Archive for the 'Environment' Category


No approval for hill slope projects above 76m in Penang since 2008

Zero approval for hill slope projects above 76m since 2008, Penang says

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 24 — The Penang state government has not approved any development projects on hill slopes above 76 metres since 2008, state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo said today.

The state housing development and town and country planning committee chairman told reporters the state had rejected private and even federal development projects as such.

“Our records show since 2008, some 11 such applications for projects above 76m were rejected by the state government,” he said in a press conference during a surprise check at a state affordable housing project in Teluk Kumbar.

He said the state has also rejected at least two applications by federal agencies for developments on hill slopes above 76m.

“I don’t understand why some federal agencies can still submit planning permission for approvals for projects on hill slopes above 76m, they should know the state policy that we will not approve projects on land above 76m,” he said.

He said the state would never approve projects that exceeded 76m even if it is for a federal project such as the 1Malaysia Civil Servant Housing that had applied for planning permission for a project above 160m.

He pointed out that the recent landslide at a construction site of a private affordable housing project, Granito, happened on a parcel of land below 76m.

“I wish to stress that the claims made by irresponsible parties that the Tanjung Bungah project was a development on a hill slope is completely untenable, as in fact it was on flat land namely 40m,” he said.

He compared the zero approvals for projects on land above 76m by the current administration to 28 high rise schemes allowed to build on lands above 76m by the previous administration.

“Our record shows at least 28 such high rise schemes above 76m have been approved and built during the previous administration, in particular from 1985 to 2008,”

“Are these units unsafe to be inhabited?” he asked.

He pointed out those projects have been inhabited by thousands of residents so irresponsible statements on how unsafe such developments are will only instill fear in the minds of these residents.

Zero approval for hill slope projects above 76m since 2008, Penang says
October 24, 2017 – MMO


DOE found no pollution at illegal factory in Penang

Phee reveals minutes, DOE found no pollution at illegal factory

Penang executive councillor Phee Boon Poh revealed that the Department of Environment (DOE) found no pollution at the unlicensed factory in Kampung Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam, in 2015.

At a press conference in Komtar today, Phee distributed minutes of a meeting which took place on May 6, 2015, at the Seberang Perai Municipal Council to back his claim.

PKR Penanti assemblyperson Norlela Ariffin, who raised complaints from residents over environmental pollution, attended the May 6 meeting.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was at the press conference with Phee, said the state executive council at its weekly meeting today approved that the minutes be declassified for the media.

“The DOE found no pollution as barriers were erected at the top of the factory to prevent the release of smoke and ash from the factory,” Phee said.

“The DOE said it can support the factory if there were safety devices and the burning was done in a closed environment,” he added.

Phee said the factory owner had to obtain a license from the MPSP while DOE would see to additional conditions including sustainability of the site.

Phee, and the owners of the factory were arrested by the MACC on Aug 10.

Phee had issued letters to the MPSP to halt action against the factory as the state was finding a solution to resolve cases of illegal premises, businesses and places of worship.

Phee reveals minutes, DOE found no pollution at illegal factory
22 Aug 2017 – malaysiakini


Report: Nuclear power plant in Malaysia by 2030?

Report: Nuclear power plant in Malaysia by 2030?

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Malaysia could have its own nuclear power plant by 2030 to address the high power consumption in the peninsula, the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC) said.

MNPC chief executive Mohd Zamzam Jaafar reportedly said that the peninsula currently generates power from coal (52 per cent), gas (45 per cent) and hydro (three per cent).

“We will only use nuclear power in Peninsular Malaysia because the demand is much higher at around 18,000 megawatt. Sarawak only uses 2,000 megawatt,” he was quoted as saying in The Borneo Post.

He said nuclear power was necessary in the country, explaining that it was clean and safe and countries like China and Japan have also adopted a similar approach.

Mohd Zamzam, who was speaking at a National Transformation 2050 (TN50) conference in Sarawak, reportedly said that MNPC will work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to evaluate setting up a plant here.

“This evaluation is in three phases. We are still in the first, which is where we make a decision. The second phase is to build and the third is to operate. But for now, we have not made a decision,” he was quoted as saying.

Report: Nuclear power plant in Malaysia by 2030?
May 24, 2017 – MMO


Nuclear power for Malaysia? – NO THANKS Again!

Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 2)
Ronald S McCoy

Radiation is invisible and cannot be recalled. In a nuclear crisis, there will be many questions about radiation. As the Japanese people are now discovering, it is a nightmare trying to make sense of the uncertainties.

  1. How do you know when you are in danger?
  2. How long will this danger persist?
  3. How can you reduce the danger to yourself and your family?
  4. What level of exposure is safe?
  5. How do you get access to vital information in time to prevent or minimise exposure?
  6. What are the potential health risks and consequences of exposure?
  7. Whose information can you rely on or trust?
  8. How do you rebuild a healthy way of life in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster?

