Fresh from the sea to the doorstep

Cheryl Faith Wee The Straits Times AsiaOne 26 Oct 14;

Instead of jostling in a wet market or going to the supermarket, some people are getting the daily catch sent to their homes.

Several coastal fish farms here have started or are starting home deliveries of seafood to cash in on demand and keep abreast of rivals from Malaysia.

Ah Hua Kelong, off Lorong Halus in the north-east coast, introduced the service in April this year; a group of nine other coastal fish farms plan to launch an online store offering home deliveries by next March.

These new services are partly to help the Singapore farms compete against Malaysian peers, which can sell seafood cheaper to Singapore wholesalers as they have lower operational costs.

Industry players say farms in Malaysia can sell their seafood at wholesale prices several dollars lower per kg than local farms.

Ah Hua Kelong business development manager Wong Jing Kai, 25, said: "Highly price-sensitive intermediaries and restaurants expect the same prices from us."

Home deliveries also help the kelong diversify income sources.

Said its creative and marketing manager, Mr Bryan Ang, 25: "In the past, we relied heavily on exports. A big ship from Hong Kong would berth at our farm and buy almost everything we had annually. However, in 2014, this ship did not arrive... We realised we needed more distribution channels."

According to the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore, there are 116 local coastal fish farms and 6,775 tonnes of seafood were produced here last year. Seafood from elsewhere make up a big part of the supply here, with 140,348 tonnes imported last year.

At Ah Hua Kelong, orders have nearly doubled over the last six months for its home deliveries, placed online or over the phone.

Flower crabs, mussels and four main types of fish, including sea bass and golden pomfret, are delivered within 12 hours of their being harvested. Delivery is free, except for orders below $40, which incur $8 for the trip.

Prices go from $10 to $20 per fish, about 600g in size on average. Live mussels cost $8 per kg, while live flower crabs cost $30 per kg. The prices can sometimes be around 40 per cent higher than those found in markets.

For example, a 600g golden pomfret costs $6.30 from a FairPrice outlet and $6 from a wet market in Toa Payoh. Ah Hua Kelong sells it at $10.

But some are willing to pay more for convenience and freshness. Said Mr Ivan Aw, 40, a vice-president at a local bank: "When I go to wet markets, I am likely to rush into buying something because everyone is crowding around and jostling. When I shop online for the fish, there is no hassle."

Ms Celine Tee, a headhunter in her late 30s, described the seafood she had bought from Ah Hua Kelong as "very sweet" and fresh.

"There is also that personal touch because they tell you how to keep the seafood fresh and give suggestions on how to prepare it. It is kind of like how mothers form relationships with wet-market sellers," she added.

Besides Ah Hua Kelong and the nine farms, others have expressed interest in home deliveries.

Metropolitan Fishery Group, which runs four coastal fish farms, has had queries on home delivery every month, from one to two for the whole of last year.

Mr Malcolm Ong, 51, who runs the group, said: "We are not really distributors, we are farmers.

"Right now we are focused on our core business, but we are considering having an online store, possibly not too far in the future."

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More opting for fuss-free burial at sea

Audrey Tan The Straits Times AsiaOne 30 Oct 14;

He has spent more than three decades of his life navigating the sea and, when the time comes, Mr Ong Kai Cheng, 63, hopes he can do the same in death.

The Buddhist bumboat operator has instructed his three children to release his ashes into the sea after he dies.

"I do not wish to trouble my children by making them pray to me after my death," he said in Mandarin.

Mr Ong's sentiments are echoed by a growing number of individuals whose last wishes are to have their ashes scattered at sea, rather than having them stored in niches at columbaria.

Undertakers here have seen an increase in the number of sea burial requests, with the majority coming from Buddhists and Hindus.

Singapore Casket, for example, oversees more than 20 sea burials a month, compared with fewer than 10 five years ago.

At Serenity Casket, for every 50 funerals, about five to eight are sea burials. This, said its funeral director Elson Chong, is more than the two to four the parlour conducted five years ago.

The bumboat operator, Mr Ong, is also taking more people out to sea to scatter the ashes of their loved ones: from once or twice annually 10 years ago to the current minimum of four a month.

