Thursday, February 28, 2013

Go for an Environment-friendly Election Campaign

How about if we urge all the political parties and candidates to be kind to the environment for this coming 13th general election campaign? For example, avoid nailing campaign materials to trees. The purpose is to minimize garbage and to inflict as little damage on the environment and trees toward the end of the elections. It is highly encouraged for candidates to practice environment-friendly campaign. It would be great when well-meaning candidates and their supporters be mindful of the environment and use recyclable and biodegradable campaign materials. Among the other environment-friendly campaigning ideas are to prohibit the posting of campaign materials at schools, shrines, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, flyovers, bridges, islands, highways, waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, and electric posts. All this while people are voicing out for a clean electoral process, therefore why don't we change the face of Malaysia politics with clean elections defined not only by an intelligent electorate, but a trash-free one as well?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don’t speculate on pygmy elephants’ deaths – Masidi


KOTA KINABALU: Members of the public have been asked not to jump to conclusion on the cause of death of the 14 pygmy elephants in Lahad Datu.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun told press members after addressing his ministry’s monthly staff gathering yesterday that it was dangerous for them to come up with an assumption at this time unless there was strong evidence to support their argument.

“We cannot assume because the first test conducted failed to show how the elephants had died,” he said.

He added that a lot of people had mentioned the possibility that the elephants were killed by oil palm plantations.

“But the elephants died 42 kilometers from the nearest plantation. That is very far away. So anything could have caused their deaths,” he said.

Masidi also said it was wrong to point fingers at village folk as the culprits.

When asked if it was possible that the elephants could have been poisoned by pesticides gotten from Indonesia,, Masidi replied that if pesticides were used in the killing of the elephants, it would have been apparent in the first test carried out.

“It would have been found in the lab test … if it was pesticide, other animals would have been found dead near the locations too. But there were none. Moreover, half of the elephants from the same herd are still alive. If it is true that they had grazed at the same areas, all of them would have been dead,” he explained.

Masidi added that he did not think the pesticide was dumped into the river because otherwise they would have found dead fishes too.

Meanwhile, the samples from the dead elephants have not been sent to laboratories in Australia and Thailand as the issue is governed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

“We have to wait for their approval before we can send the samples to Australia and to Thailand. CITES is responsible on such issues. Moreover, the pygmy elephants are classified under Class 1 of CITES, so we need their approval before we can ship the samples outside of Sabah. We will be getting the approval to send the samples over to Thailand but the approval to send the samples to Australia is still pending,” he said.

Fortunately, the samples, which were refrigerated, can last for a long time, even years.

He stressed that they were keen on resolving the issue as soon as possible as it has garnered world attention.

Masidi then mentioned that there was still no tip-off from the public despite the RM100,000 reward that was now being offered for the capture and conviction of the perpetrator that had caused the elephants’ death.

“Even the police, who have tried their best, have yet to find any lead on what killed the elephant. It is a mystery, so we need to tackle the issue with caution. We don’t want to accuse people unnecessarily.

“Give them time. We hope there will be concrete evidence on the cause of death. I must caution however than not all scientific knowledge can solve problems.”

Read more: Borneo Post

Volunteering to protect & restore coral reefs

volunteer divers,marine survey,diving volunteers,volunteer,scuba,coral planting,diving,sipadan,sabah,malaysia,sharks,turtles,turtle conservation
Bleached coral an indicator of global warming.

Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) needs you to help on our Conservation expeditions on two beautiful Malaysian Islands to protect sharks and turtles while replanting corals on a damaged coral reef.

Volunteer with TRACC to help protect the Ocean: turtle conservation, coral planting & reef restoration on Pom Pom Island, Sabah Malaysia or Lang Tengah Island, Terengannau. Choose how you can help from our  project summary 2013 for volunteers.

Download volunteer brochure (PDF takes several minutes). Volunteer information (Printer friendly PDF)

Expedition options – Our short term programme is for those with little time (3 ,5 or 8 days)  otherwise our conservation volunteers stay with the expedition for  2 – 12 weeks.  Turtle Project (snorkellers only) is for people willing to sacrifice sleep for turtles.

volunteer divers,marine survey,diving volunteers,volunteer,scuba,coral planting,diving,sipadan,sabah,malaysia,sharks,turtles,turtle conservation
Green Turtles are common on Pom Pom

Download brochure (PDF takes several minutes)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Malaysia's First "Green" Taxi Stand in Kota Kinabalu!

