Archive for category environment
Liew Chin Tong
The Malaysian Insider
October 16, 2013
In discussing the issues we face in 2013, it will be instructive for us to find new perspective by looking beyond the horizon to consider the possibilities that 2030 holds.
Both Tun Abdullah Badawi who was Prime Minister from October 2003 till April 2009 and Dato’ Seri Najib Razak who took over from him since then have missed the boat to reform Malaysia. Likewise, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Vision 2020 is just a distant dream, a castle in the sky.
Post-13th General Election, discussions about Malaysia’s future is no longer depending on Barisan Nasional. The government-in-waiting Pakatan Rakyat and the rakyat (people) need a broader horizon as a reference for this kind of conversation. Read the rest of this entry »
Environment Minister Palanivel and even PM Najib should be censured for failing to ensure that the Royal Address at the official opening of Parliament this morning address the government’s agenda on the haze emergency
Environment Minister Datuk Seri S. Palanivel and even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should be censured for failing to ensure that the Royal Address delivered by the Yang di Pertuan Agong at the opening of the 13th Parliament this morning address the government’s agenda on the haze emergency.
In a constitutional monarchy, the Royal Address at the opening of Parliament outlines the government’s agenda for the coming year. The Royal Address is prepared by Cabinet Ministers outlining the government’s legislative agenda and their national priorities.
It is not that the haze emergency occurred only last night, catching the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers by surprise so that they could not incorporate the government’s concerns, agenda and priorities in addressing the haze catastrophe in the Royal Address.
The country has been haunted and hounded by the haze catastrophe for a week, with thousands of schools closed in the past week throughout the country, affecting the lives, health and livelihood of millions of Malaysians in various parts of the country, starting from Johor Baru and Muar in the south and moving progressively northwards to Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Pahang and Penang with the change of winds from the raging peat fires in Riau and Sumatra. Read the rest of this entry »
Jun 24, 2013
We have heard the same trite comments before: “We’re clean. We’re not guilty. It wasn’t us.”
Umno Baru’s most sanctimonious hypocrite, Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, has denied claims of cheating.
Abdul Aziz expressed sadness that the indelible ink used in GE13 could easily be washed off and in an interview with the Malay daily Sinar Harian said, “If people ask me now, what is the saddest thing in my life, I would answer: ‘Indelible ink’.”
The indelible ink had been tested before use and he said, “On the much-awaited day, the power of Allah is greater when the ink could disappear after being washed several times. Where is the mistake?” Read the rest of this entry »
- Koran Tempo
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 24, 2013
It is very sad when officials have yet to really learn about how to act when facing a haze disaster like right now. The haze problem is a routine disaster, happening every year. Yet, when the dry season comes, they are still confused about how to overcome the haze.
Those of sound mind will shake their heads looking at the minimal action taken by the government. This is especially so when we see Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono getting worked up and angry with Singapore’s frustration at seeing the haze, and saying “the neighbouring country’s action is childish”.
Mr Agung’s attitude is not helpful at all, and in fact shows how rotten government policy is in dealing with the haze. The disaster this time is fairly severe.
The Standard Air Pollutants Index owned by PT Chevron in Dumai showed a reading of 400, meaning the air quality was very hazardous. In Malaysia, the pollutants index reached 383.
The result is that thousands of students in Malaysia and Singapore were sent home. Former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong even said “the child is being suffocated”. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Returning to Kuala Lumpur after several weeks abroad, the pea soup of polluted air that greeted our descent was the worst I have ever experienced. It seemed to stretch interminably for miles on end far beyond the horizon. The acrid smell of burnt wood induced bouts of coughing amongst fellow passengers as we queued for our taxi ride. “Welcome to foggy Malaysia”, someone remarked in a futile attempt at raising everyone’s spirits.
On board our taxi, the friendly Pak Cik driver asked where we had come from and how long we had been away. He was quickly absorbed in talking about the number one topic currently on the mind of millions in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia as lungs continue to be assailed by the smoke coming from the Sumatra fires.
