SPEED UP THE RECALL OF RIBENA® CORDIAL

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is concerned about the recall of several RIBENA® products by the manufacturer recently.

According to the manufacturer, the recall involved the following products and expiry dates:

RIBENA® flavour (all size packs) Expiry Date

RIBENA®Blackcurrant Cordial May to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Glucose May to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Strawberry February to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Blueberry February to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Apple April to May 2018

We want to know if the recall had started because some retailers are giving special discounts on the product during the first week of August.

We urge the authorities to remove all the affected products from the shelves and announce to the public soonest possible.

Consumers who have bought these products to return them and seek refund from the outlets where they have bought them.

On the other hand, we also want to call upon consumers to drink fresh fruit juices that they extract rather than sugar-laden cordials and ‘fruit juices’ that come in boxes or bottles.

PRESS STATEMENT, 14th August 2017

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

A community from Long Meraan Sarawak Malaysia blockading a logging company © Friends of the Earth Malaysia SAM.

Now more than ever we stand in solidarity with indigenous communities in their historic struggle: statement from Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific

Today on International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific (FoE APAC) groups from 12 countries are celebrating the stories of the indigenous communities.

Globally, there are an estimated 370 million indigenous peoples, the majority of whom are living in the Asia Pacific region. UN figures indicate that they make up less than 5% of the global population and are considered to belong to the poorest 15%.

For hundreds of years, indigenous communities have struggled for the recognition of indigenous rights and the protection of their lives, culture and territories. These collective struggles have resulted in the adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007. Although awareness of indigenous people’s rights and struggles has increased, the struggle for genuine recognition especially on the rights to self-determination, including collective rights to land, resources and territories are still wanting and need to be realized.

Indigenous people continue to be amongst the most marginalized, disenfranchised and vulnerable in Asia Pacific. Aside from their struggle in defence of their land and territories against development aggression, they have to endure multiple crises including in relation to recognition of rights, food sovereignty, energy allocation, and environmental protection. The shrinking democratic space in most countries in the Asia Pacific has resulted in the violation of rights of indigenous leaders and environmental human rights defenders. Last but not least, climate change has brought new threats to indigenous communities, in particular to women.

In many timber-producing countries, the conversion of forests to oil palm and timber tree plantations create a threat to indigenous communities, where logging exhausts natural timber resources. Moreover, the construction of large-scale dams and mining operations continues to displace hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples in many Asia Pacific countries.

Friends of the Earth groups across the Asia Pacific work with indigenous communities and allies to ensure that state and corporate impunity is stopped and to create genuine and just solutions to effect systems change. Friends of the EarthAsia Pacific ensures that its work supports the voices of communities.

Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific believes that while it is important to engage institutions and platforms to create spaces and influence policies, it is equally important that the struggle for the recognition of Indigenous Peoplebuilds a movement supporting indigenous struggles and working with communities, ensuring that their collective struggle is supported.

On International Day of the World’s Indigenous People we renew our commitment to work with indigenous communities to defendtheir territories, protect ecosystems, preserve indigenous cultures’ sustainable systems and practices and work for real peoples’ solutions to the climate crisis.

Now, more than ever, we stand in solidarity with indigenous communities in their historic struggle to overcome institutionalized discrimination and marginalization even as they resist  the neoliberal plunder of their land and resources and fight back against militarization, attacks and violations by governments and corporations.

Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific is hosted at:

No. 258, Jalan Air Itam, 10460 Penang, Malaysia

Tel: +604 228 6 930           Fax: +604 228 6 932

Email: foeapacrf@foei.org

Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific:

Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Korea, Japan, Palestine, Australia, Russia and Timor Leste.

Halt construction of more dams in Sarawak

SAM is gravely concerned with the proposal to proceed with the construction of the Trusan dam in Lawas, Sarawak, as announced by its Chief Minister on July 21. The dam has a planned generation capacity of 275 MW. It is one of the 12 hydroelectric projects proposed for Sarawak, which also include the Murum, Baram and Baleh dams. The Murum dam has already been completed. The construction of the Baleh dam, with a planned generation capacity of 1,285 MW, is expected to commence in October 2018 and completed in 2025.

