Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Maximus: No private land will be used for Sabah marine park

KOTA KINABALU: Privately-owned land will not be acquired in the creation of a marine park in northern Sabah, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The Kota Marudu MP said claims the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park would involve the acquisition of some six kilometres of land was a lie.

"If this was true, we would join the people in protesting against such a move," he said. adding that the claims were made by the opposition during the recent general election.

"All this goes to show that the opposition will do anything including hoodwinking the people just to get their vote," he said when launching the Marudu Bay carnival in the northern Kota Marudu town on Sunday.

He said the marine park was part of international and state efforts to conserve and develop resources in an area rich in biodiversity for the wellbeing of the people living there.

These involve protection of the fisheries and banning of destructive fishing methods that would cause depletion of the marine resources.

Ongkili said the conservation and development efforts for the proposed park would instead involve consultation with the people living in the area. 

Source: The Star

Monday, May 27, 2013

4-wheel drives expedition creates environmental awareness

WRS Four-Wheel Drive has organised a three-day expedition to the Imbak Canyon and Maliau Basin.

More than 60 four-wheel drive vehicles were participating the event and took off on last Friday.

Drivers were flagged off from the compounds of the Menara Tun Mustapha by the Director of Yayasan Sabah, Tan Sri Datu Khalil Datu Jamalul.

Imbak Canyon Conservation Area is located almost right in the heart of Sabah with a total area of about 30,000 hectares and just north of the famous Maliau Basin.

It encompasses two ridge-top Virgin Jungle Reserves plus the Canyon itself and makes a significant contribution to the coverage of protected areas in the centre of Sabah.

Meanwhile, Maliau Basin which is famously known as “the lost world” is the greatest treasure in the southern central part of Sabah, one of the few remaining relatively untouched wilderness area on this Earth and site of the 7-tiered Maliau Falls.

The Maliau Basin Conservation Area encompasses the whole of Maliau Basin itself (390 sq km), plus an additional 198.4 sq km of forested land to the east and north of the rim, including the fabled Lake Linumunsut, formed by a landslide blocking a small tributary of the Pinangah River.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

'Pen Android' to aid physics students

A teacher of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tandek in Kota Marudu has invented a pen that can help students of Physics to find the direction of the magnetic field without having to use their fingers under the traditional method.

The traditional method is usually known as the right-hand rule where one has to point the thumb in the direction of the current and the fingers would curl in the direction of the magnetic field.

The teacher, Androd Sadian has named the instrument “Pen Android” (Android Pen) or Pen A.

Androd said the pen had received the approval of the Education Ministry and was expected to be marketed next month at RM7.50 per unit.

The pen was launched during the state-level Teachers Day appreciation dinner by Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, who is also the state executive councillor for education.

Masidi also praised the creativity and innovation of the Sabahan teachers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Habitat loss and poaching threatens survival of Sun Bears

SANDAKAN: Habitat loss and poaching have led to a decline of up to 30 per cent of the Malayan sun bear population in the last three decades, according to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

In Borneo, this smallest of the world’s eight bear species is also seeing a drop in numbers following their illegal capture for the pet trade and when they are wrongly perceived as pests and gunned down, said BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te.    

The Polar Bear, Brown Bear, American Black Bear, Spectacled Bear, Sloth Bear, Giant Panda and Asiatic Black Bear are other better known bear species.     

Found throughout mainland Asia, Sumatra in Indonesia and Borneo, the exact number of sun bears in the wild is unknown, making it even more pressing toreduce pressure on a species that is classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, and at risk of becoming endangered unless circumstances threatening their survival improve.     

Sun bears are also classified as a totally protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, providing it the same status as the Orang Utan and the Sumatran Rhinoceros.

Wong said the sun bear was divided into two sub-species – the Helarctosmalayanus malayanus and the Helarctos malayanus euryspilus, with the latter, smaller bear found only in Borneo.  

“In other words, sun bears in Borneo are even smaller than the sun bears found in other parts of Malaysia and the region.

