News & Updates

Sabah Government To Impose Heavy Penalties On Shark Hunters

The Sabah government will impose heavy penalties on shark hunters from this year, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. Masidi said shark hunters would face a mandatory jail sentence for up to three years and a fine of at least RM30,000 or both under the Fisheries Act.

“This is to save the endangered animal species from depletion. There are various types of sharks out there which require more protection,” he said at the closing of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Colloquium 2012, here, Tuesday.

Masidi was previously reported to have said that shark hunting was expected to be illegal in Sabah by early this year.

He said the ministry also decided to implement one of the recommendations of the State Action Plan for conservation of Bornean elephants which officially upgraded the status of the Bornean elephant as protected species in Sabah.

“The Species Action Plan is implemented particularly for the conservation and rehabilitation of Sabah’s three iconic species — the orang utan, the Borneo pygmy elephant and the Sumatran rhinoceros.

“The Sabah government and especially my ministry will do everything in our power to help implement the three Species Action Plans and to promote the establishment of wildlife corridors to enable our flagship species to meet and breed,” Masidi said.

Source: Bernama

Start with chartered flights, Masidi tells Sabah Air

Sabah Air can start with chartered flights or engage strategic partners prior to running a full-fledged airline due to the complexity involved.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun suggested that Sabah Air should begin with chartered flights as it was an easier alternative to get the feel on how to run an airline.


His second suggestion, that is to engage strategic partners, will allow the company to run the airline with people with expertise.


Masidi was commenting on Sabah Air chairman Datuk Yusoff Mohd Kasim’s recent announcement that Sabah Air was looking at serving regional routes such as to Korea, Japan and Australia.


“Although it is a good concept, the process is complicated, starting with buying or leasing an aircraft.


“Buying an aircraft is not easy because there are only a few manufacturers in the world – Airbus and Boeing, and the waiting period is five years,” he said in an interview after officiating at a book launch here yesterday.


In addition, he said most leased aircraft were used ones.


Masidi also cautioned Sabah Air that there were more airlines losing money than making a profit worldwide.


For instance, airlines who do make money include Singapore Airlines while those expanding at a very fast rate are Middle Eastern companies such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways, he said.


The minister meanwhile welcomed Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to have another discussion and find a better solution rather than cutting routes.


“I believe tentatively that they have read all the comments in the paper and they are disturbed with the reaction from Sabahans.


“I have a reason to believe they may now want to reopen another talk with us in Sabah which I’m more than welcome,” he said.


MAS recently announced the suspension of four direct flights from Osaka, Haneda, Seoul and Perth beginning early this year.


On travel agents’ reluctance to sell Sabah tour packages in Japan due to the suspension of the route by MAS, Masidi said the previously five hours’ journey from Japan to Kota Kinabalu had increased to 12.5 hours inclusive of waiting due to MAS’s decision.


“To me, that is a good reason for MAS to rethink their current strategy,” Masidi said.


He pointed out that the Haneda route was a development route, meaning MAS was not expected to make a profit yet.


“I’m trying to impress on MAS, let’s work together and develop those routes. You may not make money now, but you will make money in the future.”


Masidi added that Sabahans with relatives and children studying in Perth were also unhappy about the suspension, while Koreans did not suffer significant impact as there are four Korean airlines serving the route to Sabah.


Source: Borneo Post (by Chok Sim Yee)

Action plan to protect Sabah’s 3 iconic animals

Sabah launched, Monday, three five-year State Species Action Plans for the orang-utan, elephant and rhinoceros, respectively, that will provide a platform for better protection of the three flagship species.

The launching was officiated by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok at the opening of two-day Sabah Wildlife Conservation Colloquium (SWCC), jointly organised by Sabah Wildlife Department and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) together with the Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT), Danau Girang Field and HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme, at the Le Meridien, here.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and Wildlife Director Dr Laurentius Ambu, among others, were present.

Urging the plantation industry to collaborate with the State Government in implementing these Species Action Plans, Dompok was certain that with the cooperation from all parties concerned the oil palm industry can co-exist in a sustainable manner with the environment.

The plans are part of the nation’s continued commitment towards conservation and continuation of its unique flora and fauna, he said.

“Being one of the world’s mega centres of biodiversity, Malaysia has constantly become the focus of the international community and we have led the way in showcasing our effort in wildlife conservation and protection,” said Dompok.

Malaysia pledged to maintain 50 per cent of the country’s landmass under forest cover at the Rio Convention in 1992 and is still honouring this pledge 20 years on.

“Our unique wildlife and biodiversity are our natural heritage, and we owe it to ourselves not to deny our future generations these privileges and environmental treasures that we now enjoy. This demonstrates Malaysia’s commitments on the approach towards sustainable development,” he said.

Dompok said the SWCC 2012 which has aptly adopted the theme “Harmonising Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation with National Development” is the next step forward to better address and manage wildlife conservation issues through a multi-stakeholder approach.

“This is important taking into account that any recommendations should be holistic in nature and aimed at balancing the needs of the people, economy and nature, which forms the basic tenets of sustainability,” he said.

Dompok also spoke of the country’s palm oil industry’s contribution to conservation, saying the industry itself has become more involved in this effort, giving a new synergy to the term ‘corporate social responsibility’.

He said the Government in collaboration with the palm oil industry had launched the Malaysia Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF) in 2006, with the objective of spearheading wildlife and environment conservation efforts in Malaysia.

The MPOWCF was launched with an initial funding of RM20million of which RM10million is a grant from the Government and the balance of RM10million is provided by the palm oil industry.