The growing popularity of sea burials is due to a number of reasons, funeral directors told The Straits Times.

The main concern is to not burden their offspring or family members during the annual Qing Ming Festival, said Mr Nicky Teo, director of Funeral Solutions. During the festival, Chinese families pay their respects to their departed loved ones at the cemetery or columbarium.

Others opt to have their ashes scattered at sea so that their descendants have more freedom in where they can pay their respects.

Said Mr Roland Tay of Direct Funeral Services: "Some people have children who live abroad, so by scattering the ashes at sea, they believe the future generations can complete their prayers any time, anywhere."

Some people also wish to "travel" the world in the afterlife, and sea burials meet that desire, said Singapore Casket chief executive Goh Wee Leng.

Sea burials are cheaper compared to storing ashes in a columbarium, but undertakers pointed out that this is usually not a determining factor for those who choose sea burials.

The scattering of ashes can cost from $80 to more than $1,000, depending on the religious rites.

This compares to the minimum $1,180 for keeping one's ashes in a niche at a columbarium. Depending on where the niche is located at the columbarium, and whether there is air-conditioning, the cost could go up to $100,000.

In Singapore, the scattering of small amounts of ash can be done at a designated site located about 2.8km south of Pulau Semakau, off southern Singapore, according to information on the National Environment Agency's website.

The Straits Times understands that ashes are also scattered in open waters off Changi. No permits are needed for sea burials.

Typically, the rite is performed by a monk or priest with props including flowers or bread crumbs, umbrellas and plastic trays. These items are usually released into the sea along with the ashes, held in white or red cloth, after a short prayer session.

Recently, a biodegradable urn for storing ashes was introduced here, a result of growing environmental consciousness among the young. Made of recycled paper, the urn slowly disintegrates when placed in water.

But the urn has yet to take off, said Funeral Solutions' Mr Teo.

"Some family members feel that it is not good to keep the ashes 'trapped' in a vessel," he said.

"But I would advise them not to throw out items that can pollute the waters, such as food offerings, joss sticks and incense paper."

For Mr Ong, his preference for sea burial goes beyond practical reasons.

"My children grew up on my earnings from the sea, so, of course, I would hope to make it my final resting place," he said.

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MHA will not expand definition of animals under Road Traffic Act

Today Online 29 Oct 14;

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is standing by its decision to not expand the definition of “animals” under the Road Traffic Act (RTA), despite objections from animal welfare groups.

In response to media queries, the MHA said today (Oct 29) that it agreed with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) that all animals should be protected.

The two groups had earlier appealed to the MHA to reconsider its decision not to proceed with any amendments to the Act.

Currently, drivers who hit animals listed in the Act — such as a dog, horse, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or cattle — are required to stop and help them. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to S$3,000 or a jail term of up to a year. However, the Act is silent on other animals such as cats, monkeys, birds and rabbits.

The MHA noted that the Act’s “primary intent” is to ensure the safety of the roads, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“The specific provision for ‘animals’ in the RTA was confined to farm animals of commercial value so as to ensure restitution to their owners should an accident occur,” it said.

“MHA has studied this provision on animals in the RTA very carefully and decided not to expand the definition. Nonetheless, we encourage all motorists who hit animals on the road to stop and provide help when it is safe to do so. The motorist should then contact the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) or SPCA for assistance,” the ministry added.

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Malaysia: Caviar farm won’t harm environment, says Felda

New Straits Times 30 Oct 14;

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed sturgeon farm and caviar production project in Kuala Tahan, Pahang, will not be harmful to the environment.

This assurance came from the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), which said strict measures would be in place to ensure the project satisfied the necessary legal requirements.

Felda strategic resources deputy director-general Muhammad Sufi Mahbub said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project was being conducted and the report was expected to be ready in four months.

“If the EIA report found that the area is not suitable, we may find an alternative location.”

Sufi said the 50ha Caviar Park to be located in Kuala Tahan would rear Siberian Sturgeon, Amur Sturgeon, Sterlet Sturgeon and Bester Sturgeon via an aqua-farming technology from South Korea.

“The fish survives mainly on Spirulina and it is not a predator.”

