Sunday, November 24, 2013

Renewable energy the way for Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Renewable energy such as biomass, hydro and solar power could solve Sabah's perennial power supply shortfall, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said this would be among the focus areas of Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) in Sabah and Sarawak.

"Sabah faces a power supply shortfall and renewable energy could play an important role in addressing the problem,” he added.

He said former Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai has been appointed SEDA chairman replacing Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn.

Dr Yee, a medical and law graduate, would be a great asset to the agency tasked with promoting sustainable energy in the country, Maximus added.

He noted that the feed-in tariff (FiT) mechanism governed by the Renewable Energy Act 2011 operated entirely within a legal framework and Dr Yee’s legal background and vast experience in managing resources and information technology in the state would be useful to SEDA.

Maximus said said Dr Yee’s immediate task was to enable the FiT mechanism and other renewable energy initiatives to be implemented in both east Malaysian states.

Maximus thanked Dr Fong for his invaluable contributions.

The Star

Kaiduan Dam: Register your misgivings, villagers urged

INFRASTRUCTURE Development Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan urged villagers affected by the proposed Kaiduan Dam to register their doubts with the Special Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) instead of condemning it.

“The proposal hasn’t even gone off the ground and the people are already protesting… this is an issue that we can discuss and talk about,” said Pairin at the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.

He said there were differences in the findings of the survey presented to his ministry and that presented by Moyog assemblyman Terence Siambun but this was not such a huge issue as long as all the differences were placed on the table and discussed properly.

“The cabinet wants a special EIA on the impact of the proposed project on the people. This is not bad. And the affected folk should give their input on their doubts instead of criticizing it. They should share what they know. We want to know,” urged Pairin.

He also said the special EIA was crucial for the government prior to making its decision.

Pairin said the government was attentive to the needs of all the affected villagers and stressed that if the project went through, resettlement and basic amenities, as well as housing and land would be provided.

“But we are aware that the project is being politicized. We can accept that. However, what is not understood is the good intention of the government. I am sad that the Hansard mentioned that I do not care about the KDM (Kadazandusun Murut) people,” he said.

He said it was imperative to look into the supply of water issue for the future.

“If we concentrate on the water supply shortage issue, we are helping all, including the KDM people… we understand about the human rights issue raised. Yet whatever we do, it is for the greater good of all, not just the KDM. We are also the protectors of the KDM as well as others,” he stressed on the role of the government.

He said irrespective of whether one agreed with the project or not, it was imperative that they allowed the investigation to take place.

“It is like going to the doctor. Let the doctor check us thoroughly because if we don’t, the investigation will not be complete.”

The main aim is to quench the need to provide water, he said.

“The UN (United Nations) has mentioned that the future problem is poverty and water shortage… we need to take into account all these and prepare for the future. We have to look at the technical aspect. The population in Penampang is also expected to grow,” he said.

He reminded that if the Babagon Dam was not constructed years ago, despite the many objections from the people, water shortage would be acutely felt during the dry season.

“It has helped reduce the impact of flooding and also the dry season,” he said.

He stressed that the issue of water supply must be taken seriously and mentioned that it was not a political issue.

“It is what we think is required by society in the future … the climate condition is becoming erratic and we need to take the necessary action to ensure our water is enough,” he said.

Meanwhile, the villages that will be affected should the project be implemented are Kampung Tiku, Timpayasa and Kampung Babagon Laut. Kampung Buayan and Kampung Terian will not be involved in the proposal.

Borneo Post

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Natural gas will help reduce cost, preserve environment

KOTA KINABALU: The usage of natural gas in the industry will help reduce cost and preserve the environment.

Speaking at the Commissioning ceremony of Sabah Energy Corporation Sdn Bhd (SEC) Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Project via Virtual Pipeline System at Colourcoil Industries Sdn Bhd in Telipok yesterday, Resource Development and Information Technology Minister, Datuk Siringan Gubat said that using the cleaner fuel is akin to contributing to the environment.

“As compared to the traditional fuel source, natural gas is a much cheaper and cleaner fuel. This will translate directly into cheaper operating cost, hence better bottom line. At the same time by using natural gas, the mother earth will thank you for being green.

“We will also be able to preserve our pristine environment and maintain our position as preferred eco-tourism destination,” he said adding that using natural gas is in line with the government’s policy to encourage the use of cleaner energy to drive economic growth.

Compressed Natural Gas Project via virtual pipeline system is a natural gas distributing mode for distant customers, where ‘mother station’ supplies natural gas to ‘daughter stations’ at customers’ premises.

SEC Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Harun Ismail explained that the virtual pipeline system works by having a mother station which is at SEC’s terminal in KKIP.

“CNG is supplied to the customers to their purpose-built daughter stations by lorries. And in order to ensure seamless supply of the fuel, a daughter station monitors the level of gas and automatically order for supply when the gauge is low.

“Upon receiving the order, a lorry laden with CNG will be dispatched to the daughter station from the mother station. The CNG laden containers will roll from the lorry, down to the daughter station purpose-built platform, before the empty containers roll from the platform onto the lorry,” he said adding that all the process are being done without stopping the flow of CNG to the customer’s operations.

Harun said that SEC chose to employ the system due to the high cost involved in building physical piping system to the customers, which renders it uneconomical.

According to him the virtual pipeline system is a proven technology and has been used successfully in many countries including Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, India, Philippines, and Singapore.

“The technology provider of the virtual pipeline system is GNC Galileo of Argentina, which complies with accepted international standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 15500.

“The system was officially launched by the Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman in July 2012, and the first gas roll out was achieved 11 months later on June 10, 2013,” he said adding that SEC has a complete team of trained and competent engineers and technicians to assist customers on the gas usage and the supply system.

Harun disclosed that Colourcoil Sdn Bhd is one of seven earliest customers who signed the sale and purchase agreement with SEC.

Also present at the ceremony were Argentine Ambassador to Malaysia, Maria Isabel Rendon, CNG Galileo S A, Asia Pacific Regional Manager, Juan Ojenguren, and Colourcoil Sdn Bhd Managing Director, Roger Ling.

Penduduk Borneo Perlu Lindungi Beruang Madu

SANDAKAN 31 Julai - Melindungi habitat bagi hidupan liar yang tergolong sebagai antara haiwan paling ikonik di dunia serta membantu perjalanan pusat perlindungan haiwan terancam, bukan menjadi tanggungjawab kerajaan, pertubuhan bukan kerajaan dan penyelidik semata-mata, tetapi juga orang ramai.

