Category Archives: Insight

Short features 500-1200 words

The True Value of Limestone

Quarrying limestone is worth billions but how does that compare to the ecological, touristic, cultural and historical values of this ecosystem?

DRIVING on the North-South Highway to Batu Gajah, Perak from Kuala Lumpur brings back many childhood memories of my balik kampung ritual.

We would pass limestone hills topped by dipterocarp trees fighting for space at canopy level while the sun created shadows in the hills’ crevices.

These views always made me ask my mother, “Do you think dragons live in these hills and caves?”

(Photo: Perak’s limestone hills are valuable as a source of raw materials for construction but is that all they should be valued for? | Gunung Kanthan pic by Sakyamuni Caves Monastery) 

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What It Takes to Manage Landslides

Floods might hog the current natural disaster news in Malaysia, but landslides are occurring too. Does Malaysia have what it takes to handle landslides?

CARRYING her one-month-old baby, Pricila Gracelyn rushed out from her hillside house in Penampang, Sabah in terror and pain as a big falling tree and cascading mud almost split her home into two.

“I was just about to lay my baby down on the bed when I suddenly heard a loud sound coming from above us. I thought it was thunder,” remembers Gracelyn.

“Maybe it’s my instincts, I carried my baby and escaped from the room, and in a blink [of an eye], our house was destroyed by the landslide.”

(Composite photo: Soil and trees destroyed Gracelyn’s house in Penampang, Sabah in September | Pics by Pricila Gracelyn)

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Coal Can Be Costly – Who’s Paying?

Pieces of coal litter the beach near a jetty that used to transport coal in Port Dickson. (Nicole Fong)

Coal Can Be Costly—Who's Paying?

Text and Photos: Nicole Fong

Editor: YH Law

Published: 22 December 2021

(Cover Photo: Pieces of coal litter the beach by a jetty that was used to transport coal in Port Dickson | Pic by Nicole Fong)

Malaysia favours coal as a cheap source of energy. But for the communities living near the power plants, coal exacts a high price. This is Part 2 of a series that examines coal-use. Read Part 1 here.

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Rise of Coal in Malaysia

Malaysia’s dependence on coal stands in the way of the country’s ambition to tackle the climate crisis. This article looks at the numbers behind coal use in Malaysia.

MALAYSIA runs on coal. The black, solid remains of plants that died millions of years ago now make up 43% of our energy supply. 

In 2000, coal contributed to only 7% of our energy mix, but our demand has risen steadily since.

(Photo: The coal-fired Kapar Power Plant in Selangor | Pic by Nicole Fong)

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Cement Matters in Climate Crisis

It is in virtually everything that is constructed but cement has a climate impact that needs addressing. 

CEMENT is a key material in construction. According to the UN, the cement industry is the fourth largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter by fuel type after coal, oil and gas.

And Asia dominates as the emitter of industrial greenhouse gasses emissions from cement, iron and steel, reports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2014).

But compared to fossil fuels, cement is not as widely known for its contribution to the climate crisis.

(Photo: From buildings to pavements, cement is everywhere around us. | Photo by SL Wong)

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Reconsider ban on turtle egg sale, say Terengganu traders

To conserve turtles, the Terengganu state legislative assembly passed an amendment to ban sales of all turtle eggs by June 2022. But in the face of strong traditional demand for the eggs, will the ban work?

THE SLEEPY market of Pasar Payang in Terengganu springs to life on Saturday mornings. Customers weave through the tight maze of stalls, some looking for a delicacy rarely found elsewhere – turtle eggs.

One vendor, who only gives her name as Mak Kiah, picks up 10 eggs from a bag of 100 and drops them into a transparent plastic bag. The eggs are covered in sand and cold to the touch.

Sembilan puluh ringgit”, she says to a customer. Ninety ringgit.

(Photo: On a busy weekend, hundreds of turtle eggs are sold at the Pasar Payang market, Kuala Terengganu | Pic by Bryan Yong)

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Menggunakan Parang untuk Menyambungkan Hutan

Menggunakan Parang untuk Menyambungkan Hutan

Di kawasan Hilir Kinabatangan, Sabah, sekumpulan wanita menggunakan parang, memandu bot dan menjaga anak-anak pokok, untuk menyambungkan kawasan hutan yang telah terkesan akibat aktiviti pembalakan. Inilah suara mereka.

Temuduga dan foto oleh Chen Yih Wen. Penterjemahan oleh Adibah Abdul Ghani.

[English version]

Diterbit: Disember 4, 2021 [Updated Disember 17, 2021]

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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)

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