An artist's impression of the green taxi stand at Kg. Air. Photo: Daily Express

The first "green" taxi stand in Malaysia would be built in Kota Kinabalu soon. The proposal to upgrade and renovate the existing taxi stand at Jalan Pantai in Kampung Air was disclosed to Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir by Kota Kinabalu Teo Chew Association (KKTCA) President, Sr. Chua Soon Ping. The project is the brainchild of a local architect, Ar. Sim Sie Hong of Innotech Design Architects Sdn Bhd, who proposed to rebuild the existing taxi stand using "renewable and green" building materials. Chua said the project is initiated and partly sponsored by the KKTCA together with several other companies as part of their corporate social responsibility for the city. The project is expected to be completed in three months' time, probably in June 2013.

The first ever "green" taxi stand in Malaysia will feature among others:-

   a. use of green building materials,
   b. powered 100% by solar,
   c. energy saving LED lightings,
   d. energy saving ceiling fans,
   e. free power socket for phone charging

Hopefully there will be more "green" taxi and bus stands to be built in the city centre whilst more corporations and private firms will come forward  and contribute to life-enhancing ideas such as this one.

Tips for a Greener Planet


Composting pail
Replace synthetic fertilizer with compose fertilizer. Compose fertilizer is an organic fertilizer which can be simply produced by outing all food scraps such as banana peels and eggshells into a perforated metal composting pail.

Energy star rated electrical appliances
Energy star qualified appliances uses 10 to 50% less energy. Refrigerator for instance consume a lot of energy. Get rid old electrical appliances to avoid energy hogs.

Fit aerators and taps 
Aerator introduces air into the water stream to maintain pressure. By attaching an aerator to existing modern taps, it gives you a fuller flow of less water.

Go for bamboo floors
Bamboo is more sustainable floor material when compared with hardwoods. Bamboo takes only afew years to mature whilst hardwood  takes 50 to 100 years to grow.

Roof insulation
Insulation is not only limited to cold weather countries. Studies have shown that insulation can reduce 3 to 5 degree Celsius. The rate of heat transfer can be minimized through the insulation materials itself such as fiberglass, rocks and mineral woods.

Avoid paints with high level of VOCs (volatile organic compound)
Avoid using paints that content VOCs because the paint will emit low level of toxic emissions into the air for years of applications.

Plan to train tropical rainforest expertise

Imbak Canyon is home to more than 317 species of plants, out of which 32 species are found only in Borneo, and six species only present in Sabah.

WORLD-CLASS FACILITY: Imbak Canyon in Sabah to be strategic research centre

PLANS are afoot to make the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA) in Sabah a strategic research centre for biodiversity to empower Malaysian researchers of tropical rainforest ecosystems.  
The 17,000ha of unspoilt rainforest in the heart of Sabah will also become a showcase for the local community's participation in the preservation of traditional knowledge on medicinal plants abundant in the area.

These were among the key issues being discussed during a brainstorming meeting on research programme strategy for ICCA, here, attended by senior lecturers of various departments from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Yayasan Sabah and the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM).

Present were Yayasan Sabah Conservation and Environmental Division group manager Dr Waidi Sinun and Professor Mohamad Abdul Majid from the University of Brunei Darussalam.

ASM fellow Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Mohamad, who chaired the meeting, said it was high time to build up and empower Malaysians researchers on tropical rainforest ecosystems.

"We need to build up the number of our local researchers and scientists on tropical rainforests. Right now, we (Malaysia) are not in a position to compete in the global market as far as tropical rainforest expertise is concerned.

"Once our local scientists and researchers have the capacity to understand our rainforests, they could perhaps go elsewhere and become consultants."

Participants of the one-day meeting also concurred that the development of ICCA as a full-fledged research facility for diversity studies should come with "national pride".

For the same reason, the funding for the ICCA research facilities and programmes should come from local sponsors because allowing foreign donors would mean the country would lose out in terms of producing home-bred researchers and scientists on tropical rainforests.