Sufi said the main complex would have breeding ponds with a temperature of 16°C and below, which is suitable for the fish to lay eggs.

“The land given by the state government is 100m above sea level. The ponds will be built at 95m above sea level to avoid flooding.”

He said pending approval from the Felda board of directors, satellite farms would be set up in Felda settlements under its Sentuhan Kasih project to raise the Sturgeon fry until it reached egg-laying age of between 3 and 4 years. It will then be transported to the main complex.

On a related matter, Sufi said only 60 per cent of logging activities would be carried out on the
50ha site. Each tree felled will be compensated to the Pahang

Department of Fisheries Malaysia aquaculture development division director Dr Mazuki Hashim said although sturgeon was listed on the Prohibited Fish Species For Import Into Malaysia, the department had carried out an Import Risk Analysis.

“We take into consideration the risks of disease and risks to the environment.”

He said currently, there was no decision from the government to allow imports of the fish until they were satisfied with the system to be adopted by Felda for the project.

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Malaysia: Government to have Taman Negara listed as world heritage site

ISKANDAR TAJUDDIN New Straits Times 29 Oct 14;

JERANTUT: The government will intensify its effort to have Taman Negara listed as world heritage site under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), said Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Sri Dr James Dawos Mamit.

He said the government had already submitted the application to Unesco for the listing of Taman Negara - which comprises the world's oldest tropical jungle in Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan - as one of the world's heritage site.

At the same time, he said various agencies and institutions had also conducted researches that could help support Malaysia's effort to get Taman Negara listed.

"We will ensure that Taman Negara fulfil all the requirements that will enable it to be included in the list," he said adding that Taman Negara is also a leading eco-tourism product in the region.

On the protection of Taman Negara from encroachment, he said 13 foreigners were arrested in the protected area.

He said special operations in Taman Negara, previously known as Ops Jelai, have now codenamed as 1Malaysia Biodiversity Enforcement Network (1MBEON).

"The 13 foreigners were arrested during five 1MBEON operations held from February this year. Since 2002, we have arrested 152 foreigners who encroached Taman Negara," he said when officially launched the 1MBEON at Kuala Tahan near here today.

He said 1MBEON involved the cooperation between the Wildlife and National Parks Department man Negara and the Armed Forces.

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Indonesia: Environmental degradation triggers drought -- Walhi

Antara 29 Oct 14;

Kupang (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) explained that drought occurs almost throughout the country, especially in NTT, as a result of environmental degradation of the buffer zone.

"For that, there must be willingness from both the government and all elements, including the people of this region, to reevaluate the area of forests acting as a buffer zone," Director of Walhi NTT Heribertus Naif noted here on Wednesday.

He elucidated that the current drought impact, apart from the effect of the El Nino weather phenomenon, coupled with the declining quality of the buffer zone, are affecting the ecological unity.

He noted that the drought that occurred almost evenly throughout the country, including in NTT, was a proof of environmental degradation due to the increasingly deteriorating quality of the buffer zone.

The condition, exacerbated by global warming, was felt across the planet.

"Human life with the development of technology has contributed to global warming," he pointed out.

In the local context, the government and all stakeholders, including the community, must come together to undertake steps for saving the existing environment.

According to Heribertus, through adaptation and mitigation efforts, the NTT provincial government should take steps to monitor and evaluate the condition of forests in this area, to find out the real on-field conditions.

"What is still improving or getting worse and needs treatment quickly," he affirmed.

Furthermore, the government of NTT and districts or cities, need to conduct a thorough evaluation of the existing natural resource management models, to check whether they are oriented towards ecological justice or merely for catering to vested market interests, while overlooking the environmental quality standards.

He was also hopeful that the government will implement processes to save the forests through ecological restoration efforts, which are in harmony with nature.

"It means that the process was carried out to create more green spaces and planting trees to increase the ground water level rather than growing trees for commercial gains such as Sengon, Mahoni, and a type of Ampupu. It should be noted that trees planted in the upstream region help to increase the level of ground water," Heribertus noted.

Heribertus emphasized that community participation is also crucial and should be driven by the cosmocentric pattern that imbibes local wisdom and focuses on the preservation of nature by the public.

