Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category


Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman has urged European Union member countries to stop its ongoing campaign against the oil palm industry.

He said it was rather unfortunate that some of the EU member countries had painted a negative image in an attempt to boycott the industry.

Those who were against the industry must realise that Malaysia has 680,000 oil palm smallholders, of whom 200,000 are from Sabah, that happens to be the largest producer of crude palm oil (CPO) in the country, he claimed.

“A negative campaign or boycott could affect global CPO prices. What is going to happen to these smallholders whose livelihoods depend on oil palm?

“This could mean loss of income for them and their families,” he said during a courtesy call by a 14-member EU Delegation of Ambassadors led by ambassador and head of delegation of the EU to Malaysia, Maria Castillo Fernandez, at his office in Kota Kinabalu today.

Musa, who is also the state finance minister, said the Sabah government had taken steps to ensure the oil palm industry continued to be sustainable, which included the launch of a programme in 2015 to have all CPO produced from Sabah to be Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

In that endeavour, he said the Sabah government had the support of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to guide the CSPO process, and hoped the EU member countries could keep an open mind on the matter.

Musa further said that Sabah adopted one of the best forest management and environmental conservation practices in this region.

The state government has gazetted 26 percent of its total land mass as totally protected areas, which exceeded the International Union for Conservation of Nature target of only 10 per cent.

“We are actually targeting 30 percent or 2.2 million hectares, which we are confident of achieving in the next five years, if not earlier,” he said.

The chief minister said it must also be noted that Sabah had restored and planted forests well over 700,000ha, presumably the largest such undertaking in the tropics.

“I must tell you the Sabah story on forest management, so you can tell it to your European communities…concerted efforts with concrete results are being made and this must be made known to the world,” he stressed.

He also informed the delegation of the state government’s close ties with the federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who continued to focus on the needs of Sabah in terms of allocations to fund development initiatives.

Musa looked forward to continue cooperation with the EU countries in terms of trade, investment, tourism and culture, alluding to the EU film festival that was launch this evening.

Meanwhile, Fernandez assured Musa there was no official boycott against the oil palm industry by EU member countries, but that there was a debate on the issue of oil palm and deforestation.

“We want to reach out to the stakeholders in Malaysia and engage in a dialogue to better understand the industry so we can explain it to the European communities,” she said.

French Ambassador to Malaysia, Frederic Laplanche said the good work done on forest conservation in Sabah must be acknowledged, in which the state had been forward-looking and deserved the EU support in the spirit of cooperation.

Bernama


Coffee is one of Sabah’s main commodities and has become synonymous to Tenom as it produces the most famous coffee brand among the locals, Kopi Tenom.

Tenom has 1,197 hectares of land cultivated with coffee. Total coffee cultivation in Sabah is 2500 hectares and about half of the total land in the State planted with the commodity is in Tenom.

The total acreage in the State however, had actually dropped by about 30 per cent since 2005 because most of the lands, once used for coffee farms, are now planted with oil palms.

ONE DAY NOT FAR AWAY WE MAY NO LONGER SMELL THE COFFEE.

Coffee plants thrive in stable environments where a precise combination of temperature and precipitation allows beans to prosper while keeping their taste profile. The report below shows that countries once offering the proper mix of climate factors in the “bean belt,” including Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Ethiopia and Vietnam, have become less hospitable because of shifts in weather patterns scientists say can be attributed to climate change.

Coffee supports the livelihoods of 125 million people around the world, including some of the most marginalized and poor people in developing countries.

Climate Change Threatens World’s Coffee Supply, Report Says

THE NEW YORK TIMES

By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

Coffee beans in Dalat, Vietnam.

A report examining the many ways climate change threatens coffee and coffee farmers has alarmed people who are now imagining what it would be like getting through the day without their caffeine fix.

The report, released this month by the Climate Institute, a nonprofit organization in Australia, was commissioned by Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, the regional hub of the global Fairtrade system.

Though it contains little new research, it has made waves by collating an array of available literature indicating that climate change will have a stark effect on the world’s coffee supply.