ASM has agreed to be appointed secretariat for the operational centre of a working committee. Memberships will be done by ASM.
Recognised as a genetic seed bank, Imbak Canyon is home to more than 317 species of plants, out of which 32 species are found only in Borneo, and six species only present in Sabah.

Efforts to develop the ICCA into a world-class education centre were intensified after the launch of the Yayasan Sabah-Petronas Imbak Canyon Partnership in 2011.

Petronas contributed RM6 million to create a master plan for Imbak Canyon, a priceless heritage site surrounded by sandstone cliffs more than 1,127 metres tall.

Facilities for the proposed Imbak Canyon master plan include a laboratory, research centre and staff quarters, an observation tower, conference room, galleries and a nursery.

Currently, the Tampoi Base Camp in Imbak Canyon has a hostel-type accommodation with washrooms, a camping site and a dining area.

"Although we want to develop Imbak Canyon into a world-class research centre, we will ensure that this area is environmentally friendly so that animals and trees are protected.

"We also want to preserve the traditional knowledge on medicinal plants of the Dusun Sungai and Murut living near the ICCA, for future generations," Waidi said. Bernama

Friday, February 22, 2013

Calculate your carbon footprint!


Did you know that we could affect our environment in many ways? For example when we are driving, flying, heating our homes, even the type of food we eat makes a difference. However, the overall impact of our actions can be measured by carbon footprint. Carbon footprint is single figure that gives us a quick idea of our impact on carbon change. It is important for us learn how to calculate, compare and understand our carbon footprints.

First of all, what does carbon means to us? Most of us will think about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which released when we burn carbon-based fuels such as petrol and diesel in our cars. Too much CO2 will cause air pollution hence leads to climate change that we called as global warming. It is because CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps the sun's heat and keeps the earth warm.

Back with the carbon footprint, it is the amount of CO2 that enters the atmosphere because of the electricity and fuel we use which measured in tonnes. Usually, carbon footprint depends on how much energy we use on the electronics and appliances, what kind of transport we use day-to-day and how often we fly. We use carbon footprints to help us understand our activities impact on the environment thus we would be able to find easy ways to lessen down the impact.

How can carbon footprint be measured? Easy. Just use the carbon footprint calculator to estimate our carbon footprint. Enter details about our home, our travel and our appliances. The calculator will estimate how many tonnes of carbon dioxide we produce each year.

We could reduce our carbon footprint by buying energy-efficient appliances, switching off electronics at the wall, walking, cycling or using public transport and holidaying closer to home. Calculate your carbon footprint now and together we save our environment!

The Environmental Impacts of Cellphones

More cell phone info

With nearly everyone having a cell phone these days, we thought it a good idea to educate people on the true environmental impact that the world's growing addiction to mobile phones is creating. 


Marine size area is important: Marine Biologists

Asia's Coral Triangle is a triangular area stretching across the Philippines, eastern Sabah, eastern Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It is often referred to as the "Amazon of the seas" because it contains nearly 30 per cent of the world's reefs and more than 3,000 species of fish. This made it a treasure trove of marine life. A new study has been carried out on Asia's Coral Triangle, which contains nearly 30 per cent of the world's reefs. Based on the its results, it shows that marine size area is important to ensure a rich and diverse range of species.

Peter Etnoyer, a marine biologist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the study suggests that marine protected areas should be as large and diverse as possible. Through this, it could be possible to "include more species, more habitats, and more genetic diversity to offer species the best chance of adapting to sea temperature and other environmental changes." Previous reports have shown that more than 85 per cent of the reefs there are considered to be threatened by human activities like coastal development, pollution and overfishing. Therefore, the larger marine protected areas the better because this will help it adapt to change. Besides that, the study also found that sea surface temperature plays an important role in the proliferation of marine life.

Read more on: 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Remember to recycle, reuse and reduce


I COME from a family that recycle, reuse and reduce. We don’t use any cool bags to show that we don’t use plastic bag. We reuse the plastic bags by giving them to hawkers or we just recycle them. There are a few simple ways to recycle.

Whenever I go out, if I see aluminium cans, I’ll just pick them up and take them home. The aluminium cans can be sold. So, it is helping to save Mother Earth and at the same time make a profit. A win-win situation indeed.

When I am at school, teachers always give us paper and ask us to cut and paste. All the unused paper usually go into the rubbish bin. It is a waste as the leftover paper can be recycled.