Pengasas dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Pusat Pemuliharaan Beruang Madu Borneo (BSBCC), Wong Siew Te berkata, oleh kerana manusia dan hidupan liar menjadi sebahagian daripada ekosistem, maka penduduk setempat juga perlu bersedia menghulurkan bantuan untuk menyelamatkan spesies terancam.

Merujuk kepada acara 'Big Dreams, Little Bears' yang diadakan di sini baru-baru ini, Wong berkata melalui kerjasama dengan sukarelawan tempatan, BSBCC berjaya mengumpul sumbangan RM443,000, hampir seperempat daripada anggaran RM2 juta yang diperlukannya pada tahun ini untuk menyiapkan pembinaan kandang kedua untuk Beruang Madu, penyediaan kawasan hutan tambahan dan sebagai kos operasi harian pusat berkenaan.

"Saya harap penduduk Sandakan menganggap pusat ini sebagai milik mereka juga kerana hasil penglibatan mereka secara langsung atau tidak langsung, membolehkan pusat ini wujud seperti yang ada sekarang dan akan terus maju pada masa akan datang.

"Apabila dibuka kepada orang ramai menjelang awal tahun depan, pusat ini akan menjadi satu lagi daya tarikan eko dan alam semula jadi bagi membolehkan Sandakan memainkan peranannya di peringkat sejagat dalam mempromosi usaha pemuliharaan. Ia juga akan meningkatkan kesedaran semua pihak tentang nasib hidupan liar serta merancakkan pertumbuhan ekonomi tempatan melalui usaha niaga berkaitan pelancongan dan limpahan manfaaat daripadanya.

"Kami harap dapat terus menggalakkan masyarakat tempatan, terutama peniaga, untul menyumbang ke arah pemuliharaan Beruang Madu. Mereka boleh menjadi tenaga penggerak dalam membentuk pendapat orang ramai berhubung spesies itu dan usaha pemuliharaanya," kata Siew Te dalam kenyataan di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata, penduduk tempatan sepatutnya berbangga kerana pusat itu terletak di kawasan mereka dan menambah bahawa acara mengumpul derma itu memberi kesedaran kepada banyak pihak apabila ia diberi liputan meluas oleh media, termasuk dalam program bual bicara melalui NTV7 dan temu bual melalui radio.

Siew Te mengucapkan terima kasih kepada sukarelawan dan anggota jawatankuasa acara kutipan derma itu kerana sanggup berkorban masa dan tenaga kerana sayangkan Beruang Madu.

"Kami dapati penduduk Sandakan dan kawasan lain di Sabah menyokong usaha ini apabila mereka sanggup membeli tiket bagi acara berkenaan. Ada yang berebut-rebut menyaingi satu sama lain untuk membeli tiga foto Beruang Madu yang dilelong," katanya.

BSBCC melaksanakan usaha pemuliharaan haian berkenaan melalui pendekatan holistik yang melibatkan usaha kebajikan, pemulihan, penyelidikan dan pendidikan hingga menjadikannya satu-satunya pusat pemuliharaan Beruang Madu sepertinya di dunia.

Pusat itu ditubuhkan pada 2008 hasil kerjasama antara Jabatan Hidupan Liar Sabah, Jabatan Perhutanan Sabah dan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP). Kini, pusat itu menempatkan 28 Beruang Madu yang diselamatkan daripada hutan dan kedai jualan haiwan.

Terletak bersebelahan Pusat Pemulihan Orang Utan Sepilok, pusat berkenaan memberi penjagaan kepada Beruang Madu yang kehilangan ibu bapa dan diselamatkan daripada kurungan, sebelum dilepaskan kembali ke hutan, manakala yang tidak mampu menjalani kehidupan secara liar pula, disediakan persekitaran lebih baik untuk mereka habiskan sisa usia.

Kehilangan habitat, diburu untuk memenuhi permintaan dalam perniagaan perubatan tradisional dan untuk dijadikan haiwan peliharaan merupakan antara punca utama jumlah beruang madu merosot sekurang-kurangnya 30 peratus sejak tiga dekad lepas.

Pengerusi acara kutipan derma itu Anton Ngui berkata Beruang Madu adalah antara warisan semula jadi Sabah yang terkenal di seluruh dunia.

"Kita patut berbangga dengan Beruang Madu kita, seperti rakyat China berbangga dengan panda mereka dan rakyat Australia dengan Beruang Koala mereka. - BERNAMA

InsightSabah : A sanctuary to better protect Sabah’s Borneo elephants

The first phase of the Bornean Elephant Sanctuary project, which costs RM1.8 million, has now been completed. This project was undertaken by the Borneo Conservation Trust.

According to the Trust’s head of conservation and research, Raymond Alfred, the first phase of the sanctuary project was funded by their conservation partners from Japan, namely the Asahiyama Zoo, Suraya, Hunting World, Tokio Marine, NTT Data Kirin, Taiseh and Yusen Logistics. They described this joint-venture project as 'ongaeshi' – ‘giving back to nature’.The completed project comprises an elephant handling paddock, staff quarters and a storage building.

Alfred said the second phase of the sanctuary costing between RM25 million and RM30 million on a 25-hectare land has already begun and is expected to be completed by year end."For this project, the Malaysia Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has already allocated RM5.2 million.," Alfred said.

He added that the MPOC is also providing financial support for the preparation of the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary master plan covering Lot 8 of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Alfred explained that MPOC's contribution and support for the project was very important, as the delineation of the project is likely to involve some land acquisition as well as negotiations with oil palm companies that were found to have encroached into riparian reserves.

Malay Version
Fasa pertama projek Santuari Gajah Borneo yang menelan kos RM1.8 juta, kini sudah selesai. Projek ini dilaksanakan oleh Conservation Trust Borneo.

Menurut ketua pemuliharaan dan penyelidikan Trust, Raymond Alfred, fasa pertama projek perlindungan itu dibiayai oleh rakan-rakan pemuliharaan mereka dari Jepun iaitu Zoo Asahiyama, Suraya, Hunting World, Tokio Marine, NTT Data Kirin, Taiseh dan Yusen Logistik . Mereka menyifatkan projek usahasama ini sebagai 'ongaeshi' - 'memberi kembali kepada alam semula jadi'. Projek siap terdiri daripada cara mengendalikan gajah, kuarters kakitangan dan bangunan penyimpanan.