The report emphasizes the threat warming temperatures pose to farmland, citing a study from the March 2015 issue of the journal Climatic Change that found climate change “will reduce the global area suitable for coffee by about 50 percent across emission scenarios.”

In addition to the disappearing land on which to grow coffee, the report highlights the way warmer weather is exacerbating the threat of diseases like coffee rust and pests like the coffee berry borer, a type of beetle that a 2011 report said caused annual losses of hundreds of millions of dollars in coffee beans.

“The extra warmth is enabling those sorts of lines of attack to be strengthened,” said John Connor, the chief executive of the Climate Institute.

Coffee plants thrive in stable environments where a precise combination of temperature and precipitation allows beans to prosper while keeping their taste profile.

The report shows that countries once offering the proper mix of climate factors in the “bean belt,” including Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Ethiopia and Vietnam, have become less hospitable because of shifts in weather patterns scientists say can be attributed to climate change.

The report’s findings, though new to many people, are all too familiar to major coffee companies, which have been scrambling to battle climate change’s effect on their product for the past several years.

“It’s a severe threat,” said Doug Welsh, the vice president of coffee at Peet’s Coffee and a member of the board of World Coffee Research, an international group founded by coffee companies intent on protecting their cash crop.

“It’s anecdotal, but I don’t know any coffee farmers who don’t believe that their weather, and with it their disease and productivity issues, have changed dramatically over the last decade,” he said.

A spokeswoman from Starbucks, Haley P. Drage, said that the company had been offering coffee growers support programs for years to help ensure the longevity of their farms.

“This becomes even more important when farmers experience fluctuating weather conditions that are the result of a warmer climate,” she said. “We believe that with the proper vigilance, as well as a long-term approach, we can help farmers manage the variables that come with these new dynamics.”

But Mr. Welsh, touting the benefits of the World Coffee Research group, said, “There is no coffee company on the face of the earth that’s big enough to tackle the challenge of climate change on its own.”

The strategies the organization is developing acknowledge the severity of the threat from climate change, and many are adaptive rather than preventive — taking for granted that temperatures are bound to keep rising.

For instance, one project aims to create a gene bank to preserve the genetic diversity in Arabica coffee. Another strategy is the creation of a variety catalog with information on various beans’ pest resistance, yield and ability to thrive at certain altitudes. A third is a “sensory lexicon” in which the organization evaluates the new coffee varieties being developed by coffee breeders to ensure their palatability.

But even the organization’s website acknowledges that “there are major gaps in our knowledge of how to best help coffee producers adapt to climate change.”

Mr. Welsh said, “No one, of course, would want to see any coffee species go extinct, but we have to prepare for the distinct possibility that that could happen.”

Molly Harriss Olson, the chief executive of Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, said she was particularly concerned about coffee producers and the impact warming temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns would have on them.

“Coffee supports the livelihoods of 125 million people around the world, including some of the most marginalized and poor people in developing countries,” she said, citing a report from the International Coffee Organization.

“If we don’t do something about it soon, the consequences for these people are going to be absolutely devastating.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/science/climate-change-threatens-worlds-coffee-supply-report-says.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0



This is a story about how some public listed companies from Peninsular Malaysia have gained ” ownership” of Sabah’s Native Title lands through seemingly legal but downright dishonest means via sublease.

This modus operandi, which started around the 1990s, has been so successful that now the talk of the town is that even China nationals are getting hold of Native Title lands by setting up firms and hiring natives as employees, who hold these assets in trust. The whole idea is to circumvent the law and reap millions from the land after adding value to it by planting oil palm or other crops.

In most cases, the public listed companies do not show any of these landed assets in their annual reports, which are hidden under profits and nominees. The nominees are often workers with little education so they dont know they being used. Many of these lands were acquired after the PBS administration and yet declared under a 90-years lease in many of the public listed companies annual report declarations. One such public listed company is IJM Plantations Berhad. The Securities Commission of the Malaysian Stock Exchange should investigate IJM Plantations Berhad to ascertain whether any deceitful practices have been committed in this regard.

