Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Orangutan Conservation gets a Boost

KOTA KINABALU: Orangutan conservation and research is given a boost with the setting up of the Sabah Orangutan Conservation Alliance (SOCA).

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the SOCA would coordinate orangutan conservation and research efforts in Sabah, implement and monitor the Orangutan Action Plan, advise the government on orangutan conservation issues, share information on orangutans and promote orangutan conservation in Sabah by raising awareness nationally and globally.

“We will prepare a cabinet paper on the setting up of SOCA and we will bring it to the utmost attention of the State Cabinet. We hope that SOCA can be rapidly established,” he said at an orangutan conservation dialogue at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort in Tuaran.    More than 80 participants were invited to discuss the implementation of the strategies and objectives highlighted in the Orangutan Action Plan 2012-2016 launched last January and set up the SOCA.

The Sabah Wildlife Department organised the dialogue.

“We recognised that the time for conversation was over, that it was time for conservation,” said Ambu.

“It is time for the oil palm industry to acknowledge that there are problems and take the necessary measures to address the issues of forest fragmentation and clearings of riparian forests in Sabah, as well as orangutan killings currently happening in palm oil estates in Kalimantan,” stressed Ambu.

He pointed out the problems in the Kinabatangan were also addressed.

“We have identified approaches to maintain viable wildlife populations in the Kinabatangan. Orangutans are also found outside protected forests in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain. Our recent analysis of satellite images have shown that 25,000 ha of such forests still remain.

“If we want to secure the orangutan population in Kinabatangan we cannot afford to lose another hectare of forest. We asked the government to call for a moratorium on forest conversion in the Kinabatangan and to recreate forest connection in areas where riparian forests have been converted,” added Ambu.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun gave his support for rehabilitation and protection of riparian reserves in his speech at the closing ceremony.

“River reserves are strictly not to be used for any plantation development. Maybe many plantation owners did not know that riparian reserves are protected and must remain under natural forest. These reserves must be rehabilitated and if
they had been encroached on, actions will be taken,” stressed Masidi.

Also addressing a zero tolerance of wildlife killings in oil palm plantations, Masidi said: “I would like to call the plantation owners to sign an agreement adopting a zero tolerance of wildlife (and especially orangutans) killings in their respective estates.

Orangutans are totally protected in Sabah and anyone killing one must be prosecuted.”

Source : Borneo Post

Tawau Geothernal Power Plant Operational by 2015

The proposed Tawau Green Energy Geothermal Power Plant project in Apas Kiri, Tawau is expected to be operational by 2015, making it the country's first grid-connected geothermal power plant.

"The proposed project, under the Small Renewable Energy Programme, is within the Mount Andrassy Forest Reserve some 20km form Tawau," said Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd (TGE) Project Director, Andrew Amaladoss. He said this during a seminar on Geothermal Energy organised by TGE at Hyatt Regency Hotel here Tuesday, adding that the centre of the project area lies on the south-eastern side of Maria Peak.

The proposed geothermal plant, he said, would be a flash steam type with a fross capacity of 36 Megawatt, 30 Megawatt export capacity with an annual energy generation of 224.352-Megawatt hertz. He said TGE has entered into a 21-year Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreement with SESB to supply 30 Megawatt to SESB's grid in the Tawau Main Intake Substation an Kalumpang Main Intake Substation.

"With an extimated cost of Rm 419 million, this project will be funded by local financial institutions and it has also qualified to receive a grant from the Private-Public Partnership Unit of the PM's Department for the access road and water treatment plant," he said. Meanwhile, during a question and answer session, he thanked the Sabah Environmental Protection Association for their support for the project and vowed not to push things under the carpet if big issues arise.

To another question, he said they are now concentrating on opening up the access road to bring in the heavy building equipment. " In the meantime, our in-house geothermal exploration team led by TGE Senior Geologist, Amando Licup, and Senior Geophysicist, Susianto Mandagi, will move into the field in about two weeks where they would be conducting their studies for the next three months.

"With the study results, we expect to do the first exploration well either by the first or second quarter of next year. We are just a small player in a bigger picture and we are only supplementing SESB's generation capacity but hopefully our plant will have a large contribution to Tawau's electricity supply system," he said.

To another question, he said, as far as the Class One Forest Reserve is concerned, it will remain Class One Forest Reserve, there is no re-zoning or de-gazetting.

"And why we choose the forest reserve area is because of its closeness to the geothermal prospect itself...we need to go to where the fuel is because we can't bring the fuel to us. The site chosen for the power plant is in the forest reserve and the site was specifically chosen because right now there is no primary forest in that area due to illegal encroachment many years ago and I think the Authorities took care of it."

"As far as the well sites are concerned, we will try to avoid major disturbance to the environment as far as possible and this is also in our agreement and our protocols with the Sabah Forestry Department and Sabah Parks. If it is inevitable that we cannot avoid some, then there is a hefty compensation that we have to pay to the authorities. We have to show them why the tree has to be felled and they will come and measure and mark it. Only then we can fell it and the tree will still remain in their possession."

"It is not in our interest to go around felling trees and we try to avoid it. In fact, a lot of geothermal power plants are located in national parks, so the class one forest will not be re-zoned or re-gazetted, it will remain a forest but we have very strict conditions to build and operate in these areas," he said.

Also present was General Manager of Regional Execution Centre East Asia for Alstom Renewable Power, Efienne Palasti.

Source: Daily Express
Photo: discovertawau

Sabah's US $1bil lobster project among the 10 new EPPs

Sabah lobsters for global mart

 The Biotechnology Implementation Council meeting identified 10 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) specifically to boost the national biotechnology sector, which will create 20 trigger projects that can increase gross national revenue to Rm3.6 billion, besides creating 13,600 high quality new job opportunities.

PM Datuk Seri Najib said the biotechnology sectors current achievement has been very encouraging. Under the phase two of the National Biotechnology Policy implementation between 2011 and 2015 with the focus to turn biotechnology industries toward business and commercialization, there are achievements that had surpassed the set target, he said.

Under the second phase, investments attracted by biotechnology industries have touched Rm12.7 billion, far exceeding the Rm9 billion target set for 2015, while for the 80,000 new job target by 2015, the number has reached 64,753, he told a media conference after chairing the council meeting.

Najib said Tuesday's meeting also decided that the Biotechnology Implementation Council be renamed as the National Bioeconomy council because the bioeconomy terminology is seen to be more comprehensive than biotechnology. The biotechnology sector's meteoric growth has created a new industry in the country, he said, citing the example of Gebo Inc, which will invest Rm1.69 billion to build a plant that will produce biochemical derivative products, biomaterial and biofuel.

"This project will turn Jerantut into a world's caviar production centre, an initiative that was beyond our imagination all these while, but now this project will be implemented via I-Caviar involving Rm475 million over five years." "This an example of how with the technological applications, we can bring big changes to an area where we cannot bring much development."

"We can also introduce a new industry that is not indigenous to our country. This is very meaningful example on how biotechological development has a lot of positive impact on our country," he said. Najib also said an American company will invest US $1 billion in an integrated lobster aquaculture project in Semporna, Sabah.

He said the company, operating a chain of restaurants under the "Red Lobster" brand name, has identified Semporna and Lahad Datu waters as suitable to breed lobsters on a commercial scale. They will rope in locals as " contract farmers" who are expected to earn Rm3,000 to Rm4,000 a month, he said.

"The parties involved in this project will receive guaranteed orders and the lobsters harvested will be exported to the international market. This is an example of how the strength that we have like the rich biodiversity and the unpolluted natural environment can be tapped to our advantage via biotechological applications," he said.

The PM said the federal government will cooperate with the Sarawak Government to conduct R&D to breed "ikan empurau" on a big scale in the state. He said ikan empurau, which can fetch Rm1,000 a kg, is among the most expensive fish species in the world, but nevertheless its production was limited.

