Category Archives: Insight

Short features 500-1200 words

State Forestry Departments Share Their Successes

In their own words, state forestry directors in Peninsular Malaysia tell us their major achievements in the last two decades.

IN PENINSULAR Malaysia, state governments and their agencies control forests.

About 85% of the forests are classified as permanent reserve forests and managed by state forestry departments.

For a story that examines 20 years of forest management results, we asked foresters to recount their successes (in 70 words) since 2000.

(Photo: A logging road through a forest reserve in Johor, 2020. Pic by YH Law)


Can Experts Save Malaysia’s Remaining Endangered Large Animals?

With Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhinoceros taking its final breath in 2019, conservationists are calling for serious intervention to reverse species decline.

MALAYSIA is a biodiversity hotspot but its endangered large animals are being pushed into smaller habitats. In a race against time, conservation scientists are mapping efforts to protect critically endangered species.

Extinction is an immediate threat for large animals in Malaysia.

(Photo: Mother and calf only 300—500 Bornean banteng are left in the wilds of Borneo, the only place in the world they are found. | Pic by BORA)

Continue reading Can Experts Save Malaysia’s Remaining Endangered Large Animals?




Read this article in English. Baca artikel dalam Bahasa Malaysia.

奥玛拉尼(Omar Rani)是一名来自彭亨Kampung Berengoi的原住民。他和村里的原住民都是文盲。他们自称:“我们从未上过学。”

去年,他们被要求签署一封同意书,以获得YP Olio私人有限公司提供的免费房子。尽管他们对纸上一个字都看不懂,但他们还是签了字。他们信任的是陪同该公司代表前来的政府官员。

(照片: 在彭亨州的Kampung Berengoi 和 Kampung Mesau的原住民村民齐声抗议发展商在他们的习俗地上伐木。拉尼吉纳(左一), 萨尼科蒂 (左二), 奥玛拉尼(中坐), 马鲁夫阿都拉(右一) | 摄影:Aminah A/P Tan Kay Hoe.)

Continue reading 彭亨伐木项目加剧原住民土地权的斗争

Pembasmian Hutan di Pahang menghambat perjuangan hak tanah Orang Asli

Sebuah projek perladangan di Pahang akan membasmi hutan primer seluas 85km2. Projek ini dibantah oleh penduduk Orang Asli sejak 2019. Namun demikian, terdapat dua surat persetujuan yang ditandatangani penduduk Orang Asli yang kononnya menyuarakan sokongan untuk projek tersebut. Apa sebenarnya yang terjadi?

Diterjemahkan daripada Bahasa Inggeris oleh Adriana Nordin Manan.

Read this article in English. 点击阅读中文版.

OMAR RANI ialah penduduk Orang Asli dari Kampung Berengoi, Pahang. Beliau dan teman Orang Asli sekampung buta huruf – atau seperti dibahasakan mereka: “Kami tidak bersekolahan.”

Tahun lepas, mereka diminta menandatangani surat untuk menerima rumah percuma daripada sebuah syarikat swasta, YP Olio Sdn Bhd. Meskipun tidak memahami sepatah perkataan yang tertulis, Omar dan penduduk sekampung bersetuju untuk menandatangan; mereka percaya kepada pegawai kerajaan yang menemani wakil syarikat.

(Foto: Penduduk Orang Asli di Kampung Berengoi and Kampung Mesau, Pahang, menyuara bantahan mereka terhadap pembalakan atas tanah adat mereka. Rani (kiri pertama), Sani (kiri kedua), Omar (duduk tengah), Abdullah (kanan pertama) | Jurugambar: Aminah A/P Tan Kay Hoe.)

Continue reading Pembasmian Hutan di Pahang menghambat perjuangan hak tanah Orang Asli

Deforestation project in Pahang exacerbates Orang Asli land rights struggle

A plantation project in Pahang wants to clear almost 85km2 of primary forest. The Orang Asli who live on the site have been protesting the logging since 2019. But there are two letters signed by the illiterate villagers which purportedly show their support for the logging. What happened?

A version of this story first appeared on Southeast Asia Globe on 21 June 2021.

Baca artikel dalam Bahasa Malaysia. 点击阅读中文版

OMAR RANI is an Orang Asli who lives in the village of Kampung Berengoi in Pahang. Omar and his fellow Orang Asli villagers are illiterate – or as they put it: “We haven’t gone to school”.

Last year, they were asked to sign letters to receive free houses from private company YP Olio Sdn Bhd. Though unable to read a word, Omar and the villagers signed them; they trusted the government officers who accompanied the company’s representatives.

(Photo: The Orang Asli at Kampung Berengoi and Kampung Mesau gathered to speak out against logging around their homes. Rani (first left), Sani (second left), Omar (seated center), Abdullah (first right). Pic by Aminah A/P Tan Kay Hoe.)

Continue reading Deforestation project in Pahang exacerbates Orang Asli land rights struggle

When Invaders Move In On Batu Caves (And They Have)

From flowering plants to butterflies , invasive species are taking over Batu Caves. This alarming threat to the fragile limestone ecosystem needs addressing.

WE HAD trekked up Batu Caves for about 10 minutes when botanist Dr Ruth Kiew turned to me and asked, “Can you see the difference in the vegetation?”

“Between limestone and non-limestone vegetation, you mean?”


I scanned the plants before me. This was pre-pandemic times and I had been researching limestone species from lists provided by Kiew.

(Photo: Invasive species threaten plants like the keladi (foreground), discovered only 2 years ago and found only on Batu Caves, says limestone specialist Ruth Kiew. ~ pic by SL Wong)


Can Oil Palm Explain The Lower Forest Loss Here?

Last year, tropical forest loss increased worldwide but Malaysia cut down less than it did the previous year, the fourth year it has done so. What explains this good news?

[First posted on 27 April, 12.17pm.]

Last year, the world lost 12% more tropical forest than it did in 2019, according to satellite census by forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch. Malaysia bucked the global trend: it lost less. 

In fact, Malaysia has trimmed its primary forest losses four years in a row. Losses fell from about 185,000 hectares in 2016 to nearly 73,000 hectares in 2020 (Figure 1).

At the same time, there is a slow down in the expansion of the sector most frequently linked to deforestation – oil palm. Oil palm area in Malaysia contracted in 2020 – the first drop in 44 years.

Could this explain Malaysia’s recent downtrend in primary forest losses? And can we expect forest loss to drop further?

(Photo: Malaysia has been losing less primary forest since 2016. Graph: YH Law)

Continue reading Can Oil Palm Explain The Lower Forest Loss Here?

Must the Pan Borneo Highway Dissect the Tawai Forest?

[Updated 29 July 2021]

Funds and political support are reinvigorating the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah. But is there time to consider ways to mitigate its environmental and socioeconomic impact?

WITH 2,239 kilometres of new roads to be built by 2025, the Pan Borneo Highway is expected to boost connectivity, tourism and trade in and between Sabah and Sarawak.

Parts of the current route, however, would severely impact the environment and local communities, say local NGOs and researchers.

Continue reading Must the Pan Borneo Highway Dissect the Tawai Forest?





(Photo: 沙巴的曼塔纳尼群岛(Mantanani islands)附近海域一枚未爆炸的自制捕鱼炸弹。图片来源:Adzmin Fatta / Reef Check Malaysia)

Continue reading 遏制珊瑚礁间的炸鱼:沙巴州的故事