However, the construction of the Baram dam was called off by the former Chief Minister of Sarawak, the late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem, in March 2016, amid the sustained blockade and protest by affected communities. As reported by Channel News Asia later in May 2016, Adenan stressed that the cancellation of the Baram dam was the result of his examination on the matter. “Thereʼs no need to have another big dam. We can have mini dams and so on, but not a big dam especially when we donʼt supply (power) to west Malaysia anymore.”

According to the Energy Commission in its annual publication, ‘Performance and Statistical Information on Electricity Supply Industry in Malaysia 2015’, the total installed generation capacity for Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) in 2015 stood at 2,241 MW while the maximum demand during the same year registered at 2,288 MW. This however does not imply that there was a negative energy reserve margin in Sarawak. With the inclusion of the Bakun hydroelectric dam, the total installed generation capacity of Sarawak in 2015 actually stood at 4,641 MW, of which 66 per cent was sourced from hydroelectric dams. Overall, Bakun provided 50 per cent of the total unit of electricity generated in Sarawak in 2015, or at 7,721 GWh out of a total of 15,486 GWh.

 

For this reason, we are thus unclear of the actual level of the energy reserve margin in Sarawak in 2015. Energy reserve margin is the amount of unused electricity that is still produced to ensure that an energy provider is always ready for any sudden and unexpected increase in power demand. Therefore, we would like the Sarawak State Government to provide the public with the current and projected rates of the energy reserve margin in the state before making any decision to build more hydroelectric dams or other new power generation sources. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reportedly recommends a reserve margin of only between 20 and 35 per cent.

It appears to us that the policy for energy development in Sarawak is approached in a highly disorganised fashion. Rational decisions that had been made by a former Chief Minister, can easily be reversed just a year later. The announcement to construct the Trusan dam has been made without clear reference to any recent study to justify its development. It has also been made without prior consultations with civil society groups and most importantly, affected communities. The decision to develop hydroelectric dam after dam for a state with a population of only 2.5 million certainly defies any logic. Ironically, many of the indigenous communities living in the rural areas of the state, are still living without state-built electricity infrastructure.

The planned dams will also be flooding the forested and cultivated territories of such indigenous communities. The state had previously undertaken the involuntary relocation of the communities affected by the Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum dams in such an incompetent manner. Affected communities already traumatised by the loss of their ancestral land and traditional livelihoods continued to suffer from prolonged distress, economic hardships, socio-cultural disruptions and an overall severe drop in their quality of life in the resettlement areas.

As such, we would like to strongly urge the state to call off the plan to build the Trusan dam as well as others in the pipeline. At the same time, the state must intensify its effort to provide de-centralised and renewable sources of energy to its rural communities, be they based on solar or mini-hydroelectric dams. In addition, we also would like to know the current and projected rates of the energy reserve margin for the state. Haphazard energy planning and energy wastage will clearly affect the financial well-being of the state, especially at a time when the country is already facing various economic challenges.

Letter to the Editor, Aug 8, 2017

Quarrying Approved in Segari Melintang Forest Reserve: Perak State Authority Not Adhering to Resolution of the National Land Council

Road across the river not constructed properly, hence obstructing water flow and can contribute to erosion and sedementation.

Statement by the Perak State Forestry Director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusof that logging areas in part of Compartment 13, 14, 15 and 16, Segari Melintang Forest Reserve (HS Segari Melintang) in  Manjung District, Perak has been approved for quarrying confirms Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s (SAM ) prior assertions on this matter.

The approval of quarry activities in the Permanent Reserved Forests (HSK) is contradictory and does not comply with the 70th Meeting of the National Land Council in 2014.

Trees in the river reserve and buffer zone cut down.

Tree branches and wood residues from harvesting activities left in the river reserves and buffer zones.

The National Land Council had advised all State Authorities to take initiatives to control or if possible to avoid any approval of mining and quarrying activities within a Permanent Reserved Forest (PRF).

The rationale behind the National Land Council’s resolution on this is due to the fact that mining and quarrying activities withina PRF will directly affect the achievement of sustainable forest management that is central to the management of the nation’s forests.

As the PRF has been approved for quarrying, harvesting of trees will be clear cut.