We hope to share with more locals how fortunate we are that such a unique bear is found here in Borneo, and right here in Sabah," he said in a statement.     

He said the shrinking forest cover made poaching and capturing of wild bear seasier due to increased contact with human settlements.      

“Our centre is now holding 28 rescued bears. Some were illegally kept as pets and others were trapped in the forest, and sent here.

“Bears here are trained to adapt to the forest within an enclosed area as some have never been in the wild, having been kept as pets from a young age. They are then evaluated to see if they can be released into the wild,” he said.  

The centre is located adjacent to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, here.     

"In Borneo, sun bears continue to face threat from habitat destruction and poaching. We need to protect the remaining forest cover if we are to secure the future of the sun bears and, at the same time, eliminate any poaching of these bears in the wild," Wong said.      

He said awareness activities would be stepped up once the centre was officially opened to the public, tentatively by early next year.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

'Green Practice' Way For Better Future Life

By Rohana Mustaffa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 (Bernama) -- For many, the arrival of the new year means making new resolutions, and Nadia is among those who have such resolutions.

At a recent dinner here, Nadia confided to her friends that she has achieved one of her new year resolutions.

"So fast? After all it is only February," one of her friends was heard exclaiming.

Nadia, a 45-year-old private sector employee, said that she has only two resolutions for 2012: reducing her home's electric consumption, which she considers astronomical, and giving priority to green practices.

She is adamant in trying to reduce the power consumption bill for her house, which is occupied by six people. The bill hits a hefty RM500 a month.

Nadia and her husband are away at work during the day while her children are in school. The only person home alone during the whole day is her housemaid.

Nadia has started to rummage through cyberspace to look on the internet for ways to reduce electricity consumption.


From December in 2011 she ensured that dwellers in her home used fans instead of air conditioners.

If her family members feel the need to use the air conditioner, Nadia makes sure that the temperature is set at 23 degrees Celsius. She has installed sun blockers on the three air-conditioners in her house as, according to the internet, this helps reduce power consumption.

Nadia also makes it a point that her children switch off the light and fan every time they leave their room. They are also reminded to unplug any electrical equipment not in use.

Nadia's housemaid was told to frequently clean electrical appliances (particularly those with filters) and to ensure that the refrigerator is not overloaded with contents and that hot foods not be placed in the fridge.

When the maid is about to prepare meals, she has been told to take out all the items that she needs in one go and not to open and close the fridge door a number of times.

"Each time the fridge door is opened, about 30 per cent of the cold air will dissipate," said Nadia.


Nadia prohibits her housemaid from using the clothes dryer and instead must dry out the laundry under the sun.

She also ensures that all laptops and the television are switched off when not in use.

Nadia shed her old habit of asking the maid to iron the couple's garments every time they leave for office. Instead, the family's clothing is collected and ironed out by the maid at one go.

Sound fussy? But all of these strategies appear to have been effective in reducing Nadia's electricity bill.

When she received the electricity bill for January, the figure came as a pleasant surprise. She was elated, as one of her new year resolutions had been achieved, and she made this known to her friends at dinner.


Nadia's ways of reducing power consumption are nothing new, as these have been recommended by experts and Tenaga Nasional Berhad, the national power utility entity.

Even though Nadia has not adopted all the recommendations, what she has done is related to green practices.

Before this episode, Nadia and her family were not used to promptly switching off any electrical appliances not in use and this was a factor that led to the rise of power consumption.

Every ready mode in appliances (the green and red neon lights on the computer and television screen) contributes to power wastage, as do computer screen savers.

According to studies, most computers consume double the power when the screen lights up. Not using screen-savers, or making the screen blank, will save electricity.

At the recent 1 Green 1 Community carnival, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui called on the public to turn the green lifestyle into a culture by adapting green technology practices in their daily routine.

"Among the simple practices that you can do at home and school is not to waste power and electricity, as well as use water and electricity wisely," he was reported to have said by the media.

The minister said practicing environmental-friendly green practices is a smart way not only to limit the discharge of toxic materials into human surroundings but also help to conserve the environment -- apart from saving the power.

