Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Rainforest Festival?

The Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival is a Sarawak government vehicle perpetuating a fairyland of a vast, ancient green cover with thriving biodiversity under the canopies.

And within the virgin forests, Sarawak natives are supposedly able to continue their traditional ways of live and play their rainforest-inspired music.

The TRUTH is, in the last quarter century, almost all the ancient forested land were not spared the chainsaw.

Commercial logging has impoverished the forest-dependent aborigines and caused UNRESOLVED land conflict with the loggers and authorities. Sadly, the natives invariably end up the losers.

Although timber resources are diminishing, greedy logging companies are not loosening their grip on the natives’ land. They are now converting the land into all sorts of plantation.
And guess what? These same perpetrators of forest crime are getting government loans to re-plant the degraded forests.
But the biggest headache is the aggressive advancement of oil palm plantation.
Millions of hectares are earmarked for oil palm expansion. Of the nearly 200 land dispute cases registered with the Sarawak High Court today, majority is related to oil palm development.
These constitute a systemic way of displacing and destroying indigenous culture celebrated by the RWMF.
RWMF is the epitomy of state hypocrisy!

Sodomy at Ulu Muda

First they built the dam (but actually logging could be the main reason).
More than a century then passed by, trees have rejuvenated, and just then under the Pakatan leadership, suddenly, logging could be on its way.....

But before the Kedah State Government did anything, according to locals, the Federal government through the Tourism Action Council started the sodomy-ing of Ulu Muda.
Now, they came from behind. Through the jungle to Sira Bungor and Kem Labua. They sodomized the jungle. They took the timber. Greed caused Ulu Muda to bleed..... destroying the ecosystem that sustain the Muda Dam and our water resources.

Let me share the effect of a sodomized Ulu Muda here:

The new road through the jungle to Sira Bungor and across the Muda River to Kem Labua.

Open land. Nothing left. The locals commented that the council "nak tanam jagong" (wanted to plant corn).

See how they damaged the jungle.
Oh, they didn't "tanam jagong" but infact they "tanam ubi kayu"(plant tapioca). Planting tapioca in the jungle? The cost of transport, workers etc just doesn't make sense! Of course they hire cheap foreign workers. Illegals?

Sira Bungor (Bungor Salt Lick) now dead. Formerly elephants frequented this salt lick but during my visit, no foot prints were seen. The "sodomy road" passed by this salt lick. How come the Forestry Department did nothing about this natural heritage? Tutup satu mata loh!

Across Muda River is Kem Labua, formerly a base camp for ecotourism. What greeted us were heavy machineries.

Destruction to the ground and fauna and flora. Mud, mud and mud everywhere.

Logging. That was the main objective. Development could be just an excuse.

More logs. Many trees were chopped.

Healthy trees were chainsawed

The local community can just look on as they bring city into the jungle. Their livelihood are now unknown as they have killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.

The locals will not benefit from this project. They knew nothing about this massive land clearing. They could only stand and watch as the politicians and the greedy businessman claim the jungle that feed their families.

Another rape and sodomy story of our Bolehland. Hell to ecotourism!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Man fined RM4,000 for possessing, hurting pangolins

The price of one kilogram of pangolin is RM150 in Malaysia and across the border in Thailand is RM280. An adult pangolin is at least 3 kg. In the international market, it can fetch until RM800 per kilogram.
Lets calculate the value of 31 pangolins.

31 pangolins in Malaysia = 31 X 3 kg X RM150 = RM13,950 (Value in Malaysia)
31 pangolins after crossing to Thailand = 31 X 3 kg X RM280 = RM26,040 (Value in Thailand)

Fine for illegally possessing 31 pangolins = RM4,000 (Read news below)
Fine for hurting the pangolins = RM2,500
TOTAL ONLY = RM4000 + RM2500 = RM6500

No wonder, there are still people willing to smuggle these rare pangolins.
Our country, Bolehland is going down the drain....

A quote from Mahatma Gandhi best described my country....
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Do you think our nation can be great if animals are treated like shit?

Read the news here:

Monday July 21, 2008 MYT 4:30:09 PM

JITRA: An odd-job worker was fined a total of RM4,000 by a magistrate's court here for illegally possessing 31 pangolins and hurting the protected animals.