These questions are difficult to answer, and they become even more complicated when governments and the nuclear industry maintain tight control of information, technological operations, scientific research, and the bio-medical lessons that shape public health response.

Nuclear energy is not cheap, clean or safe. And yet, vested interests in the government and the nuclear industry are attempting to override common sense and reason. They continue to trumpet the imaginary virtues of nuclear power and play down the enormous cost of nuclear power, the problem of nuclear waste, and the risks of an accident.

Nuclear reactors, like nuclear weapons, do not forgive mistakes of judgment, simple negligence, human error or mechanical failure. Malaysia’s poor record of industrial safety and its bad maintenance culture underlie concerns about public safety in the event of a nuclear accident.

The nuclear industry has a history of making misleading claims about nuclear safety that have often confused and misled the uninformed. Genuine debate and critical examination have been avoided, evidence ignored, opponents silenced or marginalised, and critical issues of public health and welfare have been answered with standard bland platitudes.

Nuclear power plants produce lethal radioactive waste that will remain radioactive for thousands of years. The half-life of plutonium-239 is 24,000 years and that of uranium-235 is 731 million years. We are talking about radiation forever.

No country in the world has been able to safely dispose of its nuclear waste, which is accumulating in pools or casks alongside nuclear reactors in forty-four countries, waiting for a solution. Finding satisfactory underground geologic repositories has proved to be an intractable problem.

Continue reading ‘Nuclear power for Malaysia? – NO THANKS Again!’


Nuclear power for Malaysia? – NO THANKS!

Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1)
Ronald S McCoy

The public health implications of nuclear power should not be subordinate to the economic considerations of the nuclear industry and government energy policies. There is a need to review the scientific evidence for public health impacts of nuclear power, to assess occupational hazards faced by nuclear industry workers, and to assess evidence that challenges the legitimacy of the underlying assumptions of nuclear safety.

A common thread running through these health concerns is the risk posed by ionising radiation. There is no safe threshold. Over the past 50 years, the claims of the nuclear industry, that nuclear power is both safe and vital for our future, have proven false and contentious.

Ionising radiation can damage DNA, causing cancer and inherited mutations. However, whether an individual develops cancer following exposure to ionising radiation depends on whether the DNA is damaged, what part of the DNA is damaged, whether the cell line can reproduce, whether the damage is completely repaired, and whether the cell completes transformations that lead to malignancy.

But earthquakes and tsunamis are not the only causes of a nuclear accident. Human error alone can lead to a nuclear accident. It happened in Windscale (later renamed Sellafield), Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. So, it could happen in Malaysia. Building two nuclear reactors in error-inclined Malaysia would carry the potential for an incalculable catastrophe. The chances of a nuclear accident in Malaysia are not negligible.

I have heard the facetious argument that plane crashes are not sufficient reason to abandon air travel. But the scale of a nuclear accident is incomparable. Radiation could kill and injure thousands, cause cancers, and contaminate and render uninhabitable a large part of Malaysia.

Continue reading ‘Nuclear power for Malaysia? – NO THANKS!’


Ex-Falcon Bank manager jailed 28 weeks, fined S$128,000 for 1MDB-related charges

Ex-Falcon Bank manager jailed 28 weeks, fined S$128,000 for 1MDB-related charges

SWISS national and former Singapore branch manager at Falcon Bank, Jens Sturzenegger, has been sentenced to 28 weeks’ jail and fined S$128,000 after pleading guilty to six charges linked to the movement of funds from scandal-riddled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Another 10 charges were taken into consideration for sentencing purposes.

Last Thursday, Sturzenegger, 42, was accused of, among other things, failing to disclose suspicious transactions totalling some US$1.3 billion and giving false information between July 2015 and October last year that were intended to cause enforcement officers to omit to probe Low Taek Jho’s involvement in several bank accounts managed by Falcon Bank.

Falcon is one of two Swiss private banks at the centre of Malaysia’s protracted financial scandal.
listening to the financial crowd

Sturzenegger is the first foreigner and fifth person to be charged in Singapore’s ongoing high-profile money laundering probe into the tainted funds.

Others implicated in the scandal include Yeo Jiawei, one of three former BSI bankers, who was handed a 30-month jail term for attempting to obstruct the course of justice. A separate trial linked to 1MDB is expected to begin in April at the earliest.

Two other ex-BSI bankers, Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, were sentenced to jail terms of 18 weeks and two weeks, respectively, for forging documents and failing to disclose suspicious transactions allegedly related to Low. Both were also fined.

