Best of our wild blogs: 14 Dec 15

Mentorship programme for young people who care about Singapore's environment!
wild shores of singapore

Awesome day out with visitors at Chek Jawa
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Lesser Banded Hornet (Vespa affinis) @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Monday Morgue

Read more!

COP21 climate deal 'strikes the right balance': Vivian Balakrishnan

Singapore is supportive of the landmark COP21 deal to curb global warming, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.
Channel NewsAsia 13 Dec 15;

PARIS: The COP21 pact strikes the “right balance” between the means of implementation and ambition even though it is "not a perfect agreement”, said Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan on Saturday (Dec 12).

Cheering envoys from the 195 nations on Saturday approved the landmark agreement after nearly two weeks of negotiations in Paris. The deal could mark the end of decades-long rows between nations on how to carry out a campaign to cap global warming and cope with the impacts of climate change.

“We express our deepest appreciation for your outstanding efforts at arriving at this historic Paris Agreement. And needless to say, we fully support this historic agreement,” said Dr Balakrishnan at the Committee of Paris Session at the COP21 talks.

“I believe the current agreement strikes the right balance between the developed countries and the developing Parties, the right balance between mitigation and adaptation, the right balance between means of implementation and ambition.”


Dr Balakrishnan acknowledged that the deal may not be the “perfect agreement”, but it would set the world “on a collective journey for climate safety”.

“We do not live in a perfect world. If this was a perfect world, the problem would have been solved many decades ago. The Kyoto Protocol was paved with good intentions and high ambition, and it was legally binding, but yet it was also fatally flawed because of the lack of universal participation,” he said.

“This is why Singapore has always emphasised the need for a comprehensive, rules-based, legally binding agreement applicable to all. Without universal participation, we will fail the future generations.”

Dr Balakrishnan explained that a key challenge in striking a global climate deal was creating a fair system for all.

“We all want to be treated fairly, but sometimes the perception of fairness is subjective. Hence there needs to be reassurance to all parties that this agreement accounts for the past and looks towards the future - a fair deal that recognises the great diversity of our respective national circumstances,” he said.

“Developed countries have argued that we need to be focused on the present and the future. We agree. But developing countries also point out that the present is a function of the past and that the future is not a given.”


Dr Balakrishnan also noted that during the COP21 talks, Singapore had pushed for transparency to build mutual trust and confidence within the structure of the agreement. “Good transparency rules hold us accountable to each other. It helps demonstrate that we will do what we say,” he explained.

“We need to account to our own citizens back home. They want to see that we are going to do everything it takes to deal with the challenge of climate change. And transparency keeps us accountable not just to each other as parties but to our own people whom we represent here, and it helps us to collectively move forward with confidence.”

Dr Balakrishnan also thanked the participating nations at the COP21 talks for taking into account the circumstances of low-lying island states.

“The commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2ºC and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5ºC will give us, all the islands, some reassurance,” he said.

“It is not often in the lives of politicians, diplomats or (members of) civil society to be present at the genesis of a major earth-changing moment, and we have been blessed to be here,” he added.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the agreement as "historic", adding that Singaporeans have a role in protecting the environment.

"Each of us must play our part, to make personal choices that protect the environment. Reduce, Recycle, Reuse," he wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. "Let us work together to ensure the future of our planet for our children and generations to come."

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on climate change, described the pact as a "fair and comprehensive agreement".

In a media statement, he said it shows how with goodwill, commitment and willingness to look beyond individual concerns, cooperation among all countries is possible for the global larger, long-term good.

Mr Teo noted that Singapore has contributed to the success of the talks, with ministers and officials playing "the role of an honest broker, to help reach agreement on difficult issues".

With the agreement adopted, he said Singapore will work towards the pledge to reduce emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, by 2030, and to stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.


The crux of the talks entailed slashing or eliminating the use of coal, oil and gas for energy, which has largely powered prosperity since the Industrial Revolution began in the 1700s. The Paris accord sets a target of limiting warming of the planet to "well below" 2°C compared with the Industrial Revolution, while aiming for a more ambitious goal of 1.5°C.

To do so, emissions of greenhouse gases will need to peak "as soon as possible", followed by rapid reductions, the agreement states. The world has already warmed by almost 1°C, which has caused major problems in dry developing countries, according to scientists.

