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Archive for the ‘Press release’ Category

MEDIA RELEASE
Tangkak, Johor.
Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) elected a new president today. Associate Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed, 51, is the 20th president of MNS since the society was founded in 1940. Dr Maketab, a lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), was elected at the society’s 63rd Annual General Meeting held at Taman Rimba Lagenda Ledang near here.

The AGM also passed a motion calling for a moratorium on the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment. In addition the AGM saw the election of new members to the society’s council and board of trustees.

In accepting the presidency of the society, Dr Maketab said: “I would like to thank the trust given by MNS members to me as the new President and to the new Council members. At the same time, I would like to thank the outgoing Council members, especially Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, the Immediate Past President, who have carried out their duties diligently.”

Dr Maketab holds a PhD in Watershed Science and has over 25 years of professional experience, specialising in environmental hydrology. He pledges to lead the MNS team towards reinforcing its vital role as Malaysia’s oldest and largest membership-based conservation organisation by addressing emerging threats head-on and strengthening MNS Branches; the key to MNS’ power-base.

Dr Maketab said: “Now the hard part – we (MNS Council) have to work hard for the next two years to fulfill our KPIs as indicated in our manifesto towards making tangible conservation impacts on the ground. Core to this is halting the conversion of natural forest to plantations, such as oil palm or latex timber clones (LTC), and protecting Malaysia’s wildlife.”

Dr Maketab said: “Of course, we would bring the cooperation with our partners in conservation, such as WWF, GEC, Sahabat Alam and others to greater heights. We believe in mutual respect and want see that our work in conservation is synergised with other conservation organisations, as well as other NGOs working on issues such as freedom of information and environmental justice.”

Dr Maketab is a long-standing MNS member and is also the current Chairman for the society’s Johor Branch, a position he has held since 2006.

A full list of the newly elected members of the MNS Council can be viewed by clicking this.

These are the results of the 63rd MNS AGM at Taman Rimba Lagenda Ledang Sept 25, 2010 (votes in brackets):

1) President:
Tan Sri Salleh (239)
Dr Maketab Mohamed (333)

2) Vice Presidents:
Dato’ Prof Dr Zaini Ujang (208)
Jeffrey Phang (465)
Kalaimani (410)

3) Council Members:
Harban Singh (516)
Kanitha (505)
Catherine Yule (497)
SM Muthu (418),
Prof Ahmad Ismail (413)
Datin Nazriyah (336)
Henry Goh (309)
Omar Kadir (299)

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Dear members,

MNS Perak’s stand on Temengor Forest Reserve was recently published in Nanyang Siang Pau news daily. The full Mandarin version can be viewed at Nanyang’s website.

Exco member Tou Jing Yi has painstakingly translated the entire text for the benefit of English readers;

Title: Heavy deforestration affecting endangered Temengor. 100 thousand signatures needed to save the hornbills

Ipoh, 7th – The population of hornbills are disappearing in Perak, a state with the rare sight of “thousands of hornbills covering the skies” that could be seen in the past. MNS has recently initiated a national 100 thousand petition, swearing to awaken the state government to be concerned and would find a solution to the problem through the power of the people.

MNS warned that, the large trees where the huge 4 feet wingspan bird roost and feed, are heavily exploited by humans due to their high economical value, causing the hornbills to loose their natural habitat.

For MNS that protects the nature’s wildlife, Perak is in fact the real “land of hornbill” in Malaysia, not the East Malaysian state of Sarawak (mistakenly written as Sabah in the original article). However, the number of hornbills have greatly decreased today in the virgin forest from Belum State Park to Temengor in Hulu Perak.

If the state government remained to stay abstinence of the matter, Perak’s largest green lung would be described as “no birds in the thousand mountains, no human in the miles of road” (literally translating this poetic sentence, an approaprite translation might be “a place with no birds nor humans”) in the future.

The gathering point of Plain-pouched Hornbill

Lee Ping Kong, Vice President of MNS Perak branch told “Nan Yang Siang Pau”, the society is currently actively involved in hornbill conservation work in Perak.

“Perak is a gathering spot to conserve the globally threatened Plain-pouched Hornbill. Thousands of Plain-pouched Hornbill flying in huge flocks is a rare phenomenon is South East Asia, Perak happens to have it as a seasonal phenomena.”

