Monday, June 28, 2010

A new venue for our upcoming AGM 17th July 2010

Surround view of the beach from the top of the cliff.

How to get to Baraya Laut Resort : Drive from Miri towards Bakam/Bekenu, drive past Kpg Beraya Lama junction, past Sg Beraya Bridge, past Beraya Baru Beach junction (right), immediately past Kpg Beraya Baru junction (market visible, left). Baraya Laut Resort is on the right, it's yellow/orange guardhouse visible from the road immediately past Kpg Beraya Baru junction. There's a small signboard on the right. Turn right and drive up the gravel road. On the map, Miri is NorthEast, Bekenu SouthWest direction.

We have recently discovered a well hidden gem flushed with that sophisticated ambience, elusive understated elegance, unhindered seaside vistas and a whole chunk of secluded sandy beach ... Baraya Laut Resort.

We have found the perfect spot to hold our 2010 Branch AGM!

Ernyza, our AGM focal point this year might infuse other interesting activities other than our usual presentations post AGM.

Our tentative program:
16th July Friday:
[Pre-AGM activities 1 ]
1600hrs Check-in
1800hrs Sunset and birdwatching
2000hrs Dinner at Sin Chiong
2200hrs Stargazing or Beachfishing or Nite Beachcombing according to taste.

17th July Saturday:
[Pre-AGM activities 2 ]
0630hrs Meet at Resort
0700hrs Beachwalk/Birdwatch or explore the compound after breakfast
1200hrs Lunch in Bekenu
1300hrs Leisure to explore the surroundings or soak in the ambience of the place.

[AGM program proper]
1600hrs Start of AGM
1) Confirmation of 2009/10 AGM minutes
2) Confirmation of Meeting Agenda
3) Chairman's 2009/10 Report, Acceptance of Chairman's Report
4) Treasurer's 2009/10 Report, Acceptance of Treasurer's Report
5) Election for 2010/11 EXCO
6) Short Welcome speech by Incoming Chairperson
7) End of AGM

[Post AGM activities 3 for those staying for dinner]
1800hrs Start of BBQ and group dinner
2000hrs Mini-Presentations and discussions (20 mins each):
1) Musa on CFZ Firefly Survey Northern Region, Merdeka Fund Application under MNS Miri
2) Nazeri on Waterbirds Survey Coastal Sarawak, Merdeka Fund Application under BCC-WG
3) Open slot for any members who wants to share
2100hrs Stargazing or Nite Beachcombing or Nite Fishing according to taste

18th July Sunday:
[Post AGM activities 4 for those staying overnite]
0630hrs Beachwalk or Surfing according to taste after simple breakfast
1200hrs Checkout / Lunch at Bekenu

Puteri will be conducting the AGM as Acting Secretary.
Ernyza will be in charge of F&B for the AGM assisted by Anura and Amalia.
Nazeri will be focal point for presentations.

The Resort is equipped with small items to tide over your stay. There is a small kampong nearby that can perhaps fulfill your other needs, in any case Bekenu town is only 10 minutes drive away.

Frontal view of the main bungalow.

Side view of the bungalow.

View of the front sitting room from the sundeck.

The sitting room with the expansive view of the skyline.

Plenty of glass panels all around for an unobstructed 360 degree view of the surroundings.

Soaking in the scenery from the elevated sundeck.

The well apportioned kitchen comes complete with a refrigerator, gas stove and dining table, perfect for a family breakfast.

The beach.

Soon to be opened cliffside chalet expected completion Oct 2010. This is the view from the daybed, sans lacey curtains and pillows.

Silhouette of a romantic hide-away, it has a jacuzzi with a skyview when ready by Anura Dason.

Sandstone cliffs fringe the beach all the way to Tusan onwards to Tanjong Batu, Peliau and Bungai ... beachcombers' heaven.

Twigs in the sand.

A abandoned structure, a perfect anchor for the seemingly endless horizon.

Reflection of first light on a billowy cloud formation.

Sunset by Anura Dason.