Developing nations have said that rich countries should shoulder the lion’s share of responsibility in tackling climate change as they have emitted most of the greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution.

Ahead of the talks, most nations submitted voluntary plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions from 2020. Last week, Singapore pledged its commitment to the environment as well, promising to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels.

- CNA/xq/jo

S’pore hails historic deal, which ‘strikes right balance’
Today Online 13 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE — Singapore today (Dec 13) hailed the Paris climate change pact, with the Republic’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan calling the accord “a historic, global agreement”.

“What all Parties have achieved is a historic, global agreement which strikes the right balance between developed and developing Parties, the right balance between mitigation and adaptation, and the right balance between means of implementation and ambition, Dr Balakrishnan wrote in a Facebook post early this morning.

“As a result, the world is placed on a better trajectory to deal with the challenges of climate change, which affects all of us,” he added.

In his post, the Foreign Minister also shared his statement at the Committee of Paris welcoming the climate change deal, which addressed criticisms that it was “not a perfect agreement”, pointing out that the Paris pact was still “a good and necessary agreement” that sets mankind “on a collective journey for climate safety”.

He outlined how the lessons from the “fatally flawed” 1997 Kyoto Protocol, led to Singapore’s emphasis on “a comprehensive, rules-based, legally binding agreement applicable to all.”

Dr Balakrishnan noted that the key hurdle in climate talks has always been about differentiation, or how countries are divided in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as Annex One developed countries and Non-Annex One developing countries, with the former expected to take on greater responsibilities.

“Developed countries … have to be seen to be fulfilling their prior commitments and to continue to take the lead. Without this reassurance, there would have been insufficient strategic trust for the rest of the world, the developing country Parties, to raise our ambition at great cost to ourselves,” the Foreign Minister wrote.

Dr Balakrishnan added that transparency in the agreement is necessary to build mutual trust and confidence among nations, as well as ensuring accountability to each country’s citizens.

Writing on social media, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also praised the accord yesterday as “a historic deal”, and thanked Dr Balakrishnan, public service officers, groups and individuals in Singapore for “their support to this important issue”.

“Each of us must play our part, to make personal choices that protect the environment ... Let us work together to ensure the future of our planet for our children and generations to come,” Mr Lee wrote.

In a statement issued today, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also noted how the Paris agreement showed that “goodwill, commitment and willingness to look beyond individual concerns, cooperation among all countries is possible for the global larger, long-term good”, and said that the Republic was “honoured” to have contributed to the success of the talks.

“Our ministers and officials have done well by playing the role of an honest broker, to help reach agreement on difficult issues,” said Mr Teo, who is also the chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli also thanked Dr Balakrishnan for his committed role in climate change negotiations over the past several years. “We have reached a historical deal in Paris. However, this is not the end, but the beginning of this global journey,” Mr Masagos wrote on Facebook this morning.

Singapore has played an outsized role in the climate change negotiations, with Dr Balakrishnan tasked by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to coordinate informal consultations on differentiation, while the Republic’s Chief Negotiator for Climate Change Ambassador Kwok Fook Seng worked on refining a key article on transparency in the finalised pact.

Singapore leaders hail historic Paris climate agreement
AsiaOne 13 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE - Singapore leaders have hailed the landmark accord reached in Paris on Saturday (Dec 12) to fight global warming and climate change, saying that it sets the world on a collective journey for climate safety.

In his statement at the Committee of Paris, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan expressed appreciation to parties at the talks for taking into account the special circumstances of vulnerable, low-lying island states.

"The commitment to hold the 'increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celcius', and to 'pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celcius' will give us, all the islands, some reassurance," he noted.

Mr Balakrishnan, who headed the Singapore delegation at the conference, said Singapore had always emphasised the need for a comprehensive, rules-based and legally binding agreement that was applicable to all.

"I believe the current agreement strikes the right balance between the developed countries and the developing parties, the right balance between mitigation and adaptation, the right balance between means of implementation and ambition," he said.

He added: "It is not often in the lives of politicians, diplomats or [members of] civil society to be present at the genesis of a major earth-changing moment, and we have been blessed to be here, in Paris, on the 12th of December 2015."

In a statement on Facebook on Sunday (Dec 13), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the agreement as a "historic deal, decades in the making".