The taxi driver’s point was indisputable although diplomatically expressed. Neighbours in an apartment or kampung should keep their own as well as the common environment hazard-free and clean. They also need to watch out for each other.
Clearly Indonesia needs to do more to get its act together to prevent the illegal burnings that are an annual occurrence. But as noted by the former Singapore Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong: “Forest and peat fires are not easy to put out. They are not like our lalang or bush fires, small and confined. They burn and smoulder over thousands of acres in remote places far from the reach of fire fighters. So it is best to prevent man-made, illegal fires from being started in the first place.”
Past attempts at preventing illegal fires have failed miserably – not only in Indonesia but also Malaysia. Because they have failed, tens of millions of ringgit and thousands of billions of rupiah have been spent purchasing the latest haze monitoring equipment to keep us informed, and fire-fighting and rain-inducing equipment to help put the fires out. In the meantime, incalculable sums are being lost in terms of the impact on productivity, health, tourism revenue, and other knock-on effects. If the haze persists for a few months, we may be talking of losses of billions of dollars and perhaps even a few points shaved off the region’s GDP. Read the rest of this entry »
By Trinna Leong and Kimberly Yeo
The Malaysian Insider
June 24, 2013
Sibu and Bukit Rambai are the latest areas where the Air Pollution Index (API) has been flagged as unhealthy as the haze from Indonesia moves northwards.
With this, a total of 21 areas have been rated as unhealthy.
In the capital, Kuala Lumpur’s API increased to 198, just slightly short of the very unhealthy level. Many people are now wearing face masks. Petaling Jaya is almost as bad at 193.
Authorities told The Malaysian Insider that strong winds blowing towards the northeast from the southwest of Peninsular Malaysia means the haze is clearing up in Johor. Read the rest of this entry »
by Chee-khoon Chan
23rd June 2013
In 2002, Narayan Sastry, currently a professor of demography at the University of Michigan published a paper entitled “Forest Fires, Air Pollution, and Mortality in Southeast Asia” in the February 2002 issue of the journal Demography.
The smog of 1997 coincided with an El Niño year which intensified the seasonal mid-year drought. The land clearing and forest fires in that year burned an estimated 2-3% of Indonesian land area, mostly in Sumatra and Kalimantan but also affecting sizeable tracts in Irian Jaya, Sulawesi, Java, Sumbawa, Komodo, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Wetar as well as areas in Sarawak and Brunei.
Sastry obtained daily mortality statistics from the Department of Statistics in Malaysia and correlated these with the daily Air Pollution Index (API) readings from the Malaysian Meteorological Department, in order to analyze the acute mortality in Kuching and Kuala Lumpur following upon days of high air pollution (defined as days when PM10 > 210 ug/m3). (The API is largely based on PM10, the concentration of suspended particulates of size 10 microns and below). Read the rest of this entry »
– Daniel Murdiyarso and Luca Tacconi
The Malaysian Insider
June 23, 2013
We write with a strong sense of déjà vu. Over 10 years ago, one of us published a letter in The Jakarta Post titled Fires: stop blaming others, just start acting! The cause of the haze that is affecting Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore has not changed since then; it is clear: Plantation companies deliberately light fires in degraded peatland areas on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.
They use fire because it is the cheapest way to clear land. But, in particularly dry years, the peat below ground also catches fire and it continues to smolder for months, generating thick and noxious haze. It can quickly cause headaches, nausea and respiratory problems, particularly in children and the elderly.
In that letter, we identified that fire was being used not only as a tool to clear land cheaply but also as a weapon to claim property ownership when Indonesia’s governance system was more centralized than it is today.
