PRESS RELEASE

Kota Kinabalu, 22nd September 2013: Since the Prime Minister launched the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) on the 16th of September 2013, Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) has been inundated with calls and emails asking about continued public access to the beach.

“People are understandably concerned, having already experienced losing public spaces to tourism like Pantai Dalit in Tuaran and climbing Mount Kinabalu before the accommodation was privatised and prices rose astronomically. Will Tanjung Aru Beach become a playground for only the rich?” asked Lanash Thanda the President of SEPA.

The number one question SEPA is being asked is if the public will continue to have access to the beach once the hotels are built according to Lanash.

It seems the only information the public has had access to is the concept map published in the local newspaper and a giant signboard that states “Returning Tanjung Aru to the people of Sabah: Rehabilitating the Beach, Regenerating the Park, Rejuvenating Tourism”.

“How can you ‘return’ something the public already understands they have? And does this mean that that Prince Phillip Park will be given more space?” Lanash said sharing just some questions that have been posed.

Most concerns she noted was raised based on the concept, which shows that that they will be 10 tourism projects that include brand name hotels, service apartments and a marina. They also seem to be different versions of the concept map with slightly different designs and one which includes a golf course.
“This is the era of public participation, SEPA urges that a Special EIA be conducted due to the sensitivity of this issue.” stated Lanash.

Knowing how important Tanjung Aru is for all the people of Sabah, the Government needs to be transparent on the project and SEPA has been informed that an office is in the process of being set up and once it is up, the public can get their answers.

To ensure public participation and transparency, Lanash urges the government to quicken the setting up of this office so the public concerns can be addressed.

We have been alerted by experts on water quality and hydrology that due to direct effluent discharge and high erosion factor something needs to be done to ensure the aesthetic beauty of Tanjung Aru is retained and that continued easy public access is ensured for the people of Sabah for future generations,” concluded Lanash.

Sabah Environmental Protection Association
SEPA

***

PRESS RELEASE

Kota Kinabalu, 18th September 2013: It was the people of Sabah, the regular members of the public that rejected three attempts for the building of a coal fired power plant in Sabah clarified Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) President, Lanash Thanda.

3 locations proposed for Coal Power Plant

Lanash was responding to media articles, which quoted the Deputy Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid stating that the proposed coal plant in Sabah had been prevented by “an NGO leader”.

“Mahdzir is new to this Ministry and seems unfamiliar with what occurred in Sabah for the last few years, although he spent time here as a teacher in the 1980s, the people Sabah are the ones who were against the coal fired power plant,” stated Lanash.

The first proposed site was in Silam, Lahad Datu, where the EIA was not approved and grassroots movement led by the esteemed Wong Tack past president of SEPA. This site was rejected by the State Assembly on the grounds of potential harm it would bring to the community and to the nearby environmentally sensitive areas.

The second site was in Seguntor, Sandakan, where the local community took the lead. Once again in 2008, the State Assemble rejected the proposed coal plant due to strong objection from the community and the environmentally sensitive area.
Finally for the third and final time it was mooted by the Prime Minister on December 2008 and to be sited at the Dent Peninsular, Lahad Datu, close to the site of the now infamous Lahad Datu invasion.

In November 2009, GreenSURF, a coalition of individuals and NGOs was formed to lead in the fight against the proposed coal fired plant. In August 2010 the Detailed EIA was rejected, this was due to the hundreds of letters objecting to the proposed coal plant that were sent to the Department of Environment.

In a press statement announcing the rejection of the third attempt of the proposed coal power plant issued by the Chief Minister of Sabah’s office on the 16th of February 2011, it stated that, “The Prime Minister understands that while we need to build up our power supply in Sabah, it can’t be done at the expense of the people’s welfare and the environment,”.

“So, even the Prime Minister says he understands, why are we wasting our time revisiting or even entertaining this idea of another coal fired power plant in Sabah?” asked Lanash.

According to Lanash, enough time, money and effort had been spent on this issue and we must move forward with the Green Energy agenda not take two steps backwards by looking at dirty sources of energy like coal.

“Datuk Mahdzir should be concentrating on improving and expanding Green Energy resources. Sabah has plenty of these and we are more than happy to sit down with him to discuss such options,” concluded the SEPA President.

Sabah Environmental Protection Association
(SEPA)

***

28 JUNE 2013: PRESS RELEASE

KOTA KINABALU: To Earth With Love is organizing a workshop to teach the public on how to manage their household waste with Effective Microorganism (EM) technique. The workshop will be held twice every month from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm at Luyang Composting Centre next to the Luyang Community Hall. Member of public who interested are welcome to come and learn.