He thanked Mr Balakrishnan, who saw through the agreement previously as Singapore's Environment Minister and now as Foreign Minister, as well as Singapore officers across different ministries and agencies for their hard work and close teamwork.

He reminded Singaporeans that all must play a part in making personal choices to protect the environment. "Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. Let us work together to ensure the future of our planet for our children and generations to come."

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also welcomed the "fair and comprehensive" agreement.

"Singapore will work towards our pledge to reduce our emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise our emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030," he stressed.

Mr Teo, who is also chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, added that Singapore was honoured to have contributed to the success of the talks, and that the agreement shows how "with goodwill, commitment and willingness to look beyond individual concerns, cooperation among all countries is possible for the global larger, long-term good".

Meanwhile, current Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli took to Facebook, saying that the deal is "not the end, but the beginning of this global journey. This is a very important step towards mitigating climate change."

The Paris agreement was finally adopted by close to 200 nations on Saturday, after an extra day which followed nearly two weeks of negotiations. It ends decades-long rows between rich and poor nations over how to carry out what will be a multi-trillion dollar campaign to cap global warming, AFP reported.

Read more!

Fishmongers, hawkers and suppliers ht by raw fish ban

Fishmongers hit by ban on freshwater fish in raw dishes
HARIZ BAHARUDIN The New Paper 14 Dec 15;

He used to have a steady stream of customers, who would buy more than 800kg of fish daily.

But last week, fishmonger Yew Wing Fatt, 48, said he was lucky if he sold 200kg.

Ever since the National Environment Agency (NEA) banned freshwater fish in raw fish dishes on Dec 5, business has taken a hit.

When The New Paper (TNP) visited his stall at the basement of Chinatown Complex last Friday morning, Mr Yew's stall still had more than 20 fish left unsold.

Pointing to his rows of song fish, also known as Asian bighead carp, he said: "Look around you, I have so much left. Business is bad and I don't know what to do."

Mr Yew's stall sells only song fish, which hawkers selling porridge serve as a popular raw side dish.


"More than 10 hawkers used to come and buy from me. Now, it's zero. The ban has made everyone afraid of eating the fish, even if it is cooked," he said.

Mr Yew's stall has been operating for more than 60 years and this is the worst that business has been.

Mr Yew is not alone. Other fishmongers in the area whom TNP spoke to said their businesses have been badly hit by the ban.

Mr Malcolm Wong, 59, whose shop sells toman (also known as snakehead fish), said his sales have gone down by 30 per cent.

To keep his business afloat, Mr Wong has been explaining to people passing by that the fish can still be cooked and eaten.

He said: "They are paranoid. I keep telling people it's okay to eat the fish if you cook it, but they are still scared."

But it is not only stalls selling freshwater fish that are affected.

A fishmonger, who wanted to be known only as Madam Yuew, said people are afraid of buying wolf herring from her stall.

Wolf herring is a type of saltwater fish and its meat is served raw in noodles.

Madam Yuew said: "Even though the ban is for freshwater fish, people are avoiding my stall also. They think eating it will make them sick."

Business has been so bad for some fishmongers that they are drastically cutting the amount of fish they get from their suppliers.

Mr Yew, for instance, used to buy around 800kg of whole song fishes a day from his Malaysian suppliers.

Last week, he bought only 200kg of halved song fishes daily.

Since the tail is the one that is eaten raw, "there is no point selling the other half or even trying to sell so much", he said.

The NEA ban that came into effect earlier this month caught fishmongers by surprise.

"The ban was very sudden and I had no time to prepare for it. I have a livelihood and family to feed. With fewer people buying my fish, it is difficult," said Mr Wong.

Khai Seng Trading and Fish Farm, a local fish farm that rears freshwater fish, is also feeling the effects of the ban.

Despite mainly supplying the catch to restaurants and wholesale centres, they told TNP that demand had gone down by about 7 per cent.

According to NEA's joint media release on Dec 5, freshwater fish was found to "have significantly higher bacterial contamination than saltwater fish, and are likely to present higher risks of infection when consumed raw".

It said: "The ban will help protect consumers and give greater peace of mind to the public."

