Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tengku Adnan admits Pakatan leading social media battle

Barisan Nasional (BN) admitted today that its rivals may be leading in the social media battle but described it as merely a superficial appeal that may not necessarily translate as votes.

“Voters may not follow us on social media because we are the government and maybe they think we have the mainstream media.

“The other side may have more hits but that doesn’t mean they (voters) would vote for them,” coalition secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor told reporters at the launch of its “Skuad BN” campaign.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Information Department Denies Issuing Statement on PM's Alleged Resignation

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 -The Information Department today stressed that it had never issued any statement on the alleged resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as reported by several social media websites which the department discovered this morning.

Its director-general Datuk Ibrahim Abdul Rahman said the denial was made following the suspected hacking of the department's e-Akhbar and e-Press systems, with two posted statements, Memo Permohonan Rakyat Malaysia and Perdana Menteri Secara Rasminya Meletak Jawatan on e-Akhbar and Memo Permohonan Rakyat Malaysia (e-Press).

"The Information Department Malaysia has taken immediate action by removing the false statements from both systems.
"This is to prevent the dissemination of these statements by the irresponsible parties and to avoid confusion to the public," Ibrahim said in a press statement, here.

He said the department was also conducting an internal investigation on the matter.

A police report would be made for further investigation to be carried out, he added.


Friday, January 25, 2013

IRIM President Vs. CEO MPOC

CEO MPOC Tan Sri Dr. Yusof Basiron is facing criticism over his statements involving the oil palms' "invasion" of the natural forests that if Malaysia aspires to be a developed country; it has to follow other developed countries by reducing its forest to a more sustainable ratio such as 33 per cent. It gets no reward or compensation for maintaining more than 50 per cent of its land as forest. Such moves hamper the country's effort to become a developed nation as it is not able to unlock its national land assets as practiced by other developed countries." 

IRIM President (the Malaysian Institute of Foresters), Dato' Prof. Dr. Hj. Abd. Rahman Bin Hj. Abd. Rahim in responding the statements said: “This is a baffling set of statements.  Coming from the head of MPOC (the Malaysian Palm Oil Council), it is all the more bizarre, ... rather unbelievable. We can only speculate that the Malaysian oil palm industry has been under continuous pressure from environmentalists the world over, with criticisms pointed at oil palms' "invasion" of the natural forests - in this instance, Malaysia's much valued rainforests."

"This has led CEO Tan Sri Dr. Yusof Basiron to react, often branding the attacks as competitors' smear tactics. "

"It was probably in that sentiment that Tan Sri Yusof made those remarks in NST.  But to readers in this country, the comments reflect negatively on his thinking. To foresters, this is preposterous. They view this kind of disposition as sectoral mind-set where oil palm is seen The savior to the nation's economy and that oil palms should replace forest, and do the job." 

IRIM's concern

"MPOC is obviously indifferent to the non-monetary, biodiversity wealth of our natural forest and the environmental services it provides. His view that forests are less worthy than oil palm does not take into account those attributes. The universal call: "Save the Rainforest" is construed as a subtle move to stop Malaysia from advancing its economy, rather than a precautionary appeal to maintain its already fragile ecological balance."

"We, at IRIM (Institut Rimbawan Malaysia) must express consternation about Tan Sri Yusof's stand that the country needs to reduce forest cover to a third of the country's land area because having half of the country under forest today "hampers" national development. So, forests are antithesis to national development! This is a sad indictment.  But the premise simply does not hold water.  We are not convinced that Malaysia will effectively emerge as a developed country by "unlocking its national land assets" to oil palm as the case of the now developed nations."

"Europe lost most of their forests during Industrial Revolutions two-three centuries ago, and America, during 1820-1870. To suggest that Malaysia emulate developed countries and remove most of its forests is to send us back to the poverty days of Europe centuries ago. We have cleared enough forest for FELDA in 1960 - 1970s to raise the economy of the rural people. If grand deforestation does take place again, it will have little to do with eradicating poverty."

"True, oil palms have great capacity for carbon adsorption, just as other vigorously growing tree crops. But the process of establishing plantation, especially the large scale burning of peat forests, scientists claim, will release billions of tonnes of carbon, contributing to global warming. The same area will be due for replanting and a repeat session of carbon emission, even before the crop can make up for the previous pollution."

Lacking in congruence

"MPOC's ideas about deforestation are incongruous with government's aspirations under ETP whose primary aims is making Malaysia "a high-income nation that is both inclusive and sustainable by 2020." Sustainable growth is about "meeting present needs without compromising those of future generations." It must be stressed here that "present needs" should not be interpreted as merely economic needs. High-income status is to be achieved in balance with the security of the natural environment. " 

The ETP adds: "In economic terms, growth will have to be achieved without running down Malaysia’s natural resources..... In environmental terms, the Government is committed to the stewardship and preservation of our natural environment and non-renewable resources. The Government will ensure that environmental resources are properly priced and that the full costs of development are understood before investment decisions are made."

"The 33 per cent forest cover suggested by Tan Sri Yusof as "sustainable" level, for Malaysia is way below the government's declared 50 per cent forest cover made during the 1992 Earth Summit, and again at the 2009 Copenhagen Accord."