Mohd Fauzi Usuf, 30, from Changloon, near here, was fined RM1,500 for possessing the pangolins under Section 64(2)(a) of the Wildlife Protection Act (Amendment) 1988.

He was fined another RM2,500 for hurting the animals by confining them under Section 92(1)(c) of the same Act.

Mohd Fauzi, who pleaded guilty to committing the offences at the Bukit Kayu Hitam Anti Smuggling Unit (UPP) office, at about 11.35am on July 14, paid the fines.

Section 64(2)(a) carries a maximum fine of RM3,000 or two years' jail or both while Section 92(1)(c) carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years' jail or both.

According to the facts of the case, the UPP found the 31 pangolins in 31 plastic bags inside a Proton Wira driven by Mohd Fauzi who was arrested at the Bukit Kayu Hitam UPP office.

National Forest and Wildlife Protection Department's prosecuting officer Shaharuddin Osman pressed for the maximum sentence, saying that the pangolin was nearly extinct.

He said that although it was Mohd Fauzi's first offence, a heavy penalty should be imposed as a deterrent to others.

Magistrate Zhalizan Sanusi said the court decided to fine Mohd Fauzi for both offences since he was a first offender.

He warned Mohd Fauzi that the court would jail him next time if he repeated the offence.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Villagers living in fear of roaming tigers

Again, another conflict between man and beast.
Sunday July 20, 2008

KOTA BARU: Villagers in Kampung Kolam in Bachok near here are worried over their safety after some of them spotted three tigers roaming on the fringes of the jungle near their homes.

To date, some 10 villagers including two children, have seen the animals. Some have even claimed that it was a female tiger and two cubs.

Kampung Kolam is predominantly a farming and fishing village.

Villager Zaidi Yunus, 35, urged the authorities to trap the animals as schoolchildren used the path on their way to SK Kolam.

District OCPD DSP Yahya Sale said police had roped in wildlife rangers, Rela members and Village Development and Security members to trap the tigers.

State Wildlife department assistant director Zaharil Dzulkasly said it was rare to spot tigers in Bachok since it was a coastal area.

Zaharil said that the traditional habitat of the “Malayan” tigers was in places like Jeli, Gua Musang and Kuala Krai.

“We can only speculate that the tigers probably fled from these areas into the forest reserves in Machang which is near Bachok,” he added.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Perak offers oil palm firm another site

Thumb Up for the present Perak State Government for being environment friendly. Undoing what the previous State Government did.
Thank you.
Saturday July 19, 2008

THE Perak Government is offering an alternative site to Gopeng Bhd to start its oil palm plantation in order to protect the biodiversity of the Ulu Geroh Forest Re-serve.

State Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman A. Sivanesan said the matter was discussed at the state exco meeting on Wednesday.

“We will meet the company to brief the directors,” he said after meeting members of the Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) on Thursday.

On where the alternative site would be, Sivanesan said the state had to cross the first hurdle of getting the company to agree on the land swap, adding that he was seeking the company’s cooperation to suspend work.

The matter was highlighted after some 700 orang asli from the affected settlements of Ulu Kampar, Ulu Geroh, Kampung Serkal and Kampung Empang Besar complained about land clearing work by Gopeng Bhd’s contractor to build a road leading to the plantation.

Last year, Gopeng Bhd was given a six-month concession to clear the area to build the road.

The previous Barisan Nasional state government had alienated 136.72ha of land to the company to cultivate oil palm while 150ha of land had been gazetted as orang asli settlement, Sivanesan said.

He pointed out that the offer of an alternative site to the company was not because the state government was bowing to the demands of the orang asli.

“We are looking at the larger picture, its effects on the nature and environment.

“We need to strike a balance between nature and investments. I will ensure that nature is not stripped. It has to be preserved.

“The state does not even mind looking at compensating Gopeng Bhd for work done by giving a slightly bigger piece of land it now has,” he said.

MNS council member Tan Chin Tong said the society was concerned about the biodiversity at the Sungai Geroh valley which is a catchment area.

