Thursday, December 29, 2011

‘Perhilitan officers wanted bribe’

December 29, 2011
‘Perhilitan officers wanted bribe’

KUANTAN: A pet shop owner is accusing a Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) officer of trying to solicit a bribe because he had in his possession a species of turtle protected under the Wildlife Conserva­tion Act 2010.

Hui Woon Chian, 51, claimed that three officers from Perhilitan visited his premises in Jalan Darat Makbar here on Dec 7 to carry out an inspection.

“But they did not show any identification nor did they have a warrant,” he said.

“One of them said he was a high-ranking officer and need not show me identification,” said Hui.

“They searched my shop. Then, they found three turtles on the front counter.

“The officer said the red-eared slider turtles were protected species and that I could be fined RM200,000 for each of them.

“He then said I should pay him so that I would not be fined,” he said after lodging a police report.

Hui said he was shocked by the “offer” and asked his sons to take photographs of him and the officer with the turtles.

“The officer was surprised by my action and tried to avoid having his picture taken.

“We had an argument when the other officers tried to intervene.

“They left after taking down our particulars,” he said.

To Hui’s surprise, he and his sons were summoned to the Kuantan police headquarters the next day to provide statements for allegedly injuring a Perhilitan officer.

“We were arrested and had to be bailed out. We did not hurt anyone.”

Hui’s wife Choi Yuet Hoe said after the incident, several Perhilitan officers returned to their shop and intimidated her.

“This time, they carried rifles and wore belts with bullets,” she said.

“They searched our shop again and asked about the turtles. I told them they had been taken to the police station. Then they left,” said Choi, who also lodged a separate police report.

Pahang Perhilitan director Khairiah Mohd Shariff said she has not received any report on the matter and could not comment.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dr M, in India we have bad roads but true democracy

An interesting comment by an Indian national to Mamakkuty. There is a few paragraphs on the unsustainable development of our natural environment destroyed by Mamakkuty. Read on....

December 21, 2011

Last week, Dr Mahathir gave a speech in India which stirred one Indian activist to retort in an open letter to the doctor.

By Siddharthya Swapan Roy

Dear Dr Mahathir,

A couple of days back I woke up to newspaper reports which quoted you as saying that India’s democracy is a hindrance to its development and, if we did away with the nuisance of democracy, we will become developed.

Well, sir, it is heartening to see your concern about India’s future, especially now that our own elected government has orphaned us. To read that someone from the outside cares about our development sounds so very nice.

But you see, sir, your (apparently) good intentions notwithstanding, your advice to Indians is, well how should I put it… ill-advised.

I’m not really sure if you know much about the history of our nation. Don’t get me wrong.

Going by facts like the general absence of news from Malaysian newspapers; the absence of anything but song and dance in your electronic media; the absence of bookstores that sell knowledgeable books (for example, ones from which you can learn about history and not how to get rich in six steps); the abundance of malls and the stark absence of libraries; the abundance of coaching centres that can make masseurs, air hostesses and a host of quick-fix technicians and the relative absence of centres of higher learning especially in the social sciences; and, above all, the fact that this insanely consumerist and hedonist Malaysia was made under your tutelage, makes me doubt your knowledge of the history of India or any nation for that matter.

So allow me to apprise you of the story of our independence.

We won independence from colonial rulers waging a long and tortuous battle. A battle that sought to replace a discriminatory, unjust and violent regime that had enslaved huge populations with one which was based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.

India was home then, as is now and as will always be, to an immense diversity of people who spoke different tongues, prayed to different Gods, wore different clothes and had different political beliefs. These diverse people said to each other that – we, despite our differences, will strive to live and flourish together and make a sovereign nation which will be democratic, socialist and secular.

We did not anywhere say that we want to be Malaysia or for that matter China or the US.

In India, no one is above the law

We want to become a nation with a system that treats all its citizens as equal unlike your country that officially accords special rights to Malay Muslims calling them first-class citizens while relegating thousands of people of Tamil, Chinese and other ethnic origins.

Despite the fact that they have known no other land than Malaysia as their own, you denigrate them with the tag of being second-class citizens.

We try to work towards having a system wherein a person will grow according to his merit and hard work earning what she or he has rightfully earned.

You may be surprised to know that here in India making cartels based on identity, even if under the name of a holy cow called “Bumiputra” or son of the soil is looked down upon by most of us.

Here, promoting the selective interests of one’s self or that of his kin is called corruption and nepotism and not, as you call it, development.

We are in fact fighting tooth and nail to arrest the scourge of corruption and (you’ll be shocked to know) get the guilty punished.

Here in India no one is above the law and many a times powerful public figures go to jail for being corrupt or subverting the law.

Now that we are at it, sir, I’m sure it would be interesting to know what the minorities of your country have to say – especially the jailed and beaten ones – about the development-democracy debate.

In fact, sir, your idea of development is largely at odds with many of us here.

Development is no substitute for values

What you did to the tropical forests and water bodies of Malaysia (that is, raze vast acres of them into oblivion to make way for big-buck oil palm plantations and piggeries and so on) would cause huge outrage among many of us who are looking for sustainable development.

We are yet to be unanimously convinced that making cemented roads – however broad, lining them with buildings, even if glass-covered and glossy, and putting cars on them, however fast – is a substitute for our valued bio-diversity.

Many of us are very convinced that displacing huge populations of native people for useless things like racing tracks is a blot on the word “development”.

There are many of us who find it a shameful and cruel hypocrisy that while your country has abundant and openly advertised sex tourism, it still whips women for being licentious!

Thanks to the culture of reading here, many of us know of your penchant for cruelty in your personal career.

A career during which you enacted despotic and violent acts at times in the name (your contorted version of) Islam and at times in the name of security and national interest.

We could recount how you rose to power annihilating huge numbers of your opponents and stayed there for over two decades, continuing your devious rule using tactics and schemes which are far beyond Machiavelli.

Many of us know about your vile Internal Security Act, which you used to crush political opposition – jailing them and putting in place a frail and near-sham democracy and placing the entire nation under a one-man rule of Umno for over two decades.

You will note that I have used words like “most of us”, “many of us” and have tried to stay away from absolute claims.

Misconstrued understanding of ‘development’

Besides the age-old Indian practice of accommodating different opinions, it is meant to recognise that there are people in this country, too, who think like you and will have applauded you for saying what you did.

They, too, think that roads are all that important and not the humans who walk on them or the ones who sleep beside them.

They have misconstrued the word development as development of personal wealth and that this “development” is a holy cow and everything including the rights and lives of fellow humans is of lesser priority.

Their money power helps them buy a lot of print space and electronic bandwidth so they may appear like the majority, but thankfully the truth is they aren’t.

The majority of us recognise and are willing to admit – and even discuss at length – that there are problems in our nation – including bad roads.

But they’ll quickly add that we intend to solve those not by lessening democracy but by ncreasing it.

The author is a freelance writer and activist based in Maharashtra.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Malaysia a heaven for transit of Ivory

Actually it is quite easy to detect this type of smuggling. Any shipment from Africa continent that has elephant population should be inspected thoroughly. The frequency of successful seizures indicate there could be more undetected shipments. Is our customs so incompetent that they need public tip-off?


Tuesday December 13, 2011
S’gor customs seize elephant tusks, ivory handicraft worth RM4mil

PORT KLANG: The Selangor Customs Department busted an attempt by an international ivory syndicate to smuggle 15 tonnes of elephant tusks and suspected ivory-made handicraft worth RM4mil at Westport near here on Tuesday.

Department director Datuk Azis Yacub said the tusks originated from Kenya and the handicraft were found in a 20-foot container that was detained in Westport on Thursday and inspected thoroughly Monday.

"The seizure followed a public tip-off. Upon full inspection, the enforcement officers discovered the elephant tusks in brown boxes tucked behind the container, together with several other boxes containing handicraft," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

He said initial investigations showed that the tusks, declared as "soapstone-made handicraft," were heading for transshipment to Tanjong Pelepas port from the port of Mombasa, Kenya, before reaching their final destination at Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

"We managed to intercept the goods at Westport," he said.

Azis said Customs would send some of the handicraft, believed to be made from ivory, to the Chemistry Department soon to ascertain their true material.

He also said that no arrests had been made so far, and the case is being investigated under Section 133 (1) (a) of the Customs Act 1967 for wrongful declaration of goods.

If convicted, the parties involved can be fined up to RM500,000 or imprisoned for up to five years, or both. This was the fourth attempt to smuggle elephant tusks into the country this year.

In September, the Customs Department foiled an attempt to smuggle two tonnes of elephant tusks worth RM3mil into Westport.

It was also reported that more than 1,000 elephant tusks were seized by local authorities when they smashed two attempts to smuggle them through the Pasir Gudang and Butterworth ports over the past two months. - Bernama

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Composting plants to be set up in each residential area

December 8, 2011

PENANG plans to take another step forward in its green campaign next year. A composting plant will be set up in each residential area to process food waste into liquid fertilisers.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the facility would be paid for by the respective assemblyman’s allocation.

“The project which is based on 3As — availability, accessibility and affordability — will be available in residential areas as the state intends to expand its effort from hawker centres to households.

“By placing the composting plants within the community, we hope to make it more convenient for the people to bring their waste to be processed into fertilisers.