This Sunday (30 June 2013) 3.00 pm, the Luyang Community Group is hosting a workshop on how to process a grass waste to compos fertilizer. Public can see on how such neglected waste can be process as a natural fertilizer for small farm and house hold use.

Starred Photos19

Please go to To Earth With Love Facebook Page for more information about the schedule of the workshop. Practitioners of composting waste gladly share their experience and the benefit of managing the household food waste. The workshop will be consisted three sets of skills which are making E-MAS, Mud Balls and Bokashi.

https://www.facebook.com/ToEarthWithLove

EM Naturally Active is a non-chemical solution for use in the home and garden. This concept consists of a range of products for use in and around the home including the garden, for pets, aquariums, swimming pools, making compost from kitchen waste and household cleaning. It boosts the immune system of soil, plants, water, pets and yourself.

Bokashi is a method that uses a mix of microorganisms to cover food waste to decrease smell. It derives from the practice of Japanese farmers centuries ago of covering food waste with rich, local soil that contained the microorganisms that would ferment the waste. After a few weeks, they would bury the waste that weeks later, would become soil.

EM Mudballs are made of dried mud into which EM Bokashi and Activated EM1 have been kneaded. They are used to clean up bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and oceans where there are concentrated deposits of sludge and slime.

To Earth With Love is a collaboration effort between Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), Young Malaysia Movement (YMM) Sabah and Sabah Banking Employees’ Union (SBEU). Many community awareness projects were organized since it started 2 years ago to spread the importance of making sure our environment clean to sustain for future.

Participation from various group such as religious, community and schools has participated and incorporated the know how to their own activities and lifestyle. It is hope that more to join the effort and make sure our environment is still good for our future generation.

Sabah Environmental Protection Association
(SEPA)

***

8 APRIL 2013

KOTA KINABALU, 8th April 2013: Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA)’s new President, Lanash Thanda expressed deep regret that the repeated warnings were not heeded by the quarry company and government agencies resulting in the incident on Saturday which saw boulders crashing down to the village under Kukusan Hill in Tawau.

“Since 2012, SEPA’s past President, Wong Tack had repeatedly highlighted this issue and went down to the ground with SEPA member, Gary Yap to check the situation of this quarry that was allowed to be carried out after the Kukusan Forest was downgraded from being a Class I Forest Reserve to Class II,” stated Lanash who was recently elected to the new committee for 2013.

SEPA had challenged the validity of the quarry, which damaged the environment of the Forest Reserve and endangered the community living at the foothill of the Reserve.

“We deeply regret seeing that once again the needs of development outweighed the wellbeing of not only the environment but also people living in the surrounding area,” said Lanash at a Press Conference held at the SEPA office in Kota Kinabalu.

In September 2012, the company Hap Seng who runs the quarry issued a statement that claimed that the quarry was compliant with the terms of approvals from the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Department of Environment (DOE).

“If the company did comply, this shows that the standard requirement for carrying out quarrying was flawed as it resulted in injury of people in the surrounding area and now the government has said it would relocate all the people living within the area,” pointed out Lanash.

SEPA proposed that the quarry be closed for a thorough investigation which should look into two aspects aspect; firstly on the blasting that has been allowed within the Forest Reserve and secondly on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) particularly on environmental and safety standards that were approved.

“We need to ask if the company had taken into consideration the proximity of the Kampung Tanjung Batu Tengah (Besi Buruk), was this issue identified in the mitigating measures, and if not why not?” asked the SEPA President.

There have been many incidents that show that development has priority over the environment and the safety of people. Like many other issues that SEPA have highlighted over the years certain developments are accidents waiting to happen.

“It was very fortunate that this incident did not result in deaths of the residents of the village but we must learn from our mistakes and we have to move forward by having more stringent measures and standards,” concluded Lanash.

Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA)

***

UPDATE 17 MARCH 2013:

Attention to SEPA Member

Please do informed;

1. You’re eligible to attend the AGM that to be held on 23/3/2013 (Saturday) 2.00 pm at Karamusing Room that located next to the open area outside. Please do come earlier to get your attendance checked before the meeting started. Please refer the attached photo for the venue.

