Saturday, May 29, 2010

Illegal land clearing for cultivation in Cameron Highlands

Sultan of Pahang upset with illegal land clearing for cultivation in Cameron Highlands
By Nik Naizi Husin
Saturday May 29, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Illegal land clearing for cultivation has become a big problem in Cameron Highlands that it has prompted a call from the Sultan of Pahang himself.

Sultan Ahmad Shah Sultan Abu Bakar said he had received complaints and assured that the Government would take stern action against the culprits, especially those involved in the most recent case in Kampung Lemoi.

He gave assurance to the orang asli community living there that the issue would be looked into.

We are here for you: The Sultan talking to the orang asli during his visit to Kampung Manson.

Twelve hectares of land on the orang asli settlement in Kampung Lemoi was found to have been illegally cleared and cultivated.

"I have told the district officer (Datuk Mohd Noor Abdul Rani) to do the necessary pertaining to this matter," the Sultan told the orang asli during his visit to Kampung Manson recently.

He said police would be called to assist, if the need arose, in taking actions against those responsible for the land clearing.

He said there were also some who were given approval by the Government to open up land for cultivation but due to greed, went beyond the total hectarage approved.

He warned that the temporary operating licences of these greedy individuals could be cancelled.

Sultan Ahmad Shah said there had to be proper control on land clearing and excessive development in Cameron Highlands.

"It is a tourist spot visited by people from all over the world, so we do not want the environment to be affected by the illegal land clearing.

"If the environment is not protected, this area will face problems in future, such as disrupted water supply," he said, while commending efforts taken by the relevant authorities to tackle the illegal activity.

"I would also like to thank television stations for highlighting this issue for the Government to take note," he added.

New Route to Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lipis to Bertam Valley

Earlier, the Sultan was briefed by Mohd Noor on the new road from Sungai Koyan (in Kuala Lipis) to Lembah Bertam (in Cameron Highlands).

The 79km route is scheduled for completion in August. Work is in progress on the final stretch of 11km.

Sultan Ahmad Shah said that once the road was completed, all buildings next to the road would be vacated.

"I am satisfied with the progress of this project. It is targetted to open by Aug 26," he added.

The new road will be the fourth access to Cameron Highlands, apart from the routes from Tapah, Simpang Pulai (both in Perak) and Gua Musang (Kelantan). -- The Star

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rafflesia used as traditional medicine unwise

Warning against 'jamu' using Rafflesia

KUALA LUMPUR: Clinical tests on mice have shown that traditional medicine using the Rafflesia flower can have adverse effects on the liver and spleen, claims a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia senior lecturer.

Dr Nazlina Ibrahim, of the university's School of Biosciences and Biotechnology, said Masters student Khairunnadwa Jemon's research found that the internal organs of white mice, which had delivered offspring and were given compounds of buds of the Rafflesia for 14 days, had become smaller.

She said traditional medicine using the flower were usually consumed by women who had just delivered to shrink their uterus and by men, supposedly for sexual strength.

Dr Nazlina said in an article in the university's news portal that the research by Khairunnadwa, under her supervision, found that the liver managed to detoxify ingredients from the buds of the Rafflesia azlanii.

"But this process also shrank the liver from its original size. The experiment thus confirmed the ability of the flower buds. But the risks to other vital organs being affected also exists, that is, the liver," said Dr Nazlina in the article.

Warning against 'jamu' using Rafflesia

She said woman who have been drinking water boiled with the buds of the Rafflesia for after-birth treatment needed to seriously consider the adverse and dangerous effects.

Dr Nazlina said the level of toxicity seen in the study should be a warning to people taking "jamu" using parts of the Rafflesia azlanii as a source of traditional medicine.

"If one wants to reduce weight, one should have a balanced diet and exercise. These are more effective and safe," she said.

The Rafflesia has for generations been used as an ingredient of traditional medicine, and the buds of the flower can be bought for between RM9 and RM25, depending on the size. - Bernama

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rafflesia Flower Kerrii Found

650ha of Rafflesia Kerrii clusters found in Kelantan
Wednesday May 19, 2010

KOTA BARU: A 650ha site with many clusters of Rafflesia Kerrii has been found in Lojing Highlands, about 260km south of Kelantan.

The area has a potential to be a world heritage site but is threatened by encroaching development from neighbouring Cameron Highlands.

The site was discovered by a Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) research team headed by its senior lecturer Zulhazman Hamzah in 2008.

UMK vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Zainai Mohamed announ­ced the find at a two-day National Conference on Natural Resources here yesterday.

Dr Zainai said that with the discovery, the area could be developed for the agro-tourism industry, but it needed to be gazetted as a national and world treasure.