Alfred berkata, fasa kedua santuari berharga di antara RM25 juta dan RM30 juta di atas tanah seluas 25 hektar dan sudah bermula dan dijangka siap menjelang akhir tahun ini. "Bagi projek ini, Majlis Minyak Sawit Malaysia (MPOC) sudah memperuntukkan RM5.2 juta," kata Alfred.

Beliau berkata, MPOC juga menyediakan sokongan kewangan untuk menyediakan pelan induk Borneo Elephant Sanctuary yang meliputi Lot 8 daripada Santuari Perlindungan Hidupan Liar Kinabatangan. Alfred menjelaskan, sumbangan dan sokongan MPOC untuk projek ini adalah sangat penting, memandangkan persempadanan projek itu mungkin membabitkan pengambilan tanah serta rundingan dengan syarikat-syarikat kelapa sawit yang didapati menceroboh dalam rizab riparian.....- Insight Sabah

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kerajaan Sabah Berjaya Lindungi Ekosistem Marin

Usaha memerangi aktiviti bom ikan memerlukan penglibatan semua pihak termasuk anggota masyarakat demi memastikan khazanah alam yang ada tidak terus terjejas atau dirosakkan, khususnya terumbu karang yang menjadi habitat hidupan marin. Semporna misalnya banyak bergantung kepada sumber-sumber alam marinnya untuk menjana dana kepada daerah ini. Jesteru, sebarang kaedah pengeksploitasian sumber marin yang menyalahi undang-undang perlu dihentikan serta-merta bagi memastikan khazanah alam dapat dimanfaatkan secara terus-menerus untuk generasi akan datang.

Aktiviti bom ikan adalah satu ancaman yang perlu ditangani segera kerana kegiatan itu yang sudah wujud semenjak bermulanya era Perang Dunia Kedua memberikan kesan buruk kepada penurunan bilangan populasi hidupan marin seperti ikan di Semporna. Situasi ini bukan sahaja boleh mendatangkan kerugian kepada para nelayan, malah turut menjejaskan industri pelancongan di daerah itu yang banyak bergantung kepada sumber-sumber marin. Jesteru, pelbagai langkah telah diambil oleh kerajaan bagi menangani masalah itu antaranya termasuklah melalui penguatkuasaan undang-undang, mewartakan lebih banyak pulau sebagai taman marin serta penganjuran kempen-kempen kesedaran.

Sepanjang tahun lepas, Pasukan Polis Marin (PPM) berjaya mengesan 11 kes mengebom ikan yang disiasat mengikut Akta Bahan Letupan dan 10 kes lagi di bawah Seksyen 26 (1) (c) Akta Perikanan 1985 iaitu memiliki ikan yang ditangkap menggunakan bom. Namun setakat Julai tahun ini, tidak ada kes seumpama itu berlaku terutamanya di perairan pantai timur Sabah. Perkembangan ini jelas menunjukkan bahawa pihak berkuasa berjaya menangani masalah ini selepas melaksanakan pelbagai inisiatif yang mana turut melibatkan komitmen dikalangan orang awam, aktivis dan NGO. 

Malah, pelancaran Ops Daulat pada Februari lepas bagi mengesan dan memberkas pengganas dari Selatan Filipina yang menceroboh pantai Timur Sabah (kini dikenali sebagai Ops Sanggah), turut menyumbang kepada penurunan kes pengeboman ikan kerana pada waktu itu kawalan perairan sungguh ketat dimana pelbagai agensi keselamatan dilihat berkawal di sepanjang perairan pantai timur Sabah. Perkembangan positif ini bukan sahaja membawa berita baik kepada warga nelayan dan pengusaha industri pelancongan, malah yang paling penting sekali, sumber marin negeri ini akan terus terpelihara untuk manfaat generasi akan datang.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Set up marine education centre in Semporna – rep

SEMPORNA: Sulabayan assemblyman Datuk Dr Haji Jaujan Sambakong has suggested a marine education centre be set up in Semporna to further enhance the growth of marine education and research work here.

He said the marine education centre would be a teaching and resource centre for the local community as well as visiting researchers.

“It will be a resource bank where results of marine researches, studies, historical background and culture can be stored for use by the local community to learn and be educated.

“It will also be a research centre for marine scientists from Malaysia and overseas, as well as a tourist centre where visitors can learn more about the wealth of marine life in the region,” he said during a recent event hosted by WWF-Malaysia in appreciation of the support for the conservation work it was doing in the region.

Also present were representatives from Semporna District Office, Sabah Parks, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Fisheries Department, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Semporna District Education Office, Semporna District Mosque, Semporna District Library, Persatuan Wanita Pulau Omadal (WAPO), Green Semporna volunteers, Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK) and head of villages from the island communities, and representatives from the tourism industry and schools.

WWF-Malaysia’s Conservation director, Dr Sundari Ramakrishna, welcomed the proposal to set up a marine education centre in Semporna.

“This is a noble idea. WWF-Malaysia has been advocating community engagement and education for local communities and green tourism. The centre will go a long way in support of the marine conservation work that we are involved in here,” said Dr Sundari.

The event also included a presentation on WWF-Malaysia’s work in Semporna Priority Conservation Area by its deputy manager of Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Programme, Monique Sumampouw, and an introductory talk on the work of Persatuan Wanita Pulau Omadal in marine conservation by its head, Roziah bte Jalalip.

Handicrafts made from Pandanus leaves found on Omadal island were also exhibited as alternatives to sustainable income for fishing communities in the region where poverty is a great threat to fight against. TheBorneoPost

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sabah in no rush to send rhinos overseas for breeding

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is in no rush to send its rhinos to zoos abroad for breeding amid fears that the animal faces extinction in Borneo, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

He said it would be the state’s last resort to send rhinos overseas for breeding.

“We are looking at all available options and the most important thing is to ensure that these animals will not become extinct,” he said.

“However, to send them overseas will be our last resort,” he said at the Sabah Muslim Cabinet ministers’ Hari Raya open house at Likas Sports Complex on Saturday.