“The composting plant is meant to educate the people on the benefits of recycling,” he told a press conference after launching the Penang Eco-Town workshop at a hotel yesterday.

Benefits of recycling: (left) Makoto Fujita from Global Environment Centre delivering his speech at the Penang Eco-Town workshop

Phee added that the approach would be executed through four approaches — educate, create awareness, implement and enforce.

“However, we do not intend to impose strict regulations on the people because the commitment to go green should come from within ourselves.”

There are currently three composting plants which are at the Bagan Ajam market in Butterworth, Bayan Baru market in Penang and the Desa Damai resource centre in Bukit Mertajam.

On May 3, The Star reported that the pilot project at the Bagan Ajam market could process organic wastes into fertilisers within 24 hours.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Pahang govt ‘killing’ Tasik Chini’s ecosystem

Aneesa Alphonsus
November 30, 2011

The legendary Tasik Chini’s more modern saga concerns ecological mismanagement and the near collapse of a delicate ecosystem.


Mystical Tasik Chini, which once spawned a legendary tale of a behemoth dragon or sea serpent called Naga Seri Gumum and the presence of the Sacred Lotus Nelumbo Nucifera is deeply polluted and the Pahang government is to be blamed.

Chini which is made up by a series of 12 lakes is not so much a lake but more of a naturally dammed tributary of the Pahang River.

Until recently the lake’s waters rose and fell with the seasons. During the rainy season the waters were unable to flow down the narrow Sungai Chini and so became backed up in a series of lakes.

This resulted in a unique ecosystem, dominated by the presence of the Sacred Lotus Nelumbo Nucifera which once covered the entire surface of the lake system.

During low waters the lotus seeds would germinate, their roots would take hold in the soft mud and the stunning blooms would appear on the water’s surface.

During the monsoonal floods, from October to January, the lotus would die but their fertilized new seeds would litter the lake bottom waiting the dry season to bloom again.

This exquisite cycle is however damned.

In 1995, the state government, in a bid to commercialize the area and make the lakes more appealing to visitors in the dry season, built a dam at the point where Sungai Chini entered the Pahang River. The structure stopped the free flow of water which was never able to recede again.

It wasn’t long before the Tasik Chini natural ecosystem started showing signs of stress.

Species going extinct

According to Azimudin Bahari, who is with the natural resources and environment ministry, studies have shown that the lake is polluted.

“The scientific studies by the Tasik Chini Research Centre in University Kebangsaan Malaysia clearly show several indicators of a more polluted freshwater lake. Lotus is increasingly extinct and tourist arrivals to Tasik Chini are declining.

“With the rapid decline of this lake, many species of freshwater fish have become extinct.

“The loss of fish not only deprives the communities of an important source of protein, but also has resulted in the loss of traditional fishing methods.”

Azimudin was speaking on the matter at the Care To Action: Multi-Pronged Strategy Needed To Reverse The Decline of Tasik Chini Workshop organised by Transparency International Malaysia (TMI) recently.

He said the suggested multi-pronged strategies however should be based on the principles of sustainability, good governance and recognition of the community particularly the Jakun Orang Asli tribe as the guardians of the locality.

He said the aspiration and cultural practices of the local community must be respected in the economic development of the Tasik Chini area.

There is hope

Despite the less than heartening prognosis, there might still hope for Tasik Chini.

But much of this hope hinges on whether the Pahang government will take the necessary measures to stop the sources of pollution and restore the free flow of water into the lake from Sungai Chini and Sungai Pahang.

Many are of the view that a collective effort between the authorities and the locals is needed to rehabilitate the lake.

The Orang Asli and other conscientious residents around the area have already made it their business to remove weeds called Ekor Kucing (Cat’s Tail) which are choking and absorbing the oxygen in the water.

Ailee Jane, a frequent visitor to Chini, opined that the authorities should remove the dam to allow the lake to heal itself naturally.

“The lake is dying a natural death because of the weir. It is polluted and there is so much of sedimentation.”

Urgent need to resuscitate lake

TMI secretary general Josie Fernandez said that the catchment area around Tasik Chini is being destroyed because of certain kinds of fertilizers which go into the water.

Residents, mostly the Orang Asli, use this water for cooking, bathing and drinking, thereby resulting in skin afflictions.

“Tin ore mining is yet another culprit,” she said, adding that “water from the waste flows into the lake which results in the loss of the fish which is a cheap source of protein.

“There is a story of an Orang Asli who went out early in the morning to catch some fish and only came back with one. He asked how was he going to share that one fish with the other seven families in his village.

“The thing about the Orang Asli at Chini is that they observe sustainable use of the natural resources.

“It’s never about huge profits where they are concerned, and definitely not about enterprise. They don’t do it to destroy the area.

“There really should be more accountability and Chini should be protected as an eco-tourism area. There is an urgent need to resuscitate what has been lost,” said Fernandez

Buy land back from Felda

Fernandez firmly believes that that all development in the catchment area should be stopped and if necessary, land should be bought back from Felda.

“In any development, there should be equity for all, for people and nature and a balance of the two must exist.

“This has been overlooked in previous policies pertaining to development and conservation of Chini.

“It’s our collective responsibly to resolve and go to the very source of the problem which lie in the way the catchment areas have been developed.

“This is not just an environmental issue but more of one concerning governance,” she said.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sustainable Development - a bullshit

The world celebrated the 7 billion population on Oct 31, 2011. The 7th billion child is a Filipino. The UN's sustainable development in all the UN's treaties are just a waste of resources and time. Rio+20, to be held next year will be another passing event. We have come around 20 years since the Rio treaty and we are still talking the same bull stories on sustainability. We are not solving the source of our environment, our natural resources and our needs. In fact, our main concern is to develop everything in a sustainable order. But how can? We have a limited earth. We just can't balloon our earth. We are facing human population explosion. Many more mouths to feed with limited resources. You can keep talking about providing energy efficiency, good environment quality, sustainable management or water efficiency but there will not be enough as population keep increasing. You can keep talking about quality living in landed property rather than pigeon hole apartment. But it won't solve the problem as population mushroomed. No matter how good the sustainable development in papers or in practice, it will come a time when it will be saturated again.

So how? We should be solving the root cause of our problem. And the root of all our problems - human created as well as natural disasters (such as ethnic wars, climate change, human conflicts, wildlife extinction, immigrants, floods, etc) is POPULATION. Lessen the population and we won't have so much problem. Sustainable Population is the mother of all sustainable development. Control the population and we will have less people needing to stay in pigeon holes. Less rubbish in our waterways. Less pollution. And so get that?

But can we? With all the greed to improve companies' balance sheets and development to sustain the economy of the world, there is no way we are going to sustain our earth. We need fuels, mineral resources and raw materials to run our factories. We just could not supply enough if our demand keep growing. We are destined to doom. December 2012 might be a fiction but rest assure that it will be a reality in the near future. Perhaps as soon as next year!

Go watch the movie 2012. Happy New Year 2012.

Tokay gecko under threat due to heavy demand, says group

November 20, 2011

PETALING JAYA: Wildlife trade watchdog TRAFFIC has called for the protection of the to'keh (or tokay) gecko, following a sharp boom in illegal smuggling of the lizard in South-East Asia for medicinal purposes.

TRAFFIC Southeast Asia said the demand for the geckos skyrocketed recently, following unfounded claims on Asian websites and blogs that consuming tokay gecko tongue and internal organs could cure HIV and cancer.

“We are alarmed by the massive increase in trade of these geckos,” said TRAFFIC Southeast Asia deputy director Chris R. Shepherd in a statement here.

“If the trade continues to mushroom, it could take years to repair the damage currently being inflicted on the gecko population,” he said, adding that it was urgent to protect these reptiles under CITES the international convention on endangered species.

The tokay gecko is a nocturnal Asian lizard growing up to 40cm in length and easily identified by its orange-spotted, blue-grey skin and the loud sound it makes.

TRAFFIC said the geckos are being sourced from South-East Asian countries, like the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, to meet demand in China.

It said Indonesia exports an estimated 1.2 million dried tokay geckos from Java each year, exceeding the official export quota of 45,000 live animals for the pet trade.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Act now to lessen impact of climate change, Govt urged

Oct 28, 2011

PETALING JAYA: An environmentalist wants the Government to take steps to lessen the impact of unusual rainfall due to climate change.

Centre for Environment, Tech­nology and Development Malaysia (Cetdem) chairman Gurmit Singh said it should prohibit development in flood-prone areas.

He said some developers build their infrastructure in low-lying deltas and coastal areas where floods occur.

“They must realise that a change in climate is already taking place and policies must be implemented so Malaysia will not end up like Thailand.”

Thailand is facing its worst floods and people and businesses are forced to build water barriers around their homes and workplaces.

Drainage and Irrigation Depart­ment (DID) national hydrology and water resources division director Datuk Lim Chow Hock said Malaysia was receiving higher-than-average rainfall even when it wasn’t the monsoon season.

“In terms of national average, we received some 2,400mm per year in the peninsula alone,” he said.

“We estimate that the figures will be much higher this year.

“Given the current outlook, the level will spiral to at least 2,700mm while Sabah and Sarawak can go up to 3,000mm of rain this year,” he told The Star.

He said this year’s rainfall was exceptionally higher.