"Nature should be the focus of attention. We should not be homo-centric, considering objects of nature to be irritants that we wish to forget," he remarked.

He said that Walhi hoped for cooperation across sectors in order to make the forest a source of life, in the context of governance and ecology, so that they can jointly maintain and preserve it.

"Not only for the sake of profits by implementing the concept of the forestry industry," he added.

(Reported by Yohanes Adrianus/Uu.INE/KR-BSR/O001)

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New study raises alarm over bear bile farming in Lao PDR

TRAFFIC 29 Oct 14;

Cambridge, UK, 29th October 2014—The number of bears in farms supplying the widespread and expanding bile extraction industry in Lao PDR has tripled in recent years, with strong evidence the animals are illegally sourced from the wild, a new study published in Oryx finds.

According to credible records, the number of captive bears in the farms increased from around 40 in 2008 to 122 animals by 2012. There was no evidence of breeding facilities at any of the locations. The study also documented an increase in the number of bear farms in Lao PDR, with the first appearing in 2000 and the number rising to 11 by 2012.

The lack of bear breeding facilities, together with an absence of paperwork to show legal procurement of the bears led to the conclusion that bear farms in Lao PDR are acquiring and keeping bears illegally, with some facility owners even admitting as much to the report’s authors, independent researcher, Emily Livingstone and TRAFFIC’s Chris R. Shepherd.

The increase in bile farms and number of captive bears coincides with a rapid increase in the price for wild sourced bear bile and bear cubs, say the authors.

According to their study, Bear farms in Lao PDR expand illegally and fail to conserve wild bears, if allowed to continue, “…this industry is likely to contribute to the decline of national wild bear populations by further stimulating the market for wild bear bile and increasing the incentive to poach wild bears.”

The hunting, capture and possession of wild bears and the removal and trade in their bile and other parts is illegal under national legislation, while international trade in wild bears and their parts for commercial purposes is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Lao’s Wildlife and Aquatic Law, 2007 allows trade in second generation captive-bred bears and parts thereof within the country, but poor monitoring and record keeping of bears in bile extraction facilities allows this provision to be used as a loophole by farmers hiding the illegality of their operations.

The study highlights the discovery that most, if not all, facilities illegally acquire live bears and trade in bile and other parts. The low likelihood of being punished, together with the high potential for profit making and rising market prices for bear parts have all encouraged the poaching of wild animals, according to the study.

The study recommends the closure of all illegal bile extraction facilities in Lao PDR and closer co-operation with the main bear bile consumer countries to halt smuggling, echoing a motion passed at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Korea that encouraged range State governments to close down illegal farms as soon as possible and to take increased measures to ensure that no more bears from the wild enter farms. The Congress also recommended that “Parties to CITES fully implement legislation to prevent illegal international trade in Asiatic Black Bears and Sun Bears and their parts and derivatives, and promote greater public awareness of these issues.”

“The open and ongoing bear bile trade involving Lao PDR clearly illustrates the failure of the Laotian and other governments in the region to comply with and enforce the rules of CITES,” said Dr Chris R Shepherd, Regional Director of TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.

Currently, few countries even have adequate CITES legislation in place, which seriously undermines the effectiveness of the Convention.

“The Government of Lao PDR needs to lead the way in ending the illegal bear bile trade through effective implementation and enforcement of CITES regulations and national legislation,” said Shepherd.

The Abstract of Bear farms in Lao PDR expand illegally and fail to conserve wild bears is available at:

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Best of our wild blogs: 29 Oct 14

Pink-necked Green-pigeon failed nesting
from Bird Ecology Study Group

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62 Lim Chu Kang farms affected by change in land use

Chng Kheng Leng Channel NewsAsia 28 Oct 14;

SINGAPORE: 62 farms in the Lim Chu Kang area will be affected by land use changes, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) confirmed on Tuesday (Oct 28).

The western part of Lim Chu Kang will be needed for military purposes. This tract of land will replace the current training grounds that Mindef is giving up for the development of Tengah New Town, according to an AVA statement.