All members to please email to confirm your attendance to our AGM, please state which programs you intend to participate in:

Pre AGM 1 : Joining Friday evening activities
Pre AGM 2 : Joining Saturday morning activities
AGM only : Joining AGM only 4-6pm
Post AGM 3 : Joining group dinner and presentations
Post AGM 4: Joing Sunday morning activities
ALL : If you are going to be with us the whole weekend.

Accomodation charges which not covered by our Branch AGM budget will be on a shared basis based on usage and number of attendees. Presently the Resort charges $150/nite for 5 adults and $15/head for additional adults.

Here's to a successfull AGM!

Monday, June 21, 2010

MNS Miri Branch AGM 17th July 2010

Penans of Upper Baram, AFP.

MNS Branches play an integral part in ensuring the success of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

The success of the branch depends on how well the Branch EXCO execute their duties and responsibilities. During your term in office, you have an exciting opportunity to increase your leadership as well as depth of knowledge pertaining to the environmental issues surrounding Malaysia.

The EXCO position is not only an opportunity, it is a challenge. As Branch EXCO, you must stimulate enthusiasm and accomplish goals by motivating MNS members as well as public.The Branch EXCO serves as a liaison between Council, MNS Secretariat and MNS members in your state.

The Council delegates certain responsibility to you. Some of these responsibilities will be overseeing the programming and administrative needs of members such as organizing talks and field trips, promoting environmental education outreach and organising social events.

Branch EXCO Objectives
Branch ensures MNS members get the service they need at the local level. The following objectives assist the Branch EXCO to clearly understand their roles so that they can better serve MNS members:

1. Advocate for conservation of key habitats and species at the branch level as well as in Malaysia. Your top priority is to ensure conservation issues at the local level is made known to MNS members.

2. Build a future generation of environmentally-conscious Malaysians by integrating public awareness-raising processes into all planning and development programmes and events at the branch level.

3. Motivate civil society participation in planning and decision-making processes at the branch level where everyone can learn, grow and appreciate the natural heritage of Malaysia.

4. Focus on membership growth and achieve a solid voice at the branch level.

Branch EXCO’s Commitment

Three main thrust of a Branch EXCO:
1. Growth
Ensure no loss in the finance of each branch. When a branch ceases operations, we have lost an invaluable opportunity to deliver the benefits of MNS membership. Enlist the assistance of Secretariat Office to do whatever it takes to make sure every branch has at least 50 members.

2. Improved Branch Communication
Hold at least 4 branch meetings and 1 Branch Annual General Meeting each year. Use these meetings strategically to ensure the success of the branch.

3. Active Branch Representation in Council
Branch is an important component of MNS Council. Attending and participating in Council Meeting, normally 4 times in a year ensures branch involvement in MNS policy decision making process. It also gives an opportunity to branch to share their development plans at the branch level.

Our 2010-2011 branch AGM
MNS Miri Branch will be voting for the following key positions for the branch at our upcoming Branch AGM in 17th July (exact venue and agenda to be announced separately by Branch Secretary):

Elected position, presently position held by Nazeri Abghani.

Responsible to Council and undertakes responsibilities determined by Council.
Responsible for Branch supervision and operations.
Upholds and represent MNS Society at the branch level in promoting MNS to members as well as public.
Leads Branch Exco in developing annual strategy and programmes.
Chairs the Branch EXCO meetings as well as Branch AGM.

Vice Chairperson
Elected position, presently post held by Sara Wong.

Upholds and represent MNS Society at the branch level in the absence of Branch Chairperson.
Assist in developing annual strategy and programmes.

Honorary Secretary
Elected position, Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid is currently acting Secretary after Grace Len vacated the post.

Responsible for Branch records and correspondence.
Custodian of MNS Rules and Regulations and other official branch documents.
Submits annual return to Registrar of Society.
Records and read minutes of branch meetings and Branch AGM.

Honorary Treasurer
Elected position, presently held by Amer Matridi Abu Mansur Matridi. Amer has since relocated to West Malaysia, his duty is presently being performed by Sara Wong.