“Prolonged light rain in a few days followed by at least twice heavy rain in a month from November until March could lead to flooding.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Belum-Temenggor can become a world-class attraction?

This is the same MB that said that logging will continue (read 2nd article below). So which is correct? Politicians seem to have forked tongues. Probably has another motive to follow Kenyir Lake's duty free island!

October 21, 2011
Zambry: Belum-Temenggor can become a world-class attraction

IPOH: The Belum-Temenggor tropical rainforest has the potential to become a world-class attraction, said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

He said this when revealing that an integrated master plan (IMP) for the 300,000ha land is expected to be ready within the next few months.

“The master plan should be ready by the end of the year or at the latest in early 2012,” he told reporters after chairing the weekly state exco meeting here yesterday.

The rainforest, which is over 130 million years old, covers the Royal Belum State Park (117,500ha), Gerik Forest Reserve (34,995ha) and Temenggor Forest Reserve (147,505ha).

“With the vast tropical rainforest in the area and a few other places at the Tasik Banding site, it has the potential to become a world attraction,” said Dr Zambry.

The proposed master plan comprises aspects that include conservation efforts, tourism development and recommended action against poaching and logging activities and problems affecting the timber industry.

The mentri besar said to date the state government and the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) had completed about 60% of the proposed IMP.

“The state is being briefed on the progress of the proposed IMP by consultants from the NCIA from time to time,” he said, adding that input was also received from related non-governmental organisations.

“In other words, the proposal has been analysed from various aspects and perspectives, be it in terms of conservation or the income to be derived by the state in the future,” he said.

Dr Zambry said several other nature-centric development projects had been identified in the area.

September 20, 2011
Be reasonable with demands to gazette forests, says MB

IPOH: Environmental and wildlife groups should be more objective when demanding that forested areas in the state be gazetted as non-logging areas, said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

He said despite the state government having gazetted an area about five times the size of Singapore in Royal Belum as a state park, such groups were demanding more.

“Are they asking for the whole of Perak to be gazetted? After the Royal Belum, they now want us to gazette the whole of Temengor Forest Reserve.

“Later, they may also request forested areas in Pangkor to be gazetted.

“Let us be objective. Logging cannot be stopped completely because timber is one of the major industries which generate revenue for the state,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Shigeru Nakamura at his office here yesterday.

Dr Zambry was commenting on calls by such groups for forests along the Gerik-Jeli highway to be gazetted as part of the Royal Belum or a forest reserve to ensure the long-term survival of wildlife.

He said economic progress would be hindered if the state government were to fulfil all their demands.

Dr Zambry said Perak was among the few states that had a sustainable forest management concept.

“While allowing logging activities, we are also serious about protecting the state’s rainforests,” he stressed.

On the forest clearing activities in the Belum-Temengor wildlife corridor, Dr Zambry said he would wait for an in-depth probe to be completed first.

”We also want to know the actual situation and if the report is accurate,” he said.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Insane for another bird park in Malacca

Wednesday, 19 October 2011
By SM Mohd Idris,
Sahabat Alam Malaysia

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is unequivocally opposed to the plan for the largest bird park in Southeast Asia sited at the Botanical Gardens in Ayer Keroh Malacca. It would be insanity on the part of the Malacca Chief Minister if he harbours such an ill-conceived plan when zoos and animal establishments in Malaysia are widely known and reported to be in appalling states.

State Governments, Councils and individuals may be rich in ambition to have the largest, biggest or grandest zoos and aviaries but do they know or care about the basic care and welfare of animal and their requirements? Judging from the past, the lack of ability to run zoos or bird parks may cause many of the birds to be reduced to a spectacle of abuse or neglect and many may die eventually.

The question everyone or every animal welfare group should ask is from where and how the birds are sourced. Sourcing for 6000 birds from 300 species to fill the largest aviary will fuel the trade in live birds that not only enriches the pockets of traders and poachers, it may cause more than half of those caught to die as a result of the birds being packed into crates and transported over long distances. There will be little concern for wastage of bird life as these profiteers in the bird trade can literally get away with murder.

The other question we ask is why undertake to house such a huge collection of birds knowing that space would be shockingly inadequate. If the Malacca State Government is serious about best practices for the aviary then the project would not have started with demand for 6000 birds due to the inadequacy of space. The Malacca Government fails to recognize that animals and birds have a basic need for the appropriate amount of space. No amount of behavioural enrichment can compensate for the spatial needs of the birds.

SAM fails to see the need for an aviary in the middle of a botanic garden. The botanic garden itself is good enough to be a major tourist attraction with its wide varieties of plant species considering the immense beauty and variety that the plant kingdom offers. The garden is also a place which attracts native birds. It could be an idyllic oasis for the free-roaming birds in the centre of the city.

Constructing an aviary within the gardens is a cruel attempt to bring nature to people where we can see birds in flight and chirping away when in reality the birds are living under captive conditions only to be displayed for man’s amusement. Life in captivity can never be adequate for the fulfillment of any species or individual, since the best habitat for animals is in their natural environment. All species are born free, and detention or isolation, whether of birds or humans, is an expression of cruelty and inhumanity.

This brings to mind the question of staffing and a host of other issues: 1) Whether staff are experienced and qualified to care for the different exotic birds that have special needs?

2) Any ability or expertise to manage and train inexperienced staff?

3) The level of veterinary care and hygiene standards?

4) Resources available to upgrade exhibits?

5) The ability to keep up with a variety of environmental enrichment? and

6) The expertise for managing such a large and diverse aviary?

From the above-stated reasons SAM calls on the Malacca Government to abandon its plan for the establishment of the largest bird park in Southeast Asia.

In view of the many zoos that were closed by the authorities due to the appalling conditions of confinement of the animals and the atrocious abuse and neglect of these animals, SAM once again reiterate its stand for closure of bad zoos and limit the number of zoos to a few good ones.

SAM would also urge the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Department of Wildlife to completely stop the issuing of new licences for upcoming zoos and to continue monitoring all existing zoos in order to reform the wild animal industry.

S M Mohd Idris
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Would you allow your pregnant wife to work in the premises with those drums of radioactive waste?

Lynas and the Malaysian Green movement — Kua Kia Soong
October 10, 2011

OCT 10 — The Green Assembly (Himpunan Hijau 109) at dawn at the Kuantan beach yesterday was the harbinger of the Malaysian Green movement that has been a long time coming. Kudos to the organisers of this inspirational event that managed to draw together other green campaigns as well as environmentally conscious Malaysians throughout the country. It was especially heart-warming to see the Orang Asli from nearby Chini taking an active part in the event. There, we pledged our commitment to the Earth Charter and sustainable development and our opposition to projects that are socially disruptive and health-threatening.

Green consciousness in Malaysia has been growing with every toxic project in the country, most noxious has been the processing and storage of radioactive waste. The BN government has always tried to justify their production by saying that “impartial experts” have testified to their safety. In the latest case of the Lynas rare earth plant at Gebeng, near Kuantan, they have invited the IAEA as an afterthought and they say that subject to certain recommendations, the plant should be safe. But the people are not convinced and will continue to oppose this toxic project.

The myth of impartial experts

In 1984, during the controversy over the nuclear dumps of Asian Rare Earth (ARE) at Papan in Perak, I wrote an article in The Star (September 2, 1984) entitled “The Myth of the Impartial Scientist”. The government was trying to convince the public that the dumps for the radioactive waste were constructed to the required specifications and scientific experts were carted out to back up their case. But the people of Papan were not impressed and they continued to organise a protracted resistance to the dumps until they won.

The ARE factory had started operating in Bukit Merah New Village in 1982. In February 1985, the Bukit Merah residents filed an application in the Ipoh High Court to stop ARE from operating in the vicinity of their village. The residents turned out in force at the court and their organisation and commitment to the cause of environmental safety was an inspiration for the rest of the country. On April 12, 1987, some 10,000 people marched through Bukit Merah to protest the resumption of operations by ARE after the company had disregarded an injunction to stop operations. They finally won through their sustained campaign and ARE had to pack up and pay them compensation. The people of Papan and Bukit Merah were more concerned about their health and the health of their future generations than they were about the short-term gain of employment that ARE provided.

Today, the people in Kuantan who are opposing the Lynas rare earth plant are displaying the same admirable organisation, commitment to protecting their environment and concern for their health and the health of their future generations and we salute their efforts.

Far from being impartial, the IAEA is deeply involved in promoting nuclear energy. It failed to correctly assess the dangers caused by nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and recently at Fukushima. For all its “impartiality”, it also failed to prevent the Iraq war, when Bush and Blair had insisted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It turned out to be an elaborate lie to justify western invasion of Iraq.

Since the key question to allay the fears of the people is that of safety and the effects of the plant on the people’s health, one would have expected the government to bring in independent members outside the IAEA with expertise in nuclear safety, public health, environmental protection and other social concerns. Besides the danger of radiation, the Lynas plant also produces large quantities of industrial acids and chemicals which will adversely affect the environment.

The lesson of Bukit Merah should be instructive for the Lynas controversy. The ARE expert there had insisted that their facilities were safe. I remember visiting their premises and the Japanese manager had assured me of the same. When I asked the manager if he would allow his pregnant wife to work in the premises with those drums of radioactive waste around her, he was completely stumped and couldn’t answer me. During the Bukit Merah court case, other international experts testified that the adverse health effects on the residents — cancer, congenital deformities, cardiovascular disease, etc — were the direct result of the radioactivity from the waste produced by ARE.