The affected farms in this area, whose leases or tenancies expire between 2014 and 2021, were informed in September of these developments. The farms whose leases or tenancies expire between 2014 to early 2017 will be given an extension till June 2017. Those whose leases expire after June 2017 can remain till the end of their current leases, said the AVA. Those who wish to continue their farming businesses can then bid for new sites at Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah from next year.

“Given our limited land for farming, the new sites will have a smaller land area compared to the existing sites. This is why we are helping our farmers to raise their productivity and intensify the use of limited farmland through the adoption of technology and automation,” said AVA.

Earlier this month, the authority launched a S$63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund to help the famers invest in new and high-tech farming equipment and systems.

But the affected farms will not receive compensation, "as the leases would have run their course till expiry", said AVA. "We have communicated clearly and as early as we could to the affected farms so that they can make alternative plans ahead of the expiry of their leases.” AVA will also help facilitate the farms in applying for the final extension to Jun 30, 2017.

Farmers we spoke to said they were concerned about whether they would be able to obtain new sites, as competition for these tenders is expected to be fierce. The Government has also increased the percentage of land use for production purposes from 70 per cent to 90 per cent for production purposes. Farmers we spoke to said they had been told that farms at these new locations must meet production quotas, or risk losing the site.

Mr John Hay, Managing Director of Hay Dairies goat farm said if the farm was expected to meet production quotas with the help of high-tech equipment, it would have to invest at least S$4 million to S$5 million.

Those at Jurong Frog Farm also felt that the strict restrictions of land use could limit the exposure of the younger generation to the industry. Said the farm’s manager Ms Chelsea Wan: “It means that we have very little flexibility on how we can try to attract local tourism into this area."

- CNA/xy

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Singapore has potential to be natural gas trading hub: Panel

Dylan Loh Channel NewsAsia 28 Oct 14;

SINGAPORE: Singapore has the potential to develop into a regional, and perhaps global, natural gas trading hub, given its reputation for stable regulatory framework as well as existing trading and financial infrastructure.

That is the view of the Ministry of Trade and Industry's International Advisory Panel (IAP) on Energy, which advises the Government in preparing for future developments.

The panel's members include Dr Dan Arvizu, director and chief executive of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Dr Choo Kang-Soo, honorary chairman of the Korean Gas Union; Ole Enger, chairman of REC Solar; and Dr Claude Mandil, former executive director at the International Energy Agency.

The panel, which released its recommendations on Tuesday (Oct 28), said Singapore should develop trading mechanisms and standards to facilitate the growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.

The IAP noted that the global LNG market would likely double in the next two decades with strong growth in Asia . The panel said there is an emerging need for supply flexibility and market efficiency in gas trading, and believes that if Singapore plays its cards right, it can be a reference point for gas pricing.

It also recommended that Singapore take a long-term view and continue to expand its infrastructure and develop supporting services.

Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Trade and Industry and chairman of the panel, said: "We have certain advantages by virtue of our reputation for regulatory standards, our connectivity to the region and also the supporting infrastructure that we have here because we already are a major trading hub for oil, for example. And some of these services, ancillary support services can easily also support the activities for gas."

However, the panel said it will take time for Singapore to develop as a gas hub.

The panel also identified renewable energy as an area where more research and development can be explored. It supported Singapore's efforts to facilitate greater deployment of solar energy, welcoming in particular the decision not to subsidise deployment and the country's commitment to liberalised markets.

Solar energy is at present Singapore's only technically and economically-viable renewable energy source, the panel said. To make solar energy viable, continued research and development is needed to reduce costs and develop attractive financing models.

"So it's all about using, in effect, more renewable energy, developing more efficient energy use and a better development pattern," said Mr Peter Schwartz, Senior Vice President of global relations and strategic planning for "And one particular important area is energy storage. And that's where Singapore is beginning to invest in, and the potential there to change the game is very large."

Innovation will also be key to capitalising on opportunities in the energy sector, and the panel backed Singapore's strategy to direct investments towards developing solutions on both the demand and supply sides. It also encouraged strong collaborations between research institutes and industry players, so that solutions can be delivered from the laboratory to the market.

