Taking Stock

(Updated 19 November 2020)

THE ENVIRONMENTAL sectors of Malaysia, like the rest of the country, were shaken in March 2020 by two major events: the Covid-19 crisis and a new government which seized power.

Over 6 months till October, Macaranga took stock of how 5 of these sectors were doing. The Insight reports looked at impacts as well as solutions and particularly whether there were opportunities to ‘build back better’.

Continue reading Taking Stock

Racing to Save a Plantation of Rare Trees

The bulldozing of millions of rainforest trees in private plantation Penawar Hutan has raised the profile of the value of gene banks for conservation.

IN FEBRUARY, endangered tree species in a plantation in Perak, whose lease had expired, were destroyed by a state-linked company. Mounting public concern brought the matter to the Menteri Besar who quickly stopped the bulldozing. The fate of the trees remains in limbo.

The 200-acre tree plantation in Tanjung Malim is owned and operated by private entity Penawar Hutan Sdn Bhd. It housed up to 2.5 million trees of hundreds of species.

(Photo: Penawar Hutan’s Sheila Ramasamy (left) showing the Perak Menteri Besar’s press secretary Adie Suri Zulkefli a bulldozed section of the plantation, Feb 24, 2020. Credit: YH Law)

Continue reading Racing to Save a Plantation of Rare Trees

A Final Home for Lynas’ Waste?

Lynas Malaysia has located a site in Pahang to build a permanent disposal facility for its radioactive waste, with consent from the state. But what is a permanent disposal facility?

MORE THAN 7 years after they started operations in Malaysia, rare earths producer Lynas Corporation might finally be within grasp of a state-approved solution for its radioactive waste.

In a January 30 statement, Lynas says it has identified a site with consent from the Pahang state government to build what it calls a ‘permanent disposal facility’ (PDF).

(Photo: The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant near Kuantan, Malaysia, March 11, 2019. The facility extracts rare earth oxides from ores imported from Australia and generates radioactive residue in the process. Credit: LawYH)

Continue reading A Final Home for Lynas’ Waste?

Dawn Bat (Eonycteris spelaea)

Species: Eonycteris spelaea (Mammalia : Chiroptera)

Known Range: Southeast Asia

Size: (Adult) 40-70 millimeter, length of a forearm

Interviewed: Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad, bat scientist (zubaid.akbar[at]gmail.com)

(Photo: Eonycteris spelaea by Juliana Senawi)

“DO YOU like durians? Do you like petai?” These are the questions Zubaid asks when he’s trying to win some supporters for bats.

Continue reading Dawn Bat (Eonycteris spelaea)

In Defence of Orang Asli Rights

[First published Sept 26, 2019; updated Jul 3, 2021]

On Sept 25, the court heard an injunction application to stop private entities from logging and farming in Temiar customary land in Kelantan. This is the latest hearing related to the first legal action taken by the Malaysian federal government on behalf of Orang Asli regarding land rights. SL Wong and Darshana Dinesh Kumar report.

CAN YOU imagine having to barricade your home to prevent its destruction? That is what forest-based indigenous communities in Sabah and Sarawak have had to resort to for almost 40 years.

In Peninsular Malaysia, the Temiar Orang Asli community were forced to do so for the first time in 2012. The Gua Musang, Kelantan, communities started setting up barricades after repeatedly failing to resolve land use conflicts with the state government, federal agencies and companies. 

(Photo: The Pos Simpor community at the July Kota Bharu High Court hearing of the Kelantan state government’s application to strike out the AG’s suit. Courtesy of Siti Kasim)

Continue reading In Defence of Orang Asli Rights

Minute Land Snail (Whittenia vermiculum)

Species: Whittenia vermiculum (Gastropoda: Diplommanitidae) *

Known Range: Gunung Rapat limestone hill, Malaysia

Size: (Adult) 1.0 – 1.5 millimeters

Interviewed: Foon Junn Kitt, malacologist

(Photo: Whittenia vermiculum by Foon Junn Kitt)

HOW IS this a snail, and not just a tiny, whitish, swirly plastic tube? Even its species name, vermiculum, means ‘wormy’ in Latin, which aptly describes the snail’s shell.