Asked about the growing calls for the near extinct rhinos to be sent to a US zoo for breeding purposes, Masidi said that it was hard to get rhinos to mate due to geographical factors.

“Rhinos are loners. They don’t really move in packs.It makes it much ,more difficult for our rhinos to find mates,” he said.

However, he said he would study various recommendations from experts before discussing with the Cabinet on the options to ensure the species survives in Sabah.

Source: The Star

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tree planting session

Sandakan: Members of Sandakan District Tennis Association (SDTA) and Lions Club of Sandakan Selingan took part in a tree-planting session at the SDTA clubhouse compound.

Sandakan District Tennis Association Hon. Secretary Benno Ong said the Lions were led by their President Cyrina Au while SDTA President Taren Sunil Manoharan was present with his committee and fellow tennis players.

Also present were visiting Lions dignitaries including their District Governor Kung Kuok Yiew, his predecessor James Teo, Cabinet Secretary Lawrence Ting and Zone 16 Chairman Raymond Saw.

Cyrina said that when Lions Club of Sandakan Selingan initiated the project they decided to invite SDTA to join them because members of both organisations shared a similar desire to help protect and keep the environment green.

Meanwhile, SDTA President Taren Sunil pointed out that this is the second time that they are jointly planting trees to support the environment.

"With the unrelenting pace of urban development we are witnessing very fast growth of a 'concrete jungle' and we sorely need 'green lungs' amidst all the concrete, steel and glass buildings."

He said with the SDTA tennis complex located within Sandakan district, both Lions and SDTA felt that the place is ideal to serve as a little green lung for the town folk.

"We do have a large compound already planted with different species of trees and plants. With this planting campaign we have added another 46 new saplings to further 'green up' our place. We hope to make our SDTA tennis complex one of the green lungs for our town."

"This tree planting effort is in fact part of a worldwide project by the numerous international Lions Clubs to get 20 million trees planted around the globe this year and both Lions Club Sandakan Selingan and SDTA are proud to have played a small role towards achieving that goal," he elaborated, thanking Lions Club of Sandakan Selingan for choosing the SDTA premises as the venue for the project.

"We also wish to record our thanks to the Sabah Forestry Department for having donated trees and given advice on suitable species to plant in our compound," said Taren. - dailyexpress

Thursday, August 1, 2013

InsightSabah : Sun Bear conservation is a community effort

BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te with a Sun Bear cub. - Photo courtesy of BSBCC

Nature and wildlife conservation works are not the sole concern of the government, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and researchers. The whole society has an active role to play too.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) founder and chief executive officer, Wong Siew Te said as both humans and wildlife are part of the ecosystem, there must be willingness on the part of the people to get involved whenever they can to save the threatened species.

Citing the recent 'Big Dreams, Little Bears' event which was held Sandakan on July 20th, Wong said that BSBCC worked with a group of local volunteers to raise RM443,000 - covering almost a quarter of the RM2 million budget for this year to complete a second bear house, create an additional forest enclosure and other work.

“I hope the people of Sandakan will get a sense of ownership of the Centre because it is through their involvement, one way or another, that has helped the facility come this far and which will drive it further," said Wong, adding that habitat loss, poaching for parts used in traditional medicine and the pet trade are among key threats to the Sun Bear population. This has led to a decline by at least 30 per cent of the Sun Bear population in the last three decades.

Once the Centre is opened to the public by early next year, it will become an important eco-tourism attraction that would allow Sandakan to do more to promote conservation.

The Centre, which was set up in 2008 under a partnership between the Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department and NGO Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), is currently home to 28 bears rescued from the wild and from unauthorized homes. It is also the first facility of its kind in the world for Sun Bears.

A boardwalk leading to the viewing platform at the BSBCC in Sandakan. The Centre is scheduled to be open to the public next year. - Photo courtesy of BSBCC

Located next to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the Centre's main objective is to create a rehabilitation, research and education facility to help bears released from captivity to find its way back to the wild. The centre also provides habitat for those that can no loner return to the wild. - Insight Sabah

Some of the 500 students who turned up for the documentary screening on Sun Bears in a happy mood after learning more about the species. - Photo courtesy of BSBCC

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

State Government Allocated RM500,000 to clean up Gaya & Sepanggar

Kota Kinabalu: The State government has allocated about RM500,000 to clean up both Gaya island and Sepanggar island.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Department, Datuk Edward Yong, said this in response to questions posed on steps taken to tackle problems related to rubbish on these two islands.

"The details still need to be discussed, but the cleaning process should be able to start next month."

Edward and his wife were accompanied by Barisan Nasional members from Tanjung Aru branch in their charity visit (Program Projek Mesra) to three islands - Sepanggar, Gaya and Lokurai, here, Monday.

Contributions in the form of food and money were handed over to about 150 villagers.

"I'm not Muslim, but I appreciate and respect other people's celebrations/festivals. This is what Barisan Nasional (BN) is all about and this is what BN represents," he said.

Apart from that, although he admitted difficulty in pinpointing the root of the problem as to where all of the rubbish actually comes from, he emphasised on education/awareness campaigns as well as cooperation with City Hall and villagers.

"Items which can be recycled such as plastic bags and plastic bottles will be collected and sold."

In relation to this, he said two companies have already been given the green light on this matter. - DE

Monday, July 29, 2013

A mangrove forest stays put in KK’s backyard

Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center, KK City's last mangrove frontier
Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center, KK City's last mangrove frontier

A lush mangrove forest  digs in its heels literaly in the backyard of Kota Kinabalu city, thanks to the city folks’ commitment to conservation and the wetland birds that inspired it.

Sheltered well away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the scenic sanctuary is all that remains of Kota Kinabalu’s once extensive mangrove forests that fringed the intertidal mudflats and coastlines of the city.

The Wetland Centre's 1.5 km network of boardwalk gives visitors an up-close experience with the sights and sounds of the mangrove forest.
The Wetland Centre's 1.5 km network of boardwalk gives visitors an up-close experience with the sights and sounds of the mangrove forest. 

A mere ten minutes’ drive from downtown Kota Kinabalu, the reserve offers visitors a window to the mangrove ecosystem, home to a wide variety  of birds, insects and fish species unique to the mangrove habitat.

Formerly known as the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Park, the wetland reserve covers more than 24 hectares (60 acres) of mangrove forest which was gazetted as protected reserve by the state government in  1996.