Whatever IAEA may recommend for the Lynas plant, they have no power to regulate or enforce compliance on Lynas. We also know that the Malaysian government’s record on monitoring and implementing such environmental safety standards and its maintenance culture are legendary! If not, how did the DOE and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board fail the residents of Bukit Merah?

Neutrality of science is a myth

The lesson from all these controversies is that there is no such thing as a “neutral expert”. Science and technology have never been neutral — the neutrality of science is a myth. You can as soon find an expert who will say the project is safe and another who will warn you of its dangers.

Through the ages, science has been carried out in a manner reflecting the norms and ideology of the social order. Thus, whether it is environmental pollution, genetic engineering, climate change, psychological control technologies, computer invasion of privacy, biological and chemical warfare, scientific research is not independent and unrelated to scientists’ activity.

The history of science reveals that scientific discoveries emerged as a consequence of a specific technological requirement of a particular social order. For example, Newtonian mechanics developed during the development of industrial capitalism. The atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki exploded the myth of the autonomy of science once and for all.

The Vietnam War in the mid-Sixties saw the greatest proportion of university science in the US done on federal contract, especially for the Department of Defence. Today, scientists permeate every branch of government, advising and devising the most effective types of weapons of war.

Fortunately, there has been resistance to this development among socially conscious scientists on the side of the people. Thus, during the Vietnam War, the Bertrand Russell Tribunal sent scientists and doctors to collect evidence of the experimental nature of the war and the use of new technologies of destruction. Moral and political issues were brought out to the fore and it was no longer adequate to pose the problem in terms of the “uses/abuses of science”. The response produced such movements as the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Society for Social Responsibility in Science and Science for People.

Poisoning Pahang

While we are in the midst of a controversy regarding the Emergency, it is worth pointing out that when the 30-year secrecy rule was lifted in Britain, it was discovered that the authorities had used Agent Orange to spray at least 20 sites in Pahang. Pahang happened to be the state in which the Tenth Regiment of the Communist Party of Malaya was particularly active and it was the regiment that was made up of Malays.

I raised this in an article in The Star entitled “Emergency Secrets” on March 30, 1984. Malaysian government officials were quoted in The Star (January 29, 1984) as saying it was not their responsibility to conduct studies since the spraying happened before independence. Well, if according to our professors, Malaya was never colonised, then shouldn’t the Malaysian government do something about finding out how much of our country was sprayed with Agent Orange during the Emergency? How good are our medical records to show if congenital deformities in recent years have been caused by the spraying of defoliants during the Emergency?

At a medical conference in France in 1970, attention was drawn to the possible cancer-producing effects of dioxin, the deadly component of these poisonous herbicides. Questions were also raised of aberrations in the chromosomes of those affected which may affect their reproductive ability. These findings on the long-term effects of Agent Orange — which was used by the Americans to spray rebel areas during the Vietnam War — were presented at an international symposium of 140 scientists in January 1983. Their conclusion was that there is good reason to suppose that the defoliants used not only have noxious effects on the present generation but also for future generations!

Socially useful production please!

In Malaysia, the proliferation of the domestic military-industrial complex has been in the vicinity of Kuantan, namely in Pekan, the prime minister’s constituency. The prime minister almost lost the seat in 2004 but he has now ensured that the military automotive industry is there to provide contractors, sub-contractors, servicemen and other workers with a vested interest. Defence companies enjoy “feather bedding” in which contracts are awarded without competition. But is arms production in the interest of the people even if they may chalk up our GDP figures?

Not in my backyard mate!

The reason given by Lynas for why this rare earth processing plant has to be in Malaysia rather than in West Australia where it is mined surely takes the biscuit! Their spokesperson has said that Malaysia has the infrastructure lacking in Australia! It seems clear to most that the Aussies do not want this radioactive industry in their backyard.

It reminds me of that other energy-guzzling highly toxic aluminium smelting industry from Australia that the Sarawak/federal government has been trying to attract into Sarawak in order to use the abundant electricity from the Bakun dam. Once again, one wonders why Alcoa does not smelt aluminium in their own backyard.

Either Malaysians are the most gullible people on this earth or the Malaysian government merely wants to attract the big projects regardless of their sustainability or toxicity. Big projects mean big commissions seem to be the motivating factor in Malaysian development logic!

People before profits

Thus the experts we call upon to evaluate Lynas’ rare earth processing project will give us different conclusions depending on whether their prime concern is people or profits. As in all capitalist enterprises, there will be cost cutting. Whether they use welded steel drums or plastic bags to store the processed rare earth will affect the cost drastically. So will other measures to ensure there is no environmental damage or emissions to affect the residents.

The people of Kuantan are rightly angry that their lives are being reckoned on a weighted scale and they do not want this toxic industry in their backyard. All Malaysians who care for people before profits fully support them and we must do all we can to ensure that Lynas processes the rare earth in their own backyard and not in ours.

The people of Kuantan have asserted their rights as a community. It underpins the inseparable connection between the environmental movement and the people’s movement for democracy, justice and human rights. They have initiated an assembly which, hopefully, will be the start of a green movement whose time has come.

It is time to establish a national coalition of support and solidarity for all communities under threat from such irresponsible and dubious projects and strive for an alternative path of development in which the interests of the people come before profits. The success of campaigns such as Papan and Bukit Merah demonstrates the truism that the people united will never be defeated!

* Dr Kua Kia Soong is a director of human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

An environmental performance index next year

October 14, 2011
Green light for EPI to gauge states

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia’s own Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which is designed to gauge the performance of each state in managing environmental issues is scheduled to be implemented by next year.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Unggah Embas said the Cabinet had given the green light for the EPI to be carried out comprehensively.

The project is a joint effort between the ministry and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“We need a yardstick to gauge the performance of each state,” said Douglas.

“At the moment, everything is based on verbal commitments. For example, we cannot compare Selangor with Penang (on which state has done better in managing environmental issues). We need something concrete for this purpose,” he said after visiting the Penang Land and Mines Office in Komtar yesterday.

Douglas said the EPI would be developed in line with the Global Environmental Perfor-mance Index.

He said some of the parameters for the measurement include socio-economic sustainability, resources efficiency, environmental governance and awareness as well as behaviour of the people.

“We are trying to make it as simple as possible so that it can be understood by everyone,” he said.

Douglas also said that Penang’s “e-Tanah” system, an integrated online system for land management and administration, has seen 250,000 transactions being processed between Jan 1 and Sept 30 of this year.

He said the number of transactions had doubled compared to the corresponding period last year.

When visiting Sungai Petani, Douglas said the Sungai Muda flood mitigation project was 5% ahead of schedule and it is likely to be completed on time.

The RM420mil project started in 2007 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Douglas said that more than 850 families living along Sungai Muda would benefit when it is completed.

The project will alleviate flooding in the area where the river banks will be raised to avert the overflow of water from the river, especially during heavy rain.

“Look at Thailand, which is affected by the worst floods in its history. We do not want a similar situation here. The Federal Government is planning ahead for the people, he said.


Sunday October 9, 2011

KUCHING: The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is to develop an environmental performance index as a yardstick to gauge the environmental management performance of every state next year.

Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the Malaysia Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2012 would be developed in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015).

He said the cabinet has agreed to the ministry's proposal, which also had the support of the various federal agencies.

"At the moment, we do not have an indicator on the public response to environmental issues, like climate change, being discussed by a lot of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at dialogues and conferences, or the performances of local bodies like the Kuching City South Hall in managing solid and sewage waste disposal and number of acreages on trees planted," he said.

Speaking to reporters after officiating at the Kuching Division Journalists Association (KDJA) Car Boot Sale and Sports Day at the Kuching Integrated Sports Complex here, he said it would also help the ministry in terms of resource allocation and manpower needs.

Generally, Malaysia's standing is at 54th position among 163 countries worldwide under the Global EPI 2010 based on quantitative data obtained from the World Health Oganisation, United Nations Global Environmental Monitoring System, government agencies, NGOs and academia, he said.

The Malaysia EPI 2012 will also address issues pertaining to socio-economic sustainability as one of the data to include three categories of policy on resources efficiency, environmental governance as well as environmental awareness and behaviour. - Bernama

Thursday, October 06, 2011

State sanctioned animal mistreatment in Zambry's Perak

06 October 2011
Written by Mariam Mokhtar,
Malaysia Chronicle

It is outrageous that animals are being neglected by the MBI (Ipoh City Council or Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh).

Despite the public condemnation which it received last year, MBI continues the callous, indiscriminate shooting of dogs including pets, and has still not learned its lesson.

In October 2010, the MBI made headline news for shooting a therapy dog and long term companion of a 75 year old lady. This lady was about to exercise her dog, when she popped into her house to retrieve something she had forgotten.

When she returned after being away for a few minutes, her dog Spunk, was nowhere to be found; after much searching, she found his body. Spunk had been shot by dog shooters who did not even bother to check if the animal had a license on its collar.

The aftermath of this killing was that an immediate ban was placed on the shooting of dogs.