Continue reading Minute Land Snail (Whittenia vermiculum)

Voices

Turtle Conservation Society

Our environment is our shared responsibility. But some people take on this responsibility more than others. And the world’s a better place for it. These are their voices.

(Photo: Educational talk on turtle and terrapin conservation to 900 students in Terengganu. Credit: Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia)

Kevin Hiew, Advisor, Reef Check Malaysia (Photo: SL Wong)

KEVIN HIEW WAI PHANG

Advisor, Reef Check Malaysia.

Winner of Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award, 2019.

“Conservation work…is really, really long term. I’m willing to go on doing it.”

 — Aug 2019; Photo: SL Wong

LYVIA CHONG KAI SYIN

Studies turtles at SEATRU, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu.

“Conservation needs everybody on board…before it’s too late.”

— Aug 2019; Photo: SL Wong

Researcher with Turtle Research Unit, UMT. Studies energetics of baby turtles. Credit: SL Wong
Ravinder Kaur runs hornbill conservation programs in Sabah through her NGO Gaia. Credit: YH Law

RAVINDER KAUR

Runs hornbill conservation programmes in Sabah through her social enterprise Gaia.

“Finally seeing the chick fledge…makes you feel like part of the family.”

— Aug 2019; Photo: YH Law

JEETHVENDRA KIRISHNAMOORTHIE

Restores coral reefs as a science officer with TRACC.

“This environment wants to survive … we’re good to give it a stepping stone.”

— Aug 2019; Photo: YH Law

Marine conservationist Jeethvendra helps restore coral reefs as a science officer with TRACC. He's doing a Master degree on an image-recognition tool for sea turtles.

MORE COMING SOON!

The Lynas License Renewal: What Does It Mean?

ON 15 AUGUST 2019, Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) released a press statement announcing that they had renewed for 6 months the operating license of rare earths producer Lynas Malaysia. This renewal carries three conditions.

Each time Lynas’ license comes up for, or is renewed, it is a political hot potato. Supporters for and against renewals have protested on the streets to voice their environmental and economic concerns.

And it has become a sticking point as to whether or not the Pakatan Harapan government is keeping its pre-election promises.

To help you better understand the terms and context of this licence renewal, Macaranga dug into the licensing board’s statement as well as previous reports and documents related to Lynas.

(Photo: Lynas Advanced Material Plant, Kuantan, 15 Dec 2018. Credit: Save Malaysia Stop Lynas; Read AELB’s full statement here. Documents cited in this article are listed at the end of the article.)

Continue reading The Lynas License Renewal: What Does It Mean?

Opportunities Seized and Missed

In July, more than 1,300 conservationists met in Kuala Lumpur for the first time. This was one of the most important conservation gatherings in the world: the International Congress for Conservation Biology. What did it do for conservation in Malaysia?

IT WAS extraordinary to see them on the stage. Roslan Carang, Param bin Pura and Hadi bin Mes were addressing international conservationists in a huge plenary hall. The three Orang Asli men hail from Malaysia’s largest forest complex, the Belum-Temenggor.

It was extraordinary because this was the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) 2019, one of the largest meetings of conservation practitioners and students in the world. 

(Photo: Roslan Carang, Param bin Pura and Hadi bin Mes presenting at the panel on ‘Indigenous Perspectives on Conservation Biology and Community Development’. Credit: SL Wong)

Related Stories: About ICCB I Quality Malaysian Research I What Price Entry? I Marking Attendance

Continue reading Opportunities Seized and Missed

Cave Cockroach (Pycnoscelus striatus)

Species: Pycnoscelus striatus (Insecta: Blattodea)

Known Range: Malaysia, Sumatra, the Philippines

Size: (Adult) 15 mm long , ~diameter of 10-sen coin

Interviewed: Dr Lim Teck Wyn, biologist

(Photo: Shaharin Yussof )

“CUTE” IS how Teck Wyn describes the cave cockroach, Pycnoscelus striatus. “The nymphs”—the juvenile stage of cockroaches—“are adorable, scurrying sort of things.”

Continue reading Cave Cockroach (Pycnoscelus striatus)

A Malaysian Environmental Journalism Site

LIKE OUR WORK? PLEASE SUPPORT US.

We cover the environment (mostly out of our pockets). Our stories are free to read. No ads, no fees. Now, we need your support to keep going (stronger).