Monday, March 28, 2011

Shame of our Army

Soldiers accused of poaching protected wildlife in Royal Belum, and elsewhere

March 20, 2011 By Bella

Perak’s Royal Belum rainforest in the northern part of Malaysia is an area that is supposed to be totally protected as lying in the frontier areas bordering Thailand; smuggling and poaching activities would be rampant if there was no security. Tourist cannot go there without a permit and the Malaysian Army, especially its soldiers from the Territorial Army, Ranger, and Malay regiments in Perak, has been entrusted to patrol and protect the verdant forest area where rare and endangered animals are said to thrive under the soldier’s guard. Or so it seems.

As it has always been a well-known fact to the general public who have family, relatives, or close friends in the Army, that many of these soldiers are no forest guardian angels, but are actually involved in a great deal of poaching and destructive activities themselves.

However, the saying goes that everything is a rumour unless there is “black and white” proof. So we have for you today, a photo posted on the Facebook profile of a Malaysian soldier who proudly (shamelessly) poses with his fellow soldier friends, with a Rhinoceros Hornbill which looks like it has just been slaughtered. How disgusting!

The guess is that they could have killed it for food. Food that they can very well do without as those who know will attest that the Malaysian Army feeds its soldiers very well. The photo is said to have been taken in Belum. Even if it was not Belum, the Rhinoceros Hornbill wherever in Malaysia for the matter, is a protected species which is already classified as threatened. The Facebook page where the photo was displayed for the world to see, was copied and sent to by a contact who is involved in various conservation activities in Malaysia including active involvement in Malaysian Nature Society Perak, and WWF.

The source who seeks anonymity for cited reasons, says the photo is just one prove and the tip of the iceberg for the unaccounted atrocities that the so called guardians have unleashed on the helpless animals. “Here we are thinking that Malaysian tigers and rhinos which are on the brink of extinction, are very safe and happy in Belum under Army protection,” he adds.

And now that leads one to wonder who the real poachers are, especially in an area where intruders can be shot on sight. Are outside poachers so daring enough to move in and out of Belum with a dead tiger or two, saddled on their back?

A lot of bickering, finger pointing, denial, and even alteration of facts can be expected after this exposure, but the right thing for the Army to do is to come clean by taking the right action, which is to stop its idle soldiers from participating in destructive activities that are not only detrimental to the surroundings, but also to themselves. Source here

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pagar Makan Padi

I have seen with my own eyes during an expedition into the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve. The army personnels shoot to kill anything with refective eyes at night. In that incident, the eyes of the poor deer was smashed. Blood ozing like hell. The custodians were supposed to keep the forest intact but theirs were that of "Pagar makan padi"....

When silence is not golden
Monday, 14 March 2011
By Azrina Abdullah, The Sun

THE end of February did not end well for Malaysia’s conservation efforts. Two non-governmental organisations filed police reports over a photo taken of four soldiers holding a majestic hornbill by the wings, with its throat slit. The picture was posted on Facebook with inappropriate captions along the lines of "sedap oooooo" (delicious oooooo). Hornbills are protected in Peninsular Malaysia under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

This news relates to a study conducted by myself and two co-authors, Or Oi Ching and Kamal Solhaimi Fadzil, and published by Universiti Malaya. The study assessed the extent of wildlife trade by orang asli living in the Belum-Temengor Complex in Perak, a gazetted protected area. Orang asli communities living within the 50km radius of the complex were interviewed in 2010 to document their traditional hunting activities and issues affecting their dependency on the surrounding forests.

The survey revealed a not so surprising dependency of orang asli on the forest as an important source of livelihood which remained high despite the degradation of surrounding forests. However, and more importantly, the problem of encroachment, particularly by armed encroachers (both local and foreign), has increased over the past decade. This has affected the livelihood and safety of orang asli communities living in the complex.

The respondents identified parties who they believe are responsible for the overexploitation of forest resources, and nearly 30% stated that outsiders (mainly Cambodians and Thais), Malays from surrounding villages and soldiers are the main perpetrators. Therefore, it is not surprising that 42% of the respondents do not report any suspicious activities to the authorities because they believe that action will not be taken particularly as the enforcement authorities themselves are believed to be involved in poaching activities.

If the recent allegations against the soldiers are confirmed, this finding is something which the government should take seriously. The Defence Ministry has so far kept silent over the police reports and this is sending the wrong message to public about the government’s commitment to conservation. A message needs to be sent that such acts are not to be tolerated. It is a more serious crime when wildlife is killed illegally by those who have responsibility for protecting them and have taken advantage of their position.

