Best of our wild blogs: 26 May 18

2nd June 2018 (Saturday): Herp Walk with the HSS and VSG (Festival of Biodiversity Edition)
Herpetological Society of Singapore

10 Jun (Sun): Chek Jawa and Leave No Trace Discovery with Better Trails
Pesta Ubin 2018

22 Jun (Fri): MAD for Musang! for kids with Cicada Tree Eco-Place
Pesta Ubin 2018

The Long-tailed Macaque Working Group is recruiting: human surveyors and monkey guards!
Otterman speaks

Living reefs of Terumbu Semakau
Offshore Singapore

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What Could Happen If Malaysia Builds Three More Islands

Wade Shepard Forbes 25 May 18;

Fisherman Haji Rossli looked out across the bay, but could hardly fathom what could soon be built there. "Surprised? No, we were shocked," he told me when I asked what his reaction was when he first learned of the plan that calls for his remote fishing village to be transformed into Malaysia's next outpost of progress. Three manmade islands are set to be constructed where there is only sea today, upon which a new smart city, industrial zone, and transportation hub will be built.

The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) Project

It is called the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, and is, in and of itself, nothing unusual in the context of 21st century Asia--a region that is urbanizing so rapidly that the creation of another new city, another new dot on the map, hardly makes its way into the international news stream. Perhaps just as typical is the fact that this new city is set to be constructed on land reclaimed from the sea, a development strategy that has taken on bonanza-like proportions across the region in recent years.

The PSR is one of the more ambitious land reclamation projects for urban development in the world today. An estimated 189 million cubic meters of sand and rock are set to be hauled in from the Malaysian state of Perak to make artificial islands measuring 9.3, 4.45, and 3.23 square kilometers, respectively. These new islands are designed to flow within the natural contours of the coastline, neatly filling in three bays and extending the reach of Penang farther out to sea.

However, unlike other reclamation projects in Penang—which have seen new coastal extensions and artificial islands created for luxury high-rises and shopping malls—the Penang South Reclamation project is slated to be a fundraiser for the Penang state government’s ambitious new transportation masterplan. Essentially, the government plans to take out a bridge loan to pay for their long-awaited project on the contingency that they will be able to repay it via selling the new land to developers.

The Reclamation Bonanza

Traditional fishing village beneath the new luxury high-rises of the STP 1 project in the north of Penang.

“The majority of the people live nearby the water and most cities are located nearby water—water is life and always has been the center of economic activities,” summed up Kees-Jan Bandt, the CEO of Bandt Management & Consultancy, who has in-depth experience with reclamation projects around the world.

New cities built on reclaimed land have become one of the hottest trends in urbanization, providing what amounts to a developmental magic act: government officials can virtually point their fingers out to sea, say "voila," and a blank slate of prime positioned, high-value real estate almost instantly appears. Over the past decade, countries throughout Asia have been reclaiming land en masse:

Cities on China’s coast reclaimed an average of 700 square kilometres of land–that’s about the size of Singapore–from the sea every year from 2006 to 2010 for new houses, industrial zones and ports. The 130 sq km of land that was reclaimed to build the new city of Nanhui was significant enough to reconfigure China’s national map, and the reclaimed land for the Caofeidian economic zone was twice the size of Los Angeles.

Malaysia has massive reclamation works under way for the 700,000-person Forest City in Johor; the Philippines is reclaiming 1,010 acres from the sea for its New Manila Bay – City of Pearl; Cambodia is building a slew of Chinese-financed properties on reclaimed land; Dubai has turned reclamation into an art form; and Sri Lanka is building a new financial district on the dredged and deposited land of Colombo International Financial City. Around a quarter of modern-day Singapore was open sea when the nation state came into existence in 1955.

This new construction land becomes a wild card for governments and developers — they get blank slates of land to develop without the hassles and expenses inherent to relocating people, settling with existing land owners, and redeveloping an already established area.

Big profits

This is where one of the new islands for the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) will be constructed.

The economic incentives for reclaiming land are clear: according to Ocean University of China professor Liu Hongbin, the immediate profit from selling reclaimed land in China can fetch a profit in the ballpark of 10- to 100-times the cost of producing it.

The environmental impact

While there are economic benefits to developing this underutilized stretch of Penang, the local fishermen are worried about the impact on the local maritime ecosystem and, by extension, fear for their livelihoods.