Former remisier at Maybank Kim Eng Securities Kelvin Ang has also been charged for corruption in the 1MDB-related case

Ex-Falcon Bank manager jailed 28 weeks, fined S$128,000 for 1MDB-related charges
January 11, 2017 – Business Times


Taman Tugu – why reinvent the wheel?

Taman Tugu – a green elephant

COMMENT As a nature lover who likes nothing better than a day trekking in the jungle, I can testify to the unique heritage of Malaysia’s ancient and richly biodiverse natural forests, complex ecosystems of flora and fauna which are in desperate need of protection and conservation.

It was with alarm that I read of the plan to create Tugu Park in the capital city centre with transplanted flora and fauna and other “tourist attractions” at a cost of RM650 million.

I just don’t get it. Nature has granted us the priceless unique gift of tropical jungles only twenty minutes from the city centre, so why even try to reinvent the wheel here? At what cost and for what purpose?

Even suggesting that such a park project should be a priority reflects a terrible tendency amongst town and city planners for grandiosity and tokenism.

If the proposed park is intended to serve a similar purpose to that of London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park, then surely another park like Lake Gardens with minimal maintenance requirements would serve the purpose well and at a fraction of the cost of this proposal.

Destroying real forests to create fake forests?

The fact is that outside of the capital city, developers with the collusion of the municipal councils have destroyed and built on any green spaces they can lay their hands on.

More than ten years ago, a vast tract of the Bukit Sungai Putih Permanent Forest Reserve (gazetted in 1932) just twenty minutes from the city centre, and adjoining our taman, was secretly degazetted and destroyed for housing projects.

More recently, a housing developer has destroyed the remaining green lung in our housing estate, a forested hill with 45+ degree gradient.

Jungle paths on nearby Bukit Apek are now threatened with “development” despite the fact that hundreds of Malaysian city folk flock there every weekend for the wellbeing that comes from hill climbing in pristine natural surroundings.

Tree cutting scam

Besides this destruction of green lungs in and near our taman, we have observed the felling of so many large old trees by our local authorities that we suspect it to be a tree cutting scam.

One of the most beautiful and cooling features of Malaysian towns and villages is our heritage of banyan tress and even these are not being spared. Just recently, three huge healthy looking banyan trees were hacked down near our local market.

One excuse for this tree cutting spree is that they are diseased and cutting them down prevents contamination.

When, some time ago, our residents association had asked the local Kajang Council to prune the trees around the only playground in our taman the council responded by suggesting they cut down all the trees instead.

And although we said, ‘No way’, a short time later the council came and felled all the trees around the playground that were at least forty years old. Their excuse was that the trees were diseased.

When we notice the many ‘Nak Potong Pokok’ (to cut a tree) signs around the area, we realise that it costs ratepayers a few thousand ringgit to have an imperious banyan tree cut down in its prime!

How are these decisions being made? It is vital that the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia steps in to investigate whether trees cut by local councils in Malaysia have indeed been stricken by some form of tree-inflicting disease.

Taman Tugu – a green elephant
14 Sept 2016 – malaysiakini


Once tranquil, Pengerang now dusty, overrun with migrants and crime

Once tranquil, Pengerang now dusty, overrun with migrants and crime

Geh Hua Kim zipped through a small village road on his kapcai, its sputtering engine drowning out the chirping crickets and waves lapping against the beach.

The sun has yet to rise and residents of Kg Pengerang were still asleep, but the stocky 52-year-old fisherman was already weary after his hour-long journey from home to his fishing spot.

Two years ago, the trip would have taken him less than five minutes.

But that was before the RM170 billion Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) project gobbled up his village.

The 8,094ha project includes Petronas’s RM60 billion Refinery and Petrochemicals Development (RAPID) project.

It came with promises of development and job opportunities, as well as compensation for villagers like Geh, who were to be resettled from Kg Jawa to Taman Bayu Damai some 20km away, to make way for construction.

Three years, several briefings, a rally and one general election later, dissatisfaction is brewing in the otherwise government-friendly constituency, as locals of the once-sleepy town of Pengerang feel the effects of “development”.

Pengerang’s Kg Sungai Rengit is now dubbed “Pekan Bangla” (Bangladesh town) after countless migrants working on PIPC began setting up homes and even shops there.

The village’s sparse facilities were not enough to accommodate the rising number of residents, while the influx of migrants and their foreign culture has alienated some locals.

Meanwhile, fishermen such as Geh and Umar Bujang, 55, found their income plunging ever since the PIPC project drove them away from their usual fishing spot in Kampung Jawa.

Their current fishing area has shrunk with the boundary set by the ships from the PIPC project and structures developers built in the sea.

“We are earning a lot less now. Before the project came, we could get RM200 a day. Now, it’s half, or sometimes less,” Geh said, his face impassive as he dragged his boat down the beach, avoiding the empty plastic bottles and other rubbish buried in the sand.