"When we conduct R&D and start to breed high quality fish species, we can guarantee continuous supply. This will provide good income to villagers whose earnings were limited previously," he said.

Najib also said the meeting today decided to change the policy to help BioNexus SME companies in the country. Based on feedback from the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, incentives in the form of loans, to a maximum RM3 million with five per cent interest, are found to be not very beneficial, he said.

"As a government that listens to feedback, the people's voice and industries' views, the council decided to change the policy to a RM1 million maximum grant and RM2 million loan to a maximum RM3 million limit."

" The decision was made instantly and I hope it will provide the stimulus and a strong impetus to the industries to apply to categorize the companies as BioNexus. The decision will have an impact on the biotechnology companies' growth in the country," he said.

Najib said the meeting also decided that funding for R&D programmes as was announced in the 2013 Budget, including Rm600 million for research universities, can be utilised to register intellectual properties that have the potential to be commercialised.

" We were told that many R&D findings cannot be patented or registered as an Intellectual Property (IP) because the fund cannot be used for the purpose. So, I believe today's decision will spur more R&D findings from universities to be patented. This will facilitate other parties, including Malaysia Innovation Agency, to participate in open bidding with a view to commercialise," he added.

Source: Daily Express
Photo: Insight Sabah

Monday, October 29, 2012


  OVER 3,000 people residing in 13 villages within the Gumantong-Guluang-Gesusu Forest Reserve Class 1 have reason to smile now that the State Legislative Assembly has approved an amendment to de-gazette the status of the forest.

Matunggong Assemblyman Sarapin Magana, who welcomed the decision, said it would enable long-standing land applications by the villagers to be processed by the Land and Survey Department and local authorities.
"I am very grateful to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman for being concerned for the need of the villagers to occupy 590 hectares in the three areas.

"De-gazetting the three areas in the forest reserve is really good news and timely to the 3,500 villagers because they strongly believe they have native customary rights on the land as they have been living there for many generations.

"Also, they have been toiling the land for so long by planting rubber, coconut trees and oil palm and have been enjoying the harvests.

In addition, they have built their family homes and ancestral burial grounds in the three areas," he said.

Sarapin said this after the approval of the amendment to de-gazette the Gumantong-Guluang-Gesusu Forest Reserve Class 1, Wednesday.

The 590 hectares have been de-gazetted for the purpose of agriculture and settlements. These areas are found not suitable to be retained as Forest Reserves as the areas are titled land, occupied by settlers and have been degraded.

"Actually the area was gazetted as Forest Reserve Class 1 in 2007. However, the villagers only realised that they are living inside the forest reserve belonging to the State Government, last year," said Sarapin.

"Therefore, they submitted their objection to me as the elected people representative and sought help to bring out the 13 villages from the forest reserve on the grounds that they have been living there for so many years.

"Together with Kota Marudu MP Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, I highlighted the issue to the Assembly last year to de-gazette and the Government agreed to do so in the same year," he said.

However, Sarapin said the matter was not yet discussed as a Bill at the sitting last year and he explained to the villagers that the process would take some time.

Unfortunately, the opposition played the issue up to fish for votes by claiming that the Government wanted to grab the land from the villagers.

"On behalf of the villagers, thank the government for its concern for the needs of the locals in line with the 1Malaysia concept: People's First, Performance Now," Sarapin said. 

 Source: Daily Express
 Photo: malaysiansmustknowthetruth

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nursing our rivers back to health

Rivers are central to many environmental issues. They provide habitat, nourishment, means of transportation and many great cities around the world have sprouted alongside rivers, big and small.

Replying to a question from Datuk Liew Teck Chan (SAPP-Likas) at the State Assembly, Datuk Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment told the Dewan that the State Government has always been aware of the immense importance of rivers, and has taken many steps to preserve them.

He said, “Through various departments and agencies, the government, has long tried and will continue to try various ways for the care and preservation of the rivers in Sabah. They include carrying out specific studies to identify sources of pollution and to deal with it through the implementation of various specific action plans.”

He added, “In terms of enforcement, the government, through the Department of Environment (DOE) has enforced the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and the regulations thereunder to ensure that factories such as palm oil mills, rubber factories and other  waste-producing establishments can only be set up with approved EIA report, and, once established, are strictly monitored to ensure compliance with the conditions that have been set.”

Masidi said there have been many cases of non-compliance. "As of October this year, a total of 219 compounds have been issued for environmental violations," he told the Dewan.

The water quality of 36 river basins in Sabah is being monitored by 115 monitoring stations. This is to ensure that if any water contamination occurs, it will not endanger the public and tourists that are visiting Sabah. This monitoring program is carried out by Alam Sekitar Malaysia (ASMA) Sdn Bhd. Major river basins are under constant  surveillance. Amongst them are the Kinabatangan, Segama, Muanad, Kalumpang, Padas, Moyog and Inanam River.

Masidi also added that various awareness and environmental education programs are  carried out to ensure that people understand and take responsibility for the care and cleanliness of their rivers. He mentioned activities like the Satu Negeri Satu Sungai Program, Cintai Sungai Program, Environmental Awareness Camp as some of the steps taken principally to educate the public about river preservation, and to inspire them to love their rivers.

Source: Insight Sabah

Three New Class 1 Forest Reserves

Three Class II Forest Reserves (Commercial) with a total size of 176,780 hectares have been reclassified as Forests (Constitution of Forest Reserves and Amendment) (Amendment) Enactment 2012 Bill was passed unanimously at the State Legislative Assembly.

Tabling the Bill, Asst. Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Radin Malleh said the amendment was also made to de-gazette 4,560.20 hectares of forest reserves by way of land swap with State land. A the same time, new forest reserves with a total size of 4,642.68 hectares to replace the de-gazetted forest reserves will be created.

He said the commercial forest reserves converted into protected forest reserves converted into protected forest reserves was the Gunung Rara Class II Forest Reserve that would be named Mount Magdalena Forest Reserve Class I (Protection) and Ulu Segama Forest Reserve would be reclassified as Ulu Segama Forest Reserves Class I (Protection) (127,798 hectare) and Danum Valley Forest Reserve Class I (Protection) (Extension) (92 hectare).

The reclassification exercise, among others, was to create the wildlife corridor linking Lembah Danum, Maliau Forest Reserve and Imbak Canyon Forest Reserve. It was also to make the area into a research and education environment as about 400 active researches were currently being conducted in Danum Valley Forest Reserves and Ulu Segama Forest Reserve.

Radin said the de-gazettement exercise involves seven areas among them in Semporna comprising Tanjong Nagas Forest Reserve Class 1 (Protection) (708 hectare) and Mount Pock Forest Reserve Class I (Protection) (1,388 hectare) that would be alienated for Communal Title.

Through the amendment, he said the state permanent forest reserve would be increased form 3,609,167.07 hectares to 3,609,249.55. He assured that the State Government would only alienate land form forest reserves once the area to be swapped has been identified.

At the same time, forest reserves proposed for de-gazettement were those problematic ones and no longer productive, which would be looked into by the State Government in the future according to priority.

Source : Daily Express
Photo: junglemikey.blogspot

Cabinet paper on Orang-utan Conservation Alliance

Tuaran: The Sabah Wildlife Department will prepare a Cabinet paper on the setting up of a Sabah Orang-utan Conservation Alliance (Soca) that will assist the Government in implementing all the recommendations of the Sabah Orang-utan Action Plan 2012-2016.

"I will personally bring this Cabinet paper to the attention of the State Cabinet so that Soca can be established ASAP," Said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi at the closing of the SOCD, here, Thursday.

Also present at the dialogue were Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad and Sabah Wildlife Department Datuk Laurentius Ambu.