Eateries: Hard to stay afloat after raw fish ban

Ever since the ban on serving raw freshwater fish kicked in earlier this month, business at Ah Chiang's Porridge has dipped.

The eatery at Tiong Bahru used to sell pork porridge served with raw Song fish, a type of freshwater fish popular with diners.

An employee said: "We used to sell 60 to 70 sets during lunch or dinner. Now, without the raw fish, we only sell half of that."

Business became so bad the employee said the eatery may be changing its menu soon, which will require a complete overhaul of its kitchen.

"We do not know when the ban will end, so we may have to make some changes to the kitchen to serve other kinds of food," said the employee.

Ah Chiang's Porridge is not the only eatery affected by the ban.

Hawkers TNP spoke to said that sales have taken a hit since they stopped selling raw fish.

Some stalls like Jiu Ji Porridge in Chinatown Complex saw business plummet by as much as 60 per cent.

The owner of Jiu Ji, who gave his name only as Mr Lim, said that even regular customers are staying away.

The 70-year-old added: "I've been selling porridge here for 40 years and this is the worst it has ever been."

To combat the dip in sales, he introduced new items like a range of soups to attract customers, but he is not optimistic about business improving.

"I am doing what I can. But we don't know how long the ban is. Soon, I might have to stop selling and call it a day," he said.

NEA said that those who do not comply with the ban may have their business suspended or terminated.


The National Environment Agency (NEA) announced on Dec 5 that freshwater fish in all ready-to-eat raw fish dishes will be banned with immediate effect.

Tests done by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and NEA found that freshwater fish had significantly higher bacterial contamination than saltwater fish and higher risks of infection when consumed raw, according to a media release.

Retail food establishments selling raw fish dishes can use only saltwater fish intended for raw consumption.

This refers to fish typically bred or harvested from cleaner waters, and stored and distributed according to appropriate cold chain management practices.

Food stalls, including those at hawker centres, coffee shops and foodcourts, are required to stop selling raw saltwater fish until they have shown they can comply with the practices required for handling raw fish.

Restaurant operators can continue selling raw fish dishes provided they comply with the practices required.

The ban comes after an increase in Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections reported in June, when some patients fell ill after eating a raw fish dish.

In the first half of the year, the number of GBS cases at hospitals reached 238 a year, compared to an average of 150 a year

In July, when some samples of raw fish were found to contain GBS bacteria, the NEA advised stallholders to temporarily stop selling raw fish dishes using song and toman fish.

Read more!

Plastic bag 'buffet' at supermarket self-checkout counters

My Paper AsiaOne 14 Dec 15;

TAKING MORE THAN THEY NEED: Supermarket chains have been encouraging consumers to cut down on their use of plastic bags. But some shoppers observed by Lianhe Wanbao at self-checkout counters used several bags for single items. Others would even double- or triple-bag for groceries which were not exceptionally heavy.

SOME supermarket customers using self-checkout counters have been taking more plastic bags than they might need for their groceries.

Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao yesterday reported that it had received feedback about plastic bag wastage by supermarket customers.

Wanbao then visited several supermarkets and observed some 50 shoppers.

Most of the customers who used self-checkout counters would use several plastic bags, regardless of how many items they bought.

One customer, who gave her name only as Ms Lin, used two bags for her groceries. She said she lived a distance from the supermarket and was worried that the bottom of the bag would tear, so she added another.

"When the cashiers scan the items, they will usually add another bag," she said.

However, Wanbao noted that the cashiers at the traditional counters were observed to add an extra bag only when the groceries were exceptionally heavy.

Some shoppers used several bags just for a pack of vegetables or a bag of snacks.

One middle-aged man used two bags for one item but then decided that he needed a third bag.

Another customer, who gave her name only as Ms Shen, had one bag per item. She explained to Wanbao that she was buying groceries for someone else, so she took more bags.

Supermarket chains have come up with different strategies to encourage customers to use fewer plastic bags.

At FairPrice, customers who bring their own bags can get a daily rebate of 10 cents.

Staff at Sheng Siong, on the other hand, help pack groceries into bags for customers.

A Giant spokesman said that many regulars would bring their own shopping bags.

One Giant staff member said that staff will stop the occasional customer who grabs many plastic bags at one go.

A 2013 study by non-governmental organisation Singapore Environment Council (SEC) found that Singapore used nearly three billion plastic bags in 2011.