Responsible for development and execution of financial policies, procedures, audits and controls at branch level.
Receives and disburses funds in payment of all obligations.
Develop and recommend annual budget to Branch EXCO.

Ordinary Committee Members
Elected position, presently held by Musa Musbah.

Specific role to assist Branch EXCO in areas of membership, public relations, succession planning, establishing conservation and environmental education programmes and initiation of new project initiatives.

Co-opted Committee Members
Coopted by EXCO at the Branch AGM. Presently Charlie Lee, Peter Pillai, Ernyza Endot, Nazur Riza Norkaman, and Kumareson Paranthaman serves as co-opted committee.

To assist with the organising and running of specific activities of the branch.

The Branch AGM requires that the total number in attendance should be twice the total number of Branch EXCO members. Attendance of 10 or more members at the upcoming Branch AGM would ensure another succesfull AGM.

Our branch AGM presents a great opportunity for members to meet and catch up especially on branch matters as well as our collective aspirations for the branch. Our 2008/2009 AGM was held at Lambir Hills National Park complete with barbeque dinner, late-nite jaunt into the rainforest and jungle trekking the morning after. 2009/2010 AGM was more sedate with a group sit-down dinner at Kelab Rekreasi Petroleum, Lutong.

Feel free to forward your suggestions to EXCO as to how we should conduct the activities for our AGM this year. A barbeque maybe, perhaps another sit-down dinner, maybe a presentation on our past activities over the year. Ernyza has been tasked by EXCO as focal point for this years AGM and AGM activities, please get in touch with Ernyza to dicuss any ideas that you may have.
Your support to ensure the success of our AGM and smooth execution of future branch activities is crucial. Come join us and together help shape the future direction of MNS Miri Branch. Only paid-up members up to 31-July 2010 onwards are eligible to vote and/or run for the upcoming 2010/2011 election.

Please email if you'd like to be involved and serve on our 2010-2011 EXCO, we always welcome new blood with fresh ideas.

Your Branch needs you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

MNS Roadshow in Miri : Day Two

Tusan Fossil Hunt

We met at the Pustaka Miri parking lot 0700hrs to a waiting 40 seater air-conditioned executive coach. We almost filled up the seats with four cars joining us separately at the cliffs.

Charlie Lee was our main man that day assisted by several other geologists, engineers, geophysicists in the group. There were about a dozen young participants eager to learn more about geology, even more so at the prospect of finding real fossils.

Young geologists, earth scientists, paleontologists in the making. On this particular trip we had a dozen children all wide-eyed and eager to find fossils and a learn about geology.

A sandstone cliff or what's left of a sandstone cliff after the waves have had a few go at it.

A seastack, part of an earlier standstone cliff withstanding the pounding waves during high tide.

Malek Adenan, our resident artist was caught in a perfect moment on top of a meashed up conglomerate and fault debris that remained as part of an older now eroded a sandstone cliff.

The young guns atop a conglomerate block, these are Miri boys out looking to learn a few things about their own backyard, some geology and look for fossils at Tusan.

Everyone lining up for a photo opportunity with the last standing part of a sandstone cliff.

The beautiful Tusan beach, sandstone cliffs all along the shore. Some parts of the formation contained fossils from the Miocene era consisting of gastropods, bivalves, plants, crabs and fish fossils. The scenery is one of the few unique seashore sights in Sarawak. Those intending to visit are advised to check the tide tables carefully before venturing out on the coast.

Our young supporter after several hours traipsing about in the hot sun, the prospect of fossils kept them going till about noon.

MNS Roadshow in Miri : Day One

MNS 70th Anniversary and Roadshow at Pustaka Miri

The MNS booth on the 1st floor of Pustaka Miri manned by Steve Dexter, branch life member, bird group member and Maye Yap, Head of Services, at it's opening. The event consists of a small exhibiton of MNS posters and images, drawing-coloring contest, minitalks and slideshows concluding with a member's dinner with the President on Saturday, 19th June 2010. It is followed by a fieldtrip to Tusan Cliffs to visit Miocene fossil beds at the beach the next day Sunday, 20th June. Branch members and members of the public were invited to all activities.