Therefore, whenever the teachers give us paper, all my friends will give me the leftovers so that I can take them back home.

Actually, I had asked my friends for the paper. At first it felt awkward, but not long after that, I earned the nickname ‘Miss Recycle’. And the best part is I managed to ‘convert’ my friends to recycle paper, too.

Anything that can be recycled like papers, plastics, aluminium, etc, should be recycled. Just separate them accordingly. When you have sufficient, send them to the recycle centre.

Schools and offices produce the most ‘rubbish’, mostly paper and plastic. It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher, student, boss, employee, etc, whenever you see anything that can be recycled, please do recycle.

At first it might be hard, but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect (and easy), so, practise the 3Rs now.

The Government should take steps to make sure that the rakyat recycle and not litter. Fine the litterbugs.

Alor Star.

Source: The Star

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pilot project to secure Sabah Mega Biodiversity

Sabah Mega Biodiversity to be Secured

KOTA KINABALU: The Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) with the support from relevant government department (i.e. Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD)) are in the midst of preparing a five to 10 years programme as a pilot project to manage multiple-use forest landscape and secure the Sabah Mega Biodiversity in Gunung Rara and Kalabakan.

Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) conservation and research head, Raymond Alfred said in a statement that under the programme, each plantation would be needed to establish their own wildlife conservation unit.

Among others, the programme aims to initiative a monitoring programme to assess the status of elephants population. It also hopes to start the honorary wildlife warden programme as well as manage and restore degraded forests corridor, particularly those within the DaMaI (Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon) corridor.

Additionally through the programme, they also hoped to initiative enforcement using MIST and provide mitigation training and management measures to reduce human – elephant conflicts, he said.

Aside from that, the sustainable practice in multiple use forest management landscape would also be initiated. The programme shall also provide support to the “Kejora” cost of living and medical requirements in Lok Kawi zoo.

“BCT is now in discussion with our relevant key partners to materialize the 10 years programme. We hope to get the support from the State Government and relevant departments in charge of Tourism and Plantations,” he said.

Source: Borneo Post

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MoU to expand Wildlife Corridor in Lower Kinabatangan

MoU signing ceremony - (From left to right) Administration and Finance Manager Josephine Maluda, Head of Conservation and Research, Borneo Conservation Trust Raymond Alfred, Director of Sabah Wildlife Department Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun, Managing Director of Myne Resort, Ouh Mee Lan, Director of Myne Resort, Tan Kum Peng and Senior Manager of Myne Resort Rosemawaty Adil Embun
MoU signing ceremony - (From left to right) Administration and Finance Manager Josephine Maluda, Head of Conservation and Research, Borneo Conservation Trust Raymond Alfred, Director of Sabah Wildlife Department Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun, Managing Director of Myne Resort, Ouh Mee Lan, Director of Myne Resort, Tan Kum Peng and Senior Manager of Myne Resort Rosemawaty Adil Embun

“It makes sense to conserve. Nature is Sabah’s biggest asset. We are very lucky. Show the future generations that we are looking after it,” said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun who witnessed the MoU Signing Ceremony on Creation and Management of Orangutan and Borneon Elephant Conservation Corridor in Kinabatangan Mega Biodiversity Corridor. The MoU was signed between Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) and Myne Resort at the Palace Hotel recently.

Speaking at the ceremony, BCT Honorary Secretary and Director of Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said, “Looking into Lower Kinabatangan Sanctuary, the biggest problem that we face is fragmentation of the area. We worked with WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) to come up with a master plan to deal with this problem. One of the recommendations at that time was to work with the land owners, NGOs, resorts and oil planters.”

“That vision is being realized through this MoU today. We are embarking on the first model with this partnership whereby 100 acres of Myne Resort land will be managed together with BCT and Sabah Wildlife Department. Instead of developing it for agriculture, the land will be used for tourism purposes.”

200 acres of Myne Resort’s forest land is located along the fringes of Kinabatangan River in Kampung Bilit. 100 acres have been utilized to build the resort. The 100 acres of forest land is an important component that reconnects isolated forest habitats with the larger forest landscape by re-establishing the biodiversity corridor between Lot 4 and Lot 5 of Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

"This will be a big highway for the elephants to move from the northern to the southern part of Sabah,” said Ambu. Besides linking key habitats for the elephants, the habitats for orangutans and rhinoceros will also be re-established in Lower Kinabatangan. This will decrease isolation of animal population that will expose species to genetic drift and inbreeding. Habitat fragmentation will also increase the incidence of human-wildlife conflict.

