Best of our wild blogs: 4 Jan 15

Pulau Ubin (31122014)
by Psychedelic Nature

Night Walk At Venus Drive (02 Jan 2015)
from Beetles@SG BLOG

Life History of the Three Spot Grass Yellow
from Butterflies of Singapore

Hornbill, caterpillars and mangrove tree at Pulau Ubin
from wild shores of singapore

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Malaysia: Flood crisis and prolonged rainy season wreak havoc on prices


PETALING JAYA: The East Coast flood crisis has sent vegetable prices soaring, while chicken farmers are scrambling to prevent a glut as delivery to affected states has been cut off.

The prices of fish and seafood are also rising as fishermen are unable to go out to sea due to unfavourable weather and choppy seas.

Federation of Malaysian Vegetables Wholesalers Asso­ciation treasurer Chong Tek Keong said the prices of vegetables have risen by between 40% and 50%.

He said the prolonged rainy season had caused a drop in local supply by between 30% and 40%.

Denying that the profits of wholesalers’ had increased because of the higher demand, he said it was farmers who were charging more for their produce.

“Supply was already low because of the recent crackdown on illegal immigrants in Cameron Highlands and mud floods there and the East Coast floods have pushed prices even higher.

“Wholesalers only resumed their delivery to certain areas in Kelantan and Pahang on Monday,” he said.

Chong said prices of locally grown vegetable were only expected to drop after the Chinese New Year next month.

Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers Association secretary Chay Ee Mong said the rainy weather and floods affected the produce of vegetables throughout the country and not only in the highlands.

“The weather is too wet for any harvest progress.

“Hopefully, the weather will return to normal soon so that leafy vegetables can be harvested in time to meet the higher demand during Chinese New Year,” he said.

According to the Meteorological Department, the weather was gradually improving in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang but heavy rains were likely to continue in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

Chicken farmers said they were being forced to sell poultry below the controlled price of RM4.60 per kilo due to a drastic drop in demand.

Federation of Livestock Far­mers Association of Malaysia secretary general Jeffrey Ng said about 3,000 poultry farms nationwide were struggling to clear their “excessive stock” of birds.

“Restaurants and eateries are essential markets for our members and since the floods, many kitchens cannot operate and the demand for poultry is very low,” he said.

Selangor and Federal Territory Chicken and Duck Traders Association vice-president Yap Chau Hen said some traders were selling birds for as low as RM3.50 per kilo.

National Fisherman’s Asso­ciation general manager Nori­zaman Ghazali said fish prices were usually higher in January because there is less fish in the sea.

“This is a seasonal trend,” he said.

Fisheries Development Autho­rity of Malaysia (LKIM) director-general Abdul Rahman Ellis said with fishermen landing up to 15% less in catches, prices have risen by between 5% and 10%.

Citing an example, he said ikan cencaru (torpedo scad) now cost between RM1 and RM2 more at the farmer’s market.

“Many fishermen in the East Coast are flood victims so they cannot go out to sea,” he said.

Abdul Rahman said LKIM was prepared for the drop in supply and had implemented a freeze on the export of common fishes like the cencaru, selar (yellowtail scad), kembong (short mackerel), pelaling (Indian mackerel) and selayang (round scad) since middle of November.

Camerons greens up by 20% to 40%
The Star 4 Jan 15;

IPOH: Prices of vegetables from Cameron Highlands have increased by an estimated 20% to 40%, according to vegetable sellers here.

Most sellers said the increases started with the mud floods tragedy there in early November.

Mior Jala, 54, said vegetables such as cabbage, sawi (mustard leaves), spring onions and celery were being sold to him at a higher prices.

“My regular customers are complaining to me, but what else can I do? Times are tough for all sellers and there is no extra income for us. Sometimes, we even selling at a loss,” he said.

Mior said the shelf life of greens was another problem, adding that he had been throwing away a lot of rotten vegetables.

“I have to buy less stock and adjust the prices accordingly. Otherwise, it will be difficult to support my family,” said the father of three, aged between eight and 24.

Another seller Salasiah Nawi, 58, said business had not been good with the higher prices.

“I am forced to sell limited vegetable stocks from the highland such as cabbages, tomatoes and brinjals at RM4 or RM5 per kg,” she said.

Many lament over expensive food items
The Star 4 Jan 15;

PETALING JAYA: Fresh greens are not only getting costlier but also scarce as vegetables are quickly snapped up after arriving at the markets.

Canteen operator Janaki Chiew (pic)lamented that prices of many vegetables had been rising steadily since early last month.

She said long beans, sawi (mustard leaves), kangkung (water convolvulus), cabbage and brinjal had become expensive.

“Everything has gone up by 40% to 50%. Long beans which used to cost RM6 are now RM10 per kilo.

“Traders claim their profit is only between 15% and 20% because if the prices are too high, they will lose customers,” she said.

Housewife Pat Boey said her regular vegetable seller in Kepong had been charging RM1 for a few stalks of spring onion.

“I used get a bunch for 50 sen, but now I am paying double.”

In George Town, chef Alex Heng Song Ling of the You Yen Vegetarian Centre said he had no choice but to pay more.

“What can I do? I run a vegetarian restaurant and greens are my main ingredients.

“I now pay between 30% and 50% more for chillies. I have to absorb the costs because I can’t simply change my prices with vegetable costs rising so often.”

Leaf Healthy House manager Candy Lee said she paid between 20% and 40% more for greens last week and found that some vegetables were not available.

She said she paid between 20% and 40% more for cauliflower and broccoli last week.

Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj urged the Government to implement strong agricultural policies to ensure food security and sustainability.

He said food prices skyrocketed each time there was a crisis.