The Rufous night heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) are common sightings in the mangrove park during early morning.
The Rufous night heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) are common sightings in the mangrove park during early morning. 

Visitors can walk comfortably along the network of boardwalks(1.5km) traversing the mangrove forest while keeping an eye for the brilliant collared-kingfishers, white egrets combing the lagoon for a meal, the eagles and the elusive night heron on the treetops. One can also see the shy iguanas, mud crabs and occasional snakes under the stilt roots of the mangrove trees.

Over the years large tracts of mangrove forests have given way to human habitation. Much of the city of Kota Kinabalu occupies land that was once under mangrove forests.

Mangrove forests resembling the one in the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre are native to the saline coastal areas, particularly in intertidal mudflats and sandbars. The ebb and flow of the tide washes the tidal woodland twice a day and replenishes the mangrove trees with oxygenated salt water and a fresh supply of nutrients.

The unique wetland habitat attracts not just the birds but also human visitors, some from very far away. Among them were Len Matheson from New Zealand who came to catch a glimpse of the birds and wildlife that frequent the reserve.

While there are nine major mangrove species in the reserve, the most commonly found include the Api-Api Putih, Bakau Minyak and Pedada, to name three.  Api-api putih(Avicenna Alba) can be readily recognised by its leaves which appear glossy green on  top and paler on the underside, and distinctive pencil-shaped roots protruding above the ground or water which enable the plant to breathe. Bakau Minyak (Rhizophorbia apiculata) has arching, stilt root system, and spear-shaped fruits, while the Pedada (Sonneratia alba) has typically broad, oval shaped leaves as well as cone-shaped roots that stick out straight out of the water.

The extensive maze of roots provide the ideal shelter from predators for commercially important juvenile marine species including prawns, mangrove jacks, barramundis and mud-crabs.
The extensive maze of roots provide the ideal shelter from predators for commercially important juvenile marine species including prawns, mangrove jacks, barramundis and mud-crabs. 

The mangrove forest dominates the wetland ecosystem owing to its unique ability to withstand the rigors of highly saline and brackish inter-tidal water along estuaries, coastlines including saltwater and freshwater marshes. The trees provide the building blocks of a complex, interwoven food chain by producing large amounts of leaf litter, fruits and other organic materials. They also supply nutrients for animals at the lower end of the food chain such as worms, snails, mussels, oysters and mollusks. In turn, these detritus eaters become a source of protein for larger predators including barramundi, mangrove jacks, herons and mud crabs and, high up on the food chain, other animals, including humans.

Patiently waiting, A Striated Heron(Butorides striata) stalks its prey in the mangrove reserve.
Patiently waiting, A Striated Heron(Butorides striata) stalks its prey in the mangrove reserve. 

"The best time to visit the mangrove forest is  early morning when resident birds and other wildlife in the park go out looking for food," said KKWC Conservation Science Officer Siti Joanni Matlan.

The lush mangroves of the KKWC play an important role in minimising pollution by absorbing nutrients. 

They also  offer protection against storms, including tsunami, as well as common wave actions that cause coastal erosion. Its tangled labyrinth of roots forms an ideal refuge and nursery ground that harbours many species of juvenile ocean fish, including lobsters, crabs and prawns.

High in the mangrove canopy, a cacophony of cicadas make their presence felt, adding to the rich luxuriant splendor of the tropical mangrove forest.

An assembly of mangrove trees securely anchored in their extensive stilt roots
An assembly of mangrove trees securely anchored in their extensive stilt roots

For avid nature lover, Fung Sai Hou, the mangrove park provides a rare attraction in the urban heart of Kota Kinabalu.

"The mangrove center is an idyllic retreat not far from the city center, it’s a great place for bird-watchers and anyone who enjoys connecting with nature," he said. -Insight Sabah

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Korean scientists keen to collaborate with Sabah


A group of scientists from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) paid a courtesy call to Institute for Development Studies, Sabah, (IDS) yesterday.

IDS Executive Director cum CEO Datuk Mohd Hasnol Mohd Ayub met the visitors led by KRIBB president Dr Oh Tae Kwang. Also present was a member of IDS Board of Directors, Datuk Nancy Ho. KRIBB is a Korean government research institute dedicated to biotechnology research.

Their research on biotechnology covers broad areas from basic studies to fundamental understanding of life phenomena. Their research includes new drug discovery, novel biomaterials, integrated biotechnology and bio-information.

In his briefing to IDS, Dr Oh stated that since its existence KRIBB has carried out a number of research and development (R&D) activities and related projects in bio-science and biotecnology. Their R&D was done in joint effort with other research institutes, academic institutions and businesses at home as well as abroad.

Dr Oh expressed his pleasure for being able to extend this collaboration to IDS.

Hasnol welcomed the move by KRIBB. He said both IDS and KRIBB should explore further on detailing out the collaboration to benefit both parties, in particular the governments of Sabah and Korea.

He suggested for KRIBB to look into the possibilities of exploring research in biotechnology, particularly related to the greening of the environment and producing downstream products from Sabah’s abundant natural resources. As a commitmment to the collaboration, KRIBB has extended an invitation to IDS board members to visit their research centre in Dae Jon City, Seoul Korea in September this year.

This is in conjunction with the Bio Korea 2013 International Convention which will be held from September 11 to 13 in Korea.

Source: Borneo Post

Saturday, July 27, 2013

78 litter free premises in KK now


Ararat Sports and Souvenirs Sdn Bhd’s four outlets in the state capital have received the ‘Litter Free Premises’ recognition from City Hall.

The company is also now taking part in City Hall’s campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags in the state capital.

“With Ararat’s participation in City Hall’s campaigns, there are now 78 ‘Litter Free Premises’ in Kota Kinabalu.

“The number of premises which are promoting the ‘No Plastic bag on Saturday, Sunday and Monday’ campaign have now increased to 295 with the inclusion of Ararat’s four outlets,” Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said before presenting Ararat Sports and Souvenirs group operations manager Benny Lim with the ‘Litter Free Premises’ certificate yesterday.

“As I have always stressed, a litter free premises stresses on the concept of no indiscriminate littering, and rubbish must only be disposed in the bins provided. This means that all Ararat Sports staff do not litter indiscriminately and they can also promote the campaign to the public,” he said.

