Malaysia: NGO wants details on protecting forest reserves

The Star 4 Nov 18;

PETALING JAYA: The Organisation for the Preservation of Natural Heri­tage Malaysia (Peka) wants more details on how the RM60mil allocation will be channelled towards protecting forest reserves.

Peka president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said its greatest fear was that the allocation, announced in Budget 2019, would not lead to changes in the logging policy of states such as Kelantan, Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

“The lack of details pertaining to this allocation and other efforts related to the environment during the tabling of the Budget merely reinforces the perception that the government is still not serious in preserving and conserving our rainforests, rivers and seas,” she said.

She also suggested that the government use the National Security Act to ban logging.

Shariffa Sabrina argued that the funds, while necessary, would not solve Malaysia’s environmental problems.

“The government must lead state governments, businesses and the public to build an environmentally friendly and sustainable country,” she said.

Peka also urged the government to work with state governments to ensure the orang asli’s way of life is preserved and protected.

“While we welcome the RM100mil allocation for orang asli, their lives and culture remain threatened by rampant development,” she said.

Shariffa Sabrina also reminded the government to never sacrifice the environment in pursuit of development, adding that leaders failed to ensure good air quality as factories were allowed to pollute.

“The plastic waste issue in Selan­gor remains unresolved as the go­­vernment continues to weigh the economic benefits of such environmentally damaging activities against the people’s health and wellbeing,” she added.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail welcomed the government’s move to ensure that the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia’s (FRIM) Selangor forest park and the Royal Belum state park get listed as Unesco world heritage sites.

He said that as a country listed among 12 other nations with great biological diversity in the world, Malaysia has various species of flora and fauna that are not found elsewhere and some of that are facing extinction.

“What’s unique about the Royal Belum is because it is more than 130 million years old, and is one of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world.

“The park has endangered species such as the Malayan tiger and there are also 10 species of hornbills that are not found elsewhere in the world.

“The government’s move to make it a world heritage site will strengthen the country’s ‘treasure-protection’ efforts,” he said.

Measures under Budget to preserve environment will protect nation's rich biodiversity

AUDREY VIJAINDREN New Straits Times 2 Nov 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: All parties must support the proposed measures listed under the 2019 Budget to help preserve the environment including listing Royal Belum State Park as a Unesco World Heritage site and allocating RM2 billion to encourage investment in green technology industries.

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the move to list Royal Belum as a Unesco World Heritage site was crucial as it could help protect the rich biodiversity and fragile ecosystem, which was part of the Belum-Temengor forest complex.

“The state park is estimated to be more than 130 million years old, thus making it older than the Amazon rainforest in South America and the Congo rainforest in Central Africa.

“Such a move could also help protect about 3,000 species of flora, 64 species of ferns, 62 species of moss and 23 types of river fish in the area apart from endangered animals such as the tiger, Malayan sun bear, Sumatran rhinoceros, white-handed gibbon, Malayan tapir and elephant.”

Lee said efforts to encourage investment in green technologies will also help create environmental-friendly businesses and industries in Malaysia.

“If possible, I also hope the government introduces environmental education at kindergartens and continue until tertiary level as we have to ensure that it is fully embraced and will become a culture among our young generation.

“I believe that if we could nurture the love for nature at young age, the young generation could help protect the environment and prevent noise, air and water pollution from worsening.”

He was commenting on the Budget to list the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) Forest Park in Selangor, and Royal Belum Perak as Unesco World Heritage Sites.

President of EcoKnights, non-governmental environmental organisation,Yasmin Rasyid echoed his opinion.

“This has been a very positive Budget, it’s taking conservation to the next level. Some may be sceptical, but we must give the new government a chance.

“We are seeing a lot of promises, but it’s a step in the right direction. In the end you have to walk the talk. And if you don’t keep to your word, we can vote them out.”