As with any other country, Malaysia has inadequate resources allocated for effective wildlife enforcement. It is not a unique problem. But if enforcement officers cannot be trusted, then I despair about the state of our environment. The wildlife in Belum-Temengor will not have much hope of survival if this situation continues. Instead, what is happening in Belum is, on one hand enforcement officers allegedly exploiting precious resources illegally and on the other (based on media reports), parties that are more interested in saving wildlife that are not indigenous to the area. Both situations do not make efforts to save the native wildlife living in the 130-million-year-old forest complex any easier. Where has all the common sense gone?

Azrina Abdullah is conducting research on the links between indigenous groups and wildlife trade. She was regional director of Traffic, an NGO which monitors the global wildlife trade.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do you still want nuclear plants in Malaysia, Najib?

A nuclear melt down. Photo source here

13 March 2011 09:24
Written by Mariam Mokhtar,
Malaysia Chronicle

Photos of Japan’s nuclear power plants glowing orange, with fires raging and white plumes of smoke rising above the remains of each complex, should produce some soul-searching in Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak. But probably not!

Last May, Najib’s cabinet approved the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant; two nuclear power stations are to be ready by 2022. Malaysia is now reliant on fossil fuels for its electricity supply; gas accounts for 64 percent of the total energy generation; the rest comes from coal.

Despite protests from environmental activists who accuse the government of not thoroughly considering other forms of energy generation such as solar, hydroelectric and wind power, Najib is set on two 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plants, to counter an “imbalance” in its energy supplies.

The Energy Minister, Peter Chin dismissed suggestions for renewable forms of energy: “Yes, very good, everyone wants to say that we want renewables, but what about cost? Can we force the people to accept high tariffs?”

Perhaps Najib and his cabinet might want to reflect on events in Japan. He should scrap his nuclear ambitions and consider the human cost as well as cost to the environment.

March 11 2011 was when the world got an apocalyptic reminder of the devastating power of a tsunami when the massive undersea earthquake generated a destructive wave in the Pacific Ocean.

The Japanese and the rest of the world, witnessed the horrors of the earthquake which left thousand dead, and thousands more missing.

On March 12th the Japanese faced another danger: a nuclear accident.

Two nuclear plants near the coast reported emergency situations following the failure of systems to cool five nuclear reactors that had overheated. There was no electric power to circulate cooling water over superheated uranium fuel rods.

Then came the alarming announcements from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) that it had lost the ability to control pressure at several reactors and that it was having trouble with a valve that would allow reactor pressure to be eased.

As a precautionary measure, thousands of residents were evacuated from the immediate area of the Fukushima plants, about 150 miles north of Tokyo.

Najib will definitely use the argument that Malaysia is not on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and that we do not have earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. He will also say that local experts and foreign expertise will be on hand to man and manage our nuclear plants.

The Japanese work culture is very different from ours. Malaysians are “tidak apa” types, unlike the Japanese who are more dedicated, better team players and who display absolute loyalty to their companies.

Even with the best will in the world and even with the best technology, things have gone wrong for the Japanese. Apart from the power and valve problems, what other things have the authorities hidden from us, so as to avoid panic or embarrassment?

Malaysia’s greatest problem is not its geographical location. That is the least of our problems. Ours is the integrity of the people.

Our work culture is a culture of “anything goes”, where cover-ups are common, and where the “you scratch mine, I scratch yours” mentality prevails. These are more dangerous than being in an earthquake or volcanic activity region.

If we needed convincing of the integrity of our professionals see how recent court cases have exposed our chemists, investigating officers and forensic pathologists. They have broken many of the rules which their jobs and occupations demand of them. But then, they only take their cue from the top - our leaders lend themselves to abuses of power and pretend that serious crimes, like murder and rape never happened.

Najib is keen on nuclear power. What if our so-called professionals behave just like the “experts” we have seen in court? Their slip-shod methods and their sloppy attitude towards work will endanger lives and the environment.

Being good at cover-ups is almost a national disease. Billion dollar projects have failed and yet no one is made accountable. Even when lives have been lost, like Kugan, Aminulrasyid or Teoh Beng Hock, no one was found responsible.

Oftentimes, the scapegoat is someone insignificant at the bottom of the chain of command. These scapegoats are incarcerated for a few weeks or months, and enjoy a career revival after their releases.

Najib is also aware that in our country, people can be paid to “approve” things even when the conditions are not right. These include judges and heads of departments who issue the relevant permits.