This was rescinded in March 2011 when the Ipoh Mayor, Roshidi Hashim admitted that his enforcement team had shot at dogs in Ipoh, because nurses coming off-duty at one of the private hospitals had complained about dogs barking.

Roshidi approved the shooting because the MBI had an ‘option to shoot’ dogs, in its local by-laws.

Filthy and neglected

However, during my visit to the Gunung Lang recreational park just off the Kuala Kangsar Road in Ipoh, on 24 September 2011, I discovered that dogs are not the only animals to suffer cruelty at the hands of the MBI.

The park at Gunung Lang is only accessible by boat. The place looks idyllic but on closer inspection, it has an air of disarray and neglect. At one time, this Gunung Lang park must have been a gem and a welcome green lung for Ipoh.

The park keeps animals in cages or fenced off enclosures. Many of these animals looked diseased and unhealthy. Their fur had no shine and the animals were filthy, and looked neglected.

One rabbit in the cage close to the jetty, looked as though its nose was about to drop off. Bits of its skin were bare of fur and the cage was littered with rabbit pellets and looked like it was rarely cleaned.

In the far-side of the park, several caged enclosures looked like they needed repair and there was no information about any of the animals or birds which they housed. Many of the cages were empty or had broken fencing. Equipment which needed repair and metal containers with sharp projections, were dumped in these cages.

The ostriches at Gunung Lang, did not look at all happy, nor healthy. Their feathers were sparse and unhealthy, their eyes dull. They were severely dehydrated and there was no water supply. One trough, which should have had water in it, had been removed from its frame, whilst another had only a small amount of brackish water.

Some deer were housed with the ostriches. They also looked unhealthy. They were lethargic and didn’t come to investigate us, as normal healthy animals would. They appeared to be dehydrated and were lying or standing on waterlogged ground. It looked like some of the deer were eating their faeces. Isn’t this a sign of boredom, stress, a lack of minerals in their diet or perhaps, malnutrition?

Other cages housed guinea fowl and turkeys. These birds also looked unhealthy.

Why has the mayor allowed such terrible practices to continue? Is he not ashamed that with Visit Perak Year (VPY) 2012 just around the corner, Malaysia’s reputation as a nation which ill-treats its animals will be highlighted by the foreigner?

As a local, many of us find that our complaints fall on deaf ears and that action is only taken by the authorities, when a foreign tourist makes a big issue of it.

If the MBI cannot properly manage these bird and animals, and if MBI cannot pay for the regular services of a vet, then these animals and birds should be put down to end their suffering.

Jokers in charge

Those in charge of tourism in Perak are excited about VPY 2012. However, these people have their priorities confused. They must realise that tourism is not just about an increase in the number of hotel rooms, or of places to eat.

Tourism is also about health, hygiene and human considerations towards animal welfare.

What good is an eatery if we have no clue about keeping out streets, toilets, kitchens and drains clean? Several people complain of irregular rubbish collections, drains which remain clogged and restaurants where the rodents are as large as domestic cats.

What is the point of a recreational park, which is covered in litter and broken amenities? Why should we have caged animals if we won’t care for them? Tourists will not be impressed by a park in which animals are suffering a slow and lingering death.

The MBI, the Ipoh mayor, the tourism department of Perak and the state executive councilor for Perak tourism, Hamidah Othman, must realise that VPY 2012 should be more than just restaurants, hotel rooms and a fancy launch for the VPY 2012 logo. A successful VPY must also include animal welfare.

Both Roshidi and Hamidah should investigate why animals kept in cages and enclosures in the Gunung Lang recreational park are kept in terrible conditions and they must do something about it. It should not be up to members of the public to continually catch the MBI with its pants down.

Malaysia Chronicle

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Belum Sandiwara

Sandiwara means play acting. In Malaysia politicians are expert in sandiwara. Corruption and greed are two of the menace killing the environment and nature. When will they stop? Temenggor Forest Reserve is home to thousand of Plain pouched Hornbills....and this idiot just don't seem to understand the reason to gazette the forests! Tamby hoi, this PPHs need big trees to nest. Logging will make them homeless! Ada faham?


Be reasonable with demands to gazette forests, says MB
September 20, 2011

IPOH: Environmental and wildlife groups should be more objective when demanding that forested areas in the state be gazetted as non-logging areas, said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

He said despite the state government having gazetted an area about five times the size of Singapore in Royal Belum as a state park, such groups were demanding more.

“Are they asking for the whole of Perak to be gazetted? After the Royal Belum, they now want us to gazette the whole of Temengor Forest Reserve.

“Later, they may also request forested areas in Pangkor to be gazetted.

“Let us be objective. Logging cannot be stopped completely because timber is one of the major industries which generate revenue for the state,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Shigeru Nakamura at his office here yesterday.

Dr Zambry was commenting on calls by such groups for forests along the Gerik-Jeli highway to be gazetted as part of the Royal Belum or a forest reserve to ensure the long-term survival of wildlife.

He said economic progress would be hindered if the state government were to fulfil all their demands.

Dr Zambry said Perak was among the few states that had a sustainable forest management concept.

“While allowing logging activities, we are also serious about protecting the state’s rainforests,” he stressed.

On the forest clearing activities in the Belum-Temengor wildlife corridor, Dr Zambry said he would wait for an in-depth probe to be completed first.

”We also want to know the actual situation and if the report is accurate,” he said


September 20, 2011
‘Step up Belum enforcement’

PETALING JAYA: Intensified enforcement is needed to prevent poachers from encroaching into the Royal Belum State Park, said wildlife protection groups.

This is necessary following the clearing of a logging road in the major wildlife corridor.

The groups called for coordinated patrols to be heightened.

WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the logging road in the Sungai Mendelum area was easily accessible from the Gerik-Jeli highway.

He said the organisation had previously raised the alarm on poaching snares discovered in state land forests in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC) a month ago.

“The wire snares were camouflaged so well that a team assistant’s foot got caught,” he said in a statement yesterday, adding that a camera-trap placed in the area had captured a photo of possible poachers.

Another camera-trap had captured a photo of a Malayan sun bear, which was missing one foot.

The injury was consistent with an animal who lost a limb while trying to free itself from a snare, he said.

The field team also heard three gunshots from a distance while they were in the area.

Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed said illegal hunting and poaching were rampant in the area.

He said gazetting the entire BTFC was the only way to “truly protect” the area from illegal clearing and wildlife poaching.

“We should protect our natural heritage,” said Prof Maketab.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir earlier ordered a stop to all alleged land clearing activities in the Sungai Mendelum area pending a probe into the matter.

Environmentalists have called for a permanent halt to development plans as the area is frequently used by wildlife to cross from Royal Belum to the Temengor Forest Reserve.


September 21, 2011
Strong case for Lower Belum and Temengor conservation
The Star Says

PERAK is extremely proud of the fact that it had in 2003 set aside 117,500ha of forest north of the East-West Highway as the Royal Belum State Park.

However, to the dismay of conservationists, the park excluded forests south of the highway, the Lower Belum and Temengor Forest Reserves, which both remain as “production forest reserve” destined for logging.

Also left out is the 1,820m width of state land on either side of the East-West Highway.

Plans to develop this state land are many.

They range from commercial crops and vegetable agriculture to orang asli farming schemes and construction of university campuses and research centres.

Scientists say leaving the forest reserves and state land unprotected is a mistake for they are important wild habitats too.

Royal Belum is just over a quarter of the 4,343sq km that make up Taman Negara and, on its own, is not sufficient for the survival of large mammals such as the elephant, rhinoceros and tiger.

It needs to be backed up by Lower Belum and Temengor.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) even wants the adjacent Gerik and Lepang Nenering Forest Reserves to be added to the state park.

Collectively, these will create a sprawling, contiguous wild sanctuary.

Without the adjoining forests, Royal Belum is all but an island of wilderness in a sea of logged and farmed areas.

The East-West Highway has already sliced the wild area into two and obstructed animal movements. Wildlife migrating between Belum and Temengor have ended up as road kill.

And with increased human activity comes the opening of new roads which will give poachers easy access to wild areas. More and more snares and poachers' camps are being discovered in Belum-Temengor.

In the National Physical Plan, the whole of Hulu Perak is marked as a Rank 1 Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), a ranking that disallows development, agriculture or logging.

This last large tract of forest in Perak is a final stronghold for wildlife.

It shelters 14 threatened mammals and an array of unique plants and animals. Internationally, Belum-Temengor is identified as a Tiger Conservation Landscape it is crucial for the long-term survival of the big cat.

The site has one of the world's greatest concentrations of hornbills 10 species are found here and the rare phenomenon of plain-pouched hornbills gathering by the thousands.

Temengor must not be seen only for its timber and land worth.

This is a mistake: the Malaysian Nature Society had a few years ago estimated that timber yields amount to only between RM58mil and RM250mil annually, whereas the other products and ecological services which the forest provides such as water supply, tourism, non-timber forest products, carbon sink, pharmaceuticals, flood control, fisheries and electricity generation are worth some RM1bil to RM1.2bil.

Keeping Belum-Temengor intact, therefore, seems to make sense.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Malaysia identified as a major transit point for elephant tusk smugglers

Saturday September 3, 2011

PETALING JAYA: More than 20 tonnes of illegal ivory have passed through at least two Malaysian ports since 2003, earning the country an unsavoury reputation as a transhipment hub for the multi-million ringgit trade and the figure involves only those seized.

