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KUALA LUMPUR – A total of 110 eco-parks have been developed in the country as tourist attractions and new forest wealth creation areas, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said these areas were previously recreational forests and eight of them were state forest parks.

These areas, which were managed by the Peninsular Malaysia Forestry Department, had unique features such as natural landscapes and a diversity of flora and fauna and could be developed as forest eco-tourism destinations, he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the ministry had taken various efforts to generate new sources of income to boost the national revenue through forest eco-tourism, including conservation of the natural forest eco-systems or in-situ conservation such as Taman Negara, state parks and heritage sites.

“The conservation of forests near urban areas or communities, dubbed as urban forests, is undertaken together with local authorities through MoUs, for example the Putrajaya Corporation,” he said when replying to a question from Abdul Rahman Mohamad (BN-Lipis).

The MP had wanted to know the efforts taken by the ministry in the area of new forest wealth creation to increase the national revenue through forest eco-tourism. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Dr Wan
Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today expressed regrets that there are parties willing
to hurt Forestry Department enforcement personnel.

He said he took a serious view of yesterday’s incident where two of a
10-member enforcement team were shot while on duty at the Dungun Forest Reserve.

“This incident should not be underestimated and I was disappointed that
there are individuals who dare to injure the enforcement personnel who are
protecting our forest,” he said in a statement, here today.

He said the Terengganu Forestry Department and the ministry would fully
cooperate with the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) so that the culprits will be
brought to justice.

He was informed that a team of the State Forestry Department was on a stake
out in Kampung Serdang, Dungun, checking into illegal logging activities and
found an excavator and two types of timber in agricultural land near Bukit Bauk
Forest Reserve.

Wan Junaidi said further inspection revealed that the woods were harvested
in Bukit Bauk Forest Reserve, adjacent to the agricutural land and decided to
seize the excavator.

However, as the excavator was being moved, suddenly three shots were fired.
“Two members – an officer and a mechanic – were hit by shotgun pellets,” he
said.

He added that injuries on both victims were believed to be not serious and
both were taken to hospital for treatment.
— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has instructed relevant departments and agencies to assess the impact of land reclamation activities in Penang.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, said the departments involved were the Department of Environment, National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia, Peninsular Malaysia Forestry Department and Department of Marine Parks Malaysia.

“It is an issue that needs to be taken seriously by the Penang government and they should take appropriate action as the land reclamation activities can have a serious impact on the environment including the mangroves, the breeding of fish, turtles and the likes,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Wan Junaidi also expressed hope that the state’s Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow to contact him directly regarding the issue.

He said even though the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had yet to be carried out, but the issue should be taken seriously.

According to media reports, the reclamation project covers an area of 809.73 hectares in Permatang Damar Laut and is feared that the construction of three artificial islands would destroy the ecosystem and affect the income 1,700 of fishermen in the area. – BERNAMA

MARRAKECH – Fantastic — that’s how Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar described Malaysia’s participation at the marathon United Nations conference on climate change that ended here Thursday.

For two weeks, thousands of delegates from some 190 countries have been converging in this historical Morrocan city which put up excellent conference facilities to the surprise of many and they were joined by kings, heads of state and government and ministers in charge of environment in the final week.

All came with the consensus of thrashing out ways and modalities to implement the epic Paris Agreement they endorsed in the French capital last year to tackle the looming threat of global warming.

In the words of Wan Junaidi, Malaysia’s contributions to the conference were significant and counterparts from several countries he met here acknowledged the country’s frontline role in presenting a summary report on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests or better known by its UN jargon, REDD+.

“We received congratulations from delegates and UN Representative Mr Donald Cooper who said Malaysia is now in the forefront of getting some funds from donor countries to mitigate the effects of deforestation,” he told Bernama here before leaving for Rabat enroute home.

“We are now looking for a small amount from the Climate Fund under the Paris Agreement in managing our forests. We need the funds,” he said, referring to some US$100 billion which donor countries, especially developed nations, have pledged up to 2020.

He was particularly pleased with the performance of officials from his ministry and other agencies putting up for the first time the Malaysia Pavilion to showcase Malaysia’s climate conservation programmes which he said was a hit with participants from many countries.

“In past conferences, we did not have a pavilion of our own and had to squat and be at the whims and fancies of other participating countries,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said that in the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Partnership Roundtable chaired by Australia here, several Pacific-rim countries like Fiji and Vanuatu told him they were keen to learn from Malaysia’s sustainable forest management.

“It’s an understatement to say that we are doing well in terms of managing emission reduction and forest management matters. Malaysia also made strong statements on food security that’s being threatened by climate change and in getting international banks like the Islamic Development Bank to get involved in the Crop for the Future Programme,” he added.

Explaining the programme, the minister said food security-wise, Malaysians were taking too much for granted and everyone must be aware of the impact of climate change on food security as a whole and must be prepared for such an eventuality.