Hoping for a stop in issuing logging permits

“MNS has conducted the inaugural hornbill survey in 1993, there are up to 2600 birds sighted in a single day. In the survey during September 2008, the number has increased to 3600 birds, this has indicated that the population of the hornbill has been increasing in 15 years. However, the survey in 2009 indicates the number of Plain-pouched Hornbills, that had been the most abundant hornbill species in Temengor, had plunge to less than 60 birds.”

He says, MNS hope to collect up to 100 thousand signatures by the Earth Day on 5th June, to support the state government in stopping the issue of logging permits for the virgin forest of Temengor, in order to save the wild animals.

10 species of rare hornbills gathering at Temenggor

Hornbills are slow moving but funny looking birds, it requires two crucial conditions to survive, other than requiring huge trees to nest in, it also requires large fig trees for them to roost and feed.

Lee says, if we would want to see the hornbills gather and roost, the prime condition is unlogged virgin forests, once the tall huge trees are cut down, the nesting conditions of the birds will totally be damaged.

“The Plain-pouched Hornbill could fly in flocks up to 80 km. According to records, they can fly from Bang Lang National Park of southern Thailand to western Temenggor forest in Perak. Pos Chiong in Temenggor, located 50 km from the Malaysian-Thai borders, is the common roosting spot for the Plain-pouched Hornbills.”

The Temenggor and surroundings are virgin forests of 130 million years of history, is the gathering paradise for 10 rare species of hornbills, can be said to be only location to see hornbills in Malaysia (This is probably a misprint, I believed they could have originally meant that this is the only location to see ALL TEN species of hornbills?), and also with the highest count of these birds.

In the survey conducted in Temenggor forest during 1993, there are up to 2600 individuals of different species of hornbills in a single day. MNS will conduct surveys in the month of August and September annually.

Recently, MNS sent in teams to survey in the forests, during the lowest peak of February and March this year, there are hardly 20 Plain-pouched Hornbills sighted. MNS members has divided into batches to survey a few important spots during the morning and evening periods.

Pledging to implement 4 steps to save birds

MNS hopes to call upon public opinion, in order to request the state government to save the hornbills thorugh 4 major steps. The Belum-Temmengor forest group that was listed as the Belum State Park, is gazetted as the Royal State Park in May 2007. Park. The location is however recently excessively deforested and has threatened the roosting habitat of various organisms.

Lee says, if the mass legal or illegal logging activities continued with no limits, Malaysia will lose its first class natural tourism product, including the lost of chance in seeing wild elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, Malayan tapirs, gaurs (seladang) and impressive phenomenon of ten of thousands of hornbills flying in flocks in the forest.

For the society, the forest with hornbills are those that were healthy and pristine, the number of hornbills, is the thermometer to indicate the survival of wildlife in the forest. With the disappearance of such big forest-loving birds, even fierceful tigers and wild elephants could not have a pleasant stay and life.

He said, through the digital satellite images, one can see the images of logged areas in Temenggor forest, this could have indicated illegal logging activities.

4 majors steps to save the birds

1. Stop issuing new logging license for Temenggor.
2. Completely stopping logging events in Temenggor by 2012.
3. Develop a comprehensive forest management plan for Belum-Temenggor forest.
4. Strengthen the enforcement on the hunting and trading activities of wildlife.

“When books are needed (literal translation of a Chinese proverb, meaning books are valuable to obtain knowledge when we need it, this is likely a “Useful knowledge/tip” segment of the paper): Hornbills got their name from the rhinoceros like “horns””

Hornbill is a large exotic and precious bird, it is a common name for birds from the family of Bucerotidae, order of Coraciiformes. The hornbills were well known because of the bone casque that is grown at the bill base on certain species. The bill length is one third to half of the body length, wide and flat toes are very suitable for tree climbing, thick and long eyelashes are grown on the pair of big eyes.

The most curious part is on its head, that has a crest that looked like a helmet, known as casque, just like the horn of a rhinoceros, hence it is known as the “rhinoceros bird” (Chinese name for hornbills).

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Voice of people

KUALA LUMPUR: Like the tapir that has become its recognisable mascot, the Malaysian Nature Society has seen and been through it all. Seventy years down the road, MNS continues to fight many green causes in the country.