The SOCD proposes that the Sate Government officially establish, empower and mandate Soca under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment and led by the Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department. The proposal also suggests that Soca members comprise local and international NGO's, government departments, academic institutions, tourism players and the agriculture industry.

In his speech, Masidi said there is no denying that the number of Orang-utans in the Stae is declining. "I would be foolish and won't be truthful to myself if I said there is no problem and the biggest problem is that the number of orang-utan is declining mainly due to forest fragmentation affecting the food source and reproduction system of the orang-utans.

"This is good thing the NGOs are doing here, to sit down and discuss how to solve the problems. This is the reason why we invite people (to the dialogue) who have the expertise and passion to pinpoint to the Government how we can conserve our orang-utans", he said.

One of the recommendations made by SOCD is to call plantation owners to sign an agreement adopting a zero tolerance of wildlife (especially orang-utans) killings in their respective estates. Masidi said he does not think it would be too much to ask from the plantation owners to sigh the agreement. "If they are not guilty, then they should not be afraid. But unless they have something to hide, then probably that's the reason why they would not sign it."

"Let's just put it in this way. We love our country. Many of you have made tons of money from your investment. Why can't we just say, I hereby agree that I won't allow any of my staff to endanger the lives of the wildlife. " I think this is very simple. If they found their staff doing it, report it to relevant authorities so proper action can be taken," he said.

Masidi also said that while he is aware of some killings of orang-utans by irresponsible quarters he regretted some accusations made by certain NGOs saying that orang-utans are killed indiscriminately in the state. " It is unfair to just throw baseless allegations from far away countries saying this and that. We invited them to come to Sabah to prove to us so we can take action against the culprits but they did not come. " We have nothing to hide, just come here and assist us. We want to do the right thing even if it is painful to do, ' he said.

Meanwhile, Masidi also explained that conservation efforts in Kinabatangan area is made complicated due to the fact that many of the lands in the area have land titles. Therefore, he said, the Government has to come up with other options in the land use for the area.

' We need to ensure that the land use can conserve the wildlife in the area while at the same time could benefit that land owners. The Government would have to come up with an idea on how to cleverly use the lands in the area," he said.
Masidi also stressed the importance of riparian reserves for the benefit of wildlife conservation as well as to preserve the rivers in the State. The riparian reserve is the designated width from the stream where restrictions on what can be done are placed in order to protect the functions of the land and water in that reserved area.

Source: Daily Express
Photo: Pubsub

Friday, October 26, 2012

Quote of the Day! #1

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Agriculture projects under SDC to herald a new, bright future

KUDAT: The most-awaited agriculture-based projects which are currently being implemented by the state government under Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) in the northern part of Sabah heralds a new, bright future for thousands of people in this area.

Statistics indicated that, for now, northern Sabah — covering the districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas —still has a high population of hardcore poor or a high incidence of poverty.

But thanks to the 1Malaysia’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP) initiative taken by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, this region is now enjoying tremendous growth and development, particularly in the  agricultural sector.

In what is seen as a new dawn for this area and its people, Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari, Chief Executive, Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (Sedia), a one-stop authority for SDC, said the state government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is also chairman of Sedia, has devised a special strategy in tackling poverty in northern Sabah.

One of the SDC’s key projects for that purpose is the agropolitan project in Pitas, he told Bernama, here.

While describing Sabah’s agriculture sector policy as among the best in the country, Mohd Yaakub said, “This project will transform the infrastructure landscape of the coastal areas in northern Sabah, particularly in raising the residents’ income as well as assist in reducing the poverty level.

“Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), we will develop four roads totalling 53.1 kilometres (km) in four villages to ensure the project’s success,” he said.

He said the completed roads are the 8km road that connects Sosop and Mandamai Bai (Pitas) costing about RM15 million, the 7.6km Jalan Kampung Kiandut-Torungguh (RM11.6 million) and the 29.2km Jalan Jambu-Liu-Malubang costing RM26 million.

The other road project is the upgrading of the 8.3km Jalan Pantai-Delima costing some RM9.3 million which is targeted for completion by year-end, he said.

Mohd Yaakub said besides building roads, residential development are also provided especially for participants of the Pitas agripolitan project, and to date a total of 260 units of houses were completed.

“We have also provided facilities such as electricity supply to the houses to ensure the residents enjoy the basic facilities for a comfortable living,” he said.

According to him, under the Pitas agropolitan project, focus is given to rubber planting on a large scale. Towards this end, he said a 3,600-hectare (ha) area has been allocated for development in Bengkoka, which is expected to benefit 900 people.

“A portion of the land was planted with rubber trees which have already been  tapped, and the minimum income for each family is about RM3,000. This is a good indication for participants of the Pitas agropolitan project,” he said.

Mohd Yaakub said the development of infrastructure facilities in the area does not only provide convenience to local residents but “gives the signal to investors to invest in the area”.

“This is important because if investors do not come here to invest, then the government will carry the burden of allocating the development expenditure.

“Whatever we have provided, whether roads, electricity or water supply, all these are hoped to be able to convince entrepreneurs who have the capital to invest…and together with the local residents to increase the economic standard  in a sustainable way,” he said.

Mohd Yaakub said under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (Second Rolling Plan), SDC also places emphasis on sea cucumber farming in four selected coastal villages involving 80ha of land and 50 participants.

“If this project is successful, it is able to provide income of up to RM1,000 per month to the participants.

We also plan to develop shrimp farming with private entrepreneurs in Telaga covering a 536ha area.

“The shrimp farming, involving 400 participants, will also able to generate income up to RM1,409 per month,” he said.

Apart from the agropolitian project, Mohd Yaakub said there are other programmes for the area designed to address the issues of poverty “in a manner that could be sustainable”.

He said this was made possible following the alignment of the GTP introduced by Najib and the SDC programmes.

“Firstly, we have identified swiftlet farming.

In fact we have just tested the enthusiasm of the local people in Sabah.

“A few days ago we organised a course on swiftlet farming, and it was very well received and we have to organise two sessions each for about 100 participants.

“People at various levels of educational background participated in this seminar.

We believe that swiftlet farming has great potential and will benefit the people in the northern areaa such as Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas,” he  said.

Mohd Yaakub said these were targeted areas for swiftlet farming and hoped this project would become a reality soon.

“For this purpose, we will have areas for bird’s nest processing unit, a hatchery, nursery and feed production unit…it’s so complete.

That’s why we will invite private investment for this swiftlet project,” he said.

He said there was also a proposal to establish an Integrated Marine Fish Culture project in Limau-Limauan, Kudat.

In this respect, Mohd Yaakub said Sabah Fisheries and Fishermen Development Cooperative (Ko-Nelayan) has identified some 400ha of land and sea as suitable for marine fish cage farming in Kudat.

The project will consist of a hatchery, nurseries, grow-out cages, a feedmill and production facility of live feed, he added.

Mohd Yaakub said the hatchery is expected to produce 135 million of hybrid and high grade fish fingerlings to supply various fish cage culture operators in Sabah.

He said the cages are expected to produce 28,000 metric tonnes annually of hybrid and high-grade, high-value fish for export to China and Hong Kong. — Bernama

Source : Borneo Post

Doing Your Part to Make Your School Green

Terms like green schools and sustainable schools are very common. The sustainable education movement is gaining serious traction as we head toward the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The aims are laudable. The call to action is being taken much more seriously than it was in the early part of this century. 

Unfortunately most of us take the view that being green is somebody else's responsibility. The stark truth is that we all have to do our bit. The responsibility for being green is shared among all of us. But rather than become overwhelmed with macro issues such as carbon footprints, why not just do some really simple things which can be very effective if only we all do them? Why not teach students how to be sensitive to their environment? It makes so much sense to teach them these important habits while they are young.
5 Thing Students and Teachers can do

1. Recycle
Begin with everyday items such as aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Don't throw away cans and bottles. Put them in the recycling containers your school has for that purpose. 