The MNS and MNS Miri Branch exhibition in conjunction with the MNS 70th Anniversary and Roadshow taking place 19-20th June at Pustaka Miri (1st floor foyer).

Young participants eagerly putting the inspiration on paper at the drawing-contest held at Pustaka Miri.

Tan Sri Dr Salleh Nor, President of MNS in his opening speech to members, the public and press at Pustaka Miri Auditorium. In his speech the President reiterated our 70th Anniversary message : Stop, Protect, Manage, Reduce:

Stop forest loss and degradation
a. Moratorium on conversion of any intact natural forest, particularly those within our Permanent Forest Reserves.
b. For state governments to undertake to amend to the National Forestry Act, and that the revised forest enactments to require prior notification of all proposed clearance/excisions, allowing for public participation and increased transparency
c. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) for climate change; protect critical swamp and lowland forests.

Protect Temengor
a. No issuance of new licenses for logging in Temengor
b. Phase out logging in Temengor (as promised by previous Chief Minister)
c. Gazette Temengor as a totally protected area
d. Increase enforcement on wildlife hunting and trade

Manage our marine and coastal environments
a. Manage and limit development in marine and coastal areas, including setting aside protected areas
b. Develop and include ecosystem-based management approach in management plans for all marine and coastal areas in the country.

Reduce our consumption patterns and carbon footprint
a. review and reduce reliance for dams and coal powered power plants, , in line with the Prime Minister’s pledge to reduce Malaysia’s emission intensity by up to 40% in 10 years.
b. adopt and implement with urgency, the National Policy on Climate Change, with emphasis on the development of a national climate change adaptation strategy.

Kumareson Paranthaman, Project Lead MNS Miri-ReefCheck project giving a presentation on Miri Reefs and project scope. Attendees were awed by a most informative presentation on the well kept secret of coral reefs in Miri complete with majestic views of our marine treasures.

Edric Liew Wei Sheng's (SJKC Chung Hwa Lutong, 10 years) winning picture at the drawing-coloring contest held at the 1st floor foyer of Pustaka Miri.

Amy Liew Xiu Jie's (SKJC Chung Hwa Lutong, 10 years) 2nd prize winning picture.

Siti Khadijah's (Sekolah Agama Miri, 10 years), 3rd prize winning picture.

Lucas Johny, our branch member from the early days of our formation back in 1996 with Sara Wong, current Branch Vice Chairperson, Maye Yap and Wee Chin, MNS membership officer.

Dinner with Tan Sri Dr Salleh Nor

Premkumar Gunasagaran, new member and recently elected President of Curtin University Geology Club and our resident artist Malek Adenan.

Faye Osman and one of our new member Anis Azmani from Curtin University Geology Club.

Maye making a plea for MNS causes at our sit down dinner with the President at Kelab Rekreasi Petroleum, Lutong.

Musa Musbah, branch committee member, bird group member and branch firefly (cfz) focalpoint relating his past experience participating in branch activities and causes.

Our President acknowledging potential contribution from our young and vibrant generation towards meaningful grassroot conservation efforts and the push needed to further the cause of MNS as a homegrown membership based conservation society.

More stories to follow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

MNS Roadshow at Pustaka Miri 19th June

This 19-20th June weekend Malaysian Nature Society will be conducting a roadshow in Miri. Staff from the MNS Secretariat KL and MNS Miri Branch members will be at Pustaka Miri to showcase MNS, MNS activities and our mission.

MNS President Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor will be attending the event and will be talking about our 70th Anniversary and aspirations for the next decade. Everyone is invited.

There will be mini-talks and slideshows, exhibition and fieldtrips. Posters about MNS and images from past activities will be put up for display. There will also be an MNS booth for those interested to find out more about our Society. A perfect opportunity to get introduced. Limited selection of society's merchandise is also available for sale.