Among suggestions made were that the Crop for the Future could be implemented in even small pieces of abandoned or under-utilised land, which did not necessitate the special alienation of land but merely to utilise such land to plant crops.

“I am very impressed with what I saw in South Korea and Japan. For example, one such project done by Hyundai where on the fringe you can see people planting rice. I am seriously thinking of starting one where we bring together departments under my ministry and state governments to undertake such initiative,” said Wan Junaidi.

He said more research ought to be done on turdy and resilient crops that could be grown even on very arid conditions that didn’t require much water.

Wan Junaidi said he was also trying to get more states in Malaysia that had been carrying out logging for economic reasons to move away from this activity to boost forest conservation efforts and, in the larger picture, tackle global warming.

On this score, he said, the policy change initiated by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in the two years since he took over was “most pleasing news”.

Adenan had announced that no more new timber concession licences would be granted under his administration and, equally significant, no more land is to be given out for new plantations.

The new policy, instead, called for increased productivity from existing licences and, if present operators did not comply with rules and methods of managing their logging areas and plantation land, their licences would be withdrawn.

And Wan Junaidi came out with this bold statement to sum up the economics of the logging industry: “Actually most states in Malaysia are doing a lot of logging even though the states themselves are not really getting a lot of revenue from logging but it gives a lot of financial returns only to the logging companies themselves”. – BERNAMA

KOTA KINABALU – Malaysia remain committed to implementing Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in line with decisions reached during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) 1992, Rio+20 Conference in 2012 and at the recent United Nations Sustainable Development Summit said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

“We have held firmly to our commitment to maintain at least 50 percent of the country’s land area under forest and trees. The ability to maintain this commitment is attributed to our continuous implementation of SFM to ensure effective utilization, conservation and protection of forest resources.

“We have well-established Permanent Reserved Forest (PRF)/Permanent Forest Estates (PFE) and give priority to the concept of High Conservation Value Forests as well as the protection of critical ecosystem such as water catchment areas. In addition to the establishment of PRF, various networks of protected areas has also been established in order to secure biodiversity
protection,” he said when closing the International Conference on Heart of Borneo (HOB) here today.

His text of speech was read by the ministry’s deputy secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Azimuddin Bahari.

Wan Junaidi said the Federal Government will continue to support Sabah and Sarawak in the implementation of the HOB Initiative.

He said in the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plan, the Federal Government had allocated about RM34.46 million to implement various projects and activities under the HOB Initiative and had further allocated RM75.07 million under the 11th Malaysia Development Plan.

“The successful implementation of all the activities under HOB also indicate the dedication and support of both state governments,” he said.

He also said the Government of Malaysia recognises the significance of HOB Initiatives, which is in tandem with the existing policies, plans and programmes pertaining to sustainable development, land use and conservation, at both the state and national levels.

“We view the HOB as an important initiative that will directly contribute towards the betterment of forest management and conservation,” he said.

The HOB Initiative is a transboundary effort between Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia to enable conservation and sustainable development that improves the welfare of those living on the island while minimizing deforestation, forest degradation and the associated loss of biodiversity and ecosystem service. – BERNAMA

KUCHING – An integrated investigation on the source and cause of pollution in Sungai Buah which flows into the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant will be carried out soon.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he had directed the DOE director general to conduct the investigation together with the Selangor state government.

The contaiminated water is affecting more than a million consumers in Klang Valley.

He told the media this, today, after distributing minor rural development project grants totalling RM173,500 to 70 associations and organisations in his Santubong parliamentary constituency here.

“We must identify and bring to book those responsible.

“We should use whatever laws we have and we have a number to deal with the culprits such as the Local Government Ordinance, DOE laws and regulations and others with heavier penalties for such offences,” he said.

He believed the pollution was not done accidentally as the problem had persisted for the past two to three days.

“Whether people or the factory owners are careless, ignorant or not concerned at all of the impact of discharging their waste water into the river….we will get to the root of this.

“But I must emphasise here, we will only investigate and will then refer our findings to the Attorney-General’s Chambers to decide on the prosecution,” he said.
Wan Junaidi said he had received numerous reports on what was happening in Sungai Buah, said to be affected by pollution discharges from industrial areas in Nilai, Negeri sembilan. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will ratify the Paris climate change agreement on Nov 4 as it is committed to combating global climate change, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic).

The Natural Resources and Environment Minister announced that he will table the paper to the Cabinet for approval and subsequently deposit the ratification document with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in New York.

“To date, 81 countries have ratified the treaty,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby Wednesday.

The Paris Agreement will enter into force on Nov 4, 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 parties to the Convention – accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions – have deposited their ratification documents with the Depositary.

He said ratification was crucial as it would allow Malaysia to participate in the drafting of procedures and models aimed at reducing global carbon emissions.

A total of 197 countries signed the Paris Agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 2030.