The end result is that many SABAH’s NATIVES will lose their lands as these will be consolidated with others and made to appear that these public listed companies have a large land bank with sub leases of up to 90 years as in the case of IJM Plantation Berhad.

So how did major corporations, companies, foreigners and NON-NATIVES gain control of NATIVE TITLED lands that has now allowed them to gain profits ONLY for themselves whereas poor and mostly, uneducated Natives end up gaining virtually NOTHING?

Let me explain.

There are provisions that generally recognise the Sabah Native Title land rights in the Federal Constitution, the Sabah State Constitution and the Sabah Land Ordinance. Yet native communities are still left out and have become embittered and disappointed because there is inadequate care and concern about respecting the spirit of these laws. And infringements of their rights are continuing. Even the SUHAKAM panel has itself described these land grabs as “injustice that is unrestrained”.

It is understandable why with major corporations like IJM Plantations Berhad, foreigners and Non-natives are dealing in native lands. Firstly, land held under Native Title is free of rent for the first 6 years and thereafter only a nominal rent of 0.50 sen per acre is payable. No premium is payable for Native Titled lands. These together with the perpetual nature of the title (999 years) and exemption of stamp duty on transfers, charges and subleases are the generous terms accorded only to Native Lands .

Hence many public listed companies, foreigners and non-natives have influenced, instructed and used poor natives as tools to orchestrate a devious scheme to circumvent the relevant statutory prohibition against dealings, owning, transferring and charging of the land between native and non-natives and to regularise what is an otherwise illegal transaction. The entire dealings are fraudulent in the way they circumvent the law and abuse the protection afforded to Sabahan Native rights and native titles.

IJM Plantations Berhad is of the notion that these natives, as Registered owner for hundreds of acres are not privy to a “shred of paperwork”. In one particular case, a native Sabahan was employed by IJM Plantations as a driver with a salary of RM2000 a month but in records with the Inland Revenue he earns RM5000 and pays taxes, which he only found out when he went to collect BR1M which he was not eligible for.

So, who declared to the Inland Revenue on his behalf and paid his taxes? He and many other natives are not able to benefit from any legal advice nor will they ever be able to find and to put their names to the ownership of these native lands as they are entrenched in some remote place in the interior. This is a simple case of an abusive employer/employee relationship.

The suppression of documentation, creation of illegal documentation and consequently making of a false declaration is not the result of any innocent error but a vital element in the furtherance of a scam which forms the basis of the contention between these poor Natives and these major corporations, companies and non-natives.

IJM Plantations Berhad entered into a sublease agreement with poor natives (as registered owner) and carried out business through the “Sublease Agreements” whereby the terms and conditions of these Sublease Agreements, inter alia are that:

1) 4(h) Lessee ( being IJM Plantations Berhad) shall be entitled at all times and from time to time to create any charge, mortgage, or any other encumbrance on the said Lands or sell or attempt to sell, rent, or otherwise dispose of the said Lands during the subsistence of this Lease or any or all extensions thereof and The Memorandum of Sub-Lease contains the Power of Sale, Sub-Lease and other Powers of these major corporations, companies and non natives which is equivalent to Owners Rights over the Native Titled lands.

These agreements which were in fact Power of Attorney and thus contravened S17(1) and S64 of the Sabah Land Ordinance should be void, illegal and of no effect. To entrench further its hold on these Native Titles, IJM Plantations Berhad also executed Trust Deed Agreements, specifying clearly who had financed the entire sale and “threatening” these poor natives to toe the line. Some of the terms and conditions of the said Trust Deed Agreement, inter alia, are that:

a) The Trustees have entered into a Sales and Purchase Agreement at the demand of the Beneficiary ie IJM Plantations Berhad, in respect of the said Native Titled Lands on the terms and conditions contained in the said Agreement.

b) The consideration due to the S & P was provided, supplied and financed by IJM Plantations Berhad. (This itself is an illegal act as companies money was used and financed for an illegal act acquiring these NT lands)

c) All rights and interest accruing thereon in trust for IJM Plantations Berhad

d) Assign and transfer the said lands to such person or persons at such time or times and in such manner or otherwise deal with the same as IJM Plantations Berhad shall direct or appoint.

e) Any such assignment, transfer or dealings or if so required to enable the interest of IJM Plantations Bhd to be protected.