Small and simple practices such as recycling, wise use of electrical appliances and saving consumption of water and electricity can change a person's life for the better.


Green practices utilise green technology to reduce power consumption and boost the economic development of a country.

Every user contributes to green-gas emissions with their daily activities, such as the utilisation of cars, power and chemicals.

Nadia utilises only the sun's rays to dry her laundry, but many countries are now resorting to the sun as one of the sources of renewable energy.

Solar towers with hundreds of solar panels that absorb the sun's energy have been erected.

This energy can be used to heat water to form steam and, if accumulated in vast amounts, the steam can move turbines and generators to produce electricity.

After Nadia's success in reducing her home's power consumption, she is trying to practice other simple green methods and utilises green technology products that are power-efficient.

(Malaysian Standards point that a product shows its power efficiency rating in a scale of one to five stars. Buyers can evaluate this on the power standard label when buying a certain product).

Among the green practices that can be done by individuals like Nadia are recycling, reducing the amount of garbage disposed, giving priority to environmentally friendly products, using public transport more frequently and prudent use of treated water.

At a recent forum on green technology, several non-government organisations (NGOs) said the government is serious in encouraging the use of green technology through measures such drafting the green technology policy, setting up a ministry specifically for this technology and developing green technology.

However, they expressed reservations about whether the society really knows what green technology is.


Green technology refers to development and product application, appliances and the system to conserve the natural environment and surroundings, to minimise human activities detrimental towards the environment.

Green technology is environmentally friendly. Low-carbon technology reduces emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that can contribute to climate changes.

This technology deal s with environmental issues such as pollution, depletion of natural energy resources and global warming.

A panel member at the forum said innovations such as the solar tower can be promoted among the public.

"The bicycle is seen as one of the best examples where the existing green technology is retained and encouraged to help people conserve the the natural environment," said the panel member, adding that the important issue is awareness of giving priority to quality of life, avoiding wastage, reducing energy consumption and conserving the environment.

After educating the society on the 3R campaign - Reuse, Reduce and Recycle - it will be wise to encourage people to adopt green practices. as this is the way to have innovations in green technology for a better future.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Special team to check forest destruction in Malaysia

A special team will be set up by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry with the respective state governments to look into the destruction of forests and hill slopes in the country.

Its Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said there was rampant and careless destruction (involving virgin forests and land clearing) in the Cameron Highlands, and other areas including Sabah and Sarawak.

An English daily report has highlighted rampant land clearing in the Cameron Highlands, which began less than a month ago.

According to the report, this included the felling of 40ha of virgin forests, with the bulk of the ravaging at Pos Terisu spanning at least four valleys and hills flattened for farmers to plant vegetables.

Palanivel said the destuction need to be stopped immediately because many people's lives are affected due to the damage to hill slopes such as water quality deterioration.

Therefore, the ministry has arranged several plans to save forests and hill slopes from destruction, he added.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

UMS to conduct an underwater census of turtle population

An underwater census of resident sea turtle population will be conducted at Mabul by the Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI) of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in conjunction with the World Turtle Day 2013 from May 22-24.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, the institute will bring in local and international volunteers to catch, photograph, measure and tag the resident turtles found in the waters of the world famed island off Semporna.

The objective of this event is to create public awareness, while enhancing education, research and conservation of the sea turtle population in the waters of Mabul.

The event will serve as a follow-up project to a recently concluded study conducted by the institute and this will also be the culmination of the prelude to Mabul World Turtle Day held in March where researchers and volunteers successfully caught and tagged 21 turtles.

The head of a BMRI research team studying the Mabul turtle population, senior lecturer Dr Pushpa Palaniappan said they had been working with several partners to carry out the programme, namely Uncle Chang’s Resort, 1Borneo Ballroom Sdn Bhd and The Borneo Connections Sdn Bhd.

Besides from enthusiastic volunteers who have signed up for the programme, the event would also be opened to resort guests in Mabul to allow them to get hands-on experiences on sea turtle research.