17032013276

2. The nomination of office bearers are.

Nomination for President
Lanash Thanda

Nomination for V.President
Harjinder Kler

Nomination for Secretary
Julia Hwang

Nomination for Treasurer
Irwin Wong

Nomination for Urban Researcher
Alice Mathew

Nomination for Rural Researcher
Nasiri Salbiah

Nomination for Legal Advisor
Chang Chiew Kok @ Jefferi

Nomination for Committee Member
Paul Chang Tuck Yuen
Catherine Chu
Lim Su Yan
Joannie Jomitol
Ng Keam Kee
Elwis Ong Keh Hiung

Election Nomination Submission Form for reference

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_IqwNzP7TzJS0ZubFFDZm8tMlk/edit

3. SEPA Account Report. Please click the link below to view the statement. The 2012 SEPA Account report to be release in few days due to delay in auditing process.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_IqwNzP7TzJMnJfYjM3U19wR0E/edit

4. SEPA 2012 AGM minutes.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_IqwNzP7TzJUWNCbWJONVRKVVU/edit?usp=sharing

For more information, Please contact SEPA Secretary Paul at 0165213117 or reply this email.

Thank You
SEPA

***
UPDATE 8 March 2013: Attention to SEPA Members,

Refer to the AGM Notice sent on 20th Feb 2013,

1. The membership renewal and new members recruitment as of 6pm 8/3/13 is closed
2. The nominations for the election of office bearers for 2013-2015 and motion as of 6pm 8/3/13 is closed

Thank You
SEPA

***
Dear Members,

Notice is hereby given to all members that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of SABAH ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ASSOCIATION will be held on Saturday, the 23rd of March, 2013 at 2.00pm, Karamusing Ballroom, 88300, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to conduct the following businesses:

AGENDA

1. President to call the meeting.
2. To confirm minutes of the AGM 2012.
3. Report by the Secretary, activities and success stories during the year 2012.
4. Presentation of the account and financial report by the Treasurer (2011 and 2012).
5. Motions for adoption (If any).
6. Appointment of the Election Chairperson and election of the Office Bearers for Term 2013-2015.
7. Incoming President Speech.
8. Appointment of the Auditors and Trustee.

Please note that:

1. The Executive Committee in a meeting held on the 18th February has unanimously agreed to extend the membership renewal and new member recruitment till the 8th of March 2013, 4 pm to be eligible to attend and participate in the meeting.

2. For renewal of membership, contact SEPA Secretary Paul at 0165213117 OR SEPA representatives Jefferi at 0168491997 before 4pm on the 8th March.

3. All nominations for the election of office bearers for 2013-2015 and motion (if any) shall be emailed to the Secretary at info@sepa.my before 4pm, on the 8th March 2013 or contact the above numbers. The nomination form will be available on the SEPA website at www.sepa.my .

4. Only members with updated memberships of the society will be eligible to attend and participate in the meeting according to the laws of the society. No proxy attendance or voting will be allowed.

Chang Tuck Yuen
Secretary
SABAH ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ASSOCIATION

***
Download:
Nomination Election Form

***

To Earth With Love are having a EM Mudball, EM Rice Rinse and Bokashi Workshop twice a month started last month till end of this year. The workshop is held at Luyang Compost Center inside the Luyang Community Hall. To Earth With Love is the collaboration between three NGOs (Young Malaysia Movement, Sabah Environmental Protection Association and Sabah Banking Employees Union).

Mudball Workshop

Program Head Deric Chiew explained, the objective of this project is to create more awareness among the community the importance in cleaning our drainage and river by learning to manage our house hold waste. Those who interested to join can look at the program schedule below.

emworkshop

For more photos, please click link below
To Earth With Love: EM Mudball Workshop

***

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Environment Protection Association (Sepa) warned Thursday that persistent non-performance and insensitivity from environmental regulators may force it to work with what he called “totally frustrated” villagers of Keningau until “influential” mill owners are stopped from polluting the Ongom, Ambual and Punti rivers.

Its President, Wong Tack, alleged the villagers are complaining about the same old issue that they have been howling about since 2011.

The rivers are the only sources of portable water supplies for remote villagers who have no access to tap water.

Wong said this in response to a report entitled “K’gau folks claim river contaminated by dirt from plant” published in the Daily Express on Jan 22 which quoted former Kg Tiong Tulid Chairman, Ayoh bin Surun, who charged that the people can no longer use the river water for their various needs because the water has been contaminated and crippled by pollutants from an industrial plant operating in the upper village area.

“As far as I know, this is the fourth time over 13 months a Murut village leader had gone to the press to tell the world that oil and dirt pollution from a relatively new four-year-old plant had ‘crippled a water source for residents’ in the plains of Pegalan River. And we are equally outraged by an utter ‘do-nothing’ from the authorities all that time,” Wong said.