Apart from the orang asli, he said, there were three resorts and seven companies operating white water rafting in the forest reserve.

Tan also presented a proposal to gazette Kinta Nature Park, covering 950ha, into a state park.
Friday August 1, 2008
Orang asli score victory in Gopeng

GOPENG: The orang asli of five settlements here scored a victory after Gopeng Bhd accepted the Perak Government’s offer of an alternative site to start its oil palm plantation.

State Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman A. Sivanesan said the company agreed that the 136.72ha land in question be returned to the state in exchange for a similar site.

In June, it was reported that Gopeng Bhd’s land-clearing work for a road leading to the site had angered the orang asli from the affected settlements of Ulu Kampar, Ulu Geroh, Kampung Serkal, Ulu Geruntum and Kampung Empang Besar.
“The state has already instructed the Forestry and respective departments to look for an alternative site,” Sivanesan told a press conference here yesterday.
“We consider the matter closed and there won’t be any intrusion or infringement on the rights of the orang asli,” he said.
The orang asli’s spokesman, Bah Azmi Ngah Porgi, said he was moved by the latest turn of events after months of fighting to preserve their land.
“I don’t know what to say. I want to thank the Mentri Besar, Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang and everyone else for understanding our plight,” he said.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sabah to conserve 78,000ha of mangrove, wildlife reserves

Friday July 18, 2008 MYT 3:45:57 PM

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is permanently conserving wetlands and forests three times the size of Kuala Lumpur at a wildlife rich region on the state's east coast.

Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the state cabinet approved the setting aside of some 78,000ha of mangrove and wildlife forest reserves in the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama region.

The cabinet made the move when giving its nod to the suggestion by the Borneon Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation Phase II programme to list the area as part of the global Ramsar Site Network.

Named after a place in Iran, Ramsar is an international convention on wetlands that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It it was first established in 1971 and came into force in 1975.

Ramsar falls under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and is managed by the Ramsar secretariat, which shares its headquarters with the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Switzerland.

Mannan said the area included were Trusan Kinabatangan, Kuala Segama-Maruap Mangrove Forest Reserves and Kulamba Wildlife Forest Reserve.

He said the site would be tabled and registered at the next “Conference of the Parties” (CoP10) to be held in South Korea in October. With that, Sabah would have the largest Ramsar Site in Malaysia, the others being five other areas ranging from 526ha to 6,610ha totalling 55,000ha in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

“Sabah's proposed area represents the largest contiguous area of wetland forests in the country,” Mannan said, adding there were numerous benefits from listing the wetlands as a Ramsar site.

These include international prestige for achieving the gold standard in the conservation of wetlands of global importance, access to international assistance on the research of wetlands.

Other benefits include external funding for management activities such as forest management plan preparation, enhanced protection, bio-diversity assessments and increased access to expertise, he said.

“The listing will also further raise the profile of Sabah’s conservation efforts internationally and this is bound to have a multiplier effect on the state’s growing nature-based tourism industry,” Mannan said in thanking the Sabah cabinet led by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman for the listing decision.

Elephants' Orang Asli woes vs Orang Asli's elephant woes

How would you like to be in their shoes? Image the elephant is writing the news.
Lets read the two versions(news) below and get to understand the woes of elephants vs Orang Asli.
Who do you think is the original occupants?
Elephants or Orang Asli?

Forestexplorers Online » Local News
Elephants' Orang Asli woes

A new rubber plantation with 60 Orang Asli at Kampung Bukit Ngeri, Lanchang near here have been encroaching on elephants' territory and have been causing nightmares, food scarcity and human disturbances to the wild elephants.

The problem started last year when about 20 elephants were surprised to find the rattans and bamboos gone and replaced by rubber trees. The head elephant, Jumbo King, 74, said they tried to eat the 73ha rubber trees opened three years ago but can't.

Jumbo King said some human activities can be seen at the rubber plantation in the day.

He said elephants had stopped moving around during the day over concerns that human might harm them.

State Wildlife and National Parks Department director Saharudiin Anan said three officers had been sent and action would be taken after assessing the situation.