SEC executive director Edwin Seah said that although consumers have been repeatedly encouraged to cut down on their use of plastic bags, it will be futile if supermarkets do not limit the amount they distribute.

Using too many plastic bags has far-reaching effects on the environment, he said.

Plastic bag wastage is not the only issue facing self-checkout counters at supermarkets.

On Friday, police said 11 people were arrested for shop theft in the first week of this month at a supermarket in Tampines. The suspects were believed to have put unscanned items into plastic bags with scanned items.

Read more!

Gardeners share how they make tropical gardens of apples, grapes and strawberries

Lea Wee Straits Times 13 Dec 15;

To fulfil her 11-year-old daughter's wish to pick strawberries, housewife Victoria Ho bought a packet of strawberry seeds for 90 cents from a nursery here and started growing them in paper cups at home.

Catching the morning sun from the window of her 24th-floor condominium in Braddell View, the seedlings grew so well that she had to transfer them to 1.5-litre plastic bottles within a few weeks.

To share her experiences, Ms Ho, 47, started a Facebook group called SG Farming in Apartments, where she received tips when she ran into gardening difficulties.

For example, during the hot spell in July, users suggested she let the soil cool down at night and to use chilled water to water the plants.

Following their advice, she left the air-conditioning on in her room at night. To water the plant, she used crushed ice made from a nutrient-rich mixture of diluted coffee water and water left from rinsing rice and seaweed.

Her efforts paid off. She and her daughter, Summer, have made five harvests, with 10 to 12 fruits each time. The jellybean-sized strawberries have "a very intense taste which explodes in your mouth".

She is not the only enterprising gardener in tropical Singapore defying the climate and attempting to grow temperate fruits such as strawberries, apples and grapes.

Some people simulate the plant's native environment with cooling measures such as air-conditioned rooms or watering them with ice.

Others, through trial and error, have found ways to make their temperate plants fruit.

Take, for example, baker Alex Ng, 43, who has been growing grapes along the corridor of his three-room HDB flat in Yishun. The trick, he says, is to prune the plant.

Four years ago, he bought a stem cutting at a nursery here for $6. After six months, the plant grew so much that it threatened to overwhelm his makeshift trellis. He pruned the vines and within a couple of weeks, they began to flower and fruit.

The pruning triggered the fruiting. With that realisation, he continued pruning the vines and now harvests up to 17 bunches of grapes about six times a year. The bachelor gives them to neighbours, friends and family. He says: "They can grow as big as those seeded grapes found in supermarkets and taste just as sweet."

Doing a lot of research helps too.

Former streetscape manager Alexius Yeo, 30, spends a lot of time Googling for information on the Mediterranean herbs he grows, such as rosemary and lavender, as well as subtropical fruit such as jujube. The subtropics, which has distinct dry and wet seasons, is found between the tropical and temperate zones.

For instance, he read that rosemary normally grows in well- drained soil. "But this is not something you can buy off the shelf. You have to create it yourself," he says.

But six pots of rosemary died on him before he finally hit on the right composition of soil - comprising sand and pumice rock, a type of volcanic rock - to make the herb thrive.

Mr Yeo, who lives in a terrace house in Serangoon North with his parents and runs a nature-based experiential learning programme for schools, says: "The rosemary we grow is more fragrant and tastes better than those found in supermarkets. We often use it in cooking."

Similarly, he read up on the jujube after his plant did not fruit for six months. He found out that in the plant's natural environment, it usually sheds its leaves before fruiting. He proceeded to pluck off most of the leaves of his jujube plant. Within weeks, the fruit, which tastes like green apples and has strong antioxidant properties, formed.

Some Singaporeans are more ambitious, going a step further to order cuttings of temperate plants from abroad.

While on holiday in Australia 10 years ago, retiree Teh Geok Siew, 64, visited an orchard with "fruit salad trees" - these are trees which can bear different fruits of the same family on one tree.

Intrigued, she ordered six stem cuttings, two each of an apple tree, a peach tree and a citrus tree from the orchard.

The orchard helped her obtain a phyto-sanitary certificate and flew the cuttings in by air. Mrs Teh also received a permit from the Agri- Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to import the cuttings.

In all, she spent between $150 and $200 on each cutting.