"Nowhere else in the world can we find clusters of such species and it should be gazetted as soon as possible to protect its natural habitat. Otherwise, development will destroy the area," he said.

He also said more research would be done on the area, including the economic spin-off, natural habitat and potential conservation.

Zulhazman said after a two-year study of the area, he concluded that it has a vast tourism potential.

"I discovered 26 spots using the Geographic Information System. I have plotted three different sites – Kampung Cedau, Kampung Kuala Rengi and Kampung Gedik.

"All the Rafflesias were located outside the Lojing Highlands forest reserve and therefore it is vulnerable to development unless they are protected," he said.

Rafflesia Kerrii is the second largest flower after Rafflesia Arnoldii.

He said serious efforts must be done to conserve the area that has no fewer than 260 pods scattered all over, adding that a working paper had been sent to the state government proposing that the area be gazetted but they have yet to receive any response. -- The Star

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cameron Highlands's farmers need foreign workers

MP: Cameron's farmers need foreign workers
Monday May 10, 2010

IPOH: The multi-million ringgit farming industry in Cameron Highlands is under threat due to the Government's ruling restricting the hiring of foreign workers, said Cameron Highlands MP Datuk S.K. Devamany.

Devamany, who is Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said that unless an exemption was allowed for farmers there to hire foreign help, the highlands could very well lose its status as the country's main food provider and exporter.

He claimed that farmers in Cameron Highlands were now experiencing a shortage of nearly 2,000 workers with the Government's move to reduce the number of foreign workers from 2.5 million to 1.8 million.

"We welcome the policy as we cannot allow our country to be overrun with foreigners.

"But we cannot totally dismantle a policy as it can be disruptive to certain industries," he told reporters here yesterday, adding that the farming industry in Cameron Highlands catered to a niche market.

"It grows 40% of our vegetables, strawberries - which cannot be grown elsewhere in the country - tea and flowers for both the local and export markets.

"We do not want all these products to be brought into the country," he said, adding that this would then lead to more imports.

Devamany, who recently met 28 farmer associations in Cameron Highlands, said farmers there required some 6,000 workers at any one time.

He said the farms were also losing foreign workers to other countries like the Netherlands, Japan and Taiwan after having trained them in computer technology and agricultural expertise.

"To produce vegetables, flowers and tea in a temperate climate, we need people trained for a minimum of two years in fertigation, fertilisation and pesticide application," he added.

He also said local workers were not used to the living and working conditions in the highlands. -- The Star

Friday, May 07, 2010

Orang Asli free to practice any religion

Well, I certainly hope so. Because sources from the ground for the past many years says otherwise. Sometimes there were road blockades and stand-offs. This kind of things never get reported in mainstream news. We just keep it to ourselves, hush-hush and pray that something will be done.

Freedom to practise any faith
Friday May 7, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The orang asli in Pahang are free to choose the religion they wish to profess without fear and pressure.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said statistics showed there were 13,741 households among the orang asli communities in the state and 1,000 of them were Muslims.

He said 800 of them were Christians, 300 Bahais, 90 Buddhists, 10 Hindus and the rest professed other faiths.

"The Government has allocated RM5.374mil for the Orang Asli Civilisation Development (Petama) programme.

"The youths among the orang asli are the main focus as they are the catalyst in their community’s social and economic development," Adnan said in his speech to close the Petama 2010 four-day homestay programme held in several orang asli villages in Cameron Highlands district here recently.

His speech was read out by Cameron Highlands District officer Datuk Mohd Noor Abdul Rani.

Adnan said Petama aimed to help the orang asli give priority to their children’s education for a better future. -- The Star

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pahang Attracting More Tourist

Pahang to attract more tourists with better packages
By Roslina Mohamad
Wednesday May 5, 2010

KUANTAN: Pahang, which registered 10 million tourist arrivals last year, has targeted to attract 13.6 million tourists this year by offering better and suitable tour packages featuring the state's popular destinations and activities.

State Tourism, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Shafiq Fauzan Sharif said there were efforts to upgrade current packages and design new ones to meet the needs of individuals and families.

"It will be a complete package including food, lodging, activities and places to go and it will be a concerted effort by the state government and industry players," he told reporters after chairing a dialogue with members of the Malaysian Association of Hotels Pahang chapter here yesterday.

The packages, he said, would include the state's 10 best tourism icons - Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands, Fraser's Hill, Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Lipis (historical and heritage town), Taman Negara, Tioman Island, Rompin (billfish sports fishing), Pekan (royal town) and Cherating (surfing paradise).

He also said Fraser's Hill was given a facelift recently costing RM24mil while RM500,000 had been set aside to develop Sungei Lembing, once dubbed the El Dorado of the East where the largest, longest and deepest subterranean mine in the world was once located. -- The Star