The recurrence of fire and trans-boundary haze was then, and remains today, not only a problem but also a symptom of complex governance issues. Read the rest of this entry »
With state of emergency declared for Muar and Ledang, and probably for Bukit Rambai and Malacca town with API 428 and 415 respectively at 11 am, time has come for Najib to fly to Jakarta for emergency meeting with Yudhoyono on haze
Having declared emergency status for Muar and Ledang because the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings there have reached the dangerous level of 746 at 7 am today, and probably also for Bukit Rambai and Malacca town with API 428 and 415 respectively at 11 am, the time has come for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to fly to Jakarta for an emergency meeting with President Yudhoyono on the haze catastrophe choking millions of people in the three ASEAN countries of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Top of his agenda with the Indonesian President must be the Indonesian ratification of the Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution 2002 which provides for a ASEAN Regional Haze Action Plan with provisions on monitoring, assessment, prevention, scientific research and technical co-operation as well as lines of communication and simplified customs and immigration procedures for disaster relief.
Although the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution have been ratified by nine ASEAN member states, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia has not ratified it. Read the rest of this entry »
Environment Minister Palanivel sleeping on his job when Malaysians particularly in Johore are suffering from haze hazards
I am both impressed and dejected – impressed by the professionalism of the Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) in recording and posting on its website the hourly Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) to provide accurate and timely information about air pollution levels in the island republic; dejected by the contrasting failure and lack of professionalism of the Malaysian Department of Environment (DOE) to provide prompt readings on its website of the Air Pollutant Index (API) from its 52 Air Pollutant Index Management System (APIMS) locations in the country, although the API readings are only provided thrice a day at 7am, 11 am and 5 pm.
I was checking the 11 am API readings on the DOE website,
http://doe.gov.my/apims/, but the results only appeared after more than two hours, i.e. after 1 pm.
Najib should make special visit to Jakarta to meet with Indonesian President Yudhoyono to highlight gravity of current haze emergency to millions in three ASEAN countries, and in particular the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should make a special visit to Jakarta to meet with the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to highlight the gravity of the current haze emergency to millions of people in three ASEAN countries, in particular to the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan in Malaysia, and the need for urgent common Asean action to bring the perennial transboundary emergency under control.
The Singapore Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan flew to Jakarta yesterday and met with his Indonesian counterpart Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya on the haze emergency, with a letter from the Singapore Prime Minister to the Indonesian President.
In contrast, the Malaysian Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is only going to Indonesia to meet with Indonesian government officials next Wednesday, more than a week after the outbreak of the latest haze emergency which have been posed serious health and environment threats to the people in Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan, resulting in the closure of some 700 schools.
Why is the Malaysian Environment Minister so slow and tardy in rising up to the challenges of the latest haze emergency afflicting Malaysians? Read the rest of this entry »
Malaysia should convene emergency meeting of Environment Ministers of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia for urgent common ASEAN action to deal with haze emergency choking three nations
Malaysia should convene an emergency meeting of the Environment Ministers of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia for urgent common ASEAN action to deal with the haze emergency choking the three nations.
The haze condition in Johore state in general and in Johor Baru in particular continues to be in hazardous condition with the air pollutant index (API) readings in Kota Tinggi and Pasir Gudang reaching 314 and 323 at 11 am respectively.
Malaysians can still remember they were told that the government would declare a state of emergency once the API reached 301, but there seems to be a singular lack of seriousness whether by the National Disaster Relief Management Committee or the Ministry of Environment with the current haze emergency although hundreds of schools in Johore have been closed in the past few days because of the haze emergency.
Who should be the Malaysian “czar” in the war against haze in the current environmental disaster – the new Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the National Disaster Relief Management Committee or the Environment Minister? Is it Datuk Shahidan Kassim or Datuk Seri G. Palanivel? Read the rest of this entry »
— Yasmin Rasyid
The Malaysian Insider
May 19, 2013
MAY 19 — I am sitting here on a fine Sunday, reflecting on the front page news in the Star (May 19th 2013), “Hills in Cameron Highlands ‘raped’ at an alarming rate”, and I was compelled to write this to the editors of all papers, with the aim of expressing my continued disappointment on how this country, rich in natural resources and heritage, is slowly wiping itself out of the surface of this planet.
Now that the political drama in the country has somewhat simmered down, I hope that this is the right time to help build a progressive and forward thinking nation, especially when it comes to ensuring that Malaysia is managed sustainably for the future generations.