Despite his stoic demeanour, it was clear the drop in income has hit Geh and his neighbours hard. With their new homes so far away from the sea, they have to spend about RM50 a day on fuel for the motorcycles and boats.

On bad days, Umar (pic) said he earned just RM25 after three days of fishing – a far cry from the time when he netted fish worth up to RM1,000 a day.

The day before, he managed to catch four yellow eels he knew no one would want to buy.

“The only way we can get a good catch is to go far out to the international waters, where the sea is choppier and pirates lay in wait,” said Umar, the weather-beaten face lined with worry as he took a drag from a cigarette.

To his right, laid bundles of nets and other equipment. Many were pricey but have not been used in years – they were meant to catch fish which do not swim in these shallow areas.

But even with the right nets, capturing fish was difficult. The project had polluted the seawater, muddying it and causing the marine life to escape to cleaner waters, according to the fishermen.

The compensation they received was a pittance, said Umar’s brother, Arshad, 56, who spent thousands of ringgit on fishing gear, all useless now.

“What could I do with the RM4,000 compensation? If they gave me more money, I could stop fishing and set up a burger stall or something.

“With the money I’m earning now, I can’t even buy new trousers.”

The fishermen’s list of woes was long. Besides being far away, they said their new houses were riddled with defects.

PIPC destroyed their plantations, which provided them with a side income. The compensation money went missing and crime was high because of the outsiders.

Hussain Abdul Latif (pic, right), the Kampung Penerang fishing community leader, said his patience with the state Barisan Nasional (BN) was wearing thin.

“Don’t let it come to a point that I stick PKR’s flag in front of my house,” said Hussain, the Umno deputy chief for Kampung Jawa and a fisherman himself.

“Our representatives are covering up the problems with the federal government. They say everything is okay. But I cannot guarantee that in 2018, BN will win 100% in Pengerang.

“We are sick of them disappearing and only turning up right before elections with their gifts. Sick. We may not vote for the opposition, but I wouldn’t be surprised if fewer people go out to vote.”

Once tranquil, Pengerang now dusty, overrun with migrants and crime
1 March 2016 – TMI


‘Soil at bauxite mining sites will take up to 50 years to recover’

‘Soil at bauxite mining sites will take up to 50 years to recover’

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar believes soil in bauxite mining areas can restored for future cultivation.

However, treatment of the soil will take about 50 years for the restoration with its natural nutrients, he told reporters after opening the Malaysia-Korea Seminar on Healthy River Basin in Kuala Lumpur today.

Elaborating on the methods, Forestry Department director-general Abd Rahman Abd Rahim said bauxite mining areas undergoing treatment must be cultivated with cover crop such as legume for a long period of time.

He said this was because cover crops could help improve soil quality and it had been proven in Malaysia.

“For example, the land where the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) headquarters was located in Kepong, underwent similar treatment because it was an ex-mining area before it was restored as a green area.

“It can take about 50 years before the land can be restored to its normal state,” he added.

‘Soil at bauxite mining sites will take up to 50 years to recover’
17 Feb 2016 – malaysiakini


Lame excuse that illegal bauxite miners would just “run away” during raids!

Bauxite saga: MP raps MB over ‘they run away’ excuse

Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob has come under fire for claiming state authorities could not detain illegal miners as they would “run away” during raids.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said the Pahang government should cease bauxite mining permanently if it is incapable of nabbing illegal miners.

“The entire state Land and Mines Office is unable to control (illegal bauxite mining) and is involved in serious corruption scandals.

“This is a clear indication that we cannot allow mining to continue even after the moratorium expires.

“The Pahang government is unable to control the mining industry before and will not be able to do so after,” she told Malaysiakini.

A three-month moratorium on bauxite activities, negotiated by the federal government, was imposed effective Jan 16 following widespread pollution due to unregulated and indiscriminate mining.

A massive clean-up effort has since commenced and exporters have been instructed to relocate bauxite stockpiles away from the sea and water sources which have become polluted.

In an interview with the New Straits Times published today, Adnan said he does not have a definitive answer on dealing with illegal miners.

“When NST asks me, what are you going to do with the illegal miners, I don’t have a definite answer because based on the current laws and practices, if the illegal mining is done on private land, then we can take action using the National Land Code 1965.

“If illegal mining is done on state land, we can raid the area but, almost invariably when we raid the area, the operators will run away. Then, all we can do is seize their machinery,” he said.

Adnan also appeared to point the finger at Putrajaya over the poor regulation, noting that most of the agencies responsible were under the federal government.

Bauxite saga: MP raps MB over ‘they run away’ excuse
18 Jan 2016 – Malaysiakini

The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah


Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah


What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?