Thursday, August 19, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Dear Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak,
I write to you as a deeply concerned and saddened citizen of Malaysia. For most of the 45 years of my life, I have been proud to be Malaysian. Recently, I have become heartbroken to be Malaysian.
I am profoundly grateful to write this with the support of both my local communities in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and California, U.S.A., and a larger world community. That said, I take full ownership of and sole responsibility for the views articulated in this letter; I express them from my stand as a mother, an earth citizen and a leader.
I founded and lead a public charity and non profit organization both in Malaysia and in the U.S., to bridge between worlds and build partnerships for ecological conservation. I have been at the front lines of the founding and mobilization of Green SURF (Sabah Unite to RePower the Future), the civil society movement opposing the construction of the 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu, Sabah, on the edge of the Coral Triangle, one of three of the world's most bio-diverse ecosystems. You know. You signed the 6-nation declaration between Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Solomon Islands to collectively protect this 1.6 billion acres of ocean. You also know of course of your pledge at Copenhagen to reduce carbon emission intensity by up to 40% by 2020. You likely also know that the plant will displace fishing communities who have been there for a long time - irreparably contaminating their livelihoods forever. And if you listened, you would also know that they do not want the "development" that your government is imposing on them.
One of the priorities of Green SURF was to study clean energy alternatives to the coal-plant, and propose them to the government. We collectively invested tremendous time and resources to identify and commission the expertise of Professor Daniel Kammen at Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory of University of California, Berkeley to conduct the Clean Energy Options for Sabah report. We had no notion of the outcome of the study, and results showed that Sabah is in an exceptional position to shift towards clean energy due to the availability of natural resources. We are in fact in an opportune position to lead the nation and the region in clean energy - the kind of leadership the world so urgently needs now. I wonder if you know that Sabah is the last coal power-free frontier of Borneo. FYI, the 5 core NGOs in Green SURF are amongst the largest, oldest and most recognized conservation groups in Sabah and Malaysia - collectively responsible for most of the conservation work in the nation, with partnerships that span the world.
We have tried every avenue available to communicate to you the results of our findings and to engage in discussion about the future of energy for Sabah. After months of unsuccessful attempts to meet with you, I can only conclude that you do not want to meet with us. This confuses and disturbs me. Your words in public are about listening to the rakyat (people) and hearing their views. A sizeable portion of the rakyat of Sabah has been doing everything within their power to be heard by you. To no avail. We have given you the benefit of the doubt that word is not getting to you, and yet we have met with those around you who promised they would convey our message to you. Many months, memos, reports, letters, faxes, emails and phone calls later, and we have not received a single response from you or any member of your administration. We also did our best at state level government, and have huge support from within the government but ultimately the message is that this is untouchable because "ini Najib mau" (Najib wants this).
Sir, my most consistent experience of your administration is stone walls, arrogance and insincerity. I am shocked by the behavior of the leadership of my nation. I find it patronizing, archaic, oppressive, blatantly and self-righteously elitist and top-down. I do not experience your administration as democratic, transparent, open, accountable or responsible. There is a deep incongruence between what you are projecting externally and what we have experienced internally. I can only surmise that you intentionally run your administration in this manner. Otherwise, it would mean that your leadership is incompetent and ineffective.
I am angry, and I am not willing to accept systemic disempowerment of our people. I am writing this open letter as a last resort. Sabahans are speaking up because we are deeply troubled and scared about the fate of our ecological and cultural legacy, and what we will be able to hand down to our future generations. Please show true leadership and listen. You and your administration have much to do to regain a modicum of respect amongst many Sabahans. If 1Malaysia is more than a PR campaign and is truly intended "to provide a free and open forum to discuss the things that matter deeply to us as a Nation", please walk your talk.
Yours sincerely, for the children,
Cynthia C Ong Gaik Suan
c.c. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations General Assembly
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Human Rights Watch
The Parliament of Malaysia
Suhakam - Human Rights Commission of Malaysia
Professor Daniel Kammen, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.
FaceBook, Twitter, blogs and websites
Local, national and international mainstream and alternative media
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(passed by United Nations General Assembly, 1948)
* (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
* (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
* (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The surveys found a wide range of marine ecosystems; both pristine and under existing pressures from pollution due to agricultural development (Oil Palm Plantations and Palm Oil Mills).
The findings of this rapid assessment are not reflected in the DEIA, and impacts are therefore under assessed. These comments seek to highlight the marine conditions present in the area, and lead the reviewers of the DEIA (public and government) to reassess the validity of the baseline assessments, and the impacts stated in the DEIA.
The images below indicate some of the key findings of the rapid assessment.
Location map of the Proposed Project Site
Based on these comments, it is hoped that the review panel will request a more detailed marine habitat assessment using a wider variety of methods more appropriate to fringing reefs, mangroves, sandy mudflats and biotic reefs in the sub tidal area, as well as at a wider variety of water depths.
A detailed habitat map of the area should be produced to accurately show what the seabed conditions are and allow a detailed environmental impact assessment to be undertaken.
Tan Kai Yee
Davies Austin Spiji
Submitted to DOE as public comments on the DEIA for the 300MW Coal Fired Power Plant Project, FELDA Sahabat, Sabah.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Include Sulu Sulawesi in coal plant study
http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=54069 by Sandra Sokial
July 31, 2010, Saturday
KOTA KINABALU: An in-depth study on the extent of the environmental impact of the proposed Lahad Datu coal-fired power plant on the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion should be undertaken.Director of Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Philippines, Theresa Mundita Lim, said this would help all affected nations to work together to mitigate the impact and probably address any possible implications as a result of the construction of the plant.
Theresa was responding to a question on the possible rise in sea temperature due to the coal-fired power plant operation, and its effect on marine life and seafood supply within the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion, which also includes her country.
The proposed 300MW coal-fired plant is expected to be built at Kampung Sinakut in Lahad Datu, which utility company Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd claimed to be the only answer to overcome power supply problem, especially in the east coast of Sabah.
Theresa said anything undertaken on one side of the Sulu Sulawesi would always affect the other side of the area.
“That is why cooperation is very important for us. Whatever next step (we undertake), we should be able to think as one. We are not isolated in the Sulu Sulawesi Ecoregion.
“Everyone is affected, so we need to work with each other to mitigate any impact of any activity,” she stressed.
The Sulu Sulawesi Eco-region encompasses three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.