Monday, July 25, 2005

Malaysia Faces Weapons of Mass Destruction

Mass destruction of our jungles and forests, by weapons of illegal (or 'under the table') logging, that is. We don't need no UN Inspection Teams to confirm that. Just do a GoogleEarth in our major cities and even so-called forest sanctuaries and you will know what I mean.
(Will try to insert the Google Earth's aerial view of Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah if available)
Updated: When I tried to search 'Kinabatangan', it returned with no results. And then when I tried 'Sabah, Malaysia,' it is somewhere in the Peninsula???!!!WTF?

This environmental issue was brought to my concern when Malaysia was mentioned in the international-acclaimed scientific journal, Nature, on its 21st July issue, for wrong reasons.
Malaysia plans 'red book' in its attempts to go green
Biodiversity catalogue marks shift in attitude.
by David Cyranoski

Malaysia, criticized in the past for being a poor steward of its biodiversity, seems to be turning over a new leaf.

Biodiversity experts from across the country met in Kuala Lumpur last month to hammer out a plan that would catalogue the country's thousands of plant and animal species.

Malaysia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. It is thought to host around 15,000 different plant species, although only about half that number have been found and listed. But the country has become infamous in recent decades for clearing rainforests and draining peat swamps to grow palm trees — it now produces around half of the world's supply of palm oil. The effect of this on the country's biodiversity is not known.

The international Convention on Biological Diversity has been pressuring Malaysia to come up with conservation strategies since it came into force in 1993, with little result. But Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who became prime minister in 2003, is said to be more sympathetic than his predecessor to ecological issues. In particular, he is keen to use the country's biodiversity to drive drug development.

That momentum, and associated funding, has led to a project to create a national 'red book'. This would catalogue which species are present and where, as well as listing any threats they face. The project will be overseen by Saw Leng Guan of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia near Kuala Lumpur.

But Peter Ng, a conservation biologist at the National University of Singapore, says Malaysia will be a tough nut to crack because knowledge is so fragmented. Drastic funding cuts in the 1990s also left the country with few taxonomists. "We have money, but we need people to do the work," he says.

And today, on the front page of StarOnlinethe rape of our forests was again brought to our concerns:

Outraged over rape of Kinabatangan rainforest
Villagers in Kinabatangan plead for PM's help

Some of the amazing excerpts of the articles:
The sanctuary, which is said to be older than the Amazon forest in South America, was pledged as the country’s “Gift to Earth” by former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Osu Sukam in 1999.

Many tourists come to specifically catch a glimpse of the pygmy elephants, which have been listed as the smallest elephants in the world in the 2005 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

UNDER THREAT: A photo taken recently showing wood from a keruing tree which had been cut into planks and were found along Sungai Menanggul within the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Picture from The Star.

Environmental issues like this are not new and will not be stopped mentioning in our press. But what action has been taken so far? Enlighten me if there are any praise in our country's environmental management system. The last time I know was that the country was praised for preserving (?) our mangrove system which could withstand some tsunami effect or something.

With the insatiable gambling habits the above mentioned former Chief Minister, who knows that he might be gambling away some of the logging contracts in overseas casinos? A certain Chief Minister sometime ago even encouraged people to kill these wild animals to prevent them from attacking their crops and lifes.

And who gives a damn about the 'one of the oldest forests in the world' and 'the smallest elephant in the world' being mentioned in the Guiness Book of World Records. We have our own Malaysian version to care more of by making the longest lemang, biggest hamper, biggest this and longest that; who gives a damn about the smallest smelly muddy beast with wrinkly skin, a long trunk and two horns? In fact we are more concerned of natural products (plants) which could make certain anatomical organs larger, bigger and harder or whiter and less allergic.

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