“The biggest challenge in forest conservation is to convince landowners to defer their profit,” said Masidi. “I think Myne Resort has conservation at heart,  and it makes economic sense.”

Masidi also said that the partnership established will draw in more tourists to Sabah. “We can only find the orangutan in Sumatra and Borneo. You might find them in other places but that is not their natural habitat,” added the Minister. “Even the Proboscis monkey is endemic to Borneo.”

“Birds are now more valuable alive than dead,” said Masidi. “This is because interest in bird watching is increasing. Sabah has about 500 local bird varieties. In fact, the whole of Borneo has about 624 bird varieties and 14 are endemic to Kinabalu. Besides that 998 varieties of wild orchids have been identified in Sabah.”

The Minister added that Sabah is known not for skyscrapers. Tourists seek a unique experience and what they find in Sabah will set Sabah apart from other places in the world.

Myne Managing Director, Ouh Mee Lan, said, “Honestly speaking, thinking of the long term, the conservation of forest is for my grandchildren. It is done for our future generation."

There are 16 chalets and a longhouse in Myne Resort. The resort also plans on building 40 solar powered chalets in 2013. It also intends to plant trees and clean up the rivers in collaboration with BCT and SWD. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pesticide poisoning killed elephants

Pesticide poisoning likely killed 14 elephants in Sabah last month.

THE 14 pygmy elephants which died mysteriously at the Gunung Rara reserves last month are likely to have died from pesticide poisoning, according to research carried out by the Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT).

BCT found chemicals such as cyanide and sulphur at the site where the elephants were found, but is unsure whether the poisoning was deliberate.

BCT conservation and research head Raymond Alfred said traces of both chemicals could have contaminated the animals' food sources near the area.

"Cyanide could be traced to certain pesticides that are used to increase the growth of young oil palm trees, while sulphur is normally used by local hunters or Indonesian workers hunting wild boars at the edge of plantations adjacent to the forest," he said.

"However, no concrete evidence has been gathered to show that the elephants were poisoned by the plantation during their encroachment or presence along the Ulu Sungai Napagon and Imbok River at the area where the elephants were discovered," he said.

"And there is also no concrete evidence showing that the logging contractors were using high amount of pesticides to kill the elephants at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, although white substances were found within the vicinity where the elephant corpses were found," he stressed.

Alfred added that elephants were very alert creatures and could smell poison.

He explained that elephants entered the plantations within the Gunung Rara and Kalabakan reserves to gain access to water and a saltlick.

Non-functioning electrical fences set up by the plantations involved have also allowed the elephants easy access into the plantations, he pointed out.

Alfred suggested several possible solutions to address the issue, including restoring and expanding the riverine forest, as well as preserving as many virgin and lowland secondary forests as possible.

He said the major threats Bornean elephants face are the degradation and fragmentation of their habitat.

This raises the risk of genetic isolation from other elephants, particularly when traditional seasonal migratory routes are blocked.

The fragmentation of elephant habitat has also led to the increasing number of human-elephant conflicts at Lower Kinabatangan, Alfred said.

To counter the issues faced by the elephants, Raymond stressed the need to establish forest corridors and strengthen existing ones.

"The corridors don't necessarily have to be established at prime elephant habitats. It could be established at degraded forest areas to facilitate elephant movement and to provide the elephants with some cover," he said.

"In forest reserves, priority is given to the elephants' requirements, but compatible human activities, such as sustained-yield forestry and slow rotation of timber harvesting programme, can also contribute to creating a good habitat for elephants as re-growth and secondary vegetation often provide excellent food resources and are capable of maintaining higher elephant densities than primary forests."

Alfred said that BCT and the Sabah Wildlife Department are currently preparing a programme where every plantation had to to establish a wildlife conservation unit.