The fund is administered by the MPOC, which also has the overall responsibility to manage the various conservation projects funded through MPOWCF.

Since its inception, he said MPOWCF has initiated a number of wildlife and biodiversity conservation projects, adding this has contributed to among others the establishment of the country’s first Wildlife Rescue Centre in collaboration with the Wildlife Department.

The other projects are the Jungle Patrol Unit in Tangkulap-Pinangah Forest Reserve, inventory of Sabah’s Orang-utan population, the Orang-utan Infant Care Unit in Bukit Merah and the satellite tracking and conservation of Bornean Banteng in Sabah.

These initiatives reflected the commitment by the Malaysian palm oil industry to environment conservation and wildlife in the country, he said.

In addition, the Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary (BEWS) which is in the planning stage is aimed at reducing potential human-elephant conflicts and create a controlled public access sanctuary to better understand and care for these animals.

Dompok also applauded the strong presence of various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at the colloquium, both from the local and international fraternity.

“Today, the environment favours a scenario where NGOs can work together with the government and industry, to improve the quality and standard of operations and sustainability,” he said, hoping that NGOs would provide alternative perspectives to policies and actions, and give meaningful recommendation on how the government can improve the practices.

This is the constructive approach that we can all look forward to in achieving sustainable growth and environmental conservation, he said, inviting local and international NGOs to assume an active role with the palm oil industry in achieving common sustainable goals.

“I am optimistic that Malaysia can work together with the various NGOs in wildlife conservation and environmental protection,” he said.

About 250 local and international delegates from a multitude of backgrounds representing government agencies, NGOs, universities, foundation, zoos as well as corporate bodies primarily in the palm oil industry and tourism are taking part in the SWCC 2012.

Both Ministers also witnessed the signing and exchanging of four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between the Wildlife Department and MPOC, WWF-Malaysia, The Rhino and Forest Fund and SOS Elefanti, as well as another MoU between the BCT and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd.

Source: Daily Express

Keeping Malaysia green and clean

The 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean Campaign or 1MG1MC, was launched on July 18, 2010 by Minister of Tourism, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. A brilliant and innovative tourism campaign, the 1MG1MC aims to instil a cleanliness mindset among Malaysians, particularly at tourist spots.


It is also to create an awareness of the importance of keeping tourist spots clean and to inculcate in the mind of Malaysians the importance of preserving the beauty and cleanliness of the country.


Through campaigns such as 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean, the Ministry of Tourism believes it will help the ministry to answer the call by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.


The government aims to improve the tourism industry which would provide 2.7 million jobs in the industry by 2015.


In ensuring the success of the 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has been working closely with four other ministries – Ministry of housing and Local Government, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of education and Ministry of Nature Resources and environment.


Apart from collaborating with the ministries, the campaign has also involved several non-governmental organisations, the private sector, Kelab Pelacongan Pelajar and Kuala Lumpur City hall to participate in some of the campaign programmes.


To enhance the success of the campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has also launched the www. 1malaysiagreenandclean. website which is an integral part of the campaign. It highlights and addresses issues pertaining to clean or dirty tourist spots.


The website enables the public and tourists to upload pictures of any spots, especially tourist areas which are clean or those that need upkeeping.


Among the activities and programmes under the 1Malaysia Green and 1Malaysia Clean campaign are:


* Plan A Tree project at homestays registered with the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia. This project is to encourage foreign tourists to plant a tree at the homestay before leaving for their country.


* “Gotong-royong” activities at tourist spots. l Collaborating with food and drinks associations and hawkers to implement a “Cleanest hawker Stall” competition.


* Collaborating with taxi associations and organising a “Cleanest Taxi” contest and ensuring knowledgeable and respectable drivers.


* Organising a “Cleanest Mall” competition. l Collaboration with Giant hypermarket to place the 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign logo on Giant shopping bags.


* A special TV programme for children that will feature “Mr Bin” to emphasise to children the importance of keeping the environment clean.


* Collaborating with print and electronic media to publicise the “1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean” campaign.


* Collaborating with highway companies to distribute 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean stickers at selected toll plazas and R&R (rest and relax) areas to increase awareness of the campaign.


* Organising a “Spot the ‘1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean’ car stickers” competition.


Source: The Star

Sabah losing flagship wildlife species

Sabah is losing her flagship species, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. According to him, there are now less than 11,000 orangutans, 6,000 proboscis monkeys, 2,000 elephants, 500 bantengs and 40 rhinos in Sabah.

On the other hand, the human population in the State is increasing.

“We are 3.2 million today in Sabah. In 2025, it is predicted that we will be 4.2 million, an increase of 30 percent. I don’t want to think that at the same time we will have a decrease of 30 percent in our wild populations: 7,700 orangutans, 4,200 proboscis monkeys, 1,400 elephants, 350 bantengs and 28 rhinos,” he said at the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Colloquium 2012 yesterday.

Masidi also expressed his disgust over the killing of 5,000 kilograms of pangolins that were smuggled out of Sabah last month.

He added that he had instructed his permanent secretary to conduct an immediate probe on the issue and said that poaching was a big problem.

“We need to educate the people and address the corruption within the system. It is time for us to act and not just talk,” he said.

Meanwhile, the event also saw the signing of four memorandums of understanding between the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), WWF-Malaysia, The Rhino and Forest Fund and SOS Elefanti, yesterday.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd which was represented by Area General Operation Manager Mr Ngu Ngiong Hieng.

Source: Borneo Post