There are very few people left with any integrity and self-respect, in our professions. So it is very difficult for the public to respect them.

Japan’s superior infrastructure and sophisticated technology are second to none. Even that did not prevent problems in the nuclear power plants.

In Malaysia, our problems with construction, equipment and maintenance are manifold. Our experience shows that we will have paid for a sophisticated system but what we get is the inferior product. There will be short-cuts taken in construction. There will be questionable business practices. After the various “commissions” are paid, only a pitiful amount remains.

Corruption in Malaysia has devastating effects, comparable to earthquakes elsewhere.

Will Najib realise that a nuclear power plant is a different behemoth altogether?

Environmental groups have said that the threat of a radiation leak underscored the general risks from atomic energy.

“We’ve opposed nuclear power for decades, and this is another proof that it can’t be safe,” said Sven Teske, director of renewable energy at Greenpeace International.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Kuantan Rare-earth: Which drink would you prefer?

According to their reasoning, it is less toxic than the one in Bukit Merah. Common, idiot... toxic is already toxic no matter it is less, diluted, or is still TOXIC! Dumboo! Now, tell me would you choose Drink B?
Any sane person would only choose drink A. But in Malaysia, just because they want to outdo FDI of Selangor, Penang and Kedah (the opposition states), they welcome toxic industries to Malaysia. Want to be the world exporter kononnya. Want to outdo China pula.
We are not worry about the plant, but worry about the enforcement of rules and regulations that always gone disarray....afterall it has always been Malaysia Boleh! Pay and everything is OK!
Try build one at Pekan near Najib's home. Boleh ke?

Aussie miner defends Kuantan rare-earth refinery: Less toxic than Bt Merah

Australian mining company Lynas Corporation moved last night to allay fears that its new refinery in Kuantan may repeat the environmental damage of Malaysia’s last rare earth plant, which is still being cleaned up nearly two decades after it was shut down.

Corporate and business development vice president Matthew James claimed the plant would involve lower levels of radiation than the Bukit Merah facility that has been linked to at least eight cases of leukaemia in the area.

“The key difference from Bukit Merah was that it used amang (tin tailings) that has 50 times the level of thorium of our raw material,” James said, referring to the radioactive element found in virtually all rare earth deposits.

He said the ore from the company’s mine in Mount Weld, Australia, would only contain 1,600 parts per million (ppm) of thorium as opposed to the 80,000 ppm in the amang used in the Bukit Merah plant set up in 1985.

Common signs of acute leukaemia. — WikiCommons The New York Times reported yesterday that the US$230 million plant (RM700 million) refinery will be the first such plant outside China in nearly three decades.

The rest of the world has been wary of the environmental hazards involved in their production, leaving China to control 95 per cent of global supply of rare earth metals.

The metals are crucial to high technology products such as the Apple iPhone, Toyota Prius and Boeing’s smart bombs.

The newspaper said that if prices of the metals stayed at current levels, the Lynas plant would generate over RM5 billion a year in exports for Malaysia, or nearly one per cent of its entire economy.

However, it also reported that Mitsubishi Chemical, which closed down its Bukit Merah factory in 1992 following steady protests by residents over pollution, is now quietly removing radioactive material from the site at a cost of US$100 million.

Nearby residents had blamed the rare earth refiner for birth defects and eight leukaemia cases within five years in a community of 11,000 — after many years with no leukaemia cases. Seven of the leukaemia victims have since died.

James, in the telephone interview, claimed that the factory would only expose its workers to 0.2 millisieverts per year of additional radiation. The normal radiation an average person would experience is 2 millisieverts per year.

He added that no special protective equipment would be required for the workers.

James also insisted that there was no concern over disposal of waste from processing the raw material.

He said that the facility could store six years’ worth of what he called “synthetic mineral product.”

Lynas is planning to reprocess the residuals into industrial products with only one, a cement mixture for road-building, containing thorium, said James.

He claimed that the cement would only contain 500 ppm of the radioactive element, the maximum permitted under international standards to allow the material to be disposed with few restrictions.

He also said the project has been approved by Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board, and that reports and studies were presented to the local public.

In the New York Times piece yesterday, Raja Datuk Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, the director-general of the regulatory board, had said the project was only approved after an inter-agency review.

He said the report indicated that the imported ore and subsequent waste would have low enough levels of radioactivity to be manageable and safe.

“We have learned we shouldn’t give anybody a free hand,” Raja Adnan told the newspaper.

