About

[Updated 8 May, 2021]

WELCOME to Macaranga, a journalism portal covering the environment and sustainability in Malaysia. Our portal aims to provide in-depth journalistic features on issues and build knowledge about ecosystems.

Our objective is to be relevant, insightful and accurate and to fill a gap in producing local content for Malaysian and global readers.

Malaysian media coverage of the environment and sustainability has, and continues to be eclipsed by a focus on economic development, in line with national aspirations.

Meanwhile, global coverage of Malaysian environmental issues is select and scattered.

This is despite Malaysia’s rich natural resources and growing economic costs of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Hence, Macaranga.

Providing relevant, insightful and accurate writing about Malaysia's environment (Photo: SL Wong)
Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) is a family of tropical pioneer species that recolonises disturbed forest areas, paving the way for other species. It is found all over Malaysia -- about 9% of the 300 known species call Malaysia home -- as well as throughout Asia and beyond, as far as Africa.
Research-based journalism

When we launched in 2019, Malaysia had a new government for the first time in 60 years. In February last year, political realignments saw another coalition government take over. Political instability continues to beset the country.

At the same time, the Covid-19 crisis began. It continues to impact every sector of society from health to the economy.

Through it all, there is an even greater need for deeply-researched, engaging and accurately-reported stories about environmental issues — stories which are significant nationally and beyond.

As such, the team is digging deep into our experience, networks within and outside Malaysia, specialist knowledge and communication skills. We are also collaborating with different groups and are aiming for more collaborations.

We would like this digital, interactive platform to eventually become a source of reliable and relevant information on Malaysia’s environment.

Ultimately, we would like to inform, persuade, educate and connect policy-makers, environmental groups, scientists, businesses, journalists and the public to jointly pursue sustainable development. 

The team

The portal is the brainchild of, and is run by Malaysia-based environmental and science writers, Law Yao Hua and SL Wong. Together, we have over 30 years of experience reporting, writing and producing content.

Providing relevant, insightful and accurate writing about Malaysia's environment (Photo: SL Wong)
Known locally as 'mahang', Macaranga has a symbiotic relationship with tree-living ants (Formicidae) -- the plant provides the ants food in return for protection from pests. The plant is also used by humans in traditional medicine.

We have done work for local and international print, broadcast and online media, government and aid agencies, corporations and environmental organisations.

We have also produced videos, podcasts, books, and run workshops.

Working with our content-producing and publishing network, we hope Macaranga will be an impactful digital multimedia platform.

Report card

Last year (2020), Yao Hua and Siew Lyn were co-grantees of the Pulitzer Centre Rainforest Journalism Grant for a series
on drivers of deforestation in Peninsular Malaysia. Yao Hua was the
principal investigator and Siew Lyn edited. Siew Lyn was also awarded funding from the Earth Journalism Network for three of a five-part series on Covid-19 impacts on environmental sectors in Malaysia. Yao Hua edited. This year, Yao Hua was selected a Pulitzer Centre Rainforest Investigations Fellow.

Macaranga stories have been republished by local media such as Malaysiakini and The Star and by international media such as the Southeast Asia Globe and China Dialogue. The team has a monthly slot on BFM89.9 Radio’s Earth Matters where we do a wrapup of environmental news, and we appear from time to time on TV station Astro Awani’s Consider This talk show.

We want to be as relevant as possible, so we welcome comments and feedback. Do also tell us what topics you feel we should cover here. And follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For digests and behind-the-scenes tidbits, subscribe to our e-mailers for free.

Scientific references:

Govaerts, R., et al (2019). World Checklist of Euphorbiaceae. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://wcsp.science.kew.org/ Retrieved 18 July 2019.

Nor Aishah Mazlan, Ahmed Mediani, Faridah Abas, et al., “Antioxidant, Antityrosinase, Anticholinesterase, and Nitric Oxide Inhibition Activities of Three Malaysian Macaranga Species,” The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2013, Article ID 312741, 8 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/312741.

Huge thanks to some generous folks:

    • Web designer Chong Su Weii (suu.work{at}gmail{dot}com) for helping us get this website up at cost price
    • For setting up the business, sponsorship from the inimitable Kerk Boon Leng, Lee Siew Ching, Procode Management Services and the all-round-nice-guy startup pro Izwan Zakaria
    • The wonderful Ruby Subramaniam for digital marketing advice

Like what we do? Support our journalism! Contact us at editorial{at}macaranga{dot}org.

A Malaysian Environmental Journalism Site