BMRI director Professor Dr Saleem Mustafa in calling for support for the project, said research on sea turtle was important as it would help the community better understand how to conserve the endangered species effectively.

He told that consumption of turtle eggs has remained among the major factor, threatening the survival of the species in Sabah, along with pollution and harmful fishing methods.

The event will be officiated by Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.

The institute is hopping to make the celebration of the World Turtle Day in Mabul an annual event recognized by the State Government not just for its conservation significance but also as a platform for promoting eco-tourism.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Experts: Malaysia and Indonesia should team up to breed rhinos

Precious addition: Twelve-year-old Ratu and her newborn calf Andalu resting at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in the Way Kambas National Park, Sumatra. It is only the fourth known case of a Sumatran rhino being born in captivity in 100 years. Photo: NST
Wildlife researchers are pushing for a more cohesive effort between Malaysia and Indonesia to conserve the critically endangered Sumatran rhino.

With fewer than 100 animals left in Sumatra and Borneo, scientists are proposing that the population be managed as a single conservation unit.

The Sumatran rhino is found in Sumatra and possibly Kalimantan in Indonesia and Sabah in Malaysia.

“Although habitat loss and poaching are reasons for the decline, the reproductive isolation of the mammals, which are too sparsely scattered even within protected areas, is the main threat to the survival of the species,” said wildlife research NGO Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) executive director Dr Junaidi Payne.

He is the co-author of a paper published this week in the scientific journal Oryx, in which researchers demonstrate the necessity to consider the remaining populations of Sumatran rhinoceros in Sumatra and Borneo as a single conservation unit.

The paper was the outcome of a joint study by BORA, the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Cardiff University and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC).

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens, the paper's lead author, said the genetic differences are minimal and do not justify keeping the Sumatran and Bornean populations as separate management units.

A study of the Javan rhinoceros showed low genetic diversity in that population and there was a critical need for population expansion for the species to survive, Dr Goosens added.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said state authorities are working with researchers.

“We understand the need to exchange gametes between Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Actions to initiate genome resource banking and artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation are under way in Sabah and elsewhere,” said Dr Laurentius.

He said it is considering sending Tam, a captive male rhinoceros, to Cincinnati Zoo in the United States to breed with a mature female.

Source: NST

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

River Keper Unit to Help Protect Wildlife

A river keeper unit has been set up to assist in protecting elephants and other wildlife at the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. 

State wildlife director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said: “Wildlife enforcement is the most important mission of my department but unfortunately, we do not have the resources to cover the whole state.”

He however said initiatives such as the river keeper unit initiated by the department’s partners – Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and HUTAN – for conservation in the Kinabatangan would greatly assist in monitoring wildlife and threats to wildlife along the river and within the sanctuary.

The River Keeper Unit is jointly set up by the wildlife Department, DGFC and HUTAN and funded by Elephant Family and the Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life Tourism Operators Association (KiTA).

Hailing from the local community, Mohd Syafendy Yajit and Sudirman Sawang are well suited for the job as both have years of experience working with HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation programme.

“They have a lot of field experience, especially on elephants. Both of them are also honorary wildlife wardens,” said Dr Marc Ancrenaz, HUTAN’s scientific director.

The unit will conduct day and night patrols to monitor and prevent illegal activities such as encroachment in riparian reserves, illegal logging and hunting along the 260 km of river within the LKWS, from Lokan to Abai villages,” said Dr Marc Ancrenaz, HUTAN’s scientific director.

The River Keeper Unit, he said, would be based at DGFC and its other function is to monitor tourism activities along the Kinabatangan River.

“They will stop boats from going too close to the elephants or tourists disembarking on land.

“Although tourism can boost economic development, ill-managed activities can also be a nuisance to elephants and their habitat.

“And, with this in mind, one of the major roles of the River Keeper Unit will be to investigate elephant responses to tourism activities along the Kinabatangan and to come up with wildlife watching guidelines that will be provided to the different tour operators,” said Dr Benoit Goossens, director of DGFC.