James added that the company chose Malaysia instead of refining the ore in Australia, due to savings in already available infrastructure and labour.

He said that the plant would need a larger supply of water, natural gas, industrial land and chemicals such as lime and sulphuric and hydrochloric acid — all readily available in Malaysia.

“Each container contains about US$1 million of rare earth so the transport cost is negligible,” James said.

James also said that the Kuantan facility, located in the Gebeng industrial area, will be the largest rare earth processing plant in the world once completed next year.

- Malaysian Insider


Rare earth refinery slammed: Surely, we cannot be that desperate for FDI
Written by New Jo-Lyn,
Malaysia Chronicle

When Malaysian authorities quietly granted an Australian firm Lynas the licence to build a rare earth refinery at an industrial center in Gebeng, Kuantan, it revived bad memories of the radioactive contamination that occured in Bukit Merah, Perak some 2 decades ago which was blamed for the deaths of at least 7 people.

It has also spurred enviromentalists and opposition politicians into fierce action.

“The level of awareness regarding this issue is being raised only now, after I had gone to the New York Times who agreed to run the story,” Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh told Malaysia Chronicle on Thursday.

Bad record of enforcement and integrity

She was also worried about the poor quality of enforcement in Malaysia and the consequences of negligence in managing the radioactive waste.

The US$230 million Pahang refinery will be the first processing plant to be built outside of China in nearly three decades after governments around the world rejected rare earth mining facilities on fears that they might turn into public health hazards.

Lynas’s executive chairman, Nicholas Curtis, had told the New York Times that building and operating a rare earth refinery in Australia would cost four times as much. He also said that Australia could not host the facility as it was home to an environmentally minded and politically powerful Green party.

Later, at a separate interview with a Malaysian news portal, he assured that Lynas would be much "safer" than Bukit Merah.

“The key difference from Bukit Merah was that it used amang (tin tailings) that has 50 times the level of thorium of our raw material,” James said, referring to the radioactive element found in virtually all rare earth deposits.

His remarks immeduately set up the backs of Malaysian enviromentalists, who immediately condemned the move and Prime Minister Najib Razak's administration for taking chances with public safety. They compared the Malaysian government's apathy poorly with stringent Australian standards.

“Why would Lynas, who before this had operated in China, now want to move its operation to Malaysia, instead of processing the material in its own country, Australia?” demanded Fuziah, who is also the vice president of PKR.

Surely, we cannot be that desperate

According to Fuziah, lathanides (the scientific name for rare earth) can produce a low or mid-level grade of radioactive deposit.

She insisted that Malaysia should err on the side of caution even though the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board had approved the Lynas project after an inter-agency review indicated the radioactive ore at Pahang and its subsequent waste were manageable and safe.

Fuziah urged Najib to remember the debacle of Japanese company Mitsubishi Chemical in Bukit Merah. The firm had failed to dispose of low-level radioactive waste properly, exposing local residents to radioactive properties.

Residents there have suffered high cancer rates, premature and deformed births, and miscarriages. The locality's record surpassed the average nationwide rate.

If a similar leakage occurs at the Pahang refinery, it would pollute the nearby Sg Balok and ultimately the marine life in the South China Sea, Fuziah warned.

Lynas expects its new refinery to meet nearly one-third of the world’s demand for rare earth, which is used to produce goods such as mobile phones, batteries for hybrid and electric cars, wind turbines, and missile guidance systems, within two years of completion.

It also means that Malaysia will have the dubious distinction of being home to the world's largest rare earth processing plant once it is completed.

"We do welcome foreign direct investment, but surely, we cannot be that desperate. Public health and safety are paramount and so is the environment because that is what we will leave behind for our children to inherit," PKR MP for Gopeng Lee Boon Chye told Malaysia Chronicle.


MCLM wants rare earth plant EIA made public
By Melissa Chi

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — The Najib administration should make public the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for a RM700 million rare earth refinery in Kuantan and safeguards to prevent a radioactive disaster, a civil group demanded today.

Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) president Haris Ibrahim said even with assurances from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, there needs to be a proper study to prove that the refining plant will not leave harmful side effects.

“We want to know why Malaysia is hosting dirty industries belonging to other countries and why the government is allowing the country to be used by foreign companies in such a manner.

“We want to know what safeguard measures are in place to ensure there will be no radioactive disaster,” he said in a statement today.

The Malaysian Insider reported assurances about the refinery safety from the Australian mining company Lynas, which is building the plant near Kuantan, the capital of Najib’s home state Pahang. News of the refinery was first reported by the New York Times yesterday.

