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.
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.
Malaysia is one of the fastest-growing online markets in the ASEAN region. Malaysians use the internet extensively for news, research, social networking and online shopping. With 19 million people online we have the highest penetration of online shoppers supporting a RM25 billion business which is poised to double by the year 2020. However, are all online shoppers prepared to swim in an ocean infested with sharks? Ecommerce is on the rise owing to several advantages such as the convenience of shopping online, price advantages, exclusive deals and availability of reviews. Booking of airline tickets, hotel rooms, cinema tickets, payment for utility bills, transaction with government agencies and banking have all gone online. Consumers making transactions with such sites or popular online shopping sites seldom face any issues, provided they follow proper procedures and don’t get conned by phishing sites.
Clogged drain at Kg Benggali, Butterwoth. Consumers Association of Penang urges the City Council of Penang (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) to increase efforts in cleaning up drains in Penang to prevent the spread of diseases. CAP’s recent survey at various areas found many clogged drains. They have not been cleaned and were also covered with grease. Waste thrown in the drains clogged them up and produced a foul smell.
The Orang Asli blockade in Kg Kuala Wok, Gua Musang, in Kelantan. 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.