KiTA member Alexaander Yee said they are delighted to be a part of this initiative to secure a haven for wildlife in Kinabatangan.

“We are all aware that our tourism activities depend on effective wildlife enforcement and protection and we are prepared to extend financial assistance to the River Keeper Unit,” he said.

KiTA consists of nine tour operators operating in the Kinabatangan area.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Regatta Lepa gives opportunity for children to learn about marine resources

Water festival or Regatta Lepas which was held on April 26 to 28 gave children the opportunity to learn about natural treasures and how to protect them.

With the theme ‘Kami Menghargai dan Melestarikan Alam Marin Semporna’, WWF-Malaysia has conducted a series of interactive awareness activities.

Together with volunteers from Green Semporna, the national conservation organization engaged the children in fun activities such as “Ninja Sea Turtles” that showcased the lifecycle of sea turtles, a matching game to identify terrestrial and marine creatures according to their environment, and colouring contests and quizzes. Some 100 children and their families participated daily in the Regatta.

Apart from the games that appealed to all age groups, an exhibition on examples of alternative livelihood was hosted by the Women Association of Pulau Omadal (WAPO) for communities who are dependent on fisheries. The WWF-Malaysia booth was crowded throughout the three days as the enthusiastic team engaged with the local community who visited the Green Marine Tourism exhibition.

WWF-Malaysia’s Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Programme Manager, Robecca Jumin said it is important for the local community, particularly children, to understand the role of marine life, specifically coral reef and turtles, in the whole ecosystem and the community need to be prepared to be green tourist guides as the future of this Priority Conservation Area depends on them.

Jumin also added  that the dependency of Malaysia on fisheries and other coral reef resources has increased over time. However, 97% of reefs in Malaysia are under threats of overfishing including destructive fishing, land-based pollution and unsustainable tourism development

Coral reefs play an important role in fisheries and tourism sectors and Semporna has the largest percentage of coral cover within Malaysia.

The beauty and diversity of the coral reefs attract thousands of tourists from all over the world, and the number of tourist arrivals has put increasing pressure on the marine resources.

In 2012, a total of 2.88 million tourists were reported to travel to Sabah. This showed the value of tourism as a key income resource as well as highlighted the need to focus on sustainable tourism and protection.

In the past few years, WWF-Malaysia has been working together with tourist operators, government agencies and also local communities to ensure that the impact of tourism on the marine resources is reduced. In conjunction with that, WWF-Malaysia initiated a strategy called Green Marine Tourism involving these important stakeholders.

The Regatta Lepa is held annually to celebrate the heritage and culture of the people of Semporna, especially the Bajau Laut. The festival attracts people from all over Sabah as well as from other countries.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Young Malaysians Movement Green expo on May 17-19

In conjunction with Sabah Youth Day, the Young Malaysians Movement (YMM) will organize YMM Green Expo on May 17-19 at Likas Sports Complex.

The purpose of the expo is to raise awareness of the community towards environmental protection in view of global warming.

The event to be launched by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman on May 18 and will be divided into 11 segments offering exhibition and interactive programmes for the youth and public to participate

According to YMM Sabah chairman, Deric Chiew said some 20,000 people including 30 primary and secondary schools from around Kota Kinabalu are expected to turn up for the event.

Meanwhile, Sabah Youth Council president Kevin Lim thanked the state government for endorsing them to stage the event for the third year running.

The public and youths in particular are encouraged to come as many programmes have been drawn up for them and there will be a special on-site production of EM Mud-ball workshop using EM Rice Rinse Water.

Visitors also stand a chance to win draw prizes in the form of electrical appliances on May 18 and the winners will be determined based on the persons who called the organizer after a lucky number is picked.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sandakan to be American's bird nest industry base

An American engineer has decided to venture the swiftlet bird nest industry which is is not only profitable but also environmentally-friendly.

Michael who is originally from the USA and works in Singapore for a pharmaceutical project said at first he knew nothing of the industry until a friend introduced it to him.