It will run five to 10 years will help manage multiple-use forest landscapes and monitor the elephant population.The Star/ANN

Source: Brunei Times

Energy efficient lighting for SK Randagong

Managing Director of SESB Ir. Abdul Razak Sallim explaining the benefits of the LED lights to Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun during the unveiling of the energy efficient lighting system.
Managing Director of SESB Ir. Abdul Razak Sallim explaining the benefits of the LED lights to Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun during the unveiling of the energy efficient lighting system.

In line with the government's plan to stop the use  of inefficient filamen bulbs in the country by 2014, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) has taken the initiative to replace the filamen lamps at SK Randagong, Ranau, a school that SESB has adopted since 2009 as part of its corporate social responsibility.

Speaking at the ceremony to unveil the new lighting system, Managing Director of SESB Ir. Abdul Razak Sallim said, "The use of compact fluorescent lamp can save up to 80% of electricity compared to the filamen lamp."
He added that using  electricity in an efficient way will help to reduce electricity consumption and also reduce the release of green house gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), that have an adverse effect on health and the environment.
He said besides saving electricity, LED lights , are brighter and release minimal heat, thus making the atmosphere more comfortable.
The total cost of changing all 35 lights at the school is RM5,350.
Abdul Razak also advised the students, parents and teachers to be energy efficient  at home. He said if all consumers  are committed to save power we may be able to make a difference in combating global warming.
He disclosed that  during the 2009 Earth Hour, SESB recorded a reduction in load demand by up to 50 MW as many people made an effort to participate and switched off their lights for one hour.
Speaking at the same function Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said what is of equal importance is the awareness gained from SESB's new lighting installation, that there is a way to save power that is good for the family budget and good for the environment.
Masidi also announced that he will allocate RM50,000 to SK Randagong for the purpose of building a school hall to enable the 100 students of the school to have a bigger and more comfortable hall in which to assemble and conduct other school activities.
During the same function SESB also handed RM1,000 contribution to the school.
Source: Insight Sabah

Friday, February 15, 2013

WWF: Long-Term Solutions Needed for Conservation of Borneo Pygmy Elephants

Pygmy elephants

WWF-Malaysia is concerned about the recent pygmy elephant deaths in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve.
“WWF-Malaysia is providing support to the Sabah Wildlife Department and is part of the special taskforce that has been set up by the Department to further investigate the matter. Our patrolling teams worked closely with the Department in unearthing the incident,” said WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius S K Sharma.

According to reports, all the deaths have happened in areas where forests are being converted for plantations within the permanent forest reserves.

“The central forest landscape in Sabah needs to be protected totally from conversions. All conversion approvals need to be reviewed by the Sabah Forestry Department and assessed not purely from commercial but the endangered species and landscape ecology perspectives”, Dr Dionysius said.

“Conversions result in fragmentation of the forests, which in turn results in loss of natural habitat for elephant herds, thus forcing them to find alternative food and space, putting humans and wildlife in direct conflict”, he added.

Holistic long-term solutions need to be put in place to address and mitigate the problem, Dr Dionysius said.

He said that elephants need to be elevated to a ‘totally protected’ status under Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment of Sabah, which has been recommended in the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Elephant Action Plan 2012-2016, but yet to be implemented.

“Frequent and large scale patrolling is critical to avoid such conflict from happening again. However, given the vast area that requires patrolling, it is a massive task for the Sabah Wildlife Department. More resources, including manpower, hardware and finances, should be allocated for the Department. The existing honorary wildlife warden programme of the Department is doing well and should be expanded,” Dr Dionysius said.

The Borneo pygmy elephants are an endangered species. There are approximately 1,200 of these evolutionarily unique elephants in Sabah and all of Borneo. Ten carcasses of the endangered elephants were found dead within the central forests of Sabah which is also a part of the Heart of Borneo.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sabah school to be electricity generated by solar power

BRIGHT: St Michael secondary school students admiring the newly installed solar panels

St. Michael secondary school here in Penampang is the first school in East Malaysia to be fitted with a PV system.

The installation of a 5.4kWh rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system at the school was completed by German renewable energy systems firm Solarsysteme Sachsen GmbH.  Approximately 6,800 kWh of solar energy will be generated per year and helps to reduce the school’s utility costs. The system includes a back-up system: the energy stored in the battery can be used during a power blackout. 