NST Online » Local News
Orang Asli's elephant woes

TEMERLOH: A herd of wild elephants encroaching on a rubber plantation have been giving 60 Orang Asli of Kampung Bukit Ngeri, Lanchang near here, sleepless nights.

The problem started last year and has worsened this year when the herd of 20 animals destroyed their rubber trees. Village head Batin Dinkuk, 74, said almost the entire 73ha rubber plantation that was opened three years ago, had been destroyed.

Dinkuk said some of the elephants had wandered into the village at night.

He said villagers had stopped patrolling at night over concerns the animals might harm them.

State Wildlife and National Parks Department director Saharudin Anan said three officers had been sent and action would be taken after assessing the situation.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jumbo research takes off

Monday July 14, 2008

SANDAKAN: Three Bornean Elephants have been fitted with satellite collars over the past week in Kinabatangan, marking the beginning of the first study of their social structure.

“Studies on the genetic aspects of the Bornean Elephant have been carried out in the past but we have yet to study their social structure which is virtually unknown,” said Nurzhafarina Othman, conservation biologist at Danau Girang Field Centre who heads this new study.

“The collaring of the elephants is to enhance our access to them. The bulk of the study will be done with the Elephant Conservation Unit (ECU) and we will carry out actual observation and collect DNA information via the faeces of particular individuals,” she added.

The ECU, founded by French NGO Hutan in 2002, to address the issue of human-elephant conflict, will spend hundreds of man-hours tracking these specific elephants for this landmark study.

Sulaiman Ismail who heads the ECU and hails from Kampung Sukau in Kinabatangan said the study on the elephants would include ascertaining their mating system, assessing paternity within elephant groups and identifying alpha males.

This data in turn will assist the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) in managing the Kinabatangan elephant population.

“We are wildlife managers, the more information we have, the more efficiently we can manage the elephants,” said Dr Senthilvel Nathan, chief field veterinarian of SWD.

Dr Senthilvel led the team that comprised the SWD, ECU, Danau Girang and WWF-Malaysia that tranquilised the elephants to immobilise them before fitting the satellite collars.

“Unlike the previous collaring exercise that was carried out by WWF where the elephants were only followed by satellite, this study is different because we picked the individuals we wanted to collar to study their social structure,” Dr Senthilvel said.

The four-year study is being carried out by the Danau Girang Field Centre in collaboration with Hutan.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter

Bush's farewell joke falls flat
Sat, Jul 12, 2008
The Straits Times

US PRESIDENT George W. Bush, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended his final Group of Eight summit this week with the words: 'Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter.'

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, looked on in shock, reported The Telegraph newspaper yesterday.

Mr Bush, whose second and final term ends this year, then left the meeting at the Windsor Hotel in Hokkaido, Japan, where the leaders of the world's richest nations had been discussing new targets to cut carbon emissions.

'Everyone was very surprised that he was making a joke about the US' record on pollution,' the newspaper quoted an official who had witnessed the extraordinary scene as saying afterwards.

It was a defiant farewell from the President over his refusal to accept global climate change targets, said the Independent newspaper.

Mr Bush had given some ground at the summit by saying he would 'seriously consider' a 50per cent cut in carbon emissions by the year 2050.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Endangered turtles get a helping hand

Wednesday July 9, 2008

KUALA TERENGGANU: Religious leaders have been roped in to create awareness in the preservation of turtles, particularly the endangered Leatherbacks.

World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Terengganu recently got imam of local mosques together and conducted workshops on the conservation of turtles and environment based on the tenets of religion.

The imam would now deliver their Friday sermons and give a bit of focus on how to prevent the turtles from going into extinction.

“We touched on various topics on conserving the turtle habitat to ensure they continue to land on Terengganu beaches,” said WWF turtle programme team leader Rahayu Zulkifli.

“Imam have certain influence in their community and therefore we decided that they are the best people to put the message across,” she said.

“Islamic teachings have numerous discourse on environmental issues, hence the objective of the workshop is to link the teachings to conservation of nature and turtles.”

“We are not going to stop here, this is only a preliminary step and we will continue this crusade in other districts,” she said, adding that Malaysian Institute of Islamic Understanding (Ikim) facilitated the workshops.