Wildlife monitoring trade network Traffic regional director Dr William Schaedla said Malaysia had become a major hub for illegal ivory trade in the last few years.

This could have been caused by stricter enforcement measures in neighbouring countries, leading smugglers to venture through Malaysian ports, he said.

“Smugglers tend to move to an easier' place. If enforcement in other countries heats up, then they will find a soft spot elsewhere,” he said.

It was reported that 794 African ivory tusks were confiscated by Hong Kong authorities on Monday after they arrived by sea from Malaysia. The tusks, weighing 1.9 tonnes and estimated to be worth around HK$13mil (RM4.97mil), was concealed in a consignment declared as non-ferrous products for factory use.

The seizure came after last week's report that more than 1,000 elephant tusks were seized by Tanzanian authorities. The tusks were hidden in a strong-smelling container of anchovies destined for Malaysia.

The huge amount of ivory being shipped accounts for thousands of elephants killed in the past few decades. Some tusks come from freshly-killed animals while others are from stockpiles.

Dr Schaedla said it was vital that Malaysia increased its regional cooperation and exchange of information with Asean countries via the Asean Wildlife Enforcement Network.

He also suggested that customs officers improve their communication mechanisms by using the Ecomessage system set up by Interpol. (Ecomessage is a database to coordinate international efforts to combat environmental crime, including illegal trafficking of wildlife.)

Local enforcement agencies should gather intelligence or information and bring it to the National Central Bureau (NCB) located at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman.

Dr Schaedla said Malaysian customs officers should also work with the World Customs Organisation's regional intelligence liaison offices to exchange information and intelligence effectively.

However, Dr Schaedla commended the Customs Department for heightening its enforcement measures of late, saying: “Malaysia is now quite serious about wildlife crime but still has a long way to go.”

Traffic has identified Malaysia as “a country of concern” in its latest Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) report.

Records of confiscated ivory shipments showed several seizures in other countries had transited through Penang and Pasir Gudang, which were considered “high-volume” ports.

Among the countries that seized ivory shipments after transiting through Malaysian ports were Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

The latter two are themselves known transit hubs for the illegal ivory trade, according to Traffic reports.

A general manager of a shipping company said there were around 50,000 to 100,000 containers which entered ports for transit in a month, adding that the containers were allowed to be stored free in the container yard for 28 days.

He claimed that Customs officers would only conduct an X-ray inspection on containers if they had a tip-off.

According to the World Wildlife Fund Global website, there could have been as many as three to five million African elephants in the 1930s and 1940s.

However, today, only some 300,000 elephants roam southern Africa and considerably fewer in West Africa.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Malaysia Truly Boleh

August 26, 2011
Country exposed as major transit point after seizure of 1,000 elephant tusks

PETALING JAYA: A container of anchovies headed for Malaysia from Africa turned out to be no small fry. Hidden within the strong smelling anchovies were more than 1,000 elephant tusks.

The killing of more than 500 elephants for the tusks has now turned the spotlight on Malaysia as a significant transit point for the illegal elephant ivory trade.

Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (Traffic) South-East Asia senior programme officer Kanitha Krishnasamy said Malaysia had been named in the latest Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) report as “a country of concern”.

“Malaysia has progressively gained prominence in successive ETIS analyses as a transit point for African ivory because of a growing number of illegal shipments passing through its ports,” she said in a statement.

Foreign wires reported yesterday that more than 1,000 elephant tusks destined for Malaysia were seized by Tanzanian authorities on Tuesday.

AFP reported that 1,041 elephant tusks were hidden in a container of anchovies, in the hope that the smell would discourage closer inspection by the authorities.

Krishnasamy said the latest seizure “represented the death of at least 500 elephants”.

She said it was doubtful Malaysia was the end destination of these illegal shipments based on previous seizures in Thailand and Vietnam.

She urged the Wildlife and National Parks Department, Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Customs Department to document all ivory stockpiles seized and report the matter to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Krishnasamy urged the Govern­ment to work with African nations to put a stop to the trade.

“If we do not act now, we will be contributing to the demise of the wild elephant population,” she added.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Can you respect the royal that don't respect environment?

Royal link in iron ore plant

Teoh El Sen
August 22, 2011

Ex-MB Nizar says this has everything to do with the sacrifice of public interest

MANJUNG (Perak): There is a royal link in the controversial project to build an iron ore plant in Teluk Rubiah, Manjung, and one prominent critic alleges that this, coupled with the Perak palace’s cosy relationship with the Barisan Nasional state government, has everything to do with why public interest has been sacrificed to profit a select few.

“BN would always go ahead with something when there’s something in it for them,” said former menteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

“Despite the hue and cry from the community, they don’t give a damn.”

Documents made available to FMT show that the Sultan of Perak owns one of the companies that sold off the piece of land that Brazilian mining giant Vale International is now developing for the multi-billion-ringgit project.

In 2009, KYM Holdings Bhd, through Harta Makmur Sdn Bhd, sold 488 hectares (1,205 acres) of leasehold land in Teluk Rubiah to Vale International and Vale Malaysia Manfuacturing Sdn Bhd for RM196 million.

Vale will use only 450 acres for the plant. The rest of the land, mostly forested, will be a buffer zone.

Checks with the Companies Commission of Malaysia showed that Harta Makmur is 60% owned by Tegas Consolidated Sdn Bhd and 40% owned by RAS Sdn Bhd.

The majority shareholder for RAS is Sultan Azlan Shah. His consort, Tuanku Bainun Mohd Ali, and his son, Raja Ashman Shah, are minority shareholders. Raja Ashman and his siblings are all directors of the company.

Vale’s project has many opponents, including environmental groups and Teluk Rubiah residents and businesses. They fear that it would damage the environment, ruin the local tourism industry and impair the livelihood and health of local residents.

Not a viable option

Nizar said Vale representatives met with him twice in 2008 over proposals for the project.

“I told them that the area should be preserved as a sanctuary. We had virgin jungles, with one of the best species of logs there. I could not afford to lose those.”
He said he proposed another state land in the swampy area of Tanjung Hantu, offering it almost free of charge.

“I was thinking we’re giving you a place with virtually no inhabitants. But before Vale could complete their analysis of the pros and cons of Tanjung Hantu, the government was grabbed, and the deal at Teluk Rubiah went through.”

Nizar headed the Pakatan Rakyat-led government until early 2009, when four defectors helped BN to take over, allowing Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir to replace him.

Nizar alleged that KYM had owed the state government RM20 million in accumulated unpaid charges over the piece of land.

“In order to settle debts to the bank and to the state government, they dumped everything on the Brazilians,” Nizar said. “Somebody’s interest is being taken care of.

“Obviously, Vale was given additional incentives when it decided to choose Teluk Rubiah.

“But I want to put on record that we did not condone using Teluk Rubiah as there were strong objections and it was not a viable option.

“Zambry decided to allow Teluk Rubiah because, one, he gets a good name in the eyes of the palace, and two, KYM gets to settle its debts.”

Nizar questioned whether the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project was tailored to allow the project to go ahead.

“Were there amendments to the EIA? We don’t know, but it could be manipulated.”

Nizar, who is the Pasir Panjang state assemblyman, said he hoped Vale would honour its promise not to pollute the area.

He admitted that it was “a bit too late” to ask for Vale to stop building the factory.

“They’ve already signed all the documents and they will go ahead as they’ve made all the commitments to the Brazilian company.
“There’s nothing much we can do now, however much the environment might suffer.”

Zambry: State has no equity

Perak Consumer Association president Rahman Said Alli said pollution was a major concern.

“We respect royalty, but we are concerned that some people may be misusing the Sultan’s name,” he said. “They should not bandy his name around to obtain certain approvals from government authorities.”

Last January, Zambry said he was aware of objections to the project but added that his government was allowing it to go ahead.

He said the Perak government had no equity participation in the plant itself, but would participate in the port and logistics operations.

Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore, started construction on the factory in July. It is expected to start operations by June 2014. The plant will have a dedicated jetty that will be the destination point for Vale ships of 400,000-deadweight tonnes carrying iron ore from Brazil.

Blended iron ore and pellets will be distributed to customers in Malaysia, China, Japan, Australia and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region.

Teluk Rubiah was once a traditional Malay fishing village and was a Malay reserve land.

The exploitation of the village and a portion of the Teluk Muroh forest reserve started in 1983, when the state government proposed that the area be developed for tourism.

The government de-gazetted a 478-hectare portion of Teluk Muroh forest reserve in September 1988, and 247 hectares were alienated to the Perak Development Corporation while 213 hectares remained state land.

A 350-hectare area was turned into the Teluk Rubiah golf course and beach resort.

The original size of Teluk Muroh forest reserve was 917.93 hectares. At one point, it was classified as a virgin jungle reserve.

In July 1989, the government de-gazetted another 163 hectares of Malay reserve land, displacing the villagers. About 10,000 of them had no choice but to move out, but they received some compensation.

In 2001, several environmental groups protested against logging in the de-gazetted parts of Teluk Muroh, pointing out that the area remained under the Sensitive Environment Area classification.

