Category Archives: Insight

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Penduduk Pitas Memulih Bakau yang Dimusnah Kolam Udang Gagal

Penduduk Pitas Memulih Bakau yang Dimusnah Kolam Udang Gagal

Penduduk setempat di Pitas, Sabah, menderita akibat kolam udang besar yang memusnahkan hutan bakau mereka dan kemudian gulung tikar.

Foto dan laporan oleh Chen Yih Wen.

Diterbitkan: 28 November 2022

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Pitas Villagers Restoring Mangroves Destroyed by Failed Shrimp Farm

Pitas Villagers Restoring Mangroves Destroyed by Failed Shrimp Farm

Locals in Pitas, Sabah, suffer the consequences of a huge shrimp farm that destroyed their mangroves and then went out of business.

Photos and reporting by Chen Yih Wen.

Published: November 28, 2022

[Malay version]

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Locals protest sand mining in Sabah

The project is part of a RM2 billion Chinese investment favoured by the state government. But locals complain they were not sufficiently consulted and worry about the potential health impact.

Near the northern tip of Sabah is Bangau Beach, the start of a flat sandy coastline that stretches for 21 km. Dramatic sunsets draw visitors from afar, and runners ran the length of Bangau Beach in an international half marathon a few years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the tourist crowds haven’t returned, and they may not for a long time. A RM2 billion operation to mine sand there is threatening to destroy the charms of Bangau Beach. 

(Photo: The sandy coast of the scenic Bangau Beach in Kudat, Sabah, will look very different soon. A new sand mining facility will occupy all the space to the right of the river. | Pic by Chen Yih Wen)

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Orang Asli Reject New Houses for Forests

After guarding a blockade against loggers for 16 months, a group of Orang Asli in Pahang is bringing their fight to the courts. The Kampung Mesau villagers have just filed a summons against the Pahang government and a developer for violating their customary rights. Part 3 of 3.

This story is produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network.

[Versi Bahasa Malaysia] [即将发布:中文版]

RICE COOKS in a soot-covered pot behind Rani Jilal. The 72-year-old man sits on bare ground in his hut. He is a senior member of the Temoq Orang Asli of Kampung Mesau in the Chini-Bera forests, Pahang.

Behind Rani, the boiling rice spills out of the pot into the wood fire. He ignores the sizzle. He is talking about his fear that his kin would be chased off the land they claim as their customary right. He has seen how swiftly developers can tear their world apart.

(Photo: The villagers of Kampung Mesau in Pahang built a blockade to save their forests from loggers. After 16 months of sleeping by the blockade, they have brought their fight to the High Court. | Pic by YH Law)

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Destroying Tiger Habitat in Pahang Despite Promises

Another tiger and elephant habitat in Pahang has been approved to be turned into an oil palm plantation. But if the developer and state government wish to spare the forest, there are profitable alternatives. Part 2 of 3.

This story is produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network.

[Versi Bahasa Malaysia] [即将发布:中文版]

A PROPOSED 8,498 ha oil palm project in Pahang occupies a key location in Peninsular Malaysia’s wildlife habitats and forest landscape. The project site sits in the centre of the Chini-Bera forest complex, according to the Master Plan for Ecological Linkages Central Forest Spine (2022).

That complex connects the Greater Taman Negara forest complex in the north with the Endau-Rompin Sedili forest complex in the south. The Central Forest Spine (CFS) Masterplan aims to establish wildlife corridors called “linkages” between these complexes that would allow animals like tigers to move and breed across the landscape.

(Photo: A tiger pawprint found in the vicinity of the Bukit Ibam forests (background) being cleared for timber and oil palm plantation. | Pawprint photo courtesy of Mohjoey mojoey (Facebook), satellite image by Planet Labs Inc)

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Cutting the Chini-Bera Forests for Oil Palm that Can’t Sell

YP Olio Sdn Bhd has just received approval from the Department of Environment to turn a sprawling forest in Pahang into oil palm. But evidence suggests the plantation will fail to get mandatory certification and license. So, why cut the forest? Part 1 of 3.

This story is produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network.

[Versi Bahasa Malaysia] [中文版]

FOR MUCH of 2020 and 2021, loggers cleared huge tracts of forest on private land in southeastern Pahang. The site used to be part of a forest reserve in the Chini-Bera forest complex. Now, silty logging roads wind across the shrubby landscape.

The logging had stopped at a fork in a main logging road since June 2021. Perhaps the loggers were deterred by the wooden blockade erected there by the local Orang Asli. Perhaps the landowner, YP Olio Sdn Bhd, was waiting for authorities’ approval of its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report.

(Photo: In Pahang, logging on YP Olio Sdn Bhd’s 8,498 ha land stops at a blockade set up by Orang Asli. | Pic by YH Law)

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When’s a Buffer Not a Buffer?

How far should a wastepaper recycling factory be away from schools and houses? Banting residents and lawmakers disagree. In this second of two stories, Aurora Tin reports arguments from both sides of the fence.

In Banting, Selangor, the students at a religious primary school recite their prayers just tens of meters away from the grey walls of a huge wastepaper recycling factory. Tall chimneys behind the walls emit gasses day and night.

The factory, owned by Best Eternity Recycle Technology Sdn Bhd (BERT), has a record of breaching regulations: it was fined at least four times by the Department of Environment (DOE) and Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MPKL) in the last 3 years.

Residents concerned about potential health and environmental damage have been protesting the factory. They argue that the approval of a heavy industrial plant so close to schools and residences had breached buffer zone regulations.

(Photo: An illustration showing various distances between school and residences and the BERT facility. | Pic by Long Long)

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Living Next to a Paper Recycling Behemoth

The Best Eternity Recycle Technology Sdn Bhd paper recycling facility brings jobs and investment to Kuala Langat, but also health concerns for the communities. In this first of two stories, Aurora Tin reports on the facility’s economic values and potential impact.

Suhaizam Mohd Kassim, or Zam for short, is the third generation of his family to live in Taman Periang, Banting, about 45 km west of Kuala Lumpur. He was among the first cohort of students at a local religious primary school his grandfather helped build. Decades later, Zam enrolled his children at the same school too.

Behind that school is a patch of government land where locals grow fruit trees and vegetables. Past the trees are high grey walls, behind which rose chimneys and buildings with green roofs. The construction of the facility started in 2019. It emitted pungent odours and disturbing noises, but residents had little idea what it produced.

(Photo: Residents living next to the BERT paper recycling facility, whose twin chimneys can be seen from a nearby playground, are worried about potential health impact from the operations. | Pic by Irene Yap)

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Lagi Satu Ladang Kelapa Sawit di Endau, Johor

Syarikat AA Sawit Sdn Bhd ingin membangunkan ladang kelapa sawit and kelapa seluas 3,775 ha di Endau, Johor. Ia telah menyerahkan laporan penilaian kesan kepada alam sekitar (EIA) kepada Jabatan Alam Sekitar pada bulan Jun/Julai 2022.

Mengikut Akta Kualiti Alam Sekeliling 1974, sesuatu projek sebesar ini wajib mendapat kelulusan laporan EIA daripada Jabatan Alam Sekitar sebelum ia boleh bermula.

Namun, imej satelit memberi gambaran yang bertentangan: Pada 2020 dan 2021, pengusaha telah menebang hutan di tapak dan menggali parit pengairan.

Tambahan pula, pembangunan ladang kelapa sawit sudah menyebabkan pelbagai masalah alam sekitar. Namun, adakah  penduduk Kampung Labong di sebelah tapak projek AA Sawit mampu menolak ladang-ladang besar yang akan datang?