- CNA/ac

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SG Changi settles motorsports hub debts

IAN DE COTTA Today Online 29 Oct 14;

SINGAPORE — Three years after its contract to build Singapore’s first permanent track was cancelled by the Government, SG Changi has finally drawn a line under an ignominious chapter that began with hope and ended in financial disaster.

Its slate was wiped clean on Oct 21, when it finally paid S$6.9 million owed to piling contractors CS Construction & Geotechnic (CSCG), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of CSC Holdings. Work done to reinstate the 41ha of land near Changi Airport that had 1,000 piles driven into it has also been completed and was returned to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) three weeks ago.

What was left of the S$40 million SG Changi paid for the land on a 30-year lease and returned to the Japanese consortium remains confidential under the terms of their contractual agreement with the country’s sports authorities.

In response to queries from TODAY, Sport Singapore assistant director (communications and engagement division) S Parameswaran said no public money was spent during the entire process.

“Sport Singapore has returned the land to Singapore Land Authority on Oct 9, and has refunded some of SG Changi’s paid-up capital on Oct 21 after deducting the costs of the reinstatement of the land, which includes the holding period of the land and administrative costs related to the Changi Motorsports Hub project,” he said.

“No public subsidies were required for the reinstatement of the land as the Hub was a commercial project originally arranged to be fully funded by SG Changi.”

SG Changi won a bid in March 2009 to build Singapore’s first permanent track at an estimated cost of S$380 million. But construction stopped after only a month in January 2010 when it failed to pay the full amount of S$10 million of an advance payment due to CSCG.

Sport Singapore, trading as Singapore Sports Council then, finally pulled the plug on the project in December 2011 after SG Changi failed to raise funds to continue with construction and subsequently missed key milestones. After waiting for more than four years for accounts to be settled, See Yen Tam, group chief executive officer of CSC Holdings, is relieved the entire episode is over and said they did not levy any interest on the outstanding sum.

“We at least got the principal sum back,” said See. “It was a long wait, but it looks like Christmas came early for us this year. To be fair, I think SG Changi did their best, but they were caught during a time when the economy was not good and had difficulty raising funds.”

He said SG Changi chairman Fuminori Murahashi and director Moto Sakuma kept CSC updated on the progress of their termination agreement with Sport Singapore, which came to a close after they received what was left of the S$40 million they paid for the land.

Said Moto: “We got some money back. I’ve been travelling back and forth between Japan and Singapore to help settle this problem and it is a burden off our shoulders now. We are into other business but have washed our hands of motorsports.”

SG Changi also had to bear the cost of conducting a Request for Information exercise during a seven-month period in the second half of 2012 to gauge whether the project should be re-tendered. It was also billed for work, costing “several hundred thousands of dollars”, to shave off about 2m from each of the 1,000 piles below the surface before the land was given back to the SLA.

Experts told TODAY it would have been a massive job, costing up to S$10 million, to remove all 1,000 piles completely, but there was also the risk many would break in the process, leaving large parts embedded in the soil.

Chua Tong Seng, vice-president of the Association of Consulting Engineers, said that depending on the nature of a project, the land can be redeveloped for other uses. “It is rare to leave the piles in, but they can still be re-used if new projects share the same structure,” he said. “If the footprint is different, engineers will have to work around them.”

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Malaysia: New MoU to tackle haze

New Straits Times 29 Oct 14;

THE Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said yesterday Malaysia and Indonesia are working on a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) to resolve haze issues.

Its deputy minister, Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit, said the MoU would allow the countries to share experience, expertise and information to tackle the problem.

“The Indonesian Parliament has agreed to ratify the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution on Sept 16, 12 years after signing it,” he told Dewan Rakyat.

He said this was following discussions and pressure from Asean members, including Malaysia, for
it to expedite ratifying the agreement.

James was answering a question from Datuk Liang Teck Meng (BN-Simpang Renggam), who wanted to know the outcome of Malaysia and Indonesia’s negotiation in seeking measures to reduce and tackle haze.

James said the fact that Indonesia had agreed to ratify the agreement showed that the republic was committed to solve the problem more effectively.

“It is a positive move and we welcome it.”

James said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel would attend the 10th Conference of Parties to the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution in Laos tomorrow and would push the Indonesian government to ratify the agreement.

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