Misery to animals brought on by the zodiac animal signs

Letter to the Editor                                    2 March 2020

With each Chinese New Year welcoming a particular  animal in the zodiac, each bringing with them their  own good fortune and strengths, pet shops and petting farms  go all out to import  the animals  associated with  the  zodiac animal signs of that year. 

In this year of the rat, a petting zoo farm is drawing in the crowd with its import of foreign breeds in the rodent family such as the capybara, porcupine, degu,  dormouse, chinchilla and Sphinx rat, to name a few, as exhibits. 

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Wabak Covid-19: Penyelesaian Kekal Diperlukan Berhubung Perdagangan dan Penjualan Hidupan Liar

Surat Kepada Pengarang                  21 Februari 2020

Sementara Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) mengalu-alukan pengharaman sementara yang diumumkan baru-baru ini oleh negara China terhadap pemburuan, penjualan, pengangkutan dan eksport semua haiwan liar sebagai tindak balas kepada wabak Covid-19, penyelesaian yang lebih kekal diperlukan bagi mencegah berulangnya wabak seperti itu, bukan hanya di China tetapi di semua negara.

Ini memerlukan pengharaman kekal ke atas perdagangan, penjualan, pengambilan dan memakan hidupan liar dan kawalan yang lebih ketat dalam penguatkuasaan dan pendakwaan aktiviti haram seperti itu terutama sekali bersabit memakan haiwan liar.

Kebanyakan perdagangan hidupan liar sudah pun haram tetapi langkah penguatkuasaan dan pendakwaan yang lebih ketat kekal menjadi cabaran di banyak negara.

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Covid-19 Outbreak: Need for permanent solution on wildlife sale and trade

Letter to Editor                                          21 February 2020

Whilst Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) welcomes the recent temporary ban by China on the hunting, sale, transportation and export of all wild animals in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, a more lasting solution is needed to prevent another repeat of such outbreaks, not only in China but in all countries.

This requires  a permanent ban on the trade, sale and consumption of wildlife and stricter controls, in the enforcement and prosecution of such illegal activities, especially the consumption of wild animals.

Much of the trade in wildlife is already illegal, but strict enforcement and prosecution measures remain a challenge in many countries.  

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Accountability for the deaths of Sabah’s elephants

Letter to Editor                                           6 February 2020

Sabah has had a challenging year with constant media attention on wildlife issues and numerous deaths of pygmy elephants. In 2019, 24 deaths were recorded with five occurring in the space of four months. These deaths are seldom attributed to natural causes. Illegal hunting, poaching, poisoning and snaring are common causes of these deaths. Although accidents do occur, most deaths appear to have been deliberate, retaliatory killings, after the elephants enter into agricultural areas, where crops are eaten and the ground is trampled. Whatever the motive, the killings are unnecessary.

It is evident that human-elephant conflict (HEC) is a major issue that is now confronting Sabah. These elephants are displaced as a result of the loss of their habitat, which has been divided into sections, impacting their home ranges and natural movement. One of the main causes of these divisions is the issuance of licences for monoculture plantations in the midst of the animal’s habitat. In the end, this has resulted in increased conflicts and killings of elephants in Sabah. 

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Lynas Waste Site – Need For Transparency And Public Consultation Before Any Approvals Given

Press Release                                            3 February 2020

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) calls on the Federal government and its relevant agencies to ensure that there is complete transparency and public feedback and consultations before approving any permanent disposal facility (PDF) of Lynas Corporation for its water leach purification residue (WLP) which contains radioactive wastes.

SAM was alarmed to learn of Lynas’ recent announcement that the Pahang state government has given consent to the company to build the PDF site in Bukit Ketam.

However, according to today’s media reports (New Straits Times, Feb 3) it is the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) that will decide and no decision has been made yet.

SAM would like to stress that according to the laws, the PDF will definitely require approvals from both the Department of Environment (DOE) as well as the AELB, and will require a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 as well as a Radiological Impact Assessment (RIA) under the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984.  

Hence, it is not only the AELB that has to approve, it is also the DOE which must give its approval, given that there has to be an environmental assessment as well as a radiological impact assessment of the facility.

The DEIA and the RIA reports must go hand in hand and must be done properly, with the full public participation, consultation and feedback prior to any approvals being given either by the DOE or the AELB.

Complete transparency in the process must be ensured, especially since the Lynas operations have been highly controversial, generating much public outcry.

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Tapak Pelupusan Sisa Lynas – Ketelusan dan Perbincangan Awam Diperlukan Sebelum Sebarang Kelulusan Diberikan

Kenyataan Akhbar                                     3 Februari 2020

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) menggesa kerajaan Persekutuan dan agensi yang berkaitan agar memastikan terdapat ketelusan sepenuhnya, perbincangan dan maklum balas daripada orang awam sebelum meluluskan sebarang fasiliti pelupusan kekal (PDF) Lynas Corporation bagi sisa penulenan lumpur air (WLP) yang mengandungi sisa radioaktif.

SAM begitu bimbang dengan pengumuman Lynas baru-baru ini bahawa kerajaan negeri Pahang telah memberi kebenaran kepada syarikat terbabit untuk membina tapak PDF di Bukit Ketam.

Bagaimanapun, menurut laporan media hari ini (New Straits Times, 3 Feb 2020), Lembaga Pelesenan Tenaga Atom (LPTA) yang akan membuat keputusan  mengenainya dan setakat ini belum ada sebarang keputusan dibuat.