Clear-cutting harvesting practices are not subject to Annual Allowable Cut, not subject to the Selective Management System and are not subject to full compliance with the Malaysian Criteria, Indicators, Activities and Standards of Performance (MC&I) for Forest Management Certification.

Even before this, SAM had filed a protest through the public participation of the Manjung Local Plan 2030 on the zoning ofquarry in HS Segari Melintang.

SAM’s protest was due to the presence of several existing quarries at HS Segari Melintang which had an impact on the ecosystem of the forest and the coastal area.

Residents of nearby areas, especially those living in Kampung Sungai Batu, Pantai Remis, claimed that logging activities in the jungle had affected a waterfall in Tanjung Batu.

They found tree branches and wood residues from harvesting activities left in the river reserves and buffer zones.

They also claimed that trees in the river reserve and buffer zone were cut down.

Locals find that the forest area being harvested and has been approved for quarrying has the potential to be a recreational area as there is a waterfall and has become a favourite recreation area for locals and outdoor adventurers.

According to feedback from the Manjung Local Plan 2030 Investigation Committee to SAM, the Committee agrees with the SAM’s objection and rejects new quarry applications to maintain existing forest areas.

Therefore, SAM urges the Perak State Authority to reconsider and revoke the approval given for quarrying in HS Segari Melintang area in Tanjung Batu, Pantai Remis, Manjung, Perak.

Media Statement, 7 August 2017

LABELLING OF FOREIGN FOOD PRODUCTS

Mr Idris showing products not abiding Malaysian labelling law.

A recent survey conducted by Consumers’ Association of Penang shows that many foreign food products from China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Korea do not comply with the Food Regulations 1985 Part IV (Labelling) and the Trade Descriptions Act 1972 Part II Section 6(1) accordingly.

The labels on these products do not have the name and address of the importer, distributor and the ingredients contained within the products. Moreover, the language used on the labels also uses the language of the respective country rather than in Bahasa Malaysia as required under the Acts.

In the first instance these products should not have been able to come into the country if we are really serious about the health and religious concerns of our rakyat.

We may assume that products sold are safe to consume but there are things that we may overlook. We have to ascertain if the packaged food is ‘Halal’ or whether the ingredients can cause severe side effects or, in more serious cases, death.

An example of which is a person may collapse and die from anaphylactic shock if he or she accidentally consumes a food product that contains an ingredient that he or she is allergic to. The label serves no purpose if the ingredients are declared in a foreign language which Malaysians are unable to read. For this reason, he or she may end up hospitalised or dead.

The label serves as an important source of information that helps us to make wise and safe dietary choices.

Consumers are also exposing themselves to food additives that they know nothing about such as the use of E-numbers and chemical names. It is possible for manufacturers to state E102 instead of the yellow compound tartrazine which some people might be allergic to, particularly those intolerant to azo dyes.

Consumers may not know that E249 is the E-number for potassium nitrite and E252 for potassium nitrate. These chemicals are used mostly in preserved meats and they can be converted into nitrosamines by the digestive system. Most nitrosamines are carcinogens.

Although E-numbers accepted to be used as codes for food additives within the European Union, Malaysia should ban the use of E-numbers. This is because consumers may not know what these codes represent.

The responsibility of ensuring that imported food products are abiding by the laws is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, and The Ministry of Domestic Trade Co-Operatives And Consumerism; that of halal/haram issues is within the ambit of JAKIM; and the food industry (including importers) is to abide by the various Acts, Regulations, and Guidelines set up.

Shelf life of perishable food products should be clearly printed.The authorities should also ensure that food that have expired shelf life are not sent for repacking and have a new shelf life printed on the new packaging. The determination of shelf life is critical because the onus is placed on the manufacturers to do it.

To facilitate better control over the importation of food products, we propose that food products should only be sent to a specific port before their distribution to the importers. This is to enable a more efficient monitoring of food products coming into the country to ensure that they are compliant to our legal requirements.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) therefore urges the authorities to ensure that food products that have labels solely in a foreign language be taken off the shelves and for retailers to ensure that such products are not sold at their outlets. Otherwise it will be making a mockery of the law.

Press Statement, 3 August 2017