SAM welcomes national forestry review

Letter to Editor                                        March 20, 2018

In conjunction with the International Day of Forests on 21 March, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is pleased to learn that the government of Malaysia is currently reviewing the National Forestry Policy that was launched in 1992 (NFP 1992).

As with policies that require relook after some time, we welcome the move as the nine-page document is in need of an update in view of emerging challenges and international commitments that the country has taken on.

It is a well-known fact that Malaysia has ‘committed’ to the international community that it would maintain 50 per cent of its land area (330,712 km2 or 33 million hectares) as forest cover which means natural forests coverage would be kept at 16.5 million hectares. This is understood to include areas that are designated as managed production forests with logging activities carried out under a system known as sustainable forest management (SFM).

In fact, the bold pledge was first made at the Rio Earth Summit in June, 1992 and reaffirmed consistently at many subsequent sustainability-related global events including the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20, the 20-year follow up to the 1992 Earth Summit.

The pledge has often been brandished by the government as its resolute commitment to protect natural forests as the foundation for the country’s ecological well-being as well as its contribution to the global ecological balance. The commitment gained additional importance with the recognition of the carbon sink function of forests in the fight to stabilise and hopefully reverse global warming.

However, it has to be noted that the foremost policy document in forestry governance – the NFP 1992 – is silent on this famous pledge. It is of great concern that as the country develops further, pressure on forests would increase in tandem resulting in encroachment and conversion of forests into other land-use purposes.

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Save Ulu Muda for our survival

Letter to the Editor                                    14 March 2018

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is disappointed that the Kedah State Government continued to license logging in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve (UMFR), threatening its life-supporting functions..

Covering a total land area of more than 163, 000 hectares (ha), the Greater Ulu Muda Forest which comprises the UMFR and surrounding forest reserves, is the largest natural heritage area in the northern region. This forest complex is twice the size of Singapore or 1.5 times the size of the State of Penang.  

The UMFR is home to many rare and endemic species, sheltering thousands of species, including large mammals such as the Asian Elephant, Clouded Leopard, serow, Malayan Tapir, Malayan Sun Bear and 10 types of Hornbills.

Due to its size and nature, the UMFR serves as a huge carbon sink that traps carbon dioxide and produces oxygen daily. In this context, the UMFR helps to mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming.

Most importantly, the UMFR is the largest water catchment area in the northern region. Rainwater collected in the natural environment of the Greater Ulu Muda forests fills the three major dams in Kedah – the Ahning Dam, the Muda Dam and the Pedu Dam. Raw water from the Ulu Muda also flows through Sungai Muda to Penang.

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Selamatkan Ulu Muda Untuk Kelangsungan Hidup Kita

Surat Kepada Pengarang                         14 Mac 2018

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) dan Persatuan Pengguna Pulau Pinang (CAP) kecewa dengan Kerajaan Negeri Kedah yang telah memberikan lesen pembalakan di Hutan Simpan Ulu Muda (HSUM), yang mengancam fungsi sokongan hayatnya.

Meliputi kawasan berjumlah lebih daripada 163,000 hektar (ha), Hutan Ulu Muda yang meliputi HSUM dan hutan simpan lain di sekitarnya, merupakan kawasan warisan semula jadi terbesar di wilayah utara. Kompleks hutan ini dua kali ganda saiz Singapura atau 1.5 kali saiz Negeri Pulau Pinang

HSUM menjadi tempat tinggal kepada banyak spesies nadir dan endemik, melindungi beribu spesies termasuk mamalia besar seperti gajah Asia, harimau bintang, serow, tapir, beruang matahari dan 10 jenis burung enggang.

Berdasarkan kepada saiz dan keadaan semula jadinya, HSUM menjadi penyerap karbon besar yang memerangkap karbon dioksida dan menghasilkan oksigen setiap hari. Dalam konteks ini, HSUM membantu menghalang kesan perubahan iklim dan pemanasan global.

Paling penting, HSUM merupakan kawasan tadahan air terbesar di wilayah utara. Air hujan ditadah dalam alam sekitar semula jadi hutan Ulu Muda yang mengisi tiga empangan utama di Kedah – Empangan Ahning, Empangan Muda dan Empangan Pedu. Air mentah dari Ulu Muda juga mengalir melalui Sungai Muda ke Pulau Pinang.

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SAM urges the kelantan government to Respect indigenous peoples land rights

Media Statment                                        1 March 2018

Blockade in Cawas, Gua Musang             Picture : SAM

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is disappointed that the Kelantan State Authorities still approve logging activities, monoculture plantation projects, land-use conversion to agriculture and mining in the Permanent Reserved Forests (PRF) in Kelantan without respecting the customary rights of indigenous peoples (Orang Asli).

The land conversion in PRF does not only destroy the original forest cover (natural forest) through the clear-felling harvesting method, affecting forest biodiversity, it also affected the rights and lives of the Orang Asli in particular.

Since 15 February 2018, the Orang Asli community from the Temiar tribe had set up several blockades in Cawas, Simpor, Kampung Kuala Wok in Gua Musang District, Ulu Kelantan, to prevent logging, mining and large-scale plantations in the PRF.

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Sam gesa kerajaan kelantan hormati hak tanah adat orang asli

Kenyataan Akhbar                                     1 Mac 2018                   

Blockade in Cawas, Gua Musang              Gambar : SAM

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) kesal kerana Pihak Berkuasa Negeri Kelantan masih  meluluskan aktiviti pembalakan, projek ladang monokultur, tukar-guna tanah kepada pertanian dan perlombongan dalam Hutan Simpanan Kekal (HSK) di negeri Kelantan tanpa menghormati hak tanah adat masyarakat Orang Asli. 