“Where is the Department of Environment (DOE) which has the legal clout to stop industrial plants from discharging effluents into the river?

Where is the MPOB which is in control of licensing oil palm mills?

Where is the State Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) which has the punitive legal power to pull up developers who degrade the water quality of Sabah’s rivers under the Sabah Water Resources Enactment 1998, Sections 41 & 42? Where are all these officers who are supposed to do their job to protect the basic rights of the people to clean water?” Wong asked.

“How many years do these villagers have to come out again and again to the press, after going to all the right channels had failed to move anything, just to ask for their basic rights to clean water be honoured?” he queried.

“Two or three months after the helpless villagers had gone to the press to highlight their plight in the Daily Express in January 2011, we went up to Keningau and Sook to identify the source of the pollution.

We walked through the rivers, we talked to the people, we drove to two mills and basically only two mills, and one manager even boasted to us they are very influential but how influential are they that the people must sacrifice for them their basic right,” Wong asked.

“We found that the trouble spots involve just one or two mills, which means that the sources of black oily effluent pollutants are very clear and so how could they be so difficult for the DOE or the DID to identify?” Wong asked.

“How many times do the regulators mandated with all the legal powers in the world want these desperate people to complain and beg them to do something right before their utter insensitivity be stopped on its track?” Wong asked.

“Where is this slogan called People First?” he said.

“How much more do the authorities expect totally unpaid NGOs like Sepa to run around to try whip them into lifting a finger to help out with such obvious suffering and legitimate complaints only in the end be accused of ‘sampai bila boleh habis objection ini?”

Wong Tack said Sepa had tried its best to move matters with the State Environment Ministry and the Minister (Datuk Masidi) had promised to set up an Inter-Governmental Committee to tackle the problem of river pollution.

“We want the committee to immediately look at this current and active hotspot of complaint in Keningau and Sook where villages still depend on clean flowing rivers for their daily drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, irrigation, livestock needs. But how come there is so much talk and no action on such an active problem?”

“We raised the Keningau issue at a meeting between the DOE and the Environment Action Committee (EAC) a few months back, but the DOE officer present amazed us that their tests on water sample collected from the troubled rivers in Keningau rated the rivers clean with out-of-this-world talks like ‘sungei ini besih, mana ada masalah (this river is clean, where got problem),” Wong claimed.

“Given such extraordinary claims, Sepa asked the DOE officer concerned to furnish a copy of their water sample tests to us but until today, we have not received anything,” Wong claimed.

“Now that Ayoh had come out to the press with a picture of him holding two bottles of typically brownish palm oil mill effluent colour to highlight the desperate villagers’ plight about these crippling pollutants that even cows had refused to drink, the villagers in Kg Tiong Tulid, Punti and Kg Ambual have a right to ask the DOE officer concerned to go there and drink the water in front of everybody,” Wong Tack said.

source: http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=84123

***

PRESS RELEASE: 16 NOVEMBER 2012

SEPA is shocked at the unsubstantiated attack and outburst of State Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah against SEPA and its President Wong Tack. The content of his statement shows his gross ignorance which is mainly because he has chosen to make an evaluation without a thorough site visit. He should make his appraisal based on ‘hard facts’ and not make sweeping statements.

SEPA is of the opinion the Minister is so blinded by emotion that he is driven to twisting facts. SEPA is not against the gas-fired power plant in Lahad Datu. All SEPA wants is that proper procedures be followed so as to avoid irreparable environmental damage. The means must justify the end.

Let Datuk Tan be reminded that the first requisite of Sabah’s EIA laws is that the site chosen must be the right one and cannot be chosen if it negatively affects the environment, unless as a last resort, and even then, only if the effects can be mitigated.

Too many projects carried out by the government are not given proper on the ground procedural importance. And often contractors carrying out government projects act like they have the ‘license to kill the environment’. This is where the problem lies and it’s the duty of the government, which includes the minister, to monitor and enforce the laws not NGOs like SEPA.

NGOs like SEPA are actually helping the government by pointing out the problems for the government to act and Datuk Tan should thank NGOs like SEPA and not shoot the messenger. If Datuk Raymond Tan has an interest, it should be the interest of the rakyat.

The Minister’s call to SEPA, if it is serious, to object to coal-fired power plants in peninsular reveals a large gap in the minister’s thinking – Datuk Tan had taken credit for the cancellation of the coal-fired power plant in Sabah then. Going by his reasoning he should get PM Najib to close down all coal-fired power plants in Malaysia.

