Tag Archives: eia

Unlocking Rare Earth Riches in Malaysia

The world wants a lot more rare earths to power its green technology and meet climate goals. This offers lucrative opportunities for Malaysia to tap into its subterranean rare earth deposits of 16.1 billion tonnes. But first, the country wants to develop guidelines for a rare earth mining method said to be safer for the environment. Can Malaysia produce rare earths for the world’s green technology, and keep itself clean too?

(Image: A rare earth mining  facility in Perak; satellite image taken in January 2022. | Image: Google Earth)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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?


How to Fit a 15-storey Hotel in Fraser’s Hill

Planners are drafting a new plan for Fraser’s Hill, an environmentally sensitive area. How should development proceed there?

FRASER’S Hill will get a new development concept plan soon. The Raub District Council, which oversees development in Fraser’s Hill, Pahang, has appointed town planner Iktisas Planners to come up with the plan. 

The consultant told Macaranga they aim to finish the concept plan in November, and declined to comment more.

The new concept plan adds a new dimension to recent events that have focused discussion on how Fraser’s Hill, an environmentally sensitive area, should be developed.

In particular, some residents and concerned citizens are opposing the building of a hotel there which has been approved by the Council.

(Photo: The iconic clock tower greets visitors to Fraser’s Hill, a destination popular for its cool weather, nature and colonial-style buildings. Pic by : Pashmina Binwani)

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