The purpose of implementing this project is to further educate the students on PV’s important role in improving living conditions around the world, as well as displacing the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

The project was initiated in October last year is locally known as the “Solar Roofs Project Malaysia”. St. Michael Secondary School  was not only chosen based on its numerous involvement in environmental projects throughout the years,  but the school’s positive spirit and enthusiasm in promoting renewable energy too have been taken into consideration. According to the board of governors chairman Donald Malingan, environmental education in the school helps to create and increase the environment awareness of preserving Mother Nature amongst its students, teachers, parents and the community. From his observation,  Malingan noted that the students have made it a habit to recycle, to turn off the nonessential lights and fans and reduce the water consumption.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More comprehensive tests and analyses to be carried out over elephants death

Death of 14 Pygmy elephants is still under investigation

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said his ministry will be seeking a second opinion from two internationally accredited forensic testing facilities – the Ramathibodi Poison Centre at Mahidol University of Thailand and to the Chemistry Lab of the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia for comprehensive tests and analyses over the elephants death.

Sabah Forestry Director Datuk Sam Manan said apparently Yayasan Sabah has been blamed for the deaths of 14 pygmy elephants in Gunong Rara Forest Reserve because their oil palm plantations were being destroyed and being nearest to the scene even though the investigation has not been concluded. Chemistry and Forensics Departments have not yet yield any conclusive evidence for analysis on the samples taken from the elephant carcasses. Therefore, Masidi has instructed that the scope of tests be widened to more possible contaminants. Analysis results from the two internationally accredited forensic testing facilities hopefully will ensure greater transparency over this investigation.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

RE Project Competition: ASEAN Energy Awards 2013

Solar-Diesel generator hybrid power in Kinabatangan, Sabah Malaysia. This system was installed and commissioned in Sept 2012 by Optimal Power under KPLW project.

For those who managed to get the quota for renewable energy projects under SEDA's FiT, and those who have been in the RE business for sometime now, this is the time to showcase your works.

At the same time, get some reward, if yours is/are the ones that are better managed.


Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA Malaysia) as the coordinator for ASEAN Renewable Energy Sub-Sector Network (RE-SSN) is inviting owners/managers with renewable energy projects in Malaysia to participate in the ASEAN RE Project Competition 2013 organised by ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE).

This includes biomass, biogas, solar, mini hydro projects, and there will be 3 categories namely:


Interested Project Owners or Managers can submit the report by 29th March 2013 (Friday) to:

The AEA 2013 - RE Project Competition Secretariat
SEDA Malaysia
Galeria PjH, Aras 9, Jalan P4W,
Persiaran Perdana, Presint 4,
62100 Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Phone : +603-8870 5800 Fax : +603-8870 5900
Contact Person:
Mr Mohd Idham (, or
Mr Haniff Ngadi (

More details can be obtained from SEDA Malaysia website.

Previous winners

Meanwhile, 2012 ASEAN RE Awards Malaysian winners are as follows:

A. Off grid

2nd Runner-up: 

In the State of Johor, Malaysia.
(There was no winner for the Off-grid category last year)

B. On grid


At Sungai Perting, Bentong, Pahang Malaysia.

2nd Runner-up:

At Bukit Tagar Sanitary Landfill, Malaysia 

Seminar on Lightning and Surge Protection for Solar PV Installations

This is good for people who are currently involved in solar PV or those who simply want to enhance their knowledge in Lightning Protection Design and Surge Protection Design requirements for solar PV installations including large PV farms and small residential systems in Malaysia.

This is SEDA Malaysia's commitment to ensure that qualified persons receives updated information on solar PV including design, operation and maintenance, and the safety aspects.

The one day workshop titled   “Introduction of Lightning and Surge Protection Guideline for Solar PV Installations” covers among others, the conditions and protection requirements for lightning and surge protection designs in Malaysia. It is important to ensure that all solar PV installations in Malaysia comply and adhere to the safety requirements with regards to lightning protection.

Limited to 100 participants only:

Date        : 14th March 2013 (Thursday)
Time       : 8.30 am – 5.00 p.m
Venue     : Marriott Hotel, Putrajaya
Fee          : RM 500 / Person

Topics that will be covered in this workshop/seminar:

1) Introduction To Malaysian Lightning Condition and Required Protection

2) Lightning Protection Design Requirement for:
a) PV Farms
b) PV on Commercial Rooftops
c) PV on Residential Rooftops
3) Surge Protection Design Requirement for
a) PV Farms
b) PV on Commercial Rooftops
c) PV on Residential Rooftops

More information can be obtained from SEDA official website.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

UMS hopes to be the first “Eco Campus”

Universiti Malaysia Sabah
KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) aims to be the first eco-friendly university in the country.