The government responded by re-gazetting a mere 89.83 hectares as forest reserve. However, without any public announcement, it again de-gazetted 121.16 hectares in January 2010.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Action on Cruelty to Animals - Is it for Real?

Two news today that are worth pondering.

1st. We need more foreign non-governmental organisation (NGO) to speak up before our local enforcement agencies can work. This is how pathetic our custodians for wildlife are. Locals making complaints will not likely be heard unless there are some monetary interest involved. After reading the first article below, I am surprised that the private zoo keepers were playing God! Yes, they are cross-breeding wildlife. Are they trying to follow the hybrid culture from the botanists? Its BOLEHLAND!

2nd. New regulations to keep wildlife. Thumbs up. But in BOLEHLAND, it means more monetary side income for the agencies....because law breakers were seldom punished heavily. A small fine and they carry on with their business....its a truly BOLEHLAND!

Don't you think its time to change this rotten government?


August 11, 2011
Dept warns zoos to shape up

KUALA LUMPUR: The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Per­hilitan) is aware of allegations raised by a foreign non-governmental organisation on the cruel treatment of animals under the care of Johor Zoo and Danga World Petting Zoo in Johor.

Its director-general Datuk Abdul Rasid Samsudin said Johor Zoo had been advised to ensure that its animals were better treated and amend its husbandry practices to follow guidelines under the soon-to-be-en­forced Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

He warned that if the two premises failed to change their ways, action would be taken.

Abdul Rasid said the Johor Zoo administrators, namely the state government, had admitted that they lacked the funds to operate the zoo.

British conservation and animal rights NGO Nature Alert director Sean Whyte, in an e-mailed statement to both Perhilitan and the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry, had alleged that a baby elephant named Paloh had been ill-treated at Johor Zoo.

The alleged cruelty received wide publicity in several tabloids in Britain while the zoo management claimed that it had chained up Paloh as training and to make sure that she did not harm the keepers.

Following the furore, however, the management has released Paloh from her shackles.

Whyte made a similar complaint against Danga World Petting Zoo, claiming that a 22-year-old elephant named Aidil was shackled for long periods and kept at a construction site with barely enough shade.

Aidil’s fate had also been highlighted in an earlier Starprobe report.

Whyte claimed that the elephant was also forced to perform tricks, including hitting footballs with a cricket bat, blowing a trumpet and harmonica despite Perhilitan imposing a ban against shows using protected animals like elephants, tigers and sun bears.

“I’m surprised to hear that Danga World is still employing the elephant in its shows.

“We have been monitoring them and our inspectors have not seen this happen,” said Abdul Rasid.

He admitted, however, that since the Perhilitan inspectors were not there every day, they could have missed such shows.

On animals seized from the Saleng Zoo following the Starprobe report, Perhilitan deputy director-general Dr Zaaba Zainol Abidin, who is tasked with overseeing the enforcement division, said it had identified 35 cross-bred tigers among the list of animals.

Cross-breeding of species is against the law, with Dr Zaaba noting that these animals were of no use to the gene pool and not advocated by science or conservationists.

As a result, he said no zoos in the world would want these animals, adding that DNA samples would be taken to confirm cross-breeding.

Abdul Rasid said the department might carry out an exercise to take DNA sampling of other cross-bred sus­pected animals from Saleng Zoo.

Perhilitan had to spend about RM1mil for the raid and upkeep of the animals.

On June 20, its officers raided the privately-run zoo in Pulai, Johor, shutting down its operations and seizing the animals.

Another private zoo highlighted, Lye Huat Garden in Kedah, voluntarily surrendered the animals under its care on July 9 after admitting that it could not fulfil the new Perhilitan regulations .


August 11, 2011
Licences a must soon for all who keep exotic animals

KUALA LUMPUR: All premises housing wildlife, including pet shops, will now have to apply for permits to continue operating under the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abd Rasid Samsudin said even individuals keeping wildlife would be required to apply for permits.

“Pet shops have to do so. Currently, all they need is a licence from the local council,” he told The Star.

He said this was one way of monitoring premises such as zoos and pet shops to ensure that they did not deal in illegal trade of wildlife as many, especially shops, had previously been found to sell illegally-obtained wild animals.

The ruling also covers common household pets which are on the endangered species list, including animals such as the star and radiated tortoises and other exotic pets such as imported snakes and reptiles.

Abdul Rasid said the regulations for keeping animals in such premises were expected to be ready by the end of next month.

It was up to the minister to decide how much time should be given for zoos and other establishments to comply with the new regulations, he added.

“We have informed all of them about the new conditions. So far, we have audited 17 zoos and establishments and some have failed to meet the requirements.

“We have advised them of the changes they need to make to comply,” said Abdul Rasid who declined to reveal which zoos and establishments had failed the first audit.

He added that Perhilitan had proposed for a bond to be imposed for the issuance of permits for animals individually and if these were later seized, the bond money would go towards their upkeep.

Abdul Rasid said the department always welcomed help from the public and non-government organisations in monitoring the situati- on.

“To help with this effort, once each premises gets its licence, we will post details of each animal and the permit issued on our website to make it easier for them to be monitored and no question of impropriety may arise,” said Abdul Rasid.

He added that a zoo committee, comprising officials from the ministry and other stakeholders like NGOs, would be formed once the regulations were in place.

However, Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S.M. Mohd Idris said the new ruling would have little effect on smuggling of wildlife in the country.

“There is no assurance that Perhilitan will be able to curb animal smuggling even after imposing the Act.

“It is impossible for them to keep track on all individual owners or premises,” he said.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mengkuang Dam Expansion Project - 1st Aug 2011

Beginning 1 Aug 2011, the dam will be closed for the expansion of the dam for 5 years. It will be a white elephant when completed as there are not enough rivers (infact only streams) to feed the dam. A federal govt project that make no sense...except perhaps to enrich some cronies. Refer to this website that done a research on the dam years ago...under CM Dr Koh then. Today under the new CM Lim, its just the same cock story. Click here


July 30, 2011
Residents don’t want park to be closed during work on Mengkuang Dam

Residents living near the Mengkuang Dam in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, are appealing that the adjoining recreational park be closed in stages once the dam extension project starts.

Their representative Datuk Seri Teh Aik Lum said that the recreational park had long been a venue for exercise for those staying nearby.

“We understand that the dam extension project is necessary as it is important for the state’s water supply.

“However, we hope the recreational park can be closed in stages so nearby residents will be able to use sections of it as construction goes on,” Teh said during a press conference at Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office in Komtar.

Lim, who chaired the press conference, said the dam would be handed over to the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water on August 1 for the commencement of the RM1.2bil project.

“Through Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBAPP), the state has forwarded the residents’ appeal to the relevant ministry in a letter dated July 27.

“We want to say that we support this request but this is a Federal Government project and they are completely in control of it,” Lim said, adding that residents had collected 30,000 signatures in a petition to close the park in stages.

He added that the issue would also be brought up during a project meeting with the ministry and other relevant parties today.

PBAPP general manager Jaseni Maidinsa, who was also present, said the residents’ proposal involved building by-laws that the project constructor would need to take into account.

“The park is located directly in the construction area and it is mandatory for the construction site to be fenced up to protect both the public and the equipment at the site,” he said.

He added that the expansion project, which would take five years to complete, would increase the dam capacity by almost four times, bringing the maximum storage volume to 78mil cubic metres.

“This will safeguard the state’s water supply until 2020,” he said.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Human destroyers caught 2 of our friends

By an elephant reporter.
Jungle News

BESUT: Two tame elephants turned traitors were used to lure our two friends in Lata Tembakah.

The proud State Wildlife Department officers captured our two friends at 9am yesterday by using two decoys (Cek Mek and Kala) from the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, Pahang.

The human lured our two friends and were subsequently fired on with tranquiliser darts to make our friends sleepy.

Terengganu Wildlife Department director Yusof Shariff seemed to know that our two friends were 7 years old. They were transported to the state Wildlife Conservation Centre in Sungai Ketiar.

They also knew that it was almost impossible to capture our two friends without the help of two traitors - Cek Mek and Kala. Cek Mek and Kala led our two friends to enter the huge transport vehicle.

The human spokeman by the name of Yusof even said that our two friends are wild and had done considerable damage to villagers' crops and had caused distress to the people. They didn't even mention that they were raping our jungle and our food sources. Don't you think human speaks with forked tongue? They blame us for being wild when they themselves steal and kill our other animal friends in the jungle. They caused so much distress to us. We are starving. Human raped our jungle foods and destroyed our living space. Please help us.


Friday July 29, 2011
Crop-damaging wild jumbos captured

BESUT: Two wild elephants which had damaged crops in Lata Tembakah here since Monday have been captured.

State Wildlife Department officers managed to capture them at 9am yesterday by using two tame elephants (Cek Mek and Kala) from the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, Pahang.

The officers managed to lure the wild elephants and fired tranquiliser darts to calm them.

Terengganu Wildlife Department director Yusof Shariff said the wild elephants, which were about seven years old, were transported to the state Wildlife Conservation Centre in Sungai Ketiar.

“We knew it would be almost impossible to capture the wild elephants without the help of Cek Mek and Kala.

“They managed to persuade the wild elephants to enter the department's transport vehicles,” he said.