In furtherance of such scams, IJM Plantations Berhad conveniently execute “white papers pre signed or pre thumbed” by those poor natives ( also known as MOT in escrow), so they may at any time transfer, sublease, sell or charge these lands without informing them . Native Titled land owners have absolutely no idea how extensive the acreage owned by them are as no disclosure nor information on the titles, sublease payments nor tax returns has ever been disclosed to them.

The modus operandi of these rampant acquisitions of Native Titled lands in the pretext of lease legally obtained by IJM plantations Berhad by using so called “proxies”or “nominees” to purchase the native lands gives the notion that Jabatan Tanah & Ukor Sabah concurs with such illegal arrangements and that such practices have not come under any form of scrutiny from the supposed guardian of the NT lands in many of the interior areas of Sabah. In some cases, the Jabatan Tanah & Ukor Sabah and its PPHT Offices throughout Sabah even deem this manner of arrangement legal and valid and proceed to register these sublease on the titles. This in spite of it being patently clear that they are in defiance of the Sabah Land Ordinance. RM 1 for transfers and subleases in some cases are simply baffling!

These public listed companies, foreigners, and non natives then amass millions of ringgit enterprise by representing ownership through their many illegal agreements while the registered Owners (natives), in line with such nominal ownership, remain poor.

The entire dealings are fraudulent and circumvent the law and abuse the protection afforded to Sabahan natives rights and native titles. The authorities lackadaisical attitude over the fundamental rights of the Natives over their lands can be seen in the fact that there are numerous land cases where the Natives initiatives to have their NT lands officially protected have failed.

Pursuant to the Sabah Land Ordinance, it is normally illegal for any major corporation, foreigner and non native to own Native Titles in Sabah. Based on numerous complaints to the Sabah Courts of Non Natives using Natives nominees to purchase Native lands on their behalf, the Sabah Government and Chief Minister Musa Aman should immediately consider a new law to crack down on the use of Native nominees to purchase Native Titles. Such a new law should provide for punishment for individuals (including lawyers, brokers and agents) offering advice to Non Natives on how to hold NT Titles property by concealing and disguising their transactions. The intended law should also allow the seizure of non-natives land found guilty of holding the Native Title property to transfer the land to another Native or to sell it within 30 days.

There should be a balance between protecting Native interest while still welcoming investment into Sabah.

The growing people’s protest are proof of the intolerable impact of land grabbing on local communities by major corporations, companies, foreigners and non natives.

Native communities are losing control of the land, along with their rights to be consulted and to pursue agrarian reform programs. We must remember that the indigenous people were here first and that means something – socially, economically and legally.

Sabah’s poor natives need help to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Only the State Government under Chief Minister Musa Aman can do something for a problem that has been running for over two decades.


Just got this e-mail from Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

__________________________________

We wish to inform you that the following cases will be heard in the Federal Court in Putrajaya at 8.30 am on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

Bato Bagi & Others v State Government of Sarawak;

and

Jalang Ak Paran & Another v State Government of Sarawak & Another.

On March 1, 2011, the Bato Bagi civil legal action, which was filed by five Bakun Hydroelectric Project-affected communities, will be heard together at the Federal Court with another Sarawak civil case, Jalang Anak Paran, due to the similar thread that runs through both cases.

For the first time at the Federal Court, the lawyers for these cases, Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah and Mr. Baru Bian, will argue that native customary rights is akin to right to life under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.

The Court will also hear arguments on other fundamental rights under the Federal Constitution and the constitution of the State of Sarawak and on the issue of adequate compensation.

Essentially, both cases are challenging the authorities regarding the extinguishment of their native customary rights for the construction of the Bakun dam and a pulpmill factory within their customary land, respectively.

