Jakarta, December 8th The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated in Jakarta, Indonesia this week (December 2-10)[i]. If signed, RCEP would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue governments at international tribunals whenever they feel government regulation can limit their profits[ii].
New research reveals that investors have launched 50 lawsuits at secret international arbitration tribunals against governments negotiating the RCEP agreement for a total of at least $31 billion US dollars.
The daily income of nearly 200 fishermen in Kampung Sungai Batu, Pantai Remis, Perak has been affected by the encroachment of trawler vessels into their fishing zone. The problem that has persisted for more than 10 years has not only threatened the fisheries resources and various species of marine life, but also polluted the Zone A where fishermen make a living from.
In a survey carried out by Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), we found that fish and shrimp caught by fishermen in the area have decreased. Prior to the encroachment, the fishermen could earn more than RM100.00 per day. But now they only earn RM60.00 per day.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) previously warned and anticipated news of the costly upkeep of the pandas in Zoo Negara. In fact it is to be expected considering that pandas are the most expensive animal in the world to keep.
As far back as 2009 and 2012 SAM had strongly objected to the deal, being highly critical of the move to bring in the pandas which the Chinese government is happy to rent out for a six figure fee. At that time the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment and Zoo Negara had an attack of panda-mania which conjure up the entire brouhaha drowning out the concerns of NGOs and the public.
Since pandas are the superstars of endangered species, charming gentle and vulnerable, a single animal can mean millions of visitor dollars, so it will raise a dwindling zoo revenue. Studies of zoos having pandas show there is a ‘honeymoon period’ when visitors flock to see them. Over time, the panda presence will have less to do with conservation or education and more to do with bringing in the gate collections. When revenue starts to decrease the panda cub will bring in more visitors to offset the cost of keeping the animals.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) objects to the Kedah state government’s proposal to construct a Fishery Terminal in Tebengau near Kuala Kedah because it will adversely affect the environment and livelihoods of coastal fishers here.
The RM1.831 billion mega project known as the Kedah Integrated Fishery Terminal (KIFT) is reported to be fully funded by Lu Hai Feng Development Sdn Bhd from China. The project is proposed to begin next year after approval was obtained from the National Physical Planning Council last month.
Much furor has been created over Penang Forum’s letter to UNESCO requesting for an advisory mission and an impact assessment of the proposed Penang Transport Master Plan and how it might affect the Outstanding Universal Value of Penang’s World Heritage property.
NGOs have been accused of putting Penang’s world heritage status at risk and back stabbing the Penang State.
Are these accusations justified?