Recently, Michael who is the project manager of XYDEC said he attended a seminar on the bird nest here which was organised by Syarikat AMG.

Through the seminar, he was able to understand more of the industry and on how to establish a home for swiftlets in Asia.

He said bird nests can be a health food and also be used as cosmetic products such as facial cream for whitening. More over, this industry does not interfere with nature but on the other hand makes its surrounding more fertile.

He who is really into the “green” stuff has chose Sandakan as his base to start his bird nest venture and he thanked AMG and its business associate in Sandakan namely Syarikat Gerak Borneo Sdn Bhd for all the guidance in this swiftlet bird nest industry.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sabah NGO and Talisman Energy Inc, firm join forces to conserve mangroves

Sabah Wetland Conservation Society (SWCS) has built a partnership with Talisman Energy Inc, an international upstream oil and gas company for its assistance in the society’s movement to conserve mangrove forests in the State.

The Society has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Malaysian arm of the Canada-based company to hand in hand carry out a campaign to promote awareness on mangrove conservation among the younger generation.

SWCS will receive funding from Talisman Malaysia Limited (TML) for two projects, namely Paper Making and Clothes Dying under the MoA to ensure that the projects are fully implemented as planned to meet their objectives.

The projects will engage young pupils and students from schools across the State in a fun, out-of-the-classroom activities where they will create and use products made from mangrove trees.

SWCS president, Zaini Aucasa, said the programmes were aimed to expose and educate the younger generation about the importance of the wetland ecosystem and the increasingly urgent need to conserve them.

Senior Vice-President and Country Manager, Ron Aston has revealed that apart from SWCS, TML has collaborated with the Malaysia Nature Society in the last two years, to monitor changes in marine and coastal ecosystems in Terengganu and Sabah.

He said Talisman had contributed more than RM330,000 for the project, which involved villagers from Kampung Meruntum in Putatan, local district councils, various government agencies as well as experts from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

He also added that Talisman will be offering several scholarships to local undergraduates at UMS starting this year as an affirmation of its commitment towards getting young Sabahans into the oil and gas industry.

Talisman has been operating mainly in Peninsular Malaysia for over 12 years and recently expanded its wings to Sabah after acquiring two offshore blocks from PETRONAS in 2009.

In December last year, it successfully took over operatorship and began production operation at the Kinabalu Oil Field, which saw the consequent setting up of its area office in Kota Kinabalu.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

STIA making headway in value- adding of acacia resource in Sabah

The Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA) is making headway in making commercial use of plantation-grown Acacia Mangium in Sabah a reality. This is made possible through the MOSTI Community Innovation Fund (CIF) (RM500,000) granted recently. A ceremony on the document exchange for the collaboration between STIA and the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) was held at Kota Marudu, Sabah, witnessed by the Minister of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), YB Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili on 2nd May 2013. FRIM is appointed as the technical consultant to STIA in the collaboration.

The cooperation forms part of the effort by STIA in assisting their members in making use of local plantation-grown acacia mangium for the production of higher value-added product for the export market. Once succeeded, it shall help in boosting the current export of wood-based products to a greater height.

It is believed that the project will benefit a wide spectrum of STIA members involving in sawmilling, kiln-drying, timber suppliers, traders, flooring and furniture manufacturers. With better return, it will help boost the competitiveness of the plantation and wood-based industries, besides other social-economic benefits including job opportunities in the State of Sabah.

Mr. Fong Ming San, STIA’s Project Coordinator, is enthusiastic about the project. “It is hoped that the endeavor will lead to a breakthrough in the local plantation timber industry. The market for acacia truck flooring boards alone is forecasted to be huge, in the range of RM1 billion for the first few years, especially for countries like Japan, Korea and U.S.A. This does not include other opportunities such as use of similar resource for garden furniture, domestic flooring boards etc.” He further added by stating that “the Research and Development program has been fulfilling, fun and rewarding.