A forum on MNS Constitution Review for members only will commence at 1615hrs and will be followed by an appreciation dinner for members at 1800hrs at Kelab Rekreasi Petroleum, Lutong. All MNS members are encouraged to attend. Members to please RSVP Sara Wong.

Members and the public are invited to participate in a field excursion to Tusan Cliffs in search of fossils the following day.

Attractive door-gifts awaits those who register early.

Our program for the weekend area as follows:

Saturday 19th June
0900hrs MNS and MNS Miri Branch Exhibition
1030hrs Registration for Drawing Contest
1100hrs Start of Drawing Contest (open to students ages 10-14years)
Theme : "Our Marine and Coastal Treasures"
Attractive prizes to be won by top 3 young artists
1230hrs End of Drawing Contest
1230hrs Lunch Break
1330hrs Registration for Forum, Talks and slideshow
1400hrs "MNS 70th Anniversary" by President Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor
1430hrs "Coral Reefs in Miri" by Kumareson Paranthaman
1500hrs "Dolphin Project Update" by Dr Gianna Minton
1530hrs "Fossils in Miri" by Nazeri Abghani
1600hrs Break and announcement of Winners of drawing contest
1615hrs Review of MNS Constitution, Q & A.
1700hrs End of Saturday Program
1800hrs Appreciation dinner for MNS members at Kelab Rekreasi Petroleum, Lutong

Sunday 20th June
0700hrs Meet at Pustaka Miri0
0730hrs Travel by bus to Tusan Cliffs (40 seater AC bus provided, FOC)
0830hrs Beachwalk to Fossil sites
1100hrs Return to Pustaka Miri by bus
1200hrs Arrival and Pustaka Miri
1400hrs Dismantling of exhibits
End of Roadshow

MNS Miri Branch exhibition will take place near the entrance to the AV Room from 1000 hrs Saturday 19th June to 1400hrs Sunday 20th June.

Please contact the following persons for more details:

Ahmad Samsudin, Pustaka Miri 085-422525
Sara Wong, MNS Miri 012-8786100
Nazeri Abghani, MNS Miri 016-8542212

You can also email us at

Ghost crab at Bakam Beach.

General direction to Tusan Cliff:
a) From Miri City, please use the coastal highway and drive south towards Bekenu.
b) Take a right turn to the access road which leads to the cliff (marked "X" above). The junction is approximately 5-10 minutes after Kpg Beraya Laut and before the turn to Kampong Terahat.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's happening near Lambir Hills National Park?

There has been some feverish activities near a patch of forest along the Miri-Bintulu road next to Lambir Hills National Park in the past months. Yep, we noticed the garish scar on the hillsides across the road from the park, a special tribute to our dearly departed at upwards of a few tens of thousands per lot.

There are also a few visibly garish newly bulldozed paths on the same side of park HQ. Where it goes, no one knows.

This relatively more concerted development however is right at the side of the gazetted area of the Park itself. Earth moving machines, excavators and workers have been seen busy clearing the area. 4WD vehicles bearing the "SY" signage are scattered near the workers' quarters.

No signage whatsoever from the people developing the area, it's a private venture some say.

WMD at work.

Workers quaters, another two houses to the right with recently completed man-made ponds (not pictured).

There's also major roadwork in progress just a few meters away on the Miri-Bintulu road itself.

Does anybody know the details?

Perhaps this is another one of those tri-partite squable of landrights that surely becoming more common in Sarawak, but quietly simmering in the background away from public knowledge. In this case best guess would be between the folks from nearby Rumah Entulang, Lambir Hills National Park and Shin Yang.

We surely haven't seen this in any of the local papers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

World Migratory Bird Day 2010 in Miri and Kinabalu

Students lining up to register and pick up their WMBD souvenirs from Pustaka Miri staff. Pustaka Miri has been a staunch supporter of our WMBD activities since 2008.