SEPA has since 2009 requested an EIA Master plan on POIC developments rather than piecemeal EIA reports where, cumulative impacts cannot be measured. To date, there has been no Master plan detailing its development, to allow for comprehensive and detailed planning or environmental mitigation measures to be undertaken.

Did the EIAs have public and NGO input? You can only get an academic ‘green-washed’ EIA if the panel members are all government servants and appointees. SEPA requests that the Minister searches his soul and do right by the people. Don’t bulldoze things because future generations will suffer the consequences.

Sabah can attract billions of Ringgit worth projects if it wants, if it is lax in monitoring and enforcement or is interested in potential-killer projects such as Lynas in Kuantan. We accept the Minister invitation and SEPA and its President Wong Tack are willing to walk the talk and meet him at the site of the power-plant and also go through the whole of the POIC. If the Minister is really concerned, SEPA is also willing to go with him to Tawau to get first-hand view of the Kubota power-plant there, to see the insensitivity of the planners.

Wong Tack
President of Sabah Environmental Protection Association

***

PRESS RELEASE: 8 NOV 2012

Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA) and the residents of Taman Millinium has called on the Asistant Minister YB Pang Yuk Min and State Authorities to relocate the Kubota Power Plant to an industrial area far away from the residential but were completely ignored.

SEPA and the residents of Tawau were worries on their safety, value of their properties, and long term effect of their health being exposed to burning diesel, sound and vibration.

The Kubota Power Plant two diesel tanks with millions litters of diesel were build close to the road reserve and should an accident occur, the residents of Taman Millinium will be in great danger.

Moreover the power plant with two tall chimneys, built dangerously close to our Electrical Transmission Station and have a potential of attracting lightning strike to our transmission station causing a total black out to the many areas of Tawau for a long period of time.

Without conducting an EIA, the resident of Tawau were not given an opportunity to redress the environment, safety, health and impact on the life and properties.

The Tawau town council have no right to approved these project near Taman Millinium, knowing that the area was zoned residential and the land belong to the Rakyat under Land acquisition Act for Electricity Transmission only

As the Rakyat pay for the land, SESB being part of a listed company have no right to use the land to build a power plant close to a Taman and power plant fall under the category of Industry, therefore failed in their corporate responsibility and the law.

Since the state authorities fail to resolve our grievances we therefore SEPA and the Residents of Tawau are now in court to file our case for judiciary review.

Coming to Court for judiciary review will be our prime action to protect the environment impact, health, safety and value of the resident properties.

WONG TACK
PRESIDENT
Sabah Environment Protection Association

***

Please view the Attachment for the content of the affidavit -
002 SEPAKobuto-affidavit.pdf
002 SEPAKobuto-application.pdf

***

Related News:
SEPA files court application to halt construction of Kubota project in Tawau

***

PRESS RELEASE: 1 November 2012

Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA) has called on the State Authorities and Hap Seng Building Material Sdn Bhd (HSBMSB) to stop blasting our Kukusan Forest / Trig Hill Reserved for the past 6 months or more through press release, police reports and direct engagement but failed to stop the on-going destruction of our iconic Kukusan Forest / Trig Hill Reserved. Not to say our valuable resource (quality stone) being exported by foreign own listed company at an alarming rate.

Hap Seng Building Material Sdn Bhd declared the company had fulfilled all legal requirement under the state laws and were issued with various licences and authorization letters to blast our protected hill and pit mining our stones on the protected areas leaving a potential toxic lake in the future.

In our engagement with them (HSBMSB) they advise us to take our case to state authorities if we thought they had done anything inappropriate as they have deem compliance with the law with licences and authorization letters, issues by various state department.

Therefore, SEPA has taken HSBMSB advice and now in court to file our case for judicial review. Coming to court for judicial review will be our prime action to protect our environment, forest and resources from being destroy and depleted.

Wong Tack
President of SEPA

***
Please view the Attachment for the content of the affidavit -
0001a-Affidavit
wong tack-application

This Affidavit is affirmed on the 1st day of November, 2012 and filed on the 1st day of November 2012 by Messrs Marcel Jude Joseph (2000) & Co, whose address for service is at Level 2, Lot 2B-29, 31, 33, Central Shopping Plaza, Jalan Banjaran, Kepayan Ridge, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

***
Related News;
SEPA seeks RM100b damages over quarry operations

***