“Datuk Seri Najib Razak has given the assurance that there are safeguards in place to ensure that there will not be radioactive leakages from the new Australian-owned rare earth refining plant in Kuantan and that the waste will be disposed of properly.

“However, he fails to realise that radioactive waste poses an enormously difficult problem which to date no country has solved. Even France, the country where at least 80 per cent of its energy is nuclear energy, has problems with waste. This despite the fact that their engineering is a point of national pride,” Haris (picture) pointed out.

He charged that Malaysia has not yet proven itself in the area of radioactive waste management with its only experience being the Asia Rare Earth plant in Bukit Merah in the 1980s.

“During then too the government failed to avert a radioactive disaster involving the rare earth plant in Bukit Merah, Ipoh, despite warnings of danger from the Bukit Merah New Village residents, lawyers and activists.

“There were numerous cases of leukaemia, miscarriages, babies born with deformities and early deaths, and the effects are still felt to this day,” Haris said.

The New York Times report that the Lynas refinery in Kuantan could break China’s chokehold on rare earth metals that are crucial to high technology products such as Apple’s iPhone, the Toyota Prius and Boeing’s smart bombs, said the newspaper.

The Bukit Merah Asian Rare Earth plant near Ipoh was also reported by the New York Times to be still quietly undergoing a US$100 million (RM300 million) cleanup exercise despite shutting down in 1992.

The New York paper also reported that as many as 2,500 workers are rushing to complete the US$230 million plant in Gebeng, near Kuantan, that will refine slightly radioactive ore from Australia.

“The fact that the new refinery will generate RM5 billion a year in exports starting late next year which is equal to nearly one per cent of the entire Malaysian economy may be a tempting prospect. But not when human lives and safety are at stake,” said Haris.

He said the rare earth processing plant requires a lot of water each day — about three Olympic-size swimming pools per day.

“This water along with the waste will be flushed out into the nearby Sungai Balok. About 5km from the proposed plant site is a fishing village — Kampung Balok. The villagers, mainly Malays, supply fish for consumers in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Penang, Johor Baru and Singapore,” he said.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Malaysia Darul Sampah

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish!
Translated by Soong Phui Jee

Like the unsettled traffic summonses and other issues, the waste management problem has long been an unsolved matter in the country.

The waste collection and disposal problem is getting more and more serious by the day. Everywhere, we see solid waste in plastic bags piling up in dustbins outsides houses or hanging on their fences. Roadsides, alleys and open spaces of residential areas are being used as dumping grounds for the solid waste. If they are not collected and left there for a week, the whole are will stink to the sky, and maggots can be seen all over the place, causing hygienic and health problems.

It is no exaggeration to say that many of our residential and commercial areas will soon become very unpleasant malodorous places if the rubbish problem is not resolved efficiently and fast.

Malaysians generally lack civic ethics, and are indifferent and irresponsible on matters of community hygiene and health. Many simply throw rubbish with nary a care for the public well-being. Hence, the drains and rivers are clogged with waste. The areas are infested with rats and cockroaches, and are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Stray dogs and cats roam the places, scavenging for food.

Meanwhile, it is doubtful that the scheme requiring the public to separate their waste before disposing them will succeed, unless there is effective enforcement, with heavy penalties for the offenders. The problem is that usually law enforcement often kicks off with a great fanfare and publicity, with ostentatious pledges by the authorities. But after just a few weeks or so, the pretentious enforcement efforts begin to tone down, and the situation is back to square one.

In addition, the waste management concessionaires are ineffective, collecting waste in certain areas only once a week. Will they be required to collect rubbish at least three times a week under the waste management scheme? The people are worried that the scheme might be used by the concessionaires as an excuse to charge addition fees.

Nevertheless, we still have to take the first step to protect the environment. The waste separation scheme has been discussed and debated for nearly 13 years. The then Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting had launched a trial scheme on waste separation in some urban areas with recycle bins being placed at public places. The authority had even sent a study groups abroad and spent millions of ringgit on publicity. However, the scheme never actually take off, and now there is talk that it will be implemented in April this year.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also planned to introduce Japanese technology, build waste incinerators and identify the construction sites for the incinerators. However, the plan was shelved due to the opposition from the affected residents.

Since we are still adopting the old-fashioned burial method, Malaysia contributes almost zero to environmental protection and the people have no understanding of how to save the planet. Some people are engaged in recycling work just for their own interests. They do it for money, instead of to protect the environment.