2. Change Your Water Drinking Habits
Changing any habit takes thought and effort. But the new habit quickly takes root, if you will just give it a chance. Rather than drinking bottled water, use the school's water fountains. Forget the nonsense you hear about drinking fountains being a source of germs. You don't need to lick the spigot. You will probably pick up more germs from a door handle anyway.

3. Use Mugs and Glasses
Use a mug for your hot beverages. Eliminating styrofoam cups and containers for hot beverages will reduce non-biodegradeable waste which has to be carted off to landfills. Coffee grounds and tea bags can go in the compost heap. Use a glass for cold beverages such as lemonade, iced tea and water.

4. Bring Your Lunch and Snacks
Making your own lunch and packing snacks can be fun. It does take some planning and effort, but the payoff is eating healthy and not creating more container waste. If you pack a plant-based lunch, you will do even more to reduce global warming. Keeping a container of snacks such as nuts and raisins in your locker or desk is also much more economical than purchasing packaged snacks from a vending machine.

5. Recycle Paper
We waste enormous amounts of paper in our homes, schools and business. Keep a container for sheets of waste paper in your classroom. Encourage your students to use both sides of a sheet of paper. Plan crafts activities which use recycled paper. 


Paper Facts

Paper is a single sheet of a thin material, produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp, mainly derived from wood, rags and grasses processed in to flexible sheets or rolls by deposit from an aqueous suspension, and commonly used for writing and printing. Paper is important to mankind, because it enabled written communications to be easily copied and stored, and widely used for manufacturing and various of industries, from packaging material to daily necessities.

Due to the importance's of paper, human has over exploited forests and damaging the balanced ecological environment, just for the sake of conveniences. Here are some of the paper facts for reference.

     - Recycling half of the world's paper would free 20 million acres of forest land.
    - Recycling one stack of newspapers about 6 feet tall saves the life of one tree 35 feet tall. Recycling approximately 1 ton of newspaper saves 17 trees.
     - The EPA has found that making paper from recycled materials results in 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution. This means that every ton of recycled paper keeps almost 60 pounds of populations out of the atmosphere that would have been produced if the paper had been manufactured from virgin resources. 
    - Every ton of recycled paper saves approximately 4 barrels of oil, 4,200 kilowatt hours of energy.
   - Recycled paper is made to the same standards as paper made from virgin pulp. Moreover, recycled paper has features which make it more desirable than virgin paper, such as being more opaque, dense, and flexible.  
    - Paper plus cardboard combined make up 73% of the materials in the landfill.   
    - Making a ton of virgin paper requires 3,688 lbs. of wood, 24,000 gallons of water, 216 lbs. of lime, 360 lbs. of salt cake and 76 lbs. of soda ash. We then have to treat and dispose of 84 lbs. of air pollutants, 36 lbs. of water pollutants and 176 lbs. Of solid waste.

The production and use of paper has a number of adverse effects on the environment. Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years leading to increase in deforestation, with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture. Logging of old growth forests accounts for less than 10% of wood pulp, but is one of the most controversial issues.

Conventional bleaching of wood pulp using elemental chlorine produces and releases into the environment large amounts of chlorinated organic compounds, including chlorinated dioxins. Dioxins are recognized as a persistent environmental pollutant, regulated internationally by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Dioxins are highly toxic, and health effects on humans include reproductive, developmental, immune and hormonal problems. They are known to be carcinogenic. Over 90% of human exposure is through food, primarily meat, dairy, fish and shellfish, as dioxins accumulate in the food chain in the fatty tissue of animals.

Some manufacturers have started using a new, significantly more environmentally friendly alternative to expanded plastic packaging made out of paper, known commercially as paperfoam. The packaging has very similar mechanical properties to some expanded plastic packaging, but is biodegradable and can also be recycled with ordinary paper.

Adopted sources : and

Pairin: Nurture practice of efficient energy use

The practice of using energy efficiently should be nurtured and cultivated in the society and should be applied at home or at the office to avoid power wastage.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Infrastructure Development, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, said although society has developed significantly in the past hundred years, consumer behaviour has not changed much due to lack of awareness and concern for natural resources and the environment.

He said this in a speech delivered by Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development, Datuk Japlin Akim, during the launching of the Energy Efficiency Audit Demo Programme, here, Monday.

Also present at the ceremony were Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) Managing Director, Abdul Razak Sallim, and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Energy Services Sdn Bhd Managing Director, Shahrir Abdul Latiff. 

"Electricity generation in the State in 2011 used 50 per cent of fuel gas, in which 40 per cent was based on diesel and medium fuel oil (MFO), 6.5 per cent from hydro sources and the rest was from renewable energy sources. 

"The high dependency on fossil fuels with imported resources gives us a clear signal that it will be one of the main challenges in guaranteeing our future energy security," said Pairin.
He added that the industrial sector and electricity generation represent two-thirds of the total emission of carbon dioxide.

"Therefore, logically speaking, the electricity generation sector could play an important role in handling the climate change issue which is associated to global warming through efficient power management," he said.
He also said the State Government is very supportive of the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry's policy of government buildings' temperature at 24 degree Celsius.

"I hope the Energy Efficiency Audit Programme held will inspire other building managers to take the initiative to hold the Energy Efficiency Audit on their premises," he said. The 'one-off demo' programme worth more than RM160,000 involved the audit of two large buildings in the State Capital and is the first programme carried out in the State.

The programme was funded by Electricity Supply Industry Trust Account (AAIBE).

The buildings involved were Wisma Sedco and Kinabalu Daya Hotel.

According to Abdul Razak, the energy audit is the first step towards a better energy management system.
Generally, energy audit is a survey to review how energy was utilised in a building and to identify opportunities to save energy.

Consumers can save between 10 to 30 per cent of their electricity bills if they adhere to the recommendations of made by the auditors.

Other than encouraging building owners to implement the efficient energy initiative, the programme is also hoped to be the catalyst for other building owners to take similar initiative to get the Green Building status.

Malaysia is the third biggest contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emission in Asean and the 31st in the world per person at 4.5 tonne metric per person. It also recorded one of the highest growth rate of CO2 emission in the world at 7.9 per cent and sits at 27th in the world as the culprit of CO2 emission at 0.69 per cent.

Organic waste can be good source of income — Minister

KOTA KINABALU: In rural communities where waste management services are not available, processing organic waste can be a good source of family income.

Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Ebin said using minimal equipment and the right knowledge, simple household wastes and even animal dung could be turned into fertiliser, and the by – products – natural
gas – could be harnessed in the process to provide free energy.

He said enterprising rural families who took up organic fertilizer processing would at least be able to reduce their cost of living as they could save on electricity and cooking gas bills.

Properly done, they would even provide an important service to their community by helping to process organic waste into useful products.

“During a working visit to Shenzen, China, I learned about a man who collects animal faeces from a nearby pig farm.

He puts them into a tank together with other organic wastes to turn them into fertilizer while at the same time harness the gas released from the tank for cooking and to power his house.

“Something like this can be done here. Any organic wastes, not necessarily animal faeces, can be used. And everyone can do it,” he said when closing an Environment Management Course Phase II/2012 in Menggatal, yesterday.

It was part of an annual programme organized by the Rural Development Ministry to promote environmental awareness and to teach rural communities useful green applications they could adopt in their daily lives.

Almost 60 residents from across the state took part in the course, where they learned about ‘Takakura’ compost fertilizer making technique.

“You can use the knowledge you learned from this course to improve your family income, while at the same time do your bit towards protecting the environment,” he said.