During a briefing of its 70th anniversary celebration yesterday, president Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor stressed that MNS strived to be the “voice of the people” as it belonged to everyone who wanted a green Malaysia.

With nature as the classroom and a little guidance from experts, MNS believed that anyone of all ages can go green — a belief it has held since its inception in 1940.

“MNS is not for people who hug trees. It is for everyone.”

“We’re not extremists. We’re not against the government. But we won’t hesitate to be critical if something is wrong.”

Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor (centre) officiating at MNS’ 70th anniversary celebration yesterday. With him are Malaysian Naturalist honorary editor Datuk Ahmad Rejal Arbee (second from right) and MNS executive director Dr Loh Chi Leong (right).
But Salleh lamented that MNS “could do better” than the current 3,800 members.

“If you become a member, we will help you express your concerns,” he said.

With its tagline “70 years: Conserving Nature, Celebrating Life”, this year’s activities are focused on conserving nature for the present and future generations of Malaysians.

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Image scan by Lee Ping Kong
Mandarin-English translation by Tou Jing Yi

Title: Malaysian Nature Society’s environment protection contribution and urges the public to protect natural heritage sites

“MNS has a history of 70 years. Their duty is to protect nature, natural resources; to immerse into the people, academic institutions; and with realistic means to allow every party to carry out their responsibility to protect the environment.”

Nanyang181009a1[1]

Perak has an extensive amount of tropical rainforests. However, due to development, wildlife in the forest is decreasing day by day. As some of this rare species are disappearing, MNS acts as a frontline army fighting for environmental protection, creating awareness on the public to protect the environment and the importance of conserving the wildlife.

MNS has a history of 70 years and has branches all states in the country. Perak branch itself has been running for 40 years, having 167 members today.

The duty of MNS is to protect nature, natural resources; to immerse into the people, academic institutions; and with realistic means to allow every party to carry out their responsibility to protect the environment.

Conserving Endangered Species

Leow Kon Fah and Lee Ping Kong, the president and vice president for MNS Perak tells “Nan Yang Siang Pau” that the society will focus its strength and effort on environmental protection.

Nanyang181009b[1]

Lee says, once the natural environment is lost, recovery is impossible. One good example is the Ipoh’s surrounding limestone hills. There are numerous beautiful limestone hills and some contain drawings by prehistoric men. Animal fossils found also tell us the limestone hills were originally under the sea millions of years ago. However, without safeguarding, its natural heritage and historical value are slowly fading away.

He says, other that these natural heritage sites, the society is also very concerned with wildlife conservation, especially those that are endangered. MNS run some environmental protection programs to help wildlife regain their natural habitats.

“We hope that through research work we conducted, the government will understand the importance of conserving all these natural heritage sites and we could work together in protecting Mother Nature.”

MNS is currently conducting a research project on hornbills. This project involves recording numbers of hornbills observed in respective locations around Perak from time to time to detect whether their habitats are disturbed.

He says, from the number of the birds, it is easy to tell if the certain forest is retaining its original ecosystem.

Into the Campus

To protect the environment, the effort of a small group of people is not enough. The society has to rope in societies and schools in order to run environmental projects.

Recently, MNS have participated in Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Kampar, workgroup in wetland conservation and promoting eco-friendly campus. He says the university has a natural lake that hosts herons and other wildlife. However, due to the development, natural habitat has degraded.

He says the society wishes to educate the different departments in the university, including lecturers, architects and students on ways to “carbon neutralize” the campus via the greening projects.

He says the society would not only aim at theoretical education but also hands-on practices. Planting the right types of trees for landscaping and wetland plants will also be included in the project.

“We will teach the students how to observe and count the birds on a daily basis”. He says any interested academic institutions can contact the society and request for assistance.

Experiential learning for students

He says through participative projects, students can experience environment protection. This will teach them not to dispose rubbish and waste everywhere and also to pass this message on.

He says school-based Kelab Pencinta Alam mooted by MNS has 15 schools in Perak. For example, students are taught to be gardeners and they are assigned to carry out works such as planting, watering, pruning as well as removing weeds.

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The story so far

We had a good meeting with YB Dato Hamidah Osman together with various government agencies on 29th Sept.