Compared to foreign countries, we only know how to use the old silly way to eliminate waste, but not how to turn them into profitable resources. The accumulate waste buried in the ground would sooner or later turn into toxins.

The agencies involved and their officials will never take act on the matter if the public health and waste management actions not included in the daily agenda of government departments. The public will remain ignorant if the environment protection education in schools and law enforcement are not promoted.

It is good to implement the waste separation plan within a month. However, are they well-prepared for it? It is also good to provide free garbage bins. However, I am afraid that the garbage bins might be stolen and as a result, the implementation of the scheme might be postponed again.

If the people’s mindset remains unchanged, it is impossible for the government to teach the public how to separate waste within a month.

The government has wasted too much time and resources on discussion, planning and advocacy. It is now the time to implement it so that the country can get rid of the "waste kingdom" stigma.

Sin Chew Daily

Monday, March 07, 2011

Foresters discover extinct raintree species in Sabah

March 7, 2011

KOTA KINABALU: Foresters are excited about the discovery of three tropical raintree species that were thought to be extinct in Sabah.

The rare dipterocarp species, known locally as Keruing Jarang was found in the Siangau Forest Reserve, near the coastal town of Weston, about 100km from here.

The discovery was made during a survey of the area by a research team from the Forestry Department.

In a statement here yesterday, Sabah Forestry director Datuk Sam Mannan said the species Dipterocarpus lamellatus was last recorded at Beaufort Hill in 1955.

The only other record was from Labuan in 1951.

The island today is virtually devoid of any natural dry land forests, said Mannan.

“It is a very exciting development for us,” he added, saying the research team also encountered four other rare dipterocarps in the reserve.

The survey was part of a statewide inventory by the Forestry Department to determine the conservation status of dipterocarps in Sabah, he said.

Forest botanist John Sugau said that of the 267 species of dipterocarps known to exist on Borneo island, 183 were found in Sabah.

While some dipterocarps were common and widespread, others are rare and restricted in their distribution.

Keruing Jarang was only known to occur in the west coast of Sabah.

In the natural forest, the dipterocarps are large trees that form the upper canopy.

Dipterocarps such as kapur, keruing, seraya and selangan batu, make up the bulk of commercial timber from Sabah’s natural forests.

After many years of logging, the status of some of the rarer dipterocarps had become uncertain, said Mannan.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Rainforest Robbery - Made in Malaysia

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Rainforest robbery - How Sarawak's Chief Minister became a billionaire

Please forward this e-mail to your friends +++

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends, the latest edition of Tong Tana, the BMF newsletter, is now online under:

Please read the compelling account of how Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak since 1981, became a billionaire and transferred vast sums overseas. The newsletter includes the following chapters:

- Rainforest robbery: How to become a billionaire by logging and corruption
- Samling and the Taibs: collaborators in rainforest destruction
- The Boyert case and the FBI
- The Taibs' Swiss Monaco connection
- Taib's Canadian black money imperium
- Put a Stop to the Rainforest Mafia! - Demands of the Bruno Manser Fund

The newsletter is available in English, French and German. Please help us to highlight the Taib corruption case with anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering authorities around the globe and sign the online petition!

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Please contact us for more information: Bruno Manser Fonds, Socinstrasse 37, 4051 Basel / Switzerland, +41 61 261 94 74,
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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Solid waste management act to be enforced from next month

What about littering? No management act on littering?

Tuesday March 1, 2011 MYT 3:07:00 PM

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians will have to start separating their waste when the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act is enforced by next month.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said, however, a two-year grace period would be given to the public to get used to the practice before fines were imposed on those who failed to do so.

"Within these two years, the three concessionaires in charge of solid waste management in the country will have to raise awareness on separation of waste at source.

"All household owners must know their duty to segregate their own waste before dumping it," he told reporters at a press conference here Tuesday, after officiating at the Green Tour - A Rehda Youth initiative.

On assessment charges, Chor said houseowners would still be charged the same rate when the Act took effect in April.

"The assessment fees will still be collected by the local councils and not the concessionaires," he said.

He added that RM1.4bil needed to be paid each year to the three companies - E-Idaman Sdn Bhd, which is responsible for waste management in the northern region, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd (central region), and Southern Waste Management Sdn Bhd (southern region).

"However, the fees imposed on houseowners are still very low and the maximum amount we are able to collect from them is only about RM900mil.

"The Federal Government still has to fork out another RM500mil to pay these three companies for their services," he said.