Citing unspecified research, Ewon said every person in Sabah produced an average of 0.5kg to 1.1 kilogram of waste daily, flooding the state’s already over-saturated landfills with up to a million tons of garbage every year.

He said these amount could be significantly reduced, given that most of the garbage that ended up at these landfills were organic wastes that could be processed into fertilizer.

He stressed that waste management and environment conservation in general were complicated in nature, as they involved many factors and affected everyone.

As such, he said it was the responsibility of not just the agencies concerned but also every member of the community to manage the environment.

“It is the moral obligation of every citizen to play their respective roles in protecting the environment, and this includes the management of our daily wastes,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s permanent secretary Datuk Ghulam Jelani said the environmental course introduced back in 2010 had received encouraging response from the rural community leaders.

He said the programme was timely and in tandem with the government’s effort to emphasis on conservation of the environment.

“Development programmes for rural areas are mostly focused only on physical or economic aspects. I think it is time that we incorporate environmental aspects into our efforts to develop rural communities.

“This is especially important as there is currently no proper waste disposal services in rural areas in Sabah.

The community has to manage their own garbage, and they should be trained how to this the best way possible,” he said.


Renewable energy meet in Sabah to focus on workable solutions

KOTA KINABALU: Community-based solutions and cost-effective reliable models for generating renewable electricity are among the features of a regional assembly in Sabah that will do its part in creating a sustainable energy-secure future for the planet.

The five-day Southeast Asia Renewable Energy People’s Assembly (SEAREPA) that starts on Oct 29 at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sandakan will also explore an array of renewable energy technologies and methodologies.  SEAREPA coordinator Gabriel S. Wynn said the event aimed to build strategic partnerships between renewable energy players in Southeast Asia, South Asia and the United States, and would include non-profit organisations, for-profit enterprises and governments.

“The assembly will showcase innovative approaches of renewable energy pioneers, address issues affecting communities impacted by large-scale energy projects and galvanise investment in clean energy. It also aims to influence policy by integrating decentralised clean energy projects into development plans.  “This is an open space forum where stories, struggles and solutions surrounding power generation can be heard. The demand for energy in Southeast Asia is placing severe pressure on natural resources and is displacing rural communities as demand is largely met through coal plants and large-scale hydro dams,” Wynn said in a statement.

About 100 people are expected at SEAREPA, with confirmations from groups in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos, including strong participation from the Bornean states of Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan.   Joining them are representatives from India and the United States. Among them are the Renewable Energy Association of Myanmar, micro-hydro practitioners IBEKA from Indonesia, the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute of Vietnam, the Lao Institute for Renewable Energy and the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation (AIDFI) from the Philippines.

Wynn said distributed renewable energy projects had demonstrated cost-effective, equitable, reliable and environmentally conscious models for generating power and that, at this point, it was a matter of scaling them up. — BERNAMA

Read more: Renewable energy meet in Sabah to focus on workable solutions – Latest – New Straits Times

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guide to Plastic Recycling Symbols part II


Guide to Plastic Recycling Symbols part I

The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) introduced its resin identification coding system in 1988 at the urging of recyclers around the country. A growing number of communities were implementing recycling programs in an effort to decrease the volume of waste subject to tipping fees at landfills. In some cases, these programs were driven by state-level recycling mandates.

The SPI code was developed to meet recyclers’ needs while providing manufacturers a consistent, uniform system that could apply nationwide. Because municipal recycling programs traditionally targeted packaging - primarily containers – the SPI coding system offered a means of identifying the resin content of bottles and containers commonly found in the residential waste stream. Recycling firms have varying standards for the plastics they accept. Some firms may require that the plastics be sorted by type and separated from other recyclables; some may specify that mixed plastics are acceptable if they are separated from other recyclables; while others may accept all material mixed together. Not all types of plastics are generally recycled, and recycling facilities may not be available in some areas.

Number 1 Plastics -- PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) Found In: Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; ovenable food trays. Recycling: Pick up through most curbside recycling programs. Recycled Into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, (occasionally) new containers
PET plastic is the most common for single-use bottled beverages, because it is inexpensive, lightweight and easy to recycle. It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products. Recycling rates remain relatively low (around 20 percent), though the material is in high demand by remanufacturers.

Number 2 Plastics -- HDPE (high density polyethylene) Found In: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners Recycling: Pick up through most curbside recycling programs, although some only allow those containers with necks. Recycled Into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing
HDPE is a versatile plastic with many uses, especially for packaging. It carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many goods.

Number 3 Plastics -- V (Vinyl) or PVC Found In: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers. Recycled Into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats
PVC is tough and weathers well, so it is commonly used for piping, siding and similar applications. PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don't let the plastic touch food. Never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.

Number 4 Plastics -- LDPE (low density polyethylene) Found In: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling. Recycled Into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile
LDPE is a flexible plastic with many applications. Historically it has not been accepted through most American curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it.

Number 5 Plastics -- PP (polypropylene) Found In: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs. Recycled Into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays
Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers.

Number 6 Plastics -- PS (polystyrene) Found In: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs. Recycled Into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers
Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products -- in the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists' hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle. Most places still don't accept it, though it is gradually gaining traction.

Number 7 Plastics -- Miscellaneous Found In: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, 'bullet-proof' materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them. Recycled Into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products
A wide variety of plastic resins that don't fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors.


Malaysia’s first green library gets private funds

That's it, says Yahya Hussin and he gets a chorus of agreement from Wong Vui Ying, director of Sabah Library, Azizah Dun, welfare minister and Jainab Ayid, an assistant minister in the ministry of resource development and information technology.

It is Malaysia’s first green library. But half of the 40m ringgit ($12.9m) of the cost of the Kota Kinabalu regional library has come from a private company, the Lahad Datu Water Supply Sendirian Berhad. It is also the first such building funded by the private sector, according to Deputy Chief Minister Yahya Hussin who launched it at a groundbreaking ceremony in Tanjung Aru today.

“This is a very good cooperation between the private sector and the government,” he said. The library is expected to be ready by 2015.

Like the Sabah art gallery, the library will turn to solar energy, harvest rain water and use materials that will not add to carbon dioxide emission to keep global warming in check.

Steven Tan, managing director of Lahad Datu Water Supply Sendirian Berhad, says the funding is part of his company’s corporate social responsibility. – Insight Sabah

The green message of SERASI

 Entering the seventh year in spreading the green message, Sekolah Rakan Alam Sekitar (SERASI) programme is relentless in its attempt to create environmental awareness among students.

The programme has a 'green message' to all schools through efforts related on environmental management, environmental activities, 'greening' the school activities, cleanliness and beautification of the school ground, environmental innovation and clean toilets.

The programme is jointly organised by Shell and the State Environment Protection Department, the Federal Department of Environment-Sabah, Sabah Forestry Department, Education Department, Science and Technology Unit, Chief Minister’s Department, the State Environmental Action Committee, and the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre.

Out of 560 schools in the State competing for the environmental award, only 10 primary and 10 secondary schools were selected for the final. The prizes are awarded based on presentation, creativity and sustainability of the initiatives, which may include landscaping, recycling, composting and cleanliness campaigns.

"Students must become role models to encourage people in protecting the environment. Through education they are better able to understand the importance of environment and the efforts to preserve it," he said at the SERASI Award ceremony held on at Tun Raffae Auditorium, Tun Mustapha Tower.

He noted with a tinge of sadness, however, that Sabah still has a long way to go in creating awareness among the people.

"Even with the ceaseless efforts from the City Hall, district councils and other government agencies, we are still facing cleanliness problems because there are still irresponsible people who keep throwing rubbish all over the place."

He stated that based on a survey made by Kota Kinabalu City Hall, 70% of rubbish were thrown from vehicles. "They will simply toss rubbish out of the car, this is the attitude some people have that must change," he added.