In Pahang, we have seen what the media has called the “rape” of the century. For the last two decades, and in my experiences in local environmental issues, Cameron Highlands has gone from bad to worse. Property developers are rushing in to build so called eco or highland resorts. There are a few dams scheduled to be built on the same highland. Meanwhile, land clearing for agriculture is rampant, and landslides aren’t something new. Indigenous communities, meanwhile, and as usual, are side lined. Their voices almost deafened by other so-called urgent agenda. Don’t believe this? Google Tasik Chini.
On top of that, it is also known amongst the public and those savvy with green issues that gold mining in Pahang still uses cyanide. Whether cyanide still pervades the communities of Bukit Koman or not, only the strong probes of the sophisticated machines used by the Department of Environment are able to tell us the truth. What is perplexing is this – whether cyanide is pervasively used or not in Pahang, and whatever is it that comes out from the mouths of the politicians, what is stopping academicians or chemists in this country (private or government) to go down to the ground and be a CSI and measure and tell the truth. It’s bad enough that the media only reports what certain individuals or politicians say, so come on Malaysians, where are the chemistry experts in this country? Can’t you the least help us verify the content of the air, soil and water in Pahang? (Referring to: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2013/5/18/southneast/13124846). While you’re at it, work on a comprehensive study to measure the entire health of the country from water and air quality, to the presence of toxic chemicals in food and so forth. I believe the public wants to know all this. Read the rest of this entry »
This is an election to determine whether rakyat Malaysia will vote for a sustainable future for our children or a sustainable corrupt BN government?
Earth Day is an occasion to remind us that our mother nature is deteriorating over the last few decades, natural resources has been robbed off by corrupt government and their cronies that brought pollution, deforestation and degradation that hampered the livelihoods of people.
During the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2009, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that Malaysia has agreed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels, however, polluted industry that has been rejected by other developed countries such as Lynas rare earth refinery plants are allowed to operate in Kuantan and given 12-year tax exemption.
BN is also pursuing constructions of giant petrochemical hub in Pengerang, giant aluminium smelter plant in Sarawak, two nuclear plants in the country, BN government has clearly proven that it is pursuing economic development at all cost at the expense of the environment and people’s health.
If BN continues to run the country, Malaysia will never achieve a sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient future. Only a Pakatan Rakyat that pledge to make Malaysia a cleaner, greener, safer and healthier place to live will reject rare earth plants and nuclear plants to ensure our future generation can live in a better world.
Pengiraan Detik 98 Hari ke PRU13 – Malaysia berhak mendapat kedudukan lebih tinggi berbanding tempat ke 36 di dalam indeks “Negara terbaik untuk dilahirkan” EIU
Pada Pengiraan Detik 98 Hari ke Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13, Malaysia diingatkan bahawa negara ini berhak mendapat yang lebih baik untuk semua aspek kehidupan di dalam negara ini baik politik, ekonomi, pendidikan, sosial, budaya dan persekitaran.
Malaysia tentu sekali berhak mendapat kedudukan lebih tinggi berbanding tempat No.36 daripada 80 negara di dalam indeks “Negara terbaik untuk dilahirkan pada 2013” dalam usaha Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) mengukur negara mana yang memberikan peluang terbaik untuk kehidupan yang sihat, selamat dan makmur. Read the rest of this entry »
98-Day Countdown to 13GE – Malaysia deserves higher ranking than No. 36 placing in the EIU “Best country to be born” index
On the 98-Day Countdown to the 13th General Elections, Malaysians are reminded that the nation deserves better on all fronts of national life, whether political, economic, educational, social, cultural or environmental.
Malaysia definitely deserves higher ranking than No. 36 out of 80 nations in the “Best country to born in 2013” index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) attempting to measure which country provides the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life.
The 10 top-ranking nations in the EIU “Best country to be born in 2013” index are:
7. New Zealand
10. Hong Kong
Malaysia is outranked by Taiwan (No. 14), United States (No. 16), UAE (No. 18), South Korea (No. 19), Kuwait (No. 22), Japan (No. 25) and Britain (No. 27). Read the rest of this entry »
Over the weekend, in his speech to the state-sponsored NGO gathering “Himpunan Barisan 1Malaysia” at the Putra World Trade Centre, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said:
“Why fix it (the government) if it’s not broken? It’s not broken, far from it. Our country is the envy of many other nations.”