“In this area there is a lot of plankton, a lot of fish and prawn come here,” Rossli explained as he pointed out to the bay. “What will happen to them when they build this project? Maybe they will go to other places.”

His fears are not unfounded, as there are already examples around Penang of what his fishing grounds could soon become. Massive reclamation projects have been happening here since 1975, as the island rapidly grows not only economically but physically as well. In the east, a massive reclamation project saw a new highway and commercial and residential strip appear. In the north, the controversial Seri Tanjung Pinang (STP) project has moved into its second phase, decimating the local fisheries and debilitating the nearby villages which depend on them.

“Before, there were many fish. Now, nothing,” fisherman Mohd-Ishak Bin Abdul Rahman told me previously about the plight of Tanjung Tokong, his village which now sits in the shadows of the mostly vacant luxury condos that were built on reclaimed land at STP 1.

“In terms of impacts to the local community, it has affected the local fishermen the most,” explained Mageswari Sangaralingam, a Penang-based research officer for Friends of the Earth Malaysia. “The reclamation projects have resulted in loss of fishing ground and project activities will adversely impact marine life, the fisheries sector, and thus the livelihood of the fisher community.”

She added that the numerous reclamation projects around the periphery of Penang has changed the island’s coastal hydrology and geomorphology.

“[The environment] will change, it will change,” Rossli lamented. “They will take material from another country and dump it to make an island… So it's not suitable for the fish.”

If Penang’s STP project in the north is a model to go off of, Rossli's fears are warranted. The local crab population there was decimated by mud that the fishermen believe came from the reclamation site.

“The fishermen don't like our project because they say our project is a threat,” Rosmady Mat Abu, who works for the consortium looking to develop the PSR project, told me when I met him on site. “But we do a survey [and found that] the fish is not around this area, only 30%.”

However, for Haji Rossli and many of the other fishermen of Permatang Damar Laut, losing a full third of their fishing grounds to the new islands is significant.

“If the place is still like it is right now everyday we can go and fish there and get some money,” Rossli explained. “If they make an island there it will be difficult for the fishermen, and in the market the price of fish may rise up higher and higher. How am I going to support my family?”

“As fishermen point out, not only the fishes are becoming extinct, even fishermen will soon be extinct as they lose fishing grounds,” Sangaralingam added.

These environmental concerns are real -- so much so that earlier this year Beijing put an end to all reclamation projects not backed by the central government.


Land reclamation in Penang—as well as in other parts of Malaysia—has become a politically contentious strategy for development. With Mahathir bin Mohamad back in power as the country's new prime minister, his administration's intentions for the PSR project still remain to be seen. Although it has not gone unnoticed that Mahathir's ten main government ministries conspicuously lacks one charged with protecting Malaysia's environment.

Wade Shepard is the author of Ghost Cities of China. Traveling since '99. Currently on the New Silk Road. Read my other articles on Forbes here.

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Malaysia: Logging made water polluted, say villagers

joash ee de silva The Star 26 May 18;

KUANTAN: It has been a challenging week for the villagers of Kuala Kenau and the surrounding areas in Sungai Lembing near here.

About 100 of them have seen their water source polluted, turning brown and muddy.

Mohd Nawi Mat Arif, 48, who has lived in the village since he was born, said the dirty water had caused them much difficulty.

“Sometimes we have no choice but to use the brown water to wash clothes. If the shirt is white, it will turn brown,” said Nawi.

Wan Suhaili Wan Kamaruzaman, 34, said she had to send her youngest child to the clinic for itchiness after bathing with the water.

“The doctor gave him antibiotics and an ointment. He is getting better,” said Wan Suhaili.

“Some of us have a treated water supply but it is expensive and it is not switched on 24/7, so we still use water from the catchment area.”

The villagers are blaming logging activities around the water catchment area at Bukit Segantang as the source of the pollution.

Wan Mohd Rasidi Wan Mohd Alih, 51, said the water catchment area had supplied water to their houses for decades.

“When a company started logging near the water catchment area last week, our water turned into teh tarik,” Rasidi said.

“When there is heavy rain, the water would turn muddy and villagers would have to walk 40 minutes up the hill to get clean water,” he told reporters yesterday.

After the villagers took reporters to the logging site and the water catchment area, Sintanmas Timber director Datuk M.K. Tan came to the village to meet the press.

He claimed the firm did not fell trees around the water catchment area, adding it had the necessary permits, including the Environ­mental Impact Report for logging.