Meanwhile, Shell Malaysia Corporate Affairs General Manager, Frank Saing (left) said the award programme is in keeping with Shell's plan for sustainable development.

"Shell is committed in contributing to this sustained effort. We balance short and long term interests, integrate economic, environmental and social considerations into business decision-making."

He added that Shell Malaysia was proud to support SERASI programme in Sabah. Shell Malaysia contributes RM40, 000 annually in support of SERASI (Sekolah Rakan Alam Sekitar) Sabah.

During the Award ceremony, SK Tansau, Putatan and SMK Kuhara of Tawau emerged winner for the Wira Serasi category while SJK (C) Siew Ching, Lahad Datu and SMK Majakir, Papar each won the Wira Harapan category for secondary and primary schools.

SM Tebobon of Kota Kinabalu and SK Monopod, Beluran each won the SERASI award for secondary and primary school category. All winners received cash, trophies and certificates of appreciation.

Abas Saidin, 48, Headmaster SK Monopod Beluran (right) believed that protecting the environment is an effort of everyone.

"Everybody needs to be on board in protecting the environment. We should take responsibility for our own action," he said. He attributed teamwork and cooperation as prime factors that made his school, SK Monopod Beluran win the SERASI award.

Source: Insight Sabah

Have agricultural expos in all districts in Sabah – Musa

PUTATAN: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman wants agricultural expos to be held in all districts in Sabah as a platform to expose local farmers to the latest development in the sector.

Such events, he said, could help in disseminating information on new findings that could be applied by the agriculture communities to improve their income and help retain the sector as one of the major economic earners for the state.

Speaking at the launch of Putatan Agricultural Expo 2012, Musa said the agriculture sector had been identified as one of the major focuses under the state’s development Halatuju launched in 2003, alongside the tourism and manufacturing sectors.

Apart from reducing dependency on imported food products, further development of this sector would also help improve the income of Sabahans, he said.

“I believe the expo here today would benefit the target group and everyone involved … And I am confident that with the cooperation of all parties in this district, it will propel the growth of the agriculture and agro-based industry not only here locally but in the whole state, and make us a major food producer in the country.

“This is why I must propose that the ministry (of agriculture and food industry) expands this event to other districts so that agricultural potential of each district can be fully developed and utilized,” he said.

Musa stressed that it was the hope of the state government that farmers, breeders and fishermen communities across Sabah continue to improve themselves by incorporating new technologies into their operations.

By doing so, he said they would be able to significantly improve their output and revenues and prove the old perception that agriculture is a low income industry for the poor, is wrong.

“Agriculture could be a lucrative business if done right,” Musa asserted.

Met after the launching, he said many agricultural development projects and programmes had been successfully implemented in Sabah and had greatly benefited farmers and local agro-based businesses.

As such, Musa, who is also State Finance Minister, said he would request the federal government to provide more allocations to fund similar projects in the future.

The state government, he added, would also implement more programmes aimed at encouraging more people to participate and benefit from the sector, and promote awareness that agriculture is a lucrative industry.

“Improving the income of the farmers would translate to improvement of the overall economy of the state … we are on the right track to move forward,” he said.

He also said the promising potential in agriculture, coupled with political stability and vast fertile land in Sabah had attracted major international players to come in and invest in the sector.

Among the latest ones, he noted, was an American company which was looking to develop a multi-billion fruit planting project in Sabah.

“Apart from the lobster project that I mentioned before this, there is also a US-based company who wants to come in. We are currently looking for a suitable site for the project and in discussions to find out which agency would be best to collaborate with them.

“Many investors are coming to Sabah because they are convinced of the political stability we have. That is why we do not encourage street demonstration that could undermine this stability, this will not benefit anyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister cum Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin in his welcoming remarks said the Integrated Agricultural Complex in Putatan could be developed into an attractive agro-tourism destination.

He said the complex dubbed as the ‘Green Lung of Putatan’ could be packaged as a tourism product to attract both local and foreign visitors.

“I was also made to understand that this five-hectare complex will be developed as a permanent food production park that will lead in intensive high-tech farming. This project represents an opportunity for the local community in Putatan to venture into this field and become agro entrepreneurs,” he added.

Source: Borneo Post
Picture: Malaysiandigest

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sabah will dish out perks to attract FDIs

The Sabah State Government says it remains committed to driving the state’s economic growth with the offer of various incentives for foreign investments while ensuring a conducive investment environment.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (picture) said the flow of foreign investments had continued to see a positive trend, clearly reflecting investors’ confidence in the state’s economic fundamentals and prospects as well as its political stability and level of security.

“In the first quarter this year, Sabah received RM10 billion — the highest amount of private investments compared with other states.

“Apart from that, as of September 30, the amount of cumulative investments in the private sector, under the Sabah Development Corridor projects, had reached RM114 billion since its launch in 2008,” Musa Aman said.

The CM said this in his speech at the state awards and medals ceremony held in conjunction with the 59th birthday of Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin at the state palace here today.

Musa said the state had also spent a total of RM1.136 billion from the RM1.39 billion allocated to it under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the 10th Malaysia Plan. He said the state also saw a 15.7 per cent rise in the number of foreign tourists during the January to July period this year, with a total of 541,552 visitors, compared with 467,924 tourists seen in the same period last year. “In the second roll out of the 10th Malaysia Plan, Sabah was also allocated RM4.376 billion to carry out 743 projects in 2012.

“As of September 21, RM1.971 billion or 45.1 per cent of the 2012 allocation had been spent to finance development projects implemented in Sabah.”

He said the state government was confident that the success in attracting private and foreign investments into the state was clear proof of the state’s conducive environment to attract high impact investments with greater economic prospects.

Musa said the state government was also committed to ensuring that all development programmes for Sabah under the 2013 Budget are implemented including the standardising of goods prices, opening of 1 Malaysia retail shops and the expansion of padi space in Kota Belud.

He also said the state government took pride in the AAA rating given to the state by Rating Agency Malaysia (RAM) for four consecutive years.

Apart from the foreign investments and tourists, the state has also welcomed high powered delegations including senior leaders from China and the latest being the visit from Britain’s royal couple, The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, he said. Sabah world class biodiversity and heritage wealth of flora and fauna has showcased through international media coverage featuring lush natural environment. This has further reflected the positive image of Sabah in the world map — Bernama

Source: themalaysianinsider


KOTA KINABALU: The State Government will continue to formulate policies and procedures that support a business friendly environment, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman.

Being the second largest state in Malaysia, he said there are vast opportunities in Sabah especially in agriculture, tourism and manufacturing as well as oil and gas.

“These sectors are mapped out under several initiatives like the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) and the federal government-led Economic Transformation Programme (ETP),” he said during a meeting with Wu Bangguo, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China here yesterday.

Wu is also chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

Musa who is also Finance Minister said under SDC, Sabah was promoting economic growth based on the strengths of the different regions in the state and with focus on proper management of natural resources and environmental sustainability.

Sabah, he added, was in the process of transforming its economy from one that was purely resource-based to one that was more diversified and driven by knowledge, innovation and productivity.

The Chief Minister said in manufacturing, Sabah’s focus was to leverage on agriculture, biomass and the oil and gas industry. He also said Sabah was the largest producer of crude palm oil in Malaysia and that the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster in the east coast was one avenue for the state to venture into downstream processing of palm oil products.

“We are also promoting the development of petrochemical and gas-based industries through SOGT (Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal) and SAMUR (Sabah Ammonia Urea Plant) in the west coast. Musa also told the senior Chinese leader that early this year Sabah received interest from two prominent U.S.-based firms.

Dole Food – the world’s largest producer and marketer of fresh fruits and vegetables – had expressed interest to invest more than RM1 billion in Sabah.