“We need a long-term approach so that we are not dependent on just a few farms,” he said.

Floods: Vegetable, fish prices expected to stabilise in three months
The Star 3 Jan 15;

BERA: The rise in prices of vegetable and fish in several areas especially in flood-hit states is expected to be resolved in less than three months.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the ministry had imported supplies of vegetables and fish from neighbouring countries to overcome shortage and to stabilise food prices.

"Things are still under control as many people do not need to buy vegetables as they are at relief centres, but I am concerned when they return home.

"That is why we have directed the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) to import food and vegetables," he told reporters after visiting flood victims at SMK Kerayong relief centre, here Saturday.

The items include round cabbage, tomato, red pepper, potato, ginger, onion and big onion from India and Holland, coconut and garlic imported from Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India and Holland.

He did not refute the price of vegetables in flood hit states had increased by 70%.

However, there was no problem with supply of fish as frozen fish had been stocked since November.

Fama and the National Fishermen Association (Nekmat) would be sellling goods at low prices after the floods, in an effort to stabilise prices.

Ismail said flood victims must register with the district agriculture department to receive compensation under the Disaster Relief Fund established last year. – Bernama

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Malaysia: Monsoon surge to begin on Jan 7 or Jan 8 -- MET

New Straits Times 3 Jun 15;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) anticipates monsoon surge to begin on Jan 7 or 8, with possible continuous heavy rainfall up to three days over certain states, especially Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

Its director-general, Datuk Che Gayah Ismail, however, said that the exact date could only be determined two or three days before it began.

“Normally, monsoon surge occur four or five times during the monsoon season. This year, it began in November 2014 and is expected to end by March 2015,” she told Bernama today.

Che Gayah also said the department had stationed a meteorologist at the National Security Council to provide the officials with latest information on current weather phenomenon, including the monsoon surges.

“We will also update from time to time the information on our official website or on our page on Facebook and Twitter,” she said.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry has cautioned the public living in flood-prone areas to keep themselves updated on weather reports, in view of a monsoon rain predicted to hit the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

Its minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin in a statement today said his ministry, through the Meteorological Department, would continue to monitor weather conditions nationwide, including in Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

"Any updates and information regarding the latest weather will be informed to the authorities and this will then be disseminated to the masses," he said.

Ebin also advised the public not to proceed with recreational activities or water sports, after the department had issued a category two strong winds and rough seas warning that would continue until tomorrow.

The affected areas include Pahang, east Johor, Sarawak, Sabah (inlands, west coast and Kudat) and Labuan.

Floods: Johor evacuees drop to 86, all roads fully accessible
BEN TAN New Straits Times 3 Jan 15;

JOHOR BARU: The latest number of flood victims in Johor has dropped to 86 from an earlier figure of 116 today.

As of 4pm, Segamat district registered the most number of evacuees with 58 victims reported from 13 families in four temporary flood relief centres.

The Johor National Security Council (NSC) reported that the centres in Segamat are located mainly in the Buloh Kasap and Gemereh areas.

Those still operating are: SK Kg Spang Loi, Balairaya Kg Batu Badak, Balairaya Kg Tandung and Balairaya Kg Sanglang.

Batu Pahat registered a total of 28 flood victims from five families in only one centre at SK Kota Dalam in Ayer Hitam. The district has maintained the number of flood victims since this afternoon.

Besides the two affected districts, a Johor NSC spokesperson said there were no other temporary flood relief centres open in other areas in the state as the weather had continues to improve.

"At present, there are no road closures or detours as all roads in the state are fully accessible to motorists," said the spokesperson.

Many stunned by floodwaters
The Star 4 Jan 15;

TEMERLOH: Those who were born and bred here say that they have never seen anything like last month’s flood that hit their area.

G. Naganesan, 35, described Taman Bahagia and Taman Bahagia Baru, along with the rest of Temerloh, as “turning into an island” due to the swollen Sungai Pahang.

He was among those who braved neck-deep waters to deli­ver food to victims stranded in their homes.

He has also been coordinating with 4x4 groups and other volunteers since the floods inundated much of Temerloh after Christmas.

“The entire residential area became like a river, with water carrying with it furniture and even motorcycles,” he said.

“I was born here and I grew up here. We have never seen anything like this before,” said Naga­nesan, who works in a Mentakab bank.

With the help of his friends from other towns, he managed to gather enough supplies to distribute to the residents.

“Temerloh town has been without electricity since Dec 26,” he said.

“Some residents did not receive any supply during the first few days. Some had to travel all the way to Lanchang – about 30km away – just to buy milk for their babies,” said Naganesan.

Looking back, he said he learnt a lot from the tragedy.

“When we first received aid, we just gave it away.

“However, some residents got something, while others did not,” he said.

“Quarrels broke out among the affected residents as they jostled to grab for the essential items.”

It was then that Naganesan and his friends decided that these items needed to be repacked before being handed out.

“It ensured that no family was left out,” he added.

The ugly side of the people surfaced when aid workers delivered relief supplies.

“We sent rice, eggs, instant noodles and sardines but they asked for soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and even cigarettes!

“We did go back with soap and candles but we did not buy shampoo and cigarettes,” he said, adding that other than greed, some only shared excess supplies with people of their own race.

Others were picky, taking only clothing which were “nice” and rejecting others, said Naganesan.

He said those living in bungalows fled to higher grounds.

“Some left their maids and pets behind,” he added.

Areas around Mentakab are already accessible, except for Batu Kapur, which is near Sungai Semantan.

“Water level in Sungai Pahang is still high, affecting areas from Temerloh to Teriang,” said Naga­nesan.

“Usually, it is only areas like Lanchang and Karak that get flooded, but this time, these areas were not affected.”

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