She started growing them in the third-floor balcony of her condominium in Upper Serangoon, together with tropical fruits such as starfruit and longan.

Over the years, some of the temperate cuttings have fruited while others did not survive.

From one successful cutting, she harvests ping pong-sized green and red apples once a year.

From another citrus cutting, she picks tangelo, a pomelo-like fruit.

She says she treats the temperature plants the same way she treats her tropical ones.

"I add fertilisers every three weeks and water them twice a day. They grow well maybe because I started them not from seeds, but from stem cuttings, which came with roots," she says.

Growing strawberries
1. Grow seeds in compost-rich soil, which will provide the necessary nutrients for the plants.

2. If growing them indoors, you can use LED lighting to make up for insufficient light. You can turn off the LED lighting at night. Otherwise, grow them in a place where they can get sunlight.

3. Keep the soil damp by, for instance, putting the plant in a dish of water and making sure the water does not run out. Or you can place crushed ice on top of the soil. You can make the ice by freezing water used for rinsing rice and seaweed.

4. Grow the plants at a temperature of 25 to 27 deg C if possible. Or at least, keep them cool at night to let them recover from the heat of the day.

Note: Strawberry plants can be bought from nurseries such as Far East Flora in Thomson Road. Each pot costs $15 and strawberry seeds are available at 90 cents a packet. Strawberry seeds are also available as part of a growing kit at the Gardens Shop at Singapore Botanic Gardens, priced at $31.

Sources: Alexius Yeo, Victoria Ho,

Read more!

Malaysia: Downpour causes floods in several areas in Selangor

The Star 14 Dec 15;

PETALING JAYA: Several hours of torrential rain brought havoc, causing flash floods in at least 10 locations in the state.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant operations director Mohd Sani Harul said as of 6pm yesterday, three families had to be evacuated to a community hall after flash floods hit Kampung Chinchang, Labu, in Sepang.

“Flood waters rose between two and three feet high which saw 15 homes affected but the situation did not warrant an evacuation.

“In Kampung Kubu Gajah, Sungai Buloh, five people were brought to higher ground when water started to rise,” he said.

Mohd Sani said flash floods also hit Kampung Bukit Cherakah, Shah Alam, where four people were temporarily evacuated while awaiting the water to recede.

Other areas affected were the Universiti Teknologi Mara campus in Puncak Alam, Batu 3, Jalan Kapar (Klang), Jalan Jati (Klang), Kampung Sri Aman (Puchong), Kampung Tengah (Puchong), Taman Bukit Kemuning (Shah Alam) and Jalan Paip (Klang).

In Ipoh, the number of flood evacuees at the relief centre in Perak Tengah stood at 86 people from 19 families.

State Fire and Rescue Depart­ment director Datuk Yahya Madis said they were housed at Surau Nurul Jannah in Parit 6, Layang-Layang Kiri.

“The group comprises 27 men, 29 women, 16 boys and 14 girls,” he said, adding that the water level remained at 0.75m.

In Johor Baru, the floods which hit several villages in Batu Pahat have receded completely and all evacuees had returned home.

Meanwhile, Terengganu was all set to face bouts of heavy rain, expected to hit the state due to a cold surge this week.

The state Civil Defence Depart­ment director Lt-Kol Che Adam A. Rahman said their personnel had already been placed on standby for any eventualities.

“Village heads have also worked on updating the data of the people in their respective village to enable us to provide the required assistance,” he said.

Some flights at KLIA and KLIA2 rerouted and delayed on Sunday night
P. DIVAKARAN The Star 13 Dec 15;

PETALING JAYA: Several flights departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) have been rerouted while others had been delayed due to bad weather conditions.

According to a statement by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), four flights scheduled to land at KLIA were rerouted to other airports due to bad weather while 12 flight arrivals and seven flight departures at the International Airport 2 (KLIA2) were delayed.

Two airplanes were diverted to the Penang International Airport and another two at Senai International Airport in Johor.

In an additional statement, Malaysia Airlines said “Malaysia Airlines flights MH723/725 on 13 Dec experienced some delay due to operational constraints. The inbound flight operating the Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta sector was delayed because of the adverse weather in Kuala Lumpur. This also affected the crew flight duty period, in which the crew had already exceeded their permitted flying hours.