“We didn’t log trees near the water catchment area and stopped once we came near it,” said Tan.

“It is hard to say who is at fault with regards to the pollution, but for now we will stop logging to investigate the matter.”

Sungai Lembing state assemblyman Datuk Md Sohaimi Mohamed Shah, when contacted, said he was surprised to hear of the case, explaining that he had reminded the Forestry Department since 2014 not to allow logging activities near water catchment areas.

“These places are very important for the villagers.

“I will try make a visit to Kampung Kuala Kenau and maybe bring Fores­­­try Department officials toge­ther to solve this issue,” he said.

100 Sungai Lembing residents suffering after water source is contaminated

KUANTAN: More than 100 residents of Kampung Kuala Kenau in Sungai Lembing have been forced to use murky water for their everyday chores, including meal preparation, for the past week.

They claim the source of the water had been contaminated due to logging activities nearby.

The residents said many of the houses in the village were not supplied treated water by Pengurusan Air Pahang Bhd (PAIP) and had to rely on the Bukit Segantang water catchment area located about 2km away.

Resident Wan Mohamad Rasidi Wan Mohd Alih, 51, claimed the problem began on May 20, adding that logging activities were at its height then.

He said the water catchment area had been the main source of water ever since the village began a century ago, but the water there was now murky with sediment from the logging activities, sand and leaves from the felled trees.

"The water coming out of the pipes is not just murky... it also contains sand. It's the colour of tea and it gets worse whenever it rains. We have never had this problem before," he said.

Another resident, 43-year-old Wan Khairuddin Wan Noda, claimed the situation had, in a short space of time, caused skin problems, including itchiness, among some residents, especially those who use it to bathe.

“Even though they know that using contaminated water would bring problems, they have no other choice as not all of them can afford to pay for piped water.”

Housewife Wan Suhaili Wan Kamaruzzaman, 34, said it was difficult for her to prepare food for the family for sahur and buka puasa meals.

“I have to collect the water and let the sediment settle first before using it. Even though I am wary of using the water, I have no other choice as this is the only water we have.”

Checks by the New Straits Times Press showed that there were indeed logging activities some 500m from the water catchment area. The water seemed to be a murky, yellowish brown colour.

It is understood that the logging activities, carried out by Sintanmas Timber Sdn Bhd and covering some 24.96ha, is legal. It began on March 23 and will go on till June 22.

Sintanmas Timber director Datuk M.K. Tan, when contacted, denied that the logging had caused any contamination of the water.

“We have followed all the regulations. But, we will investigate the claims anyway,” he said.

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Vietnam: Endangered large-antlered muntjac found in Quang Nam

Nhan Dan 25 May 18;

NDO/VNA – A camera trap has caught the large-antlered muntjac, one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, for the first time in the central province of Quang Nam.

The mammal is classified as a rare and endangered animal in the red book.

The provincial Forest Protection Department said that the photographs captured two individuals, a male and a female, which are both mature and of reproductive age.

They were taken in November last year as part of a biodiversity monitoring and assessment supported by the World Wild Fund Vietnam (WWF Vietnam), US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz - IZW) and local authorities.

“Large-antlered muntjacs do not currently exist in captivity, so if we lose them in the wild, we lose them forever. Scientists are racing against time to save the species. Addressing the snaring crisis to protect wildlife in the forests of central Vietnam and setting up captive assurance populations are vital if we are to succeed,” said Benjamin Rawson, Conservation Director of the WWF Vietnam.

The muntjac, which was first discovered in central Ha Tinh Province in 1994, is endemic to evergreen forests in the Truong Son (Annamite) Mountains bordering Vietnam and Laos. The rare animal has been found in protected areas in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue in 2013 and in the central province of Thanh Hoa in 2016.

The tiny deer has been absent for years due to illegal snare hunting. In 2016, in response to the snare-driven decline of the species the status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of the large-antlered muntjac was changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered.

The survey team is now expanding camera trapping efforts to other areas in the region, including places with high biodiversity potential in Thua Thien - Hue and the north of Quang Nam.

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Best of our wild blogs: 25 May 18

10 Jun (Sun): FREE Chek Jawa Open House
wild shores of singapore

Tree Nest Hole for Rent at Pasir Ris Park II
Singapore Bird Group

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Malaysia: SAM wants sand mining at Perak turtle landing site stopped

Bernama New Straits Times 24 May 18;

LUMUT: Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has called for all sand mining activities at the river mouth of Sungai Puyu in Pantai Pasir Panjang, Segari here to cease immediately to prevent the destruction of turtle landing sites at the area.