Despite intense enforcement from various agencies, turtle eggs are still being poached at several hatching sites and sold illegally.

Other threats to the turtles include over-development of coastal areas, uncontrolled tourism and the use of non turtle-friendly fishing methods.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Unesco queries dam plan in Sarawak

Tony Thien
Jul 5, 08 3:35pm

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has stepped in to seek clarification from Malaysian authorities concerning a controversial dam project in Sarawak said to affect a world heritage site.

The Unesco World Heritage Centre had on June 25 wanted the Malaysian authorities ‘to clarify the situation and provide us with any further information on the hydropower plans at Gunung Mulu National Park World Heritage site, a spokesman of the Paris-based UN organisation confirmed to the Switzerland-based Bruno-Manser Fund (BMF).

BMF stated this in an email to Malaysiakini today.

A leaked confidential document, which was made public by the BMF, has recently shown Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (SEB) plan to realize a 220 MW dam on Sarawak’s Tutoh river.

The proposed dam would submerge parts of the Gunung Mulu National Park that is one of only two Unesco World Heritage sites in Malaysia.

The proposed Tutoh dam is part of SEB’s controversial scheme to realize twelve new hydropower projects in Sarawak from 2008 to 2020.

If these plans were to be realized, several thousand natives would lose their traditional lands in the Bornean rainforest and would have to be relocated.

While Sarawak’s energy consumption amounted to 1120 MW in 2005, the new projects have a power generation capacity of 7000 MW.

Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest state located on the northern coast of Borneo, is criss-crossed by rivers, and the Sarawak government has announced plans to harness its hydro-power potentials, a move that has been accelerated because of rising fuel costs and the global demand for clean air and environment.

Bakun's unresolved problems

Like the existing Batang Ai and Bakun Dams, it is also feared that the new dam will also lead to the displacement of many natives from their traditional lands.

Even the yet-to-the-completed 2400 MW Bakun Dam is facing many long-standing and unresolved problems following the resettlement of about 10,000 natives as they complain of lack of amenities and lack of suitable land for cultivation and loss of income from traditional sources.

Sime Darby, a major player in the development of the hydro dam project, has announced it is pulling out and this has threatened to delay the start of the construction of the undersea cable from Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia to bring the excess power from Bakan and future dams to the mainland.

Tenaga Nasional Bhd chairperson Leo Moggie, commenting on this, told Malaysiakini in Miri recently that the government would have to find a new company to take over from Sime Darby. Up to now, he had no idea who that would be.

Without the undersea cable link, it would be meaningless to embark on the development of so many hydro dams in Sarawak as it is unlikely that Sarawak could find energy-intensive industries within a short period of time to take up all the available energy, after the start of the proposed smelter plants in Bintulu.

“It does look things may slow down a little,” industry sources said, adding that “the planned projects will go on, perhaps on a re-scheduled implementation plan.”

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ugly Ecotourism at Penang National Park

Ecotourism is "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990)

Let's check Teluk Ketapang, one of the beaches in Penang National Park.

As we arrived at the beach at 12.36pm from the forest trail, we saw several monkeys digging a big plastic bag full of trash.

On closer look (12.36pm), the trash looked fresh.

A boat was seen to leave the beach with tourists on board.

(Photo of the boat was taken down as requested by owner. Ed. 3/8/08)

And camp fire at the beach in Penang National Park.

We rested and came back to see a horrible mess created by the trash at 1.25pm.

Now for the Blame Game:

Blame it on the monkeys? No. Even if there were no monkeys, the sea tide will create a mess from the rubbish too.

Blame it on the sea tide? No, in Bolehland you blame it on "the act of God".

So who should be blamed for this mess??

1. No, not the tourists for not telling the boat operator. After all they paid for it, right?

2. No, not the boat operator. They helped to uplift the economy of Penang, isn't it? So why should they care and be responsible to conserve the natural environment.

3. No, not the Penang National Park Authority cause they are popularizing the park with large scale infrastructure development. They just don't have time to educate stakeholders and enforcing rules.

So, who to blame huh? Well, in Bolehland we blame it on God.

"Its an act of God" after all. Hell to ecotourism.