Safety is of utmost importance to Malaysia Airlines and the airline regrets any inconvenience caused."

Meanwhile, the Star received a phone call from a distressed passenger who declined to be named claiming to be on board a flight bound for Mumbai, India.

The caller said that passengers on the flight had been forced to sit on board the plane for three hours before it was announced that their flight had been cancelled.

According to the passenger, no official from Malaysia Airlines was present to give instructions to passengers who became confused and upset.

Some passengers had reported on social media that flights were delayed by as much as three to four hours.

Read more!

Malaysia: Fishermen oppose Penang land reclamation project


BALIK PULAU: Fishermen in Penang are against a reclamation project on the island’s southern coast, saying it will affect their livelihood.

Some 1,000 fishermen from 14 fishermen units (unit nelayan) from Sungai Pinang in Jelutong to Kuala Sungai Pinang in Balik Pulau gathered at the Sungai Batu beach here yesterday to protest against the proposed project.

They held placards and banners, asking the state government to call off the project.

One of the banners read “We oppose strongly to reclamation projects in southwest district”.

They set a fishing net on fire to symbolise that their livelihood would be affected should the project be carried out.

“We knew nothing about the reclamation.

“A few months ago, our fishermen saw some workers and when we spoke to them, it was only then that we were told about the reclamation plan,” Gertak Sanggul Fishermen Unit chairman Datuk Chooi Sooi Kong said.

“We heard that the proposed island would be 1.5km away from the Gertak Sanggul shore. That is where we always carry out our work.”

Asked whether the fishermen knew about a session held by the state government and SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd to explain the project at the Esplanade’s Town Hall on Dec 6, Chooi claimed they were not told about it.

Arshad Omar, the head of 3,000 fishermen from 14 fishermen units, said they had been fishermen for many generations.

“The southwest district is a breeding ground for shallow water fishes and prawns. The project will affect the ecosystem here. The reclamation in the northeast district had already affected the catches there. We are afraid that the fishing villages in the southern coast will disappear,” he said.

Nazri Ahmad, 50, who has been fishing for the past 25 years, said they were not against development but the state government should not sacrifice their livelihood for new projects.

“Our only wish is that we will be able to maintain our way of life,” he said, adding that they did not want to politicise the matter.

SRS Consortium, the Project Delivery Partner for the RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), has proposed the 1,375ha reclamation project.

The two man-made islands, located near Permatang Damar Laut, spanning 930ha and 445ha, will be known as the South Reclamation Scheme.

Read more!

Philippines braces for typhoon Melor as it nears areas hit by Haiyan

The national disaster agency on Sunday ordered a pre-emptive evacuation in coastal, low-lying and mountainous areas in the central Philippines as a category 2 typhoon approached areas hit by the destructive typhoon Haiyan two years ago.
Channel NewsAsia 13 Dec 15;

MANILA: The national disaster agency on Sunday (Dec 13) ordered a pre-emptive evacuation in coastal, low-lying and mountainous areas in the central Philippines as a category 2 typhoon approached areas hit by the destructive typhoon Haiyan two years ago.

With winds of up to 140 kilometres per hour, typhoon Melor, known locally as Nona, is now about 440 kilometres to the east of Northern Samar province, moving west and due to make landfall on Monday night.

Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said he had advised local emergency teams to take precautionary measures and initiate a pre-emptive evacuation in coastal, low-lying and mountain slopes.

"We will possibly raise a public storm alert in the capital Manila and suspend sea travel and fishing due to storm surge and up to four-metre high waves at the open sea," he said.

Pama said typhoon Melor may bring torrential rains within a 300-kilometre diameter and may cause flooding and landslides in the Samar and Leyte islands and in the Bicol region at the southeastern tip of the main island of Luzon.

AccuWeather, a weather information provider, said Melor would further intensify into a category 3, dumping 300 mm of rain, before weakening to a tropical depression and exiting the Philippines on Friday.

Herminio Coloma, a spokesman for President Benigno Aquino, said the government was preparing an evacuation plan to avoid the loss of life, moving people to higher and safer grounds.

Typhoon Melor will pass through the area near where Haiyan struck in November 2013, killing more than 6,300 people and leaving more than 1.4 million homeless. An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.

- Reuters

Read more!