Its research field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said the activities have caused problems at the only turtle landing area in Perak which stretched over seven kilometres.

He said the area has been categorised as a 'level 1 environment sensitive area' which could not be developed for any activities or change of land use except for low-impact tourism economic activities, education and research.

"When the sand mining began, we are worried it may disrupt the natural habitat and affect the number of turtle landings.

"The state government should give attention to environmental protection and not only on development.

"In fact, according to licensed turtle egg collectors appointed by the Fisheries Department, turtle egg collection in the area has fallen,” he told reporters here today.

Meor Razak also called for the protected turtle landing site as well as the nearby forest areas to be gazetted as a State Park. — BERNAMA

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Dugong and sea turtle poo sheds new light on the Great Barrier Reef’s seagrass meadows

James Cook University The Conversation AU 25 May 18;

Just like birds and mammals carrying seeds through a rainforest, green sea turtles and dugong spread the seeds of seagrass plants as they feed. Our team at James Cook University’s TropWATER Centre has uncovered a unique relationship in the seagrass meadows of the Great Barrier Reef.

We followed feeding sea turtle and dugong, collecting samples of their floating faecal matter. Samantha then had the unenviable job of sifting through hundreds of smelly samples to find any seagrass seeds. These seeds range in size from a few centimetres to a few millimetres, and therefore can require the assistance of a microscope to be found. Once any seeds were found, they were stained with a chemical dye (Tetrazolium) to see if they were still viable (capable of growing).

Why is this important for turtles and dugong?

Green sea turtles and dugong are iconic animals on the reef, and seagrass is their food. Dugong can eat as much as 35 kilograms of wet seagrass a day, while sea turtles can eat up to 2.5% of their body weight per day. Without productive seagrass meadows, they would not survive.

This relationship was highlighted in 2010-11 when heavy flooding and the impact of tropical cyclone Yasi led to drastic seagrass declines in north Queensland. In the year following this seagrass decline there was a spike in the number of starving and stranded sea turtles and dugong along the entire Queensland coast.

The seagrass team at James Cook University has been mapping, monitoring and researching the health of the Great Barrier Reef seagrasses for more than 30 years. While coral reefs are more attractive for tourists, the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area actually contains a greater area of seagrass than coral, encompassing around 20% of the world’s seagrass species. Seagrass ecosystems also maintain vibrant marine life, with many fish, crustaceans, sea stars, sea cucumbers, urchins and many more marine animals calling these meadows their home.

These underwater flowering plants are a vital component of the reef ecosystem. Seagrasses stabilise the sediment, sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and filter the water before it reaches the coral reefs. Further, the seagrass meadows in the Great Barrier Reef support one of the largest populations of sea turtles and dugong in the world.

Seagrass meadows are more connected than we thought

Samantha’s research was worth the effort. There were seeds of at least three seagrass species in the poo of both sea turtles and dugong. And lots of them – as many as two seeds per gram of poo. About one in ten were viable, meaning they could grow into new plants.

Based on estimates of the number of animals in the coastal waters, the time it takes for food to pass through their gut, and movement data collected from animals fitted with satellite tags, there are potentially as many as 500,000 viable seeds on the move each day in the Great Barrier Reef. These seeds can be transported distances of up to 650km in total.

This means turtles and dugong are connecting distant seagrass meadows by transporting seeds. Those seeds improve the genetic diversity of the meadows and may help meadows recover when they are damaged or lost after cyclones. These animals help to protect and nurture their own food supply, and in doing so make the reef ecosystem around them more resilient.

Understanding recovery after climate events

Seagrass meadows have been under stress in recent years. A series of floods and cyclones has left meadows in poor condition, and recovery has been patchy and site-dependent.

This research shows that these ecosystems have pathways for recovery. Provided we take care with the environment, seagrasses may yet recover without direct human intervention.

This work emphasises how much we still have to learn about how the reef systems interconnect and work together – and how much we need to protect every part of our marvellous and amazing reef environment.

Disclosure statement
Samantha Tol receives funding from various research grants and income from coastal projects and consultancies.

Paul York receives funding from various research grants and income from coastal projects and consultancies.

Rob Coles receives funding from various research grants and income from coastal projects and consultancies.