Capital for development

"In today's competitive and high-technology world, Malaysia continues to be over reliant on natural resources as capital for economic development. ETP works towards overcoming this weakness. In line with the more progressive economies it encourages the use of alternative capital assets such technology (electronics), intellectual prowess (R&D, innovation), talent and acumen. (There are still many young Malaysian graduates who prefer to stay behind in the countries of their studies, or work elsewhere, because of lack of demand here for their acquired expertise). " 

"Europe and America went through the deforestation process in Industrial Revolution times because they had no option but to use land as capital for development. With the availability of today's technology and infrastructure would they ever think of devastating their forests for development? In our case, today we have the choice.  We are in the world of science and technology, we have entrepreneurs and well trained and educated human capital, and we have local and foreign financial resources besides our own natural resources. In other words, we have several different means to help build the economy. Why do we need to repeat what Europe and America did to their forests? "

A growth engine and its challenges

The oil palm industry is one of the eleven industries selected as the growth engines of the ETP. They are identified in the ETP as the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs).  

"The oil palm plantation industries of Malaysia would know better:producing for export palm oil for domestic use has a limited future in view of the pending competition from Indonesia's massive expansion programmes. Reluctance of owners of local producers to do replanting for reasons of temporary loss of income will not help with improving productivity. Malaysia is losing out to Indonesia in the fundamentals: production cost and volume of output per hectare (Indonesia has better site qualities in terms of topography and natural soil fertility) and huge capacities for expansion."

"The key growth factors that point to Indonesia's advantage for example are the obvious availability and lower cost of labour, Malaysia's minimum wage policies for labourers which are going to hit the industry hard, and not the least, the returning to Indonesia of now higher skilled workers, with prospects of higher positions, having benefited from their experiences in Malaysia. "

"Apart from increasing FFB yield and speeding up replanting when replanting is due MPOC is presumably focusing on maintaining the quality of products in hand, and stepping up efforts to create value-added products, such as bio-fuel, and by-products such as oleo derivatives, and perhaps "new" non-oil products based on oil palm fibre."

"MPOC is already heading in this direction. In other words, the strategy option for the future is downstream.  By opting to turn away from clearing new areas of forest land, MPOC will be making significant contributions towards the conservation of the country's forest ecosystem."


"The oil palm industry leadership at MPOC knows best where its competitive strengths and advantages lie.  At IRIM we feel that increasing production of palm oil may not necessarily be the best way to combat threats of competition.  A commodity price war with Indonesia will be an exercise in futility. Moral elements need to be taken into account. Further deforestation for economic benefits must not ignore the burdens to future generations of ecological losses."

"On the other hand, taking the leadership in raising the value chain through technology and scientific research is the logical step to take for the industry. It is a case of developing a variety of value added or "new" high quality products as opposed to producing palm oil as purely a commodity item. Modern day palm oil research and management will help strike a balance between profitability and security of the environment."

"We need government's help to resolve this palm oil - forest conservation conundrum perhaps through multi-stakeholder dialogues with discourse on environmental economics and natural resource management, to ensure sustainable development is achieved for posterity. In protecting the environment, Government ought to institute strong policies that will require factoring the ecological values into economic considerations in all cases of land use."

"In seeking harmony of man with nature, the government needs to weigh a situation much more deeply than the traditional throwing of ready-made policy dices. A revisit of existing land use policies is needed. Past decisions based on the simple guidelines of the much outdated Second Malaysia Plan (1970) LCCS (Land Capability Classification Survey), has cost the government incalculable losses of valuable forest land or devastation of ecologically vulnerable sites. Natural resources are getting scarce."

"We need to allow the Precautionary Principle to stand out as a point of reference before arriving at decisions on land use. This is crucial. We do not want to reach a point of time when people are telling us that we are no longer capable of meeting the needs of future generations."

"Forestry and oil palm industry must not be opponents, but instead, exponents in matters of balanced use of natural resources while securing a foundation for sustainable economic development. Minor forest produce, pharmaceutical plants on one hand and palm oleo derivatives, palm fibre and mill wastes, all have potentials to offer economic benefits to mankind - perhaps much more than what we know today. As responsible citizens, people in forestry and the oil palm industry can work hand in hand in optimising the use of natural resources before them while assuring continuity of benefits to posterity.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Karpal tells Hadi to state PAS stand on Kelantan gender rules

Is PAS and DAP the parties politically incorrect that makes the mutual cooperation appear foolish?

DAP chairman Karpal Singh calls upon PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to publicly make the party’s stand on the by-law on gender segregation issue, and not to leave the matter to the Kelantan state executive council.

Karpal, said the silence by the Kelantan exco to review the by-law on gender segregation that forbidding non-Muslim women to cut the hair or non-Muslim men, and vice versa in salons in Kota Baru did not speak well of a responsible government.

“PAS leaders should realise that silence is not the way out and it only aggravates the position. The by-law should be outlawed without further ado,” he said in a statement here today.

Karpal said the justification on enforcement of the gender segregation made by the Kota Baru Municipal Council was publicly announced by the State Local Government, Cultural and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan on November 24.

“To him (Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan) the ruling was a non-issue and he said the by-law was introduced in 1991 in line with the PAS state government’s slogan ‘Growing with Islam’ that applied to both Muslims and non-Muslim, and in 1999 stricter conditions were imposed by the council,” he added.

However, Karpal said the justification certainly evoked fear on the part of non-Muslims that attempts were being made to apply Islamic law to non-Muslims, which would ultimately mean the introduction of hudud to non-Muslims.

He said the vehement public justification by Takiyuddin of the by-law was obviously the cause of the silence on the part of Kelantan state exco to review the by-law.

Karpal said “the last that the DAP would want to do would be not to scuttle efforts by the opposition pact in its quest to capture Putrajaya in the coming election.

“However, that the objective cannot, and must not, mean sacrificing principle at the altar of political expediency. The DAP is committed to opposition to any attempts to extend Islamic law to non-Muslims, whether directly or indirectly,” he added.

He said PAS must respond quickly on this issue, in view of the fast approaching elections.