A big thank you is in order to all!, This bottom-up exercise by the Acacia players, many who has also generously come forward with resources and time, facilitated by STIA and support from Government agencies to do this. It also enhances the “street credibility” of STIA that it “Walk the Talk” on issues of NATIP, conservation and sustainability, and welfare of its members. Lastly it telegraphs to all domestic and international agencies that STIA is collaboration-ready, your local reliable partner on Sabah timber issues.”

Read more on: New Sabah Times

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Going green for mother earth

Every mother deserves the best, including Mother Earth! With Earth Day coming up, the Asianparent Malaysia offers you some tips to pamper our darling Mother Earth by going green!

For a mom, going green is all about sharing easy ways to make a difference in our health, our kids’ health, and the health of our planet. Being environmentally-friendly is good for our home and the Earth.

Moms these days are concerned will all of the chemicals and toxins that are introduced to their children. If you’re committed to a natural, healthy home, find workable tips that can help you keep your home and planet natural and clean.

Going green isn’t hard at all. Here are some small, easy, green choices moms can make in their homes.

Easy ways to go greener at home

Healthy food choices
We all want the best for our kids, but going completely organic can be daunting. The greater the pesticide load, the greater the reason to consider buying organic. Choose organic whenever possible and use a produce wash to rinse pesticides, wax, and other contaminants off of your fruits and vegetables. Try to reduce your meat consumption, especially red-meat.

Conserve water
An effortless way to avoid water wastage is to install low-flow fixtures. Exchange your showerhead for a water-saving variety that saves a gallon of water a minute. A faucet aerator can immediately cut water consumption. Also, conserve water by putting your sprinklers on a timer. Fix leaky faucets. Collect rainwater to water your garden plants as tap water is treated with all sorts of chemicals.

Simply recycle
Each piece of your trash should have a separate destination. Classify your waste into landfill trash, recyclables, compostables, green waste, and old usable items. Create an easy way for everyone at home to sort their trash into one of these five. Label and inform them about these- regular trash bins, recycling receptacles, a bowl for compost items next to the kitchen sink, the green waste bin outside, and a box for donations.

Reuse or repurpose
Every time you buy a used or refurbished product instead of a new one, you’re making sure one less product has to be manufactured, packaged and shipped, and also reducing all the emissions those processes cause. 
For clothes and furniture, check out your local vintage store. Go paperless and pay all your bills online. Put a stop to unsolicited mail. Reuse scrap paper. Print on both sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.

Save energy and fuel
Consider switching to a solar hot water system. You can save nearly 40% on energy costs. Switch light bulbs to CFLs. Preferably switch to energy efficient appliances. Turn off lights when you leave the room. Enjoy natural light and don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can.

Shut down all appliances when not in use. Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip. If possible walk or ride a bike for closer distances.  Try shopping at your local market which sells local produce.

Replace potentially harmful cleaning products with safer, environmentally friendly alternatives while using dishwashing soap, floor cleaner, wood polish, disinfectants, etc. Consider purchasing a water filter to purify the water you drink and use for cooking. Use reusable instead of disposable bags. Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle instead of plastic disposable ones. 

Replace potentially harmful personal care products and cleaning products with safer alternatives. Your soap, toothpaste, and anything you use on your body regularly should be free from toxic chemicals. Air fresheners, toilet cleaners, tile cleaners, etc. can all leave behind dangerous residues on surfaces and stay in the air for hours.

Consider organic bed and bedding to reduce exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals emitted from mattresses. Organic clothes are also recommended because of the heavy pesticides used in cotton. Avoid particle board furniture, new carpeting, and VOC paints. Using cloth diapers takes a huge burden off the landfills, and eliminates your child’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. Save on energy while avoiding the toxins found in dryer sheets when you wash as usual, then line-dry them. Not only will clothes smell delightfully fresh, but the sun even acts as a natural whitener and brightener, even removing set in stains, so you can ditch the bleach and harsh stain removers as well.

Involve kids
To double our efforts in preserving nature, involve your kids too. By teaching them the effects of global warming and other grave environmental issues, they will understand how everyday activities impact the world at large. It’ll be second nature to them when they’re adults and make it easier to pass the same down to future generations!