Alana Grech does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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The Internet: a dangerous place for wild animals

AFP The Star 24 May 18;

PARIS: From ivory baubles and leopard coats to rare turtles and live bears, the online market for protected wildlife is booming, according to an International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) investigation released May 23.

Experts from the NGO spent six weeks last year combing the Internet in four countries – Russia, France, Germany and Britain – for advertisements hawking endangered animals, whether dead or alive, in pieces or whole.

The haul was impressive: 11,772 individual articles or animals in 5,381 ads spread across 106 websites and social media platforms.

Total asking-price value? Just shy of US$4mil (RM15.92mil).

And while it is possible to sell and buy certain endangered species with permits under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), 80%-90% of the transactions proposed were probably illegal, said Celine Sissler-Bienvenu, IFAW’s director for France and francophone Africa.

“The Internet has transformed the global economy, and illegal wildlife trade has transformed with it,” said Rikkert Reijnen, director for wildlife crime at the US-based NGO.

“All those who profit form wildlife crime have moved into the online space.”

Besides turtles, other sought-after reptiles on the black market include snakes, lizards, and alligators. Owls, birds of prey, toucans, cranes and other protected bird species were also on the virtual bloc.

The market for mammals is more varied, ranging from body parts – rhino horns, cheetah and leopard furs, and a pair of coffee tables made from elephant legs – to a menagerie of protected species, trapped in the wild or raised in captivity under doubtful conditions.

“Of the many threats to our planet’s wildlife, the illegal trade of live animals and their body parts is one of the most inhumane,” said Reijnen.

Most of the live animals were on sale in Russia, including big cats, monkeys, lemurs and at least one bear.

IFAW praised the “precious work” and commitment shown by major online peer-to-peer platforms such as e-Bay, which has trained its personnel to join in the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking.

But national regulations are lagging behind, especially for commerce on the internet, the reports said.

As a general rule, sellers – often connected to criminal organisations – know they are breaking the law, but buyers may be less aware.

“They just want some exotic animals,” Sissler-Bienvenu said.

IFAW has forwarded their findings to national and international authorities. Similar reports from the NGO in the past have resulted in legal proceedings against both sellers and buyers. — AFP

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Global warming may have 'devastating' effects on rice: study

Kerry SHERIDAN AFP Yahoo News 24 May 18;

As carbon dioxide rises due to the burning of fossil fuels, rice will lose some of its protein and vitamin content, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition, scientists warned on Wednesday.

The change could be particularly dire in southeast Asia where rice is a major part of the daily diet, said the report in the journal Science Advances.

"We are showing that global warming, climate change and particularly greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide -- can have an impact on the nutrient content of plants we eat," said co-author Adam Drewnowski, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington.

"This can have devastating effects on the rice-consuming countries where about 70 percent of the calories and most of the nutrients come from rice."

Protein and vitamin deficiencies can lead to growth-stunting, birth defects, diarrhea, infections and early death.

Countries at most risk include those that consume the most rice and have the lowest gross domestic product (GDP), such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Drewnowksi said.

The findings were based on field studies in Japan and China, simulating the amount of CO2 expected in the atmosphere by the second half of this century -- 568 to 590 parts per million. Current levels are just over 400 ppm.

For the experiments, 18 different strains of rice were planted in open fields, surrounded in certain areas by 56-foot wide (17-meter) octagons of plastic piping that released extra CO2.

According to study co-author Kazuhiko Kobayashi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, the experiment is designed to be more accurate than growing in a greenhouse.

"This technique allows us to test the effects of higher carbon dioxide concentrations on plants growing in the same conditions that farmers really will grow them some decades later in this century," said Kobayashi.

- Vitamins cut -

Researchers found that iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 -- which help the body convert food to energy -- were all reduced in the rice grown under higher CO2 conditions.

"Vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels decreased by 17.1 percent; average Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) by 16.6 percent; average Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) by 12.7 percent; and average Vitamin B9 (folate) by 30.3 percent," said the report.

On average, protein content fell 10.3 percent, iron dropped eight percent and zinc was reduced by 5.1 percent, compared to rice grown today under current CO2 conditions.

Vitamin B6 and calcium were unaffected, and vitamin E levels rose for most strains.

The reasons for the changes have to do with how higher CO2 affects the plant's structure and growth, increasing carbohydrate content and reducing protein and minerals, said the study.

Higher CO2 means less exposure to nitrogen, which also may affect vitamin content, researchers said.

