

Penang Hill Canopy Walkway – built, abandoned, then Ok.

The above were some of the stupidest policy, campaign and bad-for-environment governance in my home state Penang. Go through all my articles and you will find more reasons to boot out the previous state government. Hurray they are gone now!

Welcome DAP to an uncorrupted governance. Can you? We, the environment bloggers and activists will be keeping watch on you from now on.

A friendly advise – we can vote you in and we can also boot you out.