According to Abidin, City Hall’s cleanliness campaign was an ongoing one and efforts were being carried out to expand its other campaigns such as the one against litterbugs.

“I wish to record my gratitude to residents in the state capital for giving City Hall their full cooperation all this while as the responsibility of keeping the state capital clean belongs to all,” he added.

Abidin also took to task owners of buildings, especially old ones at Bandaran Berjaya, Segama Complex and Sinsuran Complex for not maintaining their property.

“I discovered many of the water and sewage pipes in these buildings leaking and in disrepair resulting in the back lanes of shops there becoming very dirty and smelly. The discharge from the damaged pipes not only attracts vermin and pests such as rats and flies but also makes the area unattractive.

“As we are all aware, the tourism industry is one of the state’s main income generators. Therefore shop and building owners must play their part in helping the state government to ensure that tourists continue to visit Sabah,” he stressed.

In view of this, Abidin urged all building owners in the state capital to cooperate with City Hall and make the effort to repair as well as beautify their premises so that the area becomes pleasing to the eye.

He also advised eatery and restaurant owners to abide by the rules and regulations such as not using the walkways behind their shops to prepare food or wash their dishes.

They must also ensure that the grease traps in their premises are properly maintained and that their employees do not throw food wastes into the drains.
“City Hall is constantly monitoring the situation and will not refrain from taking action against anyone found committing an offence,” he warned.

Source: Borneo Post

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cabinet to discuss Kundasang report today – Masidi

The report on the slope stability in Kundasang by the Department of Mineral and Geoscience will be tabled at the state cabinet meeting today, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said.

Masidi stressed that the report was requested by his ministry following a landslide that caused extensive damage to a resort in Kundasang two years ago.

“Just to clarify any confusion on the study/report prepared by the Mineral and Geoscience Department that has been submitted to our ministry and the Local Government and Housing Ministry.

“It was a report requested by my ministry in the aftermath of the collapse of Zen Garden Resort,” Masidi said during the Tourism, Culture and Environment Mnistry’s breaking of fast event at a hotel here on Monday night.

According to Masidi, among the terms of reference of the study was to determine the stability of the soil within and around the various hotels and resorts, many of which were operating without an Occupational Certificate (OC).

The report, Masidi said, was intended to assist resorts and hotels to take mitigating measures to ensure maximum safety in view of the perennial movement of the ground/land within Kundasang/Mount Kinabalu (a natural occurrence).

The implementation of the various recommendations is coordinated by a special task force formed by the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry together with the Local Government and Housing ministry. It is chaired by the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry’s permanent secretary, Masidi said.

“The tabling of the report to the Cabinet on Wednesday is merely to brief the Cabinet on the progress of the task force as well as the report itself. In fact, some hotels and resorts have already taken proactive measures of implementing these recommendations which is a condition for their trading/operating licence renewal by the Ranau District Council,” he added.

Masidi said this when asked to respond to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup’s statement pertaining to the study, which the latter said had been published and forwarded to the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, Ranau District Council and District Office.

Masidi pointed out that there are factors which are beyond human control and we are aware of the fact that Kundasang and the surrounding areas have always experienced landslides, irrespective of whether it is rainy season or not.

“This is a natural occurrence due to the perennial earth movement there. However, this is not the time to blame others or to point fingers. Instead, there is a need to better understand the real situation and get the experts to explain why it is happening,” he said.

During the event, Masidi presented a RM5,000 donation from his ministry to the 120 Pusat Latihan Dalam Komuniti Ranau trainees.

Source: Borneo Post

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Masidi wants trees planted on hillslopes in kundasang

KOTA KINABALU: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun today emphasised the importance of planting trees on hillslopes in an effort to reduce the occurrence of natural disasters especially landslides.

He said this approach should be implemented to create a balance between economic development through agricultural activities and the natural ecosystem in high altitude areas especially in Kundasang which is located at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, which is among the highest mountains in Southeast Asia.

He said the planting of trees in vegetable and fruit farms on the hillslopes could strengthen the soil condition and structure, thus speeding up the process of water absorption and reducing the risk of erosion.

“That is why the planting of trees in hillslope areas in Kundasang is most encouraged,” he told reporters when met at the breaking of the fast with the staff of Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK), here last night.
 In the incident at about 10.45am, strawberry vendor Dohumie Kinte, in her 70′s, was believed to be picking strawberry alone in her farm when the incident struck.

Her body was found at 12.15pm yesterday under the debris of the landslide at her farm.

Masidi said the unexpected incident should give a lesson on the importance of conserving the environment in preventing destruction to property and the loss of life in future.

At the function, the minister gave out DBKK contributions to 10 mosques around the state capital and raya contributions to 20 personnel of DBKK to celebrate the Hari Raya.

Source: Borneo Insider

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

15 times the size of Penang Island That’s how big Sabah’s single largest conservation area is

 KOTA KINABALU: Sabah now has one of the single largest conservation areas in the country. 

It is nearly 15 times the size of Penang Island.

The area of more than 400,000ha encompasses the three crown jewels of Sabah’s environmental conservation efforts – Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon.

Over the past several years, the Sabah Government has been linking tracts of the forests in the three conservation areas by re-classifying those designated for logging and other commercial activities into protected zones.

Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said that the last piece of the puzzle fell into place when the State Assembly passed the amendments to the Forestry Enactment 1984 on Thursday under which 23,135ha of forests were re-classified as protected areas.

“We now have this huge conservation area that is totally protected and cannot be taken away,” he said yesterday.

He said that work was under way to restore the degraded areas of the newly protected areas. 

He said that these were once commercial forest reserves.

Management plans for places like Gunung Rara, Ulu Segama and the Malua Forest Reserve were now being drawn up, Mannan added.

He said that the restoration work involved re-planting native tree species in the affected areas.

The forest link between Danum Valley, Imbak Canyon and Maliau Basin was also crucial as some of these areas were habitats for wildlife such as the orang utan, he added.

He said that portions of the protected areas such the Malua Forest Reserve also served as gene banks for the native plant species.

Source: The Star

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Borneo Elephant Sanctuary to be Opened Soon

 "Injured elephants will be treated at this centre before being released into forests and wildlife reserves. Other wildlife will be accepted and treated at this sanctuary, such as sun bears, proboscis monkeys, orangutan, clouded leopards and banteng." - New Straits Times

An elephant sanctuary, namely Borneo Elephant Sanctuary has been built in Kinabatangan. This project was initiated by the Sabah Wildlife Department and non-governmental organization Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) as part of the Elephant Conservation Action Plan.