Not all rice varieties saw the same drops in nutritional value, raising hope that future research could help farmers develop strains of rice that would be more resilient to atmospheric changes.

A separate study out last year by researchers at Harvard University found that global warming would cut protein in a number of key staples, including rice, wheat, barley and potatoes.

The result: an additional 150 million people globally may be at risk of protein deficiency by 2050.

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Best of our wild blogs: 24 May 18

10 Jun (Sun): Dive clean up of the Sisters' Islands Marine Park
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

23 Jun (Sat): Southern Islands Sea Kayaking with Kayakasia
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

24 Jun (Sun): FREE Cach'in in Ubin with Outward Bound Singapore
Pesta Ubin 2018

Singapore Raptor Report – March 2018
Singapore Bird Group

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Woman fined S$4,000 for illegally importing sugar glider

Channel NewsAsia 23 May 18;

SINGAPORE: A 24-year-old woman has been fined S$4,000 for illegally importing a sugar glider, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Wednesday (May 23).

Nur Syahirah Hussein was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint in February. During immigration checks, a live baby sugar glider was found in a red pouch she was carrying.

Sugar gliders - small, omnivorous animals that belong to the marsupial family - are considered exotic wildlife that are not allowed to be imported as pets in Singapore.

The red sling pouch which was used to carry the animal. (Photo: AVA)

In addition to the charge of importing animals without a valid licence, a second of charge of failing to ensure that the animal was not subjected to unnecessary suffering was also taken into consideration, said AVA.

"The introduction of such animals may impact our local biodiversity should the animal be inadvertently released," said AVA.

"More importantly, exotic animals may introduce undesirable animal diseases into Singapore, which could threaten local animal and public health."

AVA reminded travellers not to import live animals, birds and insects illegally.

Anyone found guilty of doing so can be fined up to S$10,000 and jailed for up to a year.

Source: CNA/ad/(gs)

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Malaysia: Sabah imposes short-term ban on log exports

Kristy Inus New Straits Times 23 May 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will stop exporting logs temporarily to ensure there is enough to meet domestic needs.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said this was decided today following a briefing with state-sanctioned organisation Yayasan Sabah Group (YSG).

“I will instruct Sabah Forestry (Department) and authorities for the export of logs to be banned until further instruction from the state government.”

He said YSG would review its investments and not get involved in high-risk areas where it lacked expertise, but did not elaborate.

Shafie gave assurances that YSG would continue to provide scholarships as this was pledged during the election campaign.

Asked whether YSG would go on handing out cash bonuses, Shafie stressed that it would be better to provide jobs and educational assistance rather than cash handouts.

Asked to comment on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the fact that he was one of the few to speak out about the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case, Shafie said he did it for the country.

“I told the previous prime ministerwhat needed to be done. It was up to him.

“For me it was not a problem as I did it for my country. All the rest, like the position of minister, are not important,” he said.

“If there is a need for advice, then we will advise.”

Yesterday , former MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull pointed out that only three former cabinet ministers – Shafie, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah – had dared to speak out about the 1MDB case and it had cost them their jobs.

‘Logging to benefit Sabah first’
stephanie lee The Star 24 May 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will stop the export of its logs overseas so that local industries get priority to timber.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said he would direct for the ban to be implemented immediately after instructing the Forestry Department.

“This ban will be on until further notice,” he said after a briefing at Yayasan Sabah here yesterday.

This move, he said, was to ensure logging activities benefited Saba­hans first.

Annually, the state exports between 200,000 and 300,000 tonnes of logs to countries such as China, Japan, the Philippines and India.

Shafie said the meeting at Yayasan Sabah was to brief the officials on the new state government’s policies and direction.

Being an entity, which had helped Sabahans in terms of employment, education and business opportunities, Yayasan Sabah, said Shafie, would continue to play a huge role in the state’s socio-economic development.

However, he said, he was not satisfied with its current condition.

“Our direction now is to focus on strengthening existing programmes so that these may benefit Sabah to the fullest,” he said.

Shafie said ventures in grey areas or those with uncertain financial viability would cease.

The state government, he added, would also focus on providing sustainable assistance such as scholarships and job opportunities and not handouts to staff and its partners.

On claims by some Barisan Nasional leaders that “someone” had tried to sell Yayasan Sabah in the past, Shafie declined comment.

“However, I will be investigating where the plots of land allegedly meant to be sold are and who manages these,” he said.

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