It has set 2017 to be a fully “Eco Campus” after launching its EcoCampus blueprint yesterday.

“It will be the first university in Malaysia to endeavour in the project based on three basic principles of innovation, relevant and sustainability in line with the global shout ‘The Future We Want’ at the recent Rio+20 global conference,” its vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah said yesterday.

He said UMS is committed to implement the elements contained in the Ecocampus blueprint to achieve the target to become a leading higher learning institution (IPT) model in preserving the environment.

Blessed with abundant of flora and fauna, UMS is currently in the phase of being a reference center that acts as the guardian of the environment as well as to contribute to global efforts towards environmental excellence, research, management and operations in the future, he said in his speech at the launching of the blueprint at UMS ODEC beach, yesterday.

He said the programme would increase the awareness amongst the global community towards sustainable development.

With more than 17,000 students and 2,000 staff, he believed that this action would give a great positive impact towards the environment, economy and social in the region.

He added that EcoCampus enables universities to systematically identify, evaluate, manage and improve their environmental performance and practices.

Moreover, the programme would also benchmark environmental improvement by external audit whether an institution has attained a certain level of environmental performance.

Prof Harun also pointed out five elements in the Ecocampus blueprint consists of sustainable development, ecology protection, environmental compatibility, resource conservation and environmental monitoring.

“This programme is not just about promoting awareness to preserve our nature or encourage cleanliness, but it is about how we minimise the pollution and promote our nature tourism.

“We want to capitalise these assets that we have around us, all the land, trees, sea and river,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director General of Higher Education Ministry, Professor Datuk Dr Rujhan Mustafa praised UMS for their effort in improving their environmental performance through the blueprint.

Apart from supporting the ecocampus programme, he also urged UMS and other IPTs to practice other concept of sustainability such as energy conservation (eco-energy), eco-space, eco-building and reduce the usage of plastic bag.

He also touched on the importance of auditing in order to promote commitment to continual improvement in environmental performance.

On the other hand, Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that the increased population from 3 billion in 1950s to 7 billion in 2013 shows s that the world is increasingly dense and the activities also become more complex. The speech was read by Dr Rujhan.

He said, the world is facing very serious issues such as species’ extinction, land degradation, pollutions and most of the events are caused by humans.

He also added that the higher learning institutions are not only acts as a knowledge centre for the society but also as a medium to promote environmental awareness and address the solutions for these problems.

Also present were DBKK Director General Joannes Solidau, UMS Chairman of Board of Directors Tan Sri Datuk Abdul Hamid Egoh, Assistant Minister of Resource Development and Information Technology Datuk Hajah Jainab Ahmad Ayid and UMS Registrar Datuk Abdullah Hj Mohd Said.

Sabah police identify logging companies at site of pygmy elephants' death

Pygmy elephant
KOTA KINABALU, Feb 6 (Bernama) -- Sabah police have identified the logging companies carrying out works at the site where 14 Borneo Pygmy elephants died mysteriously at the Rara Forest Reserve, about 139km from Tawau, recently. 

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said, investigations have revealed that there were logging companies with 300 workers present at the said location. 

"The Criminal Investigation Department is in the process of completing the investigation. We know that the place is remote but we also know which companies are working there," he said during a press conference at the Sabah headquarters, here today. 

On Feb 1, police started investigating the case under Section 429 of the Penal Code for mischief towards animals, which is punishable by up to five years in jail. 

He added that they did not discount the possibility that the elephants were poisoned as the dead animals were found with their stomachs ruptured. 

"We have to wait for the chemist report to establish if it was poisoning and only then continue our investigation," he said. 

He believed that the case would be solved after the chemist report and the RM50,000 reward for information leading to its resolution. 

Yesterday, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said an additional RM40,000 would be offered for information leading up to the arrest of the parties responsible for the endangered species death. 

Earlier, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) had put up a RM10,000 reward for the same purpose.