The elephant sanctuary is divided into two phases that will see a bigger area turned into a full-fledged sanctuary measuring more than 1,200ha. The first phase of the elephant sanctuary will be opened in September and it is completed with a handling paddock, staff quarters and a store built at a cost of RM1.8 million. The second phase will follow to develop a 25ha plot in the sanctuary with the cost RM5.2 million. The overall cost for the elephant sanctuary will cost up to RM30 million once fully established.

According to BCT conservation and research head, Raymond Alfred said the first phase of the project was financially aided by BCT Japan, Asahiyama Zoo, Saraya, Hunting World, Tokio Marine, NTT Data Kirin, Taiseh and Yusen Logistics. Meanwhile, second phase is aided by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

Borneo Elephant Sanctuary will serve as a centre to rescue and treat injured or displaced elephants, along with conducting awareness programmes and activities. A forested area has also been identified for rehabilitated elephants to be released into. Between 12 and 16 elephants could be catered in the first two phases of the programme said Sabah Wildlife Department director, Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu.

The effort to build a sanctuary for the elephants shows that Sabah state government and NGO are cooperating well to protect the endangered animals. Let us hope more initiatives to protect Sabah's nature and wildlife turn into reality.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cleanliness Essay Competition

Good news to everyone!

There will be an open essay competition with the topic on effective ways to maintain cleanliness. Essay can be written in three languages; English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese with the maximum length of 3000 words. The judging will be based on content (80%) and language structure/style of writing (20%). Cash prizes of RM2,000, RM1,000 and RM500 plus certificates for the first three winners in each category are ready to be grabbed! 

The competition begins from August 1st until 15th. All entries can be submitted to C.K. Chin at 602, Jalan Sang Kancil 1, 88300, Kota Kinabalu. Media practitioners and environmental activists are among the panel of judges. The prizes will be given away on August 30. 

Those who are interested in joining this competition should not  miss the opportunity! This competition will not only creates awareness to the public but indirectly bringing them to contribute along the ideas on ways to curb cleanliness problems.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Change Attitude for Cleaner Beaches - Masidi

  "Some Sabahans are in desperate need of an attitude change when it comes to littering, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun." - Daily Express

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun has urged the society to change their attitudes and start to pay serious attention over the environmental cleanliness.

Complaints on cleanliness along Sabah's shores are nothing new and the City Hall has taken the step to clean the shores on daily basis. However, the effort is not enough to overcome the issue as long as the people have no conciousness towards the cleanliness of ocean and rivers. The situation in Sembulan, for instance is quite worrying and City Hall's is going to redevelop the area with the hope to solve the cleanliness issue there.

It is sad to see that littering problem is still haunting the society eventhough there were so many measures have been taken to educate the people on environmental cleanliness.  We should realize that it is our responsibility to ensure the environment is clean and protected. Doing our part to keep litter to a minimum is easy, but it takes vigilance yet it is never to late for us to make a change for a better environment through our mindset, habit and attitude.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Danes' conservation help lauded

KOTA KINABALU: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun has applauded the continuous collaboration between Yayasan Sabah and Danish-based NEPCon for the management of the Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA) for the next 10 years. 

"Such collaborations between two countries are most welcome, especially between developed countries and developing countries, like Malaysia. 

"It is in the world's interests that we cooperate in preserving rainforests and our natural environment." 

Masidi was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Yayasan Sabah and NEPCon, which is a non-profit organisation in Denmark, on the revision of the MBCA Management Plan 2014 to 2023, here. 

He said NEPCon, on behalf of the Danish government, had undertaken the responsibility of collaborating with the state in the preparation of the management plan 10 years ago. 

"This time, they took their own initiative, in support of Yayasan Sabah, to raise funding to review the MBCA management plan, which expired last year. 

"I encourage more people from Scandinavian countries to collaborate with the government in the environmental fields of strategic projects that not only influence the state, but the global community, too." 

NEPCon was approached for assistance when the MBCA Strategic Management Plan 2003 expired last year. 

The latter then secured funding of about RM1.17 million from Aage V. Jansen Foundation in Denmark for the purpose. 

Masidi also thanked Ikea, a Swedish organisation involved in environmental projects, for being one of Yayasan Sabah's biggest sponsors for its conservation programmes in the MBCA.

The programmes, which include forest restoration and rehabilitation, were initiated through Ikea in 1998.

"Despite having no stores in the state, Ikea has been in the state for the last 10 years through efforts to conserve pristine areas, as well as forest rehabilitation.

"Malaysia, in general, and Sabah, in particular, is appreciative of the crucial contributions that the Scandinavian countries -- Denmark and Sweden -- have given to the state." Bernama

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sabah Strives Balancing Biodiversity Conservation and Protecting People’s Interest

"A practical approach to strike a balance between biodiversity conservation and protecting people’s interest is being worked out under the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park.

State Special Task Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang said traditional fishermen and farmers would not be affected by the marine park that covers some 50 islands in the northern districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas." - The Star

Accusation by the opposition that the government would take the people's lands once the marine park was gazetted has been rebutted by the State Special Task Minister, Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

Teo, who is the Tanjung Kapor assemblyman from Kudat told that Sabah Parks, and research groups are still gathering data and in dialogue with stakeholders and the local communities. The state government is working hard to find a win-win situation to ensure traditional fishermen could continue their livelihood and at the same time be able to protect the eco-system. 

Tun Mustapha Marine Park is a proposed park that comes under Coral Triangle Initiative where it aimed at strict protection for certain areas, tourism, traditional fishing and commercial fishing at the 1.02 million hectare park.

Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) is a multilateral partnership of six countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste that was signed in Manado, Indonesia in 2009. They are committed to cooperate on five goals involving seascapes, ecosystem approach to fisheries management, marine protected areas, adaptation to climate change, and threatened species.

CTI is led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation  and according to Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman, CTI represented the highest diversity of marine life and the total monetary value in terms of fisheries, tourism and related activities may come up to US$2.3 billion yearly. 