Monday, May 6, 2013

State government continues to support forest conservation

The state government is constantly working towards fostering in the people the need to love nature and care for environmental conservation.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said the government is also actively supporting forest conservation effort through timely initiatives that help safeguard the forests in perpetuity.
He said the government would always support initiatives that contributed to nation building. For instance, the Sandakan Girl Guides Association (SGGA) has received support from the state government because this was an example of how society could contribute towards nation building.

The Chief Minister also added that nation building is a long term effort and not something which could be achieved overnight.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Gulagob, the rhino conservation breeding ambassador

Rhino conservation breeding project is being undertaken in Sabah since the number of rhinos in the wild is very few. 

According to Sabah Wildlife Department senior veterinarian, Dr Sen Nathan, the conservation programme is an important issue because there are only about 10-15 species left in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Lahad Datu.
An ageing Sumatran female rhino named Gulagob has been brought back to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park to serve as an ambassador to promote the rhino conservation breeding project. 
Gulagob is now about 35-years-old or about 140 years old in human terms is no longer reproductive was caught in Kinabatangan in 1994 and housed at the Sepilok in Sandakan for the breeding programme. 

She was brought to Lok Kawi in 2007 and sent Tabin in 2010 for another attempt to use her for the breeding process but she could not reproduce due to her old age and returned to Lok Kawi in March this year, he said. 

Dr Sen said she is an old animal and they want to use her as the ambassador for the rhino conservation programme before she died

This project is a collaboration of Wildlife Department with the Borneo Rhino Alliance (Bora) who is doing the rhino conservation work in Sabah and other groups to promote the awareness programme at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

RM132m solar hybrid station shows govt cares: Shafie

TUNGKU: The world's largest solar hybrid station in Kampung Lok Buani, Tanjung Labian is proof of the Barisan Nasional's government's concern for the community in rural areas. 

The solar station on a 10-acre plot will benefit villagers in seven villages in the Tanjung Labian zone, namely Kampung Tanjung Batu, Kampung Tanjung Labian, Kampung Tanagian, Kampung Bahagia, Kampung Sungai Bilis, Kampung Lok Sembuang and Kampung Lok Buani. 

Tanjung Labian has great potential to be developed as it is rich in natural sea resources. 
It's natural beauty is also suitable to be developed into a tourist attraction. 

Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal in a press conference after launching the RM132 million project said it is aimed at providing comfort to the community. 

"This project will not only provide comfort to the villagers but also facilitate the villagers in conducting their activities, unlike before where the villagers have to rely on generators. 

"This project will also able to help increase their income, where they could utilise the power supply for business or otherwise," he said. 

According to Shafie, the project is divided into two phases where the first phase costing RM92 million have been completed, while the second phase involving RM42 million was still under construction and expected to be completed by the end of this year. 

He said the second phase of the project was delayed due to the intrusion incident which the ministry have to increase the allocation as the pole and structure of the project were damaged during the incident. 

"We are aware that Tanjung Labian was far behind in terms of development and the absence of electric supply also affects the development of the area. 

Shafie said this is proof that the BN government always put the people first, no matter whether they are in the town or in rural areas. 

Meanwhile, Shafie said 108 houses will be built by his ministry through Felcra and Giatmara for the villagers who have lost their houses in the intrusion . 

He said 71 of the 108 houses have been completed and each house cost RM12,000 while the rest will be completed by the end of May. 

Commenting on the 13th General Election, Shafie said he regretted the allegations by the opposition that phantom voters have been brought to Peninsular Malaysia from Sabah. 

"They have been working there and do not change their addressÉthey have registered their name in the country, so they have to return there to vote and this issue should not be raised by the opposition" he added. 

Meanwhile, one of the villagers, Mohd Bismi Ahbar, 38, said their life have been improved with the setting up of the solar hybrid station. He said his eight-year-old daughter now can study in a more comfortable environment. 

Also present was the candidate of Silam Parliamentary, Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur. 

Source: Daily Express