Representatives from the five Bakun-affected communities comprising Uma Balui Lebue, Uma Ukit, Uma Lesong, Uma Kulit and Uma Bakah will be present in court as with the representative from the Jalang Anak Paran case.

If you can be in Putrajaya on the morning of Tuesday, March 1, 2011, please come to court to show your support for the communities. We hope to get as many people in court as possible. Interested media organisations and bloggers are also welcome to speak to the community representatives.

For further information, please call +604-8299511.


Today is International Meatless Day – Animal Rights Day.

I am not having any meat today and I hope all my friends who had pledged to go meatless today will abstain from consuming all forms of meat, fish and fowl for the entire 24 hours. It is so nice to know that nearly 11 thousand in Malaysia had pledged to go meatless today.

The International Meatless – Animal Rights Day campaign was first started in India in 1986 by the Sadhu Vaswani Mission- a social service organisation with a spiritual aim dedicated to serving mankind, especially the poor and downtrodden. The mission has declared the 25th day of November as an international meatless day to honour and remember its founder, Dadaji T.L. Vaswani – a saint, philosopher, spiritualist and educationist.

Dadaji T L Vaswani set forth on a noble mission with a vision of practicing kindness that has created a phenomenal transformation that has saved the precious lives of millions of innocent and defenseless animals.

Many Hindus and Buddhists refrain from meat twice a month, on the 1st and 15th of the lunar calendar. Now, the idea has been raised to extend the practice to once a week. This idea might be useful with other religions that have meatless days.

Even Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono, and our Late John Lennon were all for Meatless Day.

It is an inspiration to know that Sir Paul McCartney a vegetarian had urged the world to have TWO meatless days per week – the suggestion being that if the entire planet did this, it would reduce the amount of beef, sheep and pigs required for the table, cut down greenhouse gasses and help with climate change.

So guys, just try having one meatless day in a year in our household – just think it is good for the body – but if it contributes to the planet – what the heck – I can live with 20 days a year without meat lah.

What say you guys?


(I could’nt resist this “SUNSET OVER TANJUNG ARU BEACH, KOTA KINABALU”)

The sun, a star at the centre of the solar system, is known to provide ideal conditions for life to thrive on Earth. But, astronomers have claimed that it also leaves the planet wide open to harmful cosmic rays.

A joint team from University of Arizona and University of Texas in the US has found that the sun periodically leaves Earth open to assaults from interstellar nasties in a way that most stars do not, the ‘New Scientist’ reported.

The sun protects humans from cosmic rays and dust from beyond the solar system by enveloping in the heliosphere — a bubble of solar wind that extends past Pluto. These rays would damage the ozone layer and interstellar dust can dim sunlight and trigger an ice age.

However, when the solar system passes through very dense gas and dust clouds, the heliosphere can shrink until its edge is inside Earth’s orbit. So, in their research, the team, led by David Smith, has calculated the squeezing of various stars’ protective “astrospheres”.


Lets for a change from the heavy politics do our small bit to save Mother Earth from the threats of global warming on March 28th.

Climate Change is undoubtedly and regrettably, the biggest immediate long-term environmental challenge we face. A failure to come to sound policy outcomes on climate change will not only have a negative environmental impact but also social and economic consequences for all of us.

Keen to do your bit to save Mother Earth? Join Nobel peace prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actor Aamir Khan among others to create awareness on climate change.

Over two million people across the world will switch off lights at their homes and offices for an hour at 8.30 p.m. on March 28 to kick-start the ‘Earth Hour’ campaign.

“Climate change is the greatest human induced crisis facing the world today. It is totally indiscriminate of race, culture and religion. It affects every human being on the planet,” Archbishop Tutu said in a statement here.

‘Earth Hour’ is a part of the World Wildlife Fund’s initiative that began in Sydney in 2007 as a one-city campaign when over two million people switched off their lights for an hour. In 2008, the campaign went global with over 50 million people in 371 cities, across 35 countries flicking the switch.

Stand up and join us in the fight against climate change. Support Earth Hour.