Yusof said the wild elephants had done considerable damage to villagers' crops and had caused distress to the people.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

How Corrupt Can Malaysia Be?

No action on international wildlife trafficking syndicate
Posted on 6 July 2011 - 06:14pm
Alyaa Alhadjri

KUALA LUMPUR (July 6, 2011): PKR vice president N. Surendran today claimed that no action has been taken by the authorities to investigate "crucial evidence" which may lead to the crippling of an international wildlife trafficking syndicate allegedly operating in Malaysia.

Surendran, who is also the Malaysian Animal Rights Society (Roar) president, said the information could be obtained from Emilienne Justine Sarah – a Madagascar native who was arrested at KLIA in July last year for attempting to smuggle tortoises out of her country.

Emilliene was subsequently charged and detained for eight months at Kajang prison, where she gave birth to a baby boy and was transferred to Lenggeng detention camp before being deported to Madagascar last month.

At a press conference at PKR's headquarters, Surendran said Emilienne, while under detention in Lenggeng, had with the help of an animal rights activist lodged a police report which shed light on the "kingpins" involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.

"She was already under detention but the police did not make any effort to obtain the information from her, so she had to lodge an official report," he said.

In Emilienne's police report which Surendran distributed to the media, she named the notorious "Lizard King" Anson Wong who is now also behind bars as the person who had allegedly paid her US$600 (RM1,801) to smuggle in the tortoises from Madagascar.

Emilienne, who formerly worked as a waitress, said she needed the extra money to help support her family and was reassured that it would be a foolproof operation as custom officers in Madagascar and KLIA had allegedly been paid off.

"I first went to Penang in April last year and was told to contact a man named Vijay who owned a shop that sold tortoises, chameleons and snakes.

"When I met him (Vijay), he ordered me to transport various species of animals from Madagascar to Penang in July last year," she wrote in her police report which was lodged on June 23 at the Lenggeng station.

She said that two days prior to her departure for Malaysia from Madagascar, she was introduced to a man named Ong and his girlfriend who were responsible for packing the tortoises to be trafficked.

"While I was detained at Kajang prison, I found out that Ong's real name was Anson Wong. I was shown his picture and I can confirm that he was the man who hired me," said Emilienne.

Surendran, together with Lawyers for Liberty campaign director Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, called on the relevant authorities to investigate all claims made by Emillienne in her report and identify the man named "Vijay" who is purportedly operating in Penang.

"Wong is now behind bars, but his 'tentacles' are still spreading to as far as Madagascar. The authorities should take measures to use all information provided by Emilienne and crack down on these notorius characters," said Fadiah Nadwa.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Transforming Kuala Lumpur's Dirty Rivers

The River of Life project to tranform KL's dirty rivers into an attractive waterfront suitable for tourism is indeed a noble task. But wait, this project only involved (1) River Cleaning (2) River Beautification and (3) Corridor development.
NOTHING mentioned about educating the public on the trash floating in the river. A large part of the budget will be collecting rubbish, manning rubbish traps and dumping rubbish (i.e. river cleaning). It will be a big waste of our tax money. Educating the public and households along the rivers would help in cutting the unnecessary budget on river cleaning. Control on development along rivers should also be enforced. Until then I see no benefit to the ecology. Riparian wildlife along rivers will lost their living space when concrete corridor development replaced the natural corridor. Amsterdam, London, Melbourne and Paris have already lost their riparian corridors. Why should we make the same mistake in the name of development? Lets wait and see how successful is the project or is it part of the scheme to siphon funds for the coming GE 13?

Friday July 1, 2011 MYT 9:22:07 PM
KL's River of Life project takes off

KUALA LUMPUR: The much-anticipated River of Life project, which aims to revitalise and transform Kuala Lumpur's dirty rivers, has taken off.

“I believe there will be a drastic change to Kuala Lumpur's image," said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"This is what Kuala Lumpur folks have been waiting for.

“The Klang river has all the elements to become an attractive waterfront bustling with daily activities,” he said at the launch of the project to transform the Klang and Gombak rivers into iconic waterfronts on par with big cities such as Amsterdam, London, Melbourne and Paris by 2020 on Friday.

The Greater KL-Klang Valley project is an Entry Point Project under the Government's Economic Transformation Programme.

Najib said the project would contribute RM11.3bil to the country's Gross Domestic Product until 2020.

The RM4bil project is divided into three parts, namely river cleaning which would involve a 110km stretch along the Klang river basin; river beautification along a 10.7km stretch by the Klang and Gombak river corridor which will include pedestrian walkways; and corridor development.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Its all about Corruption when encroachments go undetected

The forestry knows about it but no action taken. Enviction was carried out at another peat swamp called Raja Muda Forest Reserve (north Selangor). How come Kuala Langat South Peat Swamp was the exception? MY PERCEPTION - ITS ALL ABOUT CORRUPTION! IN BOLEHLAND CORRUPTION REIGN AND LAWS ARE ONLY FOR THE POOR!!


June 14, 2011
2,000ha of swamp forest encroached by illegal farmers

MORE than 200 farmers have encroached 2,000ha into the Kuala Langat South Peat Swamp Forest and only a major operation can force out the culprits.

Selangor Forestry Department assistant director (operations and enforcement) Mohd Yussainy Md Yusop said 30% of the 6,908ha of the forest reserve had been encroached.

“Each farmer plant crops at least on 10ha in the forest reserve and employ workers to take care and harvest the crops.

On June 6, the department arrested five Indonesian workers for encroaching into the reserve and planting cash crops.

There are now remanded at the Telok Panglima Garang police station.

Yussainy said the department took statements from three employers and they would be charged with trespassing.

Under the Forestry Act 1984, Yussainy said those found encroaching into forest reserves could be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to three years or both if found guilty.

“The profits raked in by the farmers amount to thousands of ringgit and they are willing to take the risk of being jailed or fined.

“The money that they rake from the crops like banana, soursop, papaya, sweet corn, tapioca, sweet potato, turmeric, lengkuas (galangal), ginger, serai (lemongrass) and chilli is just too good. Some of these farmers are millionaires,’’ he claimed.

He said on Oct 25 last year, the department had given notice to the farmers to move out.

“Then, the department had planted 100,000 trees of different species to let the forest regrow but it is having a tough time doing so.

“These illegal farmers sprayed poison on the young trees and planted their crops instead. This shows how bold they are and have no respect for the law.

“Some may think that having cash crops at forest reserves is not as bad as chopping down the trees. But they fail to realise that pesticides can be harmful to the surrounding forest,’’ he said.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rampant Food Wastages in Malaysia

June 10, 2011
930 tonnes of food being thrown away every day

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians can afford to eat less because they are either overeating or wasting food, throwing away up to 930 tonnes of unconsumed food daily, say experts.

This is equivalent to us throwing away 93,000 10kg bags of rice each day.

The experts warn that people must change or adapt their eating habits in the light of rising prices and a looming food shortage, adding that the country was already experiencing a food crisis.

Universiti Malaya Prof Dr P. Agamuthu said wastage was a growing trend, adding that almost 50% of the 31,000 tonnes of waste produced daily by Malaysians comprised organic kitchen waste such as leftover food.

“Malaysians discard about 930 tonnes of unconsumed food daily. Wastage of unconsumed food alone in Malaysia has doubled over the past three years. This does not even include leftover food,” he said, adding that the unconsumed waste mostly consisted of expired bread, eggs and old or rotten fruit.

Dr Agamuthu, who specialises in solid and hazardous waste management, said Malaysia was close to developed country status in terms of waste generated compared to developing nations like India and Bangladesh, which had almost zero unconsumed food.

He said food wastage was higher in urban areas due to the difference in income levels over rural areas.

Nutrition Society of Malaysia president Dr Tee Ee Siong said many Malaysians tended to overeat, usually taking more food than they should.

He said it was a common sight to see Malaysians pile too much food on their plates, especially during meals at restaurants and buffets.

“It could be because they don't want the hassle of going back for a second helping or they are worried that the food will finish before they can return.

“When we have too much food on our plates, we tend to overeat,” he said, adding that overeating was also the main reason for obesity among Malaysians.

According to Health Ministry statistics, 30% of Malaysians are obese while another 30% are overweight.

Dr Tee said those preparing food in households should be more accurate in their estimations on how much they needed to cook to avoid wastage.

“Parents need to be more sensitive about the wastage of food and teach their children by example,” he said.

Marditech Corporation Sdn Bhd group CEO Anas Ahmad Nasarudin said non-alcoholic foodstuff had registered an average of 4.7% increase in prices from last year.

He said an investigation by the body showed that the price of meat had increased by 7.6%, milk and eggs by 7.9%, vegetables by 11.4%, jam and sweetened products by 10.9%, fruits by 6.8% and fish by 3.8%.

Marditech consultant Ahmad Zamzam Mohamed said the country was already in a food crisis and Malaysians would have to change their eating habits to lessen its impact.

“The Government has been shielding Malaysians from the real impact of the crisis with various subsidies,” he said, adding that they would soon face reality as subsidies were slowly removed.

“We should learn to eat accordingly and not over-indulge,” he said during a press conference on the 7th Malaysia International Agro-Bio Business Conference here yesterday.

The two-day conference, which will gather experts to discuss the challenges of the emerging global food crisis, begins on July 13.