Both at the thousand-people Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat dinner in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday night and the People’s Green Assembly at Dataran Merdeka this morning at the conclusion of the historic 14-day 300-km Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur trek, I had posed the same question whether the “Malaysian government is broken and needs to be fixed?”, and the answer is a thunderous, powerful and united affirmative!
Fortunately, the Malaysian government has not broken down completely, all the more why it must be “fixed” immediately before it reaches a point of no return.
There is a long list why the Malaysian government is “broken” after 55 years of UMNO/BN rule and needs to be “fixed”, but I will only refer to the following instances: Read the rest of this entry »
Tweets by Lim Kit Siang today
From Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat Sabah KK 2Himpunan Hijau Dataran Merdeka KL – quickening of awakening of Malaysians all races religions regions
Final day of 13-day 300km trek from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur to protest against Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng Pahang culminates in 20,000-ppl massive demo
Most humbling/inspiring sea of confident hopeful patriotic Malaysian faces particularly young generation prepared to stand up for clean/green country
I told Wong Tack as I joined 20k patriotic Malaysians who loved/cared 4Msia in last lap of 300km Kuantan/KL trek @ Sogo KL, he has made history
28 Greenwalkers who completed 300km anti-Lynas trek have made history as with massive support of 20k people today, they have sent a powerful messsage.
3hrs ago Read the rest of this entry »
— Boon Kia Meng
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 22, 2012
NOV 22 — Humans make history; but never in circumstances and situations of their own choosing. This insightful observation by Marx, as he watched over the social upheavals unfolding in Europe in the middle of the 19th century, is a timely expression on what is happening in Malaysia today.
Have Malaysians ever heard of a group of ordinary, fellow Malaysians — our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, our children — marching slowly but surely, on foot, all 300 kilometres of it, rain or shine, from Kuantan to Dataran Merdeka? All united in a common cause: to stop any further environmental degradation in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, where stopping the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng, and the Murum and Baram dams in Sarawak, constitutes a fundamental demand.
These Malaysian citizens chose to embark on this journey (dubbed “Langkah Lestari”) because for far too long we have collectively as a nation allowed indiscriminate “development” and rapacious capitalistic resource extraction to go on, all in the name of economic growth and wealth creation.
Just witness the rapid decimation of our natural forestry and the displacement of our fellow indigenous Malaysian communities in Sabah/Sarawak and the peninsula. These have become common phenomena and Malaysians know deep inside that the present state of affairs cannot go on indefinitely without irreversible consequences to our common habitat. Read the rest of this entry »
— Thomas Fann
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 25, 2012
SEPT 25 — On May 13, 2011, PM Najib announced that Petronas will invest RM60 billion in a major integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in Pengerang, Johor. The Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project by Petronas, as it is known, is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016, as part of the national oil company’s efforts to expand its downstream production.
Exactly a year later on May 13, 2012, when the RAPID project was officially launched, the total value is now RM120 billion, with expected investments from Taiwanese and German petrochemical companies, easily making this Pengerang project the biggest-ever in the history of this nation.
In the midst of all the excitement and promises of economic benefits to the state of Johor and the nation, there has been some disquiet amongst the Pengerang community. Local NGOs were formed and had submitted memorandums to various authorities and several protests were organised this year.
It would be wrong to say that these NGOs and the people they represent are against any form of development in Pengerang but what many are concerned about is that it has to be sustainable. These local NGOs have adopted a unifying theme — Kekalkan Pengerang Lestari, or Maintain the Sustainability of Pengerang. Development of such scale must be embarked upon with regards for the people affected by it and be done responsibly to minimise its impact on the environment.
We have to ask honest questions and hear honest answers to these questions so that the concerns of not just the Pengerangites but also Malaysians are allayed.
There are many issues and questions to ask but I want to list down 10 big questions to ask the government about this massive project. Read the rest of this entry »