Tukar-guna tanah dalam HSK bukan hanya memusnahkan litupan hutan asal (hutan asli) melalui kaedah pengusahasilan secara tebang habis yang menyebabkan fungsi kepelbagaian hayat terjejas, tetapi juga telah menjejas hak-hak dan kehidupan masyarakat Orang Asli khususnya. 

Sejak 15 Februari 2018 yang lalu, masyarakat Orang Asli dari suku kaum Temiar telah mendirikan beberapa sekatan termasuk di Cawas, Simpor, Kampung Kuala Wok di Jajahan Gua Musang, Ulu Kelantan untuk menghalang kerja pembalakan, perlombongan dan ladang berskala besar di HSK

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Operasi Pengorekan Pasir di Sedim, Baling, Kedah Membimbangkan Penduduk Kampung

Kenyataan Akbar                                    11  Februari 2018

180211 Penduduk Kg Pekan Sedim dan Kg Bkt Rawa membantah aktiviti pengeluaran pasir di situPenduduk Kg Pekan Sedim dan Kg Bkt Rawa membantah aktiviti pengeluaran pasir di situ

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) memandang serius tentang kegiatan mengorek pasir yang sedang aktif dijalankan di Kampung Pekan Sedim dan Kampung Bukit Rawa, Sedim, Daerah Baling, Kedah di mana ia menimbulkan kebimbangan kepada sebilangan besar penduduk-penduduk kampung pada ketika ini.

Rata-rata penduduk di empat buah kampung yang berdekatan iaitu Kampung Bukit Rawa, Kampung Pekan Sedim, Kampung Gelugur dan Kampung Kepala Titi menyatakan kekhuatiran mereka berhubung perkara ini kerana pelbagai masalah akan timbul kepada mereka sekiranya kerja-kerja pengeluaran pasir diteruskan. Selain itu kehidupan seharian mereka akan terjejas serta laluan utama di jalan Kampung Bukit Rawa turut akan digunakan oleh lori-lori besar yang mengangkut pasir.

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Bantahan Kegiatan Pembalakan Secara Tebang Habis Untuk Tujuan Projek Ladang Hutan dan Lain-Lain Kegiatan Di Sebahagian Hutan Simpan Bukit Enggang, Daerah Sik, Kedah

Kenyataan Media                     21 Disember 2017

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) membantah kegiatan pembalakan secara tebang habis seluas 500 hektar untuk tujuan projek ladang hutan (atau dikenali sebagai penanaman secara monokultur dalam Hutan Simpanan Kekal) di sebahagian Hutan Simpan Bukit Enggang (HS Bukit Enggang [Kompartmen 12, 13, 14 dan 15]).

Kegiatan usahasil (pembalakan) secara tebang habis dirian pokok hutan asal yang tidak terkawal telah menyebabkan kebanyakan struktur alur air dan anak sungai di kawasan yang dilesen terhakis dan berlaku pemendapan sedimen.

Kesan daripada kemusnahan struktur alur air dan anak sungai telah menjejaskan ekosistem dan sumber air masyarakat khususnya di kawasan penempatan berhampiran.

SAM dimaklumkan bahawa penggerak projek/pelesen/kontraktor tidak mengemukakan Laporan Penilaian Kesan Kepada Alam Sekeliling (Laporan EIA) kepada Jabatan Alam Sekitar (JAS).

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Zombie TPP trade deal threatens climate

Press release                                          15 November, 2017

This weekend trade ministers from the 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have attempted to salvage the trade deal by suspending a number of controversial provisions. Leaders could not reach a final agreement as predicted yet endorsed the deal in a statement and made a commitment to continue negotiations.

Friends of the Earth International warns that the rebranded Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership would still threaten people and planet, if approved.

Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Resisting Neo-Liberalism Coordinator, said: “The zombie TPP deal continues to stagger on terrorizing people across the Asia Pacific. Now is the time to put this deeply unpopular and environmentally destructive deal to rest. Trade can not trump climate action any longer.”

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Malaysia should not give in to a new TPP

Press Statement                                         09 November 2017

In the next few days, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Trade and Industry will be making a major decision on behalf of Malaysia on whether to join other countries to revive and sign a new Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) without the United States.

They will be at a meeting in Danang, Vietnam, where the remaining 11 TPP countries (including Malaysia) are meeting to agree to a new text of the TPP, which they hope will be signed in Danang by the political leaders in the next few days.

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Government must act now in wake of 4 November Penang flood tragedy

Press Statement                                     5 Nov 2017

The Consumers’ Association of Penang and Sahabat Alam Malaysia  are very distressed by the tragedy that has taken place yesterday and early morning today in Penang.  

The floods, landslides and the disruption of people's lives are even much worse than what happened on 15th Sept. 

Yes - there was non stop rain and very high winds, but the major factors causing this mega flood and landslides  have been the removal of the hill forests,silting of the rivers and overdevelopment in Penang which has replaced the green areas with concrete. This has resulted in the heavy rainfall not being able to be drained because of the loss of trees and fields which act as a sponge absorbing the water and because the rivers and drainage system are clogged up by silt and cannot clear the rain water. 

The State government has to fully recognise that we are in a state of environmental and social crisis. It can no longer be in a state of denial. It must at last recognise that we have genuine manifold problems and that these problems have to be tackled head on, instead of the State being on the defensive and denying that there is any crisis or problems. 

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