The Chief Minister added that the hospitality and tourism industry was one of the primary income-generating sectors.

Sabah, he said has proven to be a popular destination for the Chinese “and I see increased cooperation in this sector”. Musa also informed the Chinese leader that it was recently announced that Sabah was the most successful state in attracting private investment in the country.

For the first quarter of this year, Sabah managed to attract some RM10 billion in investment, way ahead of other states – and this is because the Sabah State Government is stable, business friendly and prudent.

“Another reason voiced by investors especially those from Europe and U.S. is that our environment is still protected…we have clean air, unpolluted waters and we have in place stringent forest laws as well as a strong conservation progamme,” the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, Musa said Sabah had anticipated closer ties and cooperation with China as the business relationship had grown stronger.

“Visits from China including by another senior leader of the NPC, Jia Quinling in April this year, and the recent participation by Malaysians at the trade and investment fairs in China and vice-versa had created opportunities and expanded the network for cooperation,” Musa said.

He also stressed that the State Government enjoyed close relations with the Federal Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and that billions of ringgit had been channeled for infrastructure development including building better roads and utilities as well as improving the public delivery system.

Later at a press conference, Musa expressed his appreciation to Wu for visiting Sabah.

“There are many opportunities which we can explore together in Sabah,” he said.

Musa also said Wu felt that Sabah has big potential in the resources and tourism sectors and that many more visitors would come to Malaysia including Sabah.

And according to him, the visit by Wu was very meaningful because he was a very high-ranking leader. “We welcome him and we hope more leaders from China will visit Sabah.”

Also present yesterday were Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Minister of Industrial Development, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun and State Secretary, Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman.


10 Funky Ways to Reuse Old Magazines

by Mary Mazzoni

Empty out those magazine racks! Here are 10 crafty ways to reuse old magazines, newspaper and junk mail.

Use those old magazines to create a fun paper tree just in time for the holidays. Photo: Lilly/Just Like Martha

1. Decoupage accessories

If you or the kids have a pair of shoes, a backpack or even a T-Shirt that looks a little plain, why not spunk it up a bit using old magazine pages? This step-by-step tutorial from teaches you how to use your magazines to decoupage accessories and clothing in a snap. That's right, decoupage isn't just for furniture anymore! Pick out the photos and pattern you like best, and you'll be left with a fun accessory that's perfect for the young or young-at-heart.

2. Paper Christmas tree

Add a touch of recycled fun to your holiday decor with a Christmas tree made from recycled magazines. And the best part is - no tools required. The tree shape is formed simply by folding each page diagonally and bending the finished product into a cone shape, as described in this tutorial from craft maven and Just Like Martha blogger Lilly. Paint your tree with nontoxic paint if desired, or leave it alone for a rustic look.

Source: earth911

8 Ways to Green Your Paper Use

8 Ways to Green Your Paper Use

by Trey Granger

This story is part of Earth911’s “Green Eight” series, where we showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas.

We may talk of a paperless world, but paper still makes up 35 percent of our solid waste. Even though new paper can be created by growing more trees, that doesn't mean we can't be smart about the paper we use. Here's eight ways to optimize your paper use for the environment's sake:

1. Save Those Boxes

Many of your larger purchases will come in a cardboard box that you can't wait to get rid of. While you may not have a need for the plastic packaging (you can find a location to recycle plastic using Earth911), the box can definitely come in handy for:

    * Wrapping gifts
    * Shipping packages
    * Moving

The beauty of cardboard is that it can be collapsed into a flat sheet for easy storage under a bed, mattress or in the back of a closet. All you need to create a "new" box is some tape.

2. Recycle Your Mail

No matter how many mailing lists you unsubscribe from, you're still going to have paper to dispose of after reading your mail. Almost all of it can be recycled as mixed paper, so why not set up a bin for your letters, catalogs and multi-color advertisements?

Two mail-related products you may wonder about are envelopes with plastic windows and stapled paper. Both are most likely accepted in your area, because the metal and plastic can be filtered out prior to recycling.

3. Pay Bills Online

You can reduce the amount of mail you need to recycle in the first place by signing up to receive statements via email. You'll decrease paper use, save money on stamps and have easy access to your information online. Plus, payments posted online send you an email confirmation so you can feel confident about avoiding late fees.

4. Print Double-Sided

Computer paper has two sides; how many are you printing on? If you have a laser printer at home, you can change the setting to double-sided printing and copying. Otherwise, consider printing documents one page at a time and printing the second page on the back of the first. It may take you more time, but you'll also have less paper to buy.

5. Buy Recycled

Paper recycling is only beneficial if a market is generated for recycled content. Guess what: you generate that market by buying recycled content paper. In the case of newspaper, you're buying recycled without even knowing it. For computer paper, the higher the recycled content, the better for the environment (100 percent recycled is available at most office supply stores). Ask about recycled content paper at you're local copy store as well.

6. Get a Library Card

If buying recycled content paper is green, renting paper is neon green. The library may seem out of date with internet access and national book chains, but it's a great way to reuse paper. You can also find newspapers and magazines at the library, and sometimes even textbooks. If you decide to get rid of books, find book reuse and recycling locations using Earth911.

7. Make Paper Bag Book Covers

With more cities placing restrictions on the use of plastic bags, paper bags may be your packaging of choice. Well, these bags have many reuse options to keep them out of the trash, including covering your hardcover books. This also protects your books from damage and food stains. Plus, once you're done with the cover you can still recycle the bag with the rest of your paper.

8. Recycle Phone Books

How many recycle telephone directories into new white and yellow pages, as well as insulation material and the aforementioned grocery bags.

Source: earth911

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Musa Aman, The Guardian Of The Lost World

Chief Minister Musa Aman


IT worth knowing some historical facts and figures about the natural landscape of one's own home state e.g Sabah, the Land Below The Wind for the sake of general knowledge of that particular place which could in turn be utilized as reference for clarification of doubts about the place in question someday.

Retrospectively, in the late 80's, despite a series of explorative attempts or reconnaissance survey conducted on the ground by earlier Forest Surveyors, none was considered as really successful other than those assigned by The Sabah Foundation Organization, to finally unlock and reveal the mysteries of a Giant Saucer like basin which looked as if it was physically created by the great impact of a gigantic piece of meteorite from outer space hitting the Earth during the Jurassic period 190 million years ago. 

The basin's rims rises 1,500 to 1,900 metres in altitude above sea level, thus making it not possible for human habitation.

This specific spot with such unique topographical features was later named as "The Maliau Basin" derived from the appearance of its natural land formation and characteristic.

The fact is it was unnoticed until 1947 just after the World War Two, when a pilot barely avoided crashing into the steep hills rising from the mist shrouded rainforest jungles, it made its first foray into mass consciousness as entry in The Borneo Bulletin.

The Maliau Basin was part of the original timber concessions granted to Rakyat Berjaya Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sabah Foundation (Yayasan Sabah), an organization incorporated way back in 1966 through an Enactment of The Sabah State Legislative with the objective of improving the Living Standard and Education of Malaysians in Sabah.

Generally, Yayasan Sabah is responsible for the management of approximately One Million hectares of forest reserve areas in Borneo including those located in the Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon with the highest biodiversity in the State.

Geographically, the Maliau Basin is located between the intersecting grid points coordinates of Longtitude 117 Degrees East and Latitude 5 Degrees North pointing to the South Eastern part of the State, engulfing an undulating slopes totalling 588 sq km of spectacular pristine rainforest area with a geological catchment surrounding the Maliau River, which is famous for its exquisite and beautiful scenic natural features of bubbling water flows known as ‘The Majestic 7 Tier Maliau Falls'.