Star KNP 1

This is the first meeting in regards to Kinta Nature Park to formulate a good solution. A press conference was held immediately after the meeting and YB Dato Hamidah Osman has publicly announced below decisions;

1. MNS proposed area of 900 hectars of Kinta Nature Park will be fully gazetted.

2. The park will be renamed to “Perak Nature Park- Bird Sanctuary” or “Taman Alam Perak Bird Sanctuary”.

3. The park will be managed and funded by Perak State Park Corporation.

4. MNS will serve as partner in the management and conservation of the park.

5. The State Park Corporation will be given three weeks to draft the management plan proposal for presentation in the upcoming state EXCO meeting as part of the process of gazettement.

6. The park is scheduled to will be fully operational by end 2009, utilizing state’s 2009 budget.

7. All duck farms and sand mining activities in Zone One of the park have to be stopped immediately. Enforcement to secure back park’s boundary will start this week.

8. Economic activities in Zone Two and Three will be outlawed in stages. Notices will be issued to duck farms in these zones immediately.

9. Perak Nature Park- Bird Sanctuary will be put in the same category with Belum, Gua Tempurung and Bukit Larut managed by State Park Corporation. They will be heavily promoted for ecotourism.

10. A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by MNS, Department of Wildlife and National Park & State Park Corporation soon for the management of the park.

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Article dated Sept 26, 2009
Star KNP 420px

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KNP 1The scene is set. Great weather, flocking birds and a whole lot of news journalists. The day couldn’t be better that this – it was perfect.

We all know that real conservation work is done in the outdoors. Not in the office. Hence, having a press conference under the morning sky was the natural thing to do. By 9am, the countryside of Batu Gajah sprung into life and Kinta Nature Park became the center of frenzy.

TV crews and news reporters came from all corners of the country to catch a glimpse of Malaysia’s largest heronry and to soak up some bad news – the roosting ground is at the verge of destruction.

Mooted by Vice Chairman Lee Ping Kong and Bird Group Co-ordinator Lim Kim Chye, the outdoor press conference’s main objective was to highlight unscrupulous activities that have infringed the park reserve boundary.

YB Datuk Hamidah Osman, the Exco in charge of Perak state tourism and environment, was present to brief journalists on steps to be taken by the state government to safeguard the park. She promised that the Kinta Nature Park predicament will be brought up and discussed in the next exco meeting.

It was unfortunate that representatives from Perhilitan did not turn up although personally invited by YB Datuk Hamidah. During the walkabout tour, she spent some time making phone calls to Perhilitan office to get a clearer picture. She was also perplexed by the guard’s attitude (yes, there is one at the gateway) when asked why he did not stop anyone from fishing or dredging sand in the park.

MNS Perak Branch stressed that the place must be gazetted as a protected sanctuary as soon as possible to prevent further unlawful intrusion.

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TV stations’ microphones all aimed at Lim Kim Chye

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During the frenzy of press conference, no one notice that the poor YB was already standing at water edge. Thank goodness pressmen stopped short of pushing her over

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Scribbling only journalists can understand

KNP road map 420px
Road map issued by VC Lee Ping Kong to help everyone find Kinta Nature Park

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While everyone was drawn to the key storyline, this photographer preferred dead fishes for insight

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YB Datuk Hamidah wasn’t too happy with the response by Perhilitan

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So far, roughly RM625,000.00 has been spent to spruce up Kinta Nature Park. Without doubt, the observation tower is the star attraction here

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While everyone was busy debating about how Kinta Nature Park can be saved, locals continued to cast their fishing lines into the lake … tsk tsk

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VC Lee Ping Kong in his element with RTM crew

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It’s true what they say: Newscaster only need to look good waist up. Notice the sandals 🙂

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The guard said he is only taking care of amenities around the park. Dubious activities and intrusion is not in his job description, nevermind the Perhilitan payroll

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Surrender yourself to Kinta Nature Park’s breathtaking landscape

MNS Perak Branch would like to thank YB Datuk Hamidah Osman, news journalists, filming crews and all who have helped made this open-air press conference successful. Even the warm blue sky is smiling on us. We would also like to express our deepest appreciation to MNS veteran members who came to lend their support.

Special features will be highlighted by prominent TV stations like Bernama, TV3, Astro Awani, NTV7 in their respective prime news slot tonight.

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