Participants posing with their WMBD posters and Encik Ahmad Samsudin of Pustaka Miri.

This year on May 08th and 15th marked the 3rd year MNS Miri Branch celebrated WMBD.

Our first WMBD in 2008 was celebrated with bird photographer Choo Tse Chien from Penang with slideshows of Malaysian birds as well as endemic Bornean species at Pustaka Miri, several schools in Lutong as well as rural schools in Bekenu. We went birdwatching with our members in Lambir Hills and Similajau National Park.

In 2009, Nazeri Abghani from Miri Branch spoke about waders in Kuala Baram and Miri in general in conjunction with WMBD at Pustaka Miri and Kpg Tengah, Bekenu. Denis Degullacion from Borneo Bird Club spoke of Bornean birds at Similajau National Park to park staff and participating schools nearby. We conducted fieldtrips simultaneously in Miri and Similajau for participants and our members.

For 2010, we invited Khoo Swee Seng from Selangor to talk about migrating raptors and garden birds in Pustaka Miri as well as led fieldtrips for members and students to Lambir Hills National Park and Kuala Baram. For the first time this year we exported WMBD to Kinabalu National Park in conjunction with MNS 70th year anniversary. Collaborating with MNS Sabah Branch together with Alim Biun of Sabah Parks, Jimmy Omar of Sabah Foundation, Denis Degullacion of Borneo Bird Club and our staunch supporters we birdwatched with students from SMK Dato Paduka Mat Salleh Ranau at KNP.

"World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) aims to inspire people to take action for the conservation of migratory birds and encourages national authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals around the world to organize events and programmes, which help draw attention to migratory birds around a central theme each year.

This year’s theme is “Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” It is closely linked to the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) declared by the United Nations for 2010.

The WMBD 2010 theme aims to raise awareness on globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those on the very edge of extinction – the Critically Endangered migratory birds.

In line with the International Year of Biodiversity, the 2010 WMBD theme also highlights how migratory birds are part of the biological diversity of our world and how the threat of extinction faced by individual bird species is a reflection of the larger extinction crisis threatening other species and the natural diversity that underpins all life on earth.

By focusing on “migratory birds in crisis” during the International Year of Biodiversity, World Migratory Bird Day 2010 is also highlighting the role played by birds as indicators, enabling us to clearly see and highlight the negative effects our current way of life is having on the planet and it’s biodiversity.

As one of the best researched taxa, birds serve as vital indicators for the state of biodiversity and the biological health of the ecosystems they inhabit. If a bird species becomes threatened with extinction it is often a clear sign that the conditions of the required habitats have changed and that other species that depend on them may also be affected." (1)

The events at Pustaka Miri on 08th May saw participants from 8 schools in Miri making up approximately 70 students, and teachers. Members of the public were also present. The presentation for the day focussed on common birds in Malaysia according to habitat as well as migrating raptors. Khoo Swee Seng spoke of his involvement and MNS yearly efforts with the Raptor Count in Tanjong Tuan.

Khoo Swee Seng speaking about common birds in Malaysia classified according to their habitats.

Raptors had the students in full concentration, Khoo spoke about the raptors in Tanjong Tuan and the efforts by Malaysian Nature Society with the studies there.

Khoo presenting a momento in the form of a framed WMBD 2010 poster to a representative from Pustaka Miri.

Our fieldtrip the next day, took students to Kuala Baram to see common open grassland habitat birds. The students had ample opportunity to identify several common species to the area.

At Kinabalu National Park on the 15th May, led by Alim Biun, Jimmy Omar, Denis Degullacion, forty students were taken around a loop trail to see some of Sabah's endemic birds common to the locality.

Group photo before the start of the birdwatching session.

Jimmy Omar going though the finer details of how to use a pair of binoculars, Alim Biun and Denis Degullacion led the second group of students.

Now, where did the Green Magpie go. Students peering into the trees to look out for the bird making the loud calls.

Here's another year for the birds and for WMBD!

Nazeri Abghani/MNS Miri/May 2010