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.