Malaysia is the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Asean, behind Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, contributing to 0.52% of the world’s carbon emissions.

Malaysia has pledged to cut its greenhouse emissions by 45% by 2030.

The country has introduced several measures towards this, such as developing new cities to be carbon neutral, giving tax incentives to companies that report and limit their emissions, procuring more environmentally-friendly Government assets and planting 13 million new trees since 2011.

Malaysia aims to cut another 32 million tonnes from its carbon emissions by 2020.

KUALA LUMPUR – Illegal factories throughout the country, particularly those located near river reserves, should stop operations as they cause river pollution as had occurred lately, said Natural Resource and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

“If possible, river reserves should no longer be used as sewage outlets or factory sites. Illegal factories nationwide should be closed down to prevent river pollution from cropping up again,” he told reporters after launching the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia Act 2016 (FRIM Act) in conjunction with the 31st FRIM anniversary celebration, here today.

He said this when asked to comment on the severe pollution of the Sungai Semenyih caused by the discharge from factories at the Semenyih Hitech area.

On Sept 23, Kumpulan Air Selangor announced in a statement that the Sungai Semenyih Water Treatment Plant had to be closed from Sept 22 to 24 as a result of pollution.

This resulted in a prolonged water supply disruption in the districts of Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat, Petaling and Sepang, and the plant was again closed on Oct 4 due to the same problem.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said the FRIM Act which was gazetted on Sept 30 was enforced from Oct 1.

He said the Act enabled FRIM to commercialise the results of research and development and to form a company to generate its own income to ensure the survival of its services, research activities, development and commercialisation.

“Such commercialisatiom efforts are expected to help FRIM in reducing dependency on government funding and achieve self-sufficiency within a period of five years,” he added. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry through the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) plans to upgrade bunds along the Selangor coastal areas to resolve flooding caused by the high-tide phenomenon.

Its minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the coastal bunds and erosion prevention structures were to stop seawater moving inland especially during the high-tide phenomenon.

However, he said, the global rise in sea-levels meant existing bunds could not stop the seawater.

“The ministry through the DID will take appropriate action with the state government to resolve the flood problem which hit Selangor’s coastal areas following the recent high-tide phenomenon.

“DID plans to upgrade the bunds along the Selangor coastline according to the allocation and this matter will be taken to the Cabinet so that it will get special attention,” he said in a statement here today.

Wan Junaidi said in general, the tidal range varied in different coastal areas of Malaysia, ranging from 1.8 metres to 6.1 metres.

The areas which had high tidal range and low topography were more likely to be submerged during high tide and areas along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia were generally sloping and low, he said.

“The (flooding) incident was concentrated along the west coast, especially the coast of Selangor because the geographical location was most affected by the high-tide phenomenon,” he said.

He added that according to the data analysis issued by the Department of Surveying and Mapping this year and compared to the findings by Google Play Tide Forecast which applies the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) data, the full moon phase was between Sept 16 to 20.

He said the water level could be influenced by the high-tide phenomenon, strong waves, storm surge and strong winds, causing it to exceed the bund height and water to overflow onto the land, causing floods.

As preparation for floods, Wan Junaidi said the DID was ready to provide information of tide schedules to all irrigation canal gatekeepers to control water flow, prepare DID pumps to flush out floodwaters.

“The information and announcement about the possibility of floods as well as information of tide schedules will be passed on to the relevant agencies and early efforts such as maintenance and improvement of the irrigation system under the DID will be carried out to tackle floods,” he said. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – A total of 43 or nine per cent of rivers in the country, mostly in the urban areas are recorded as polluted, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Out of the 473 rivers monitored by the Department of Environment, he said 186 rivers or 39 per cent were slightly polluted while 244 rivers or 52 per cent were clean.

“Most of the polluted rivers are in urban areas where high pollution load originates from multiple sources including water wastewater plants, industries and commercial premises and coupled with small base flow volume due to large percentage of paved areas,” he said in his keynote speech at the Seminar on Water Resources Security in the Context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGD) here today.

His text of speech was read by his deputy Datuk Hamim Samuri.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said he was concerned of suspended sediment pollution from land development activities where huge tract of lands were being cleared for replanting or new commercial crops.

He said for most cases there was little erosion control measures and most of the sediments would be washed into waterways during storms.

“I have received reports that turbidity level for one major river in Malaysia has even reached 6,000 Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU),” he said adding that in a typical case a reading of 1,000 NTU would render a water treatment plant to be shut down.

Wan Junaidi said the proposed Water Resources Act was expected to strengthen water resource management in Malaysia.

“My ministry realises that strong commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders are needed especially the state government and for that reason we have gone to all the states to explain the importance of working together and to accept the proposed bill,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said his ministry was also committed to support and implement the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development (SDG) especially at the security aspect of water resources for the nation. – BERNAMA