Tuesday, June 16, 2009

National Shame - Curi in Sabah

June 15, 2009
Sabah Government silent over Tawau coral reefs mining incident – another ‘national shame’!
Source: http://advocateviews.blogspot.com

The Sabah Government,under the leadership of Datuk Musa Aman should be put under a microscope for being silent over the coral reef mining in Tawau,Sabah which is a "national shame".The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission must investigate,expose and prosecute these "day light robbers"of our national treasures and heritage.

IT’S RATHER sad and ashamed that just when the Sabah State Government is passionately encouraging Malaysians as well as people from all over the world to vote in one of our tourism icons - Sipadan Island, as one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature(pic), a group of unscrupulous Malaysians was busy mining coral reefs in Tawau.

This was reported in the Malaysiakini on Sunday, 14 June, 2009.Two(2)days have since passed,and no official statement has been issued by the State Government.Was it because this significant finding was exposed by the opposition or was it a "trivial matter',that didn't warrant public attention?Why is the State Government silent over this matter? Kudos to Tawau PKR Chief Datuk Kong Hong Ming(pic) and his source for exposing such a horrendous crime on nature and humanity. Had not for their courage in exposing this, the devastating destruction of our precious coral reefs in Tawau could still be continued.

What was mind-boggling was that such activities had been carried out right under the noses of the relevant authorities undetected for the past one decade.Surely the State Government with all it's ears and eyes on the ground,logistics and enforcement,can't be deaf,dumb or blind. I believe the relevant authorities have lots of explaining to do here especially if the claim by Kong that a report had been lodged by his source to the Environmental Protection Department in Tawau earlier, was true.Suffice it to say,that our politicians have the tendency to think and convinced themselves that we the rakyat are indeed morons.

I strongly urge the State Government and the relevant authorities to spare no effort and leave no stone unturned in investigating the matter and to take sternest action against the culprits as well as those who were in cahoots, regardless of who they are, even if it involves some very senior government officers or politicians. A clear and strong message must be sent to would-be perpetrators.

Failing which, I guess we would then loss whatever moral grounds there is to continue to ask people to vote in Sipadan as one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature since we failed to protect those coral reefs in Tawau which size of affected area is several hundred times larger than the one in Sipadan that was damaged by a steel barge in 2006, especially if the claim that the mining area about nine kilometres from the shore would encompass five acres.(picture left showing coral debris found at the processing site)

I wonder what’s the estimated cost of losses that incurred based on the economic value of the coral reefs that were destroyed by the unscrupulous miners?

Coral reefs are a valuable ecological and economic resource in Malaysia, estimated to worth some US$635 million (RM2.2 billion) per year, mainly from tourism and fisheries revenues, not taking into account of shoreline protection and their research potential.

And I hope our State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjuntoo would give his full and serious attention in investigating the matter and to give the people of Sabah a truthful explanation on what was going on that led to such a devastating incident that fit to be called a ‘national shame’.

Lets hope this time the State government would not attempt to hush-hush the issue like what it did with the Sipadan barge incident three years ago, where it was reliably learnt that the contractor involved, Kumpulan Surati Sdn Bhd was left off the hook with just a public apology and bearing the clean-up cost.

I also call on NGOs like Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA) to closely monitor the issue and to put pressure on the State Government to better protect our precious natural resources.

It’s rather unfortunate that once again, Malaysia, Sabah in particular is in the international limelight for the wrong reason.

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