With its own eco-system, the Maliau Basin is homes to various biological life form found nowhere else on earth hence earning it's the name ‘The Lost World'. It may not be an island of dinosaurs but roaming The Lands of The Maliau Basin are rare mammals such as the Clouded Leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa) and the Malayan Sun Bear (Helacartos Malayansus) and over 290 bird species including the Rhinocerous Hornbill (Bucerous Rhinocerous) and White Crested Hornbill (Bevenicornis Comatus).

Within its enclave lies unusual forest types including the rare Montane Health Forest and distinctive flora with over 1,800 species plants being identified so far including the Bintangor trees (Calophyllum Lanigerum) and believed by researchers to contain the natural compound which could potentially cure AIDS.

Our neighbouring State of Sarawak has long banned both the felling and export of this specific tree species. The Sarawak Medichem Pharmaceuticals Incorporation, is conducting further clinical tests of the drug upon approval from the US Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA).

Upon realising the uniqueness of the area despite barely explored, The Sabah Foundation had voluntarily designated Maliau Basin as a Conservation Area in 1981 along with the Danum Valley as forest corridors not merely to maintain ecological balance but such categories of forest is vital for wildlife habitation.

The Maliau Basin was gazetted as a Class 1 Protection Forest Reserve by the Sabah State Assembly way back in 1997. The driving force behind the entire idea of gazetting the area in question was then Director of Sabah Foundation, Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who subsequently assumed the role as the 14th Chief Minister of Sabah in 2003.

It is evident that this pragmatic leader had realised that much of the natural, untouched areas in other countries are disappearing or have vanished at an alarming rate as a result of conventional logging, the contributing factor to global climate change and extinction of endangered flora and fauna species in several continents of the world.

Maliau Basin

The extend of forest fragmentations caused by the aftermath of human activities such as deforestation either to extract the timbers for their commercial values or paving the way for agricultural development projects, is truly beyond description and had displaced many faunas of their natural habitats.

In summary, this trend will continue as the world population increases but the downside is such development that aims at accommodating the tripling statistics of human beings upon the face of the earth, especially in countries which depend heavily upon forest productions and huge scale land clearing for agricultural development for their economic sustainability, will not render its sympathy for the vital loss of biodiversity, without which the price that our future generations will pay may be too high and beyond imagination, Sabah is no exception.

The fact is the colossal destruction that bled our forests after being ‘Reaped and Raped' repeatedly for commercial purposes either lawfully and illegally, had drastically affected the entire arteries of many water catchment areas, rivers and streams particularly in the Interior Residency of Sabah.

As an example, on April 19, 2010, TV3 showed an aerial video footage of the murky and polluted Pensiangan River in Sabah's Interior, as a result of rampant logging.

By natural process it may possible take a cycle of about 100 years or more to restore the purity of the river's water in question before it is suitable for human consumption. Let alone the unbearable biting heat that we felt during the recent Global Warming caused by an excessive emission of Carbondioxide (CO2), the main green house gas.

During the past 50 years, Malaysia's average temperature has risen by 1.1 degree Celcius, which is consistent with the Global temperature, thus causing abnormal changes in the rainfall patterns that caused more floods. Based upon recent research, scientists have found that the sea level is increasing at the rate of 1.25 mm annually, which is truly alarming!

Factually, the occurrences of those catastrophic phenomena is the aftermath of humans' own foolishness for having excessively plundered, exploited and destroyed the forest flora, eco-system and bio-diversity created by God in pursuit of their materialistic greed under the guise of development.

In 2000 while Musa served as a Director of Sabah Foundation, the State owned organization fought in protest against the idea of mining Maliau for its coal on commercial basis, thus sparking the ‘Monkey and Gold' debate The poser was a reference to the Proboscis monkey, found only on the Island of Borneo.

The debate was mooted by the then Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, who pushed for underground mining of the 200 million tons of Coals discovered within the Maliau Region around 1988.

The extractable volumes and quantities of Coals reserve was estimated to have the potential of coping up with the country's long terms energy requirement for at least 20 years. The later argued that the monkeys can be ‘On Top' and the Coal ‘Underground' as the latest State of Art Mining Techniques or Technology is currently available in the market nowadays.

It was a coincidence that the battle scales tipped slightly when Datuk Musa took the helm of the State Administration as the 14th Chief Minister. In 2003, he stressed firmly that the State Government would not bow to pressure from any groups intending to carry out operations which are environmentally sensitive. It was a move believed to have undermined those of his predecessors.

Apart from the stand on Maliau, the State Government of the day also put a stop to logging in Ulu Segama and demarcated a forest buffer zones three times the size of Singapore aiming at protecting the Danum Valley from the conventional actions of Logging and Mining.

Paradoxically, No State Governments ever saw the need nor pushed as hard for such an effort towards implementing the Policy of Sustainable Forest Management vide my article entitled ‘Solid Conservation Efforts Only in Last Seven Years' (Daily Express 14th November 2010)

It was apparently obvious that the present Chief Minister is determined not to let history repeat under his mantle like the incredible damage done to the Ulu Segama Forest, during the terms of his predecessors, who gave their blessing and ‘Green Light' to the massive & rampant slashing down of 4,000 hectares, which ended up generating a messy extend of forest fragmentation instead, as described by many was liken to the ‘Dark Ages', whereby the area in question was deprived of massive northern buffer zones and being frequently affected by acid rain fall, which scientists are still trying to assess the long term effects.

In the words of CM Musa amidst renewed speculation in 2005 that the Maliau's Coal Deposits would be extracted despite past assurances "You cannot touch the trees, you cannot cut the trees, don't talk about mining. As far as we are concerned, we are never going to mine Maliau Basin. We want it to be classified as a World Heritage Site."

The State Government is actively seeking and working with private sectors entities which include Sime Darby, Shell and IKEA as the means of funding and speeding up conservation initiatives and research studies.

Just recently in January 2011, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib became the first Malaysian PM ever to visit Maliau Basin and has expressed his support for the State Government ‘s stand.

"I would support the Chief Minister in getting this place listed as a World Heritage Site."

During the sojourn, Najib has declared open the Maliau Basin Studies Centre and witnessed the signing of several memorandum of understanding (MOU) between local and international groups involved in research studies of the Sabah rainforests.

Once selected, Maliau Basin would become the Nation's second World Heritage Site and one of the world's most significant biological sites. Our first heritage site is Kinabalu Park, designated by UNESCO in December 2000.

CM Musa was quoted as saying while accompanying the Prime Minister on that particular visit, "Development is still crucial for Sabah. I promised Malaysians in Sabah that the State will reach developed status by 2015. But development does not mean plunder without thought. A gift like Maliau Basin must be guarded. The riches that our children inherit cannot just be capital gain, building and material things. There are some things, capital can never hope to attain once its lost."

In time to come, the One Million hectares (10,000 sq km) conservation zones which encompasses the forest reserves of Malua, Ulu Segama, Danum Valley, Kinabalu Park and the Maliau Basin respectively are set to form part of the 220,000 sq km Conservation Zone in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) constituting the East Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak, The Indonesian Territorial Province of Kalimantan and the Kingdom of Brunei by virtue of The Common Understanding sealed in 2007.

All Malaysians be they at homes and abroad and the rest of the world await with held breaths the successful nomination and listing of the mysterious Maliau Basin as a World Heritage Site, the journey of discovery that has just barely begun for this Lost World owes much to those who have played its guardians, reflecting their authentic commitment and efforts to seriously conserve the State's invaluable flora and fauna.

How grateful would we be to see the contributions of our pragmatic leaders playing significant roles in turning this mission and vision into reality? We will be proud not merely having the testimony of a World Heritage Site earlier, but Sabah is part of the entity in the Borneo Conservation Zone that baffled many scientists with its wealth of biodiversity and varied life forms waiting to be discovered that is the wonder of the Borneo Paradise.