In order to sustain the development of marine resources within the CTI, an accredited body to manage and develop marine resources or Global Biodiversity Hub (GBH) has been established in Sabah and would be monitored by a management board from key stakeholder groups.

GBH is a project under Economic Transformation Programme Chapter 10, with the roles  to reach the fishermen community as well as improve the livelihoods of farmers. The hub is  led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the hub is expected to generate a gross national income of RM1.5 billion with 2,900 new jobs created.
There were so much efforts have been done over the years in developing related programmes in Tun Mustapha Marine Park. Even though there were some "hiccups", efforts need to be continued especially in terms of research, governance, enforcement, awareness and capacity building, as well as strengthening private-public partnerships. 

People should not be misled by false accusations as the state government is indeed concerned over the people and the eco-system. A win-win situation was the always the preference from the beginning.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Collaboration on Revising Maliau Basin Conservation Area Management Plan

Pic: Insight Sabah
"Recognizing the uniqueness of the area, in 1981 Yayasan Sabah voluntarily designated Maliau Basin as a Conservation Area, for the purposes of research, education and training, along with Danum Valley Conservation Area further to the east." - Yayasan Sabah

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the “Revision of Maliau Basin Conservation Area Management Plan” was signed between Yayasan Sabah and Nature, Ecology & People Consult (NEPCon) of Denmark, recently.

The MoU aims to examine and update the Maliau Basin Conservation Area Strategic Management Plan for year 2014 - 2023.

The MoU shows the interest and dedication in ensuring the protection and conservation of Sabah’s natural heritage.

NEPCon was one of the consulting firms appointed under the four-year collaborative project (1999-2002) between Yayasan Sabah and DANCED (Danish Cooperation for Environment & Development)/DANIDA (Danish International Development Assistance) to provide technical assistance.

NEPCon is in the effort to promote sustainable forest and nature management and use by working towards to encourage the use of natural resources worldwide in sustainable ways.

Through this joint-project, they have formulated the first Strategic Management Plan for Maliau Basin Conservation Area 2003-2012.

The completion of the Maliau Basin Studies Centre and related infrastructures and facilities is one of the success that has been achieved besides seeing a lot of developments and changes in the Maliau Basin Conservation Area.

NEPCon has also been successful in securing funding from Aage V Foundation, Denmark amounting to EURO294,875 (RM1.2 million)

With the success of the first Strategic Management Plan for Maliau Basin, NEPCon has been invited once again to examine and update the Management Plan for year 2014-2023.

In the signing ceremony, Yayasan Sabah was represented by Datuk Peter Pang En Yin while NEPCon was represented by its director Peter Feilberg, and witnessed by Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun.

Monday, July 8, 2013

State Government Ensures Forest Sustainability

"Sabah will continue to strive to excel in the governance of best practices in forest management and conservation." - New Straits Times

Forest conservation and environmental protection are important. This is to minimize the damaging effects of deforestation activities. Sustainable forest management helps ensure adequate natural forests to maintain the quality and stability of the environment. Thus all forms of forest exploration and development of other infrastructure, both in the ground state, should be fully monitored and controlled in accordance with a predetermined management plan to ensure the sustainability of natural resources while preserving environmental quality and ecological stability. 

The government should prioritize forest conservation because people have the right to enjoy a clean environment besides protecting the habitat of flora and fauna. In this regard, the government should use existing authority to gazette the forest reserve. Through this, forest security and sustainability will be assured. Among the other measures that can help forest conservation is to create a national park, controlling illegal logging, replanting trees in forests that have been logged, and environmental education.

Concern over the matter, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman has led Sabah a step further when it emerged as the first state in Asian region to establish Wildlife Habitat Conservation Bank or known as Malua Biobank. This initiative is to protect the interests of nature in the long run in the Malua Forest Reserve. The state government is confident that efforts to protect forests could be offset by the establishment of the bank with the rapid development in the state.
Apart from that, Sabah has one of the largest conservation areas in the country. This area includes the Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon with an area of ​​more than 400,000 hectares, almost 15 times the size of Penang.

Hopefully, the approach taken to protect forests in Sabah will be effective in ensuring that there is a rainforest in the state to be inherited by future generations. The law needs to be enforced. The private sector and the public should also play a role in alleviating the burden of the government and not expect the government alone to address the environmental issues that arise because it is a responsibility of co.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

MoU on joint turtle conservation signed

The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Trekkers Lodge Sdn Bhd for turtle conservation on Libaran Island.
Both parties are collaborating on establishing a Turtle Conservation Programme on the island which includes, creating awareness programme for the locals and visitors on the conservation value of sea turtles, undertaking research projects to better understand the life cycle of sea turtles of Libaran island area and to create research programmes on the animal for local and international students.

Through the MoU, SWD will offer expertise, advice, training and monitoring assistance at the turtle hatchery and in situ operations to Trekkers Lodge Sdn Bhd in areas related to the collaboration.

The Department will also train Trekkers Lodge staff members Sdn Bhd to become honorary wildlife wardens who can then exercise enforcement with regards to the protection of the species.

The Department and the company were represented by SWD Director, Dr Laurentius Ambu and Trekkers Lodge Sdn Bhd Managing Director, Alexander Yee, at Rumah Terbalik respectively which is also operated by the latter, in Tamparuli recently.

Dr Ambu in his speech commented that there is a dire need to carry out turtle conservation in the state and he welcomed the initiative taken by Yee, describing it as another good example of the state collaborating with dynamic private enterprises and local community to protect the natural resources and environment.

“The department is always ready and supports the efforts of cooperation in managing and carrying out wildlife conservation activities in Sabah. I am confident that this collaboration with a private enterprise and the local community in carrying out conservation works will lead to a success,” added Dr Ambu.

Libaran Island lies at the Northeast coast of Sabah, about 40 minutes boat ride from Sandakan and five minutes away from Selingan Island and one of the main islands of Turtle Islands Park which support about 450 inhabitants whose main livelihood being fishing.

Besides safeguarding the turtles and their eggs, the collaboration will also allow the inhabitants to benefit from the conservation-based activities.

Eleven staff members of the Trekkers Lodge, Libaran Division, who were the inhabitants of the island including Yee and Libaran Village Chief, Sarief Nasidip Uyung, were inducted to be Honorary Wildlife Warden during the MoU signing ceremony, after undergoing a one-week training course in February 2012, conducted by the Sabah Wildlife Department.