SAM ingin menegaskan bahawa menurut undang-undang, pembinaan PDF perlu mendapatkan kelulusan daripada Jabatan Alam Sekitar (JAS) dan LPTA, dan dikehendaki menyerahkan Penilaian Kesan Alam Sekitar yang Terperinci (DEIA) di bawah Akta Kualiti Alam Sekitar 1974 serta Penilaian Kesan Radiologi (RIA) di bawah Akta Pelesenan Tenaga Atom 1984.

Justeru, bukan pihak LPTA sahaja yang boleh memberi kelulusan tetapi JAS juga perlu meluluskannya, memandangkan perlu disertakan penilaian alam sekitar serta penilaian kesan radiologi bagi fasiliti terbabit.

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Climate change and water: Protect forests and reduce water loss

Media Statement                                         20 January 2020

SAM is greatly alarmed by the news on the sharp drop of the water level of dams in Penang and Kedah over the last two months. The water level capacity of the Air Itam and Teluk Bahang dams on the Penang Island was reported to stand at 62 and 39 per cent currently. Meanwhile in Kedah, the capacity of its Ahning, Pedu, Muda, Beris and Malut dams was recorded at 62 per cent, 48 per cent, 18 per cent, 81 per cent and 86 per cent, respectively.  

According to the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP), between September and December 2019, the total rainfall recorded in the Air Itam dam area was only 702 mm. This was equivalent to only 44 per cent of the three year average of 1,577 mm, recorded during the same period between 2016 and 2018. For the Teluk Bahang dam, the total rainfall recorded in the dam area between September and December 2019 was 1,732 mm, equivalent to only 56 per cent of the same three-year average of 3,101mm.

We definitely agree with the assessment of the chief executive officer of PBAPP that the low rainfall in Penang in the last four months of 2019 is linked to climate change. Today, we have to accept that climate change is the new normal.

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Hentikan Penganiayaan Ikan Hiasan

Surat Kepada Pengarang                          9 Januari 2019

Gambar-gambar menggerunkan ikan laga (betta fish) yang dibiakkan dalam keadaan pembiakan yang tidak dapat diterima di ladang ternakan secara besar-besaran di Thailand mendedahkan sisi gelap industri ikan hiasan atau ikan peliharaan. Mendapat permintaan tinggi disebabkan oleh warnanya yang terang dan siripnya yang cantik, ikan, tidak seperti anjing dan haiwan berbulu lain tidak mengalami tingkah laku membinasakan atau kebimbangan kerana terpisah apabila dibiarkan sendirian; ia senyap, tidak berbunyi.

Mereka yang memelihara ikan sebagai haiwan peliharaan tidak memikirkan mengenai kesejahteraan ikan tersebut dan bersikap acuh tidak acuh terhadap bagaimana ikan itu perlu mengharungi kesakitan dan penderitaan sebelum ia akhirnya dipamerkan. Sering dianggap sebagai bukan-hidupan, ia dijual sebagai komoditi, dipelihara dan ditempatkan dalam keadaan yang tidak sesuai, mengalami tekanan dan penderaan fizikal dalam beg plastik, botol atau tangki.

Pendedahan mengenai kehidupan ikan laga dalam kekotoran, penderitaan yang dialami dan pengabaian yang meluas di ladang ternakan ikan di Thailand oleh People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) benar-benar membuka mata. Ikan yang amat sensitif ini mengalami penderitaan yang amat sangat dalam perdagangan haiwan peliharaan di mana ia menderita sejak ia dilahirkan di kolam pembiakan sehinggalah ke destinasi di kedai haiwan peliharaan.

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Need to stop the mistreatment of fish kept as pets

Letter to Editor                                          9 January 2020

Disturbing pictures of betta fish bred in unacceptable breeding conditions in massive farms in Thailand exposes the dark side of the pet fish industry.  Much in demand for their bright colours and beautiful fins, fish, unlike dogs and other furry and feathered pets, do not develop separation anxiety or destructive behaviours when left alone; they are completely silent, not a sound, ever. 

People keeping fish as pets have no thought for their wellbeing and are indifferent to how much pain and suffering the fish endure before ending up on display.  Often regarded as non-beings they are sold as commodities, kept in unsuitable ways and in unsuitable places, and suffering distress and physical abuse in plastic bags, bottles or featureless tanks.

The exposure of the filth, suffering, and widespread neglect of bettas in Thai fish farms by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is truly an eye opener.   These sensitive fish suffer greatly in the pet trade where they suffer from the time they are born on breeding farms to their destination at the pet stores.

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Call on Penang Government not to Proceed with cable car proposal

Press Statement                                         8 Jan 2020  

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) wish to reiterate our stand that we do not support the proposal for a cable-car project for Penang Hill, as such a project would affect negatively the sensitive and fragile ecosystems of both the Hill and the Penang Botanic Gardens.

The breakdown of the existing funicular railway cannot be used as an excuse to push the cable-car project, without investigating the causes for the breakdown and how to prevent them in the future.

We understand that the maintenance works for the funicular railway are carried out only once in 12 months. With the overuse of the railway and infrequent maintenance, there is bound to be a breakdown. What must now happen is more frequent maintenance works which could be once in 9 months instead, which can prevent the railway from breaking down.

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