Sunday, September 8, 2013

Public Outreach on Piasau Hornbills - Boulevard Shopping Complex

MNS Miri will be having a public awareness event on the Piasau Hornbills at Pujut Boulevard between 14 - 16th Sept 2013. We will be there between 10 am to 10 pm. Please do show your support and drop by. There will be a presentation about Piasau Hornbill on the 16th Sept noon at Level 4 Also, we are looking for volunteers to man our booth at this event. It will be much appreciated if volunteers can commit 2 hours per person. Please contact Musa ( or Mairead ( for further information.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Camping at Bungai Beach

Date : 28 -29 September 2013
Venue : Bungai Beach, Kg. Bungai (Approx 40 mins drive from Miri)

You'll need your own camping equipment and food. We only provide camaraderie. 
Those interested, please e-mail us at

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Night Trek at Lambir

Date : 21 August 2013
Time : 6.30 pm (Meet at Park Entrance)

Please remember to wear proper shoes, bring a torchlight, raincoat and your drinking water. Those interested, please contact

Saturday, July 13, 2013

MNS Miri Branch Committee 2013/2014

MNS Miri Branch successfully conducted its Annual General Meeting this afternoon at Lambir National Park. Here's the new (well not so new...) committee for the new term. 

Please do e-mail us at should you have any suggestions for improvement for the betterment of our branch. 

Monday, July 8, 2013


Focusing on the claims made by the oil palm industry to “sell” their industrial plantations, the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) has produced a new booklet which is available in English at (Also available in Spanish, Portuguese and French).

The report aims at strengthening the struggles of all those who are opposing large-scale oil palm plantations in the global South. After expanding in Indonesia and Malaysia for decades, large expansions have more recently been occurring in rural areas in countries in Africa and Latin America. These expansions of industrial oil palm plantations once and again preclude the way of life of rural communities as well as their proposals for how land be used in ways that improve their well-being. The purpose of showing the lies behind the oil palm industry’s claims adds to the efforts towards dismantling a socially and environmentally destructive model of production, commercialization and consumption.
The booklet focuses on twelve lies, namely:

1. Oil palm companies use land in remote areas or in areas not effectively used, or so called marginal lands.
Soil fertility and availability of water are key factors that determine where oil palm companies will establish their plantations. Hence, lands used for agriculture and cattle raising, and even forests are taken over by oil palm plantations.

2. The compensation paid to people for losing access to land is adequate.
Many people in the global South hold customary rights to the land they use and on which they have often lived for many generations. When they lose access to land as a result of the establishing of a large scale oil palm plantation, the rules established by the national government for how to calculate such “compensation” often exclude lands under customary use. So, in most cases they do not receive any compensation at all or are paid very low amounts and sometimes only for the crops grown on part of the territory used by a community.

3.The palm oil industry contributes to food security.
Malaysian and Indonesian rural communities can tell otherwise. Apart from outright loss of the land, decrease in local food production occurs when indigenous peoples and peasants stop producing crops for local markets because they start to work for oil palm companies and do not have time to work on their lands. Also, rising prices of staple foods is common, linked to a more general trend of speculation. These are some of the trends that undermine the livelihoods and thus the food security, and in general, the food sovereignty of thousands of rural communities where oil palm companies have been expanding their plantations.

4. Oil palm plantations have a minimal need for water and for chemical inputs.
How “minimal” can the impact of a large scale plantation be for local inhabitants? Oil palm plantations often cover thousands and thousands of hectares, and the “minimal needs” become large amounts of agrotoxins and fertilizers, applied to guarantee the high production that the companies pursue. Together with the effluent of the mills where oil palm fruit is processed to obtain the crude palm oil, the pesticides and fertilizers, too, pollute rivers and streams used by people to obtain drinking water, for bathing and washing clothes.

5. Oil palm plantations conserve the environment and contribute to reducing global warming.
How can a notorious driver of deforestation contribute to reducing global warming? Indonesia and Malaysia, where most of the world´s oil palm plantations are located, are the evidence for the destruction of forests by oil palm plantations while the same is happening in Africa and Latin America with the increasing expansion of oil palm plantations.

6. Companies say they are committed to listening to communities that will be affected by the plantations or that are already affected by oil palm plantations, and address their demands.
Top-down projects leaving no option to say no, pressure, promises of jobs and/or some social project are some of the strategies of the companies. When companies are contacting communities, it is usual for them to come to inform the community about the company plans so communities will not hinder but rather support them.

7. Oil palm plantations create many jobs and thus contribute to employment in the region.
The jobs in oil palm plantations are usually badly paid and it is common for workers on oil palm plantations to work as day laborers, without contract or any additional benefits. In some countries, outsourcing of labor is a way of evading legal social obligations while it is also an anti-trade union tool that promotes informal and precarious labor. Furthermore, workers have to carry out hazardous activities like applying pesticides, with severe negative impacts on their health, often lacking access to safety equipment. Communities complain that most of the jobs are in the first years when the oil palm plantations are established and that afterwards few jobs remain. In the case of female workers, besides facing a double work load, harassment by foremen or security guards from the companies is also a common reality.

8. Involving peasant farmers in planting oil palm in expansion regions offers additional benefits and is an excellent alternative for them.
In the case of the smallholders, such as in Indonesia, they are seldom consulted about the oil palm project by which on the one hand they are forced to give up their customary lands, including forest lands they often depend on in many ways, while on the other hand, they get in return a 2-hectare plot of oil palm with a sort of “land title”. Apart from assuming a debt to establish the plantations that they often have difficulties to pay back, this means a violation of their customary land rights and often results in conflicts, of which hundreds exist today in Indonesia.

9. Oil palm plantations improve the supply of basic services to the residents (roads, clinics, schools).
Though often a network of roads throughout the plantations is set up by the oil palm company, its routing is mainly to facilitate the transport of the harvested fruits. The road can thus either benefit the communities or jeopardize them, for example when the company changes the course of roads traditionally used by communities. When it comes to building and offering schools and health services, communities often complain that these promises are delayed or not fulfilled.
At the end of the day, it is much more the company that benefits from government measures to ´help´ them – getting concessions for low or no fees and other advantages such as tax breaks, subsidies, loans with low interest rates, etc. - than that communities benefit from the company´s initiatives to support communities.

10. Oil palm companies contribute to sustainable development of countries.
India and China are the main global importers of palm oil, followed by the European Union. However, Europe remains by far the biggest per capita consumer of palm oil and vegetable oil in general, due to its excessive consumption pattern that includes the use of oil palm in a large range of different supermarket products, different from China´s and India´s use which is largely related to basic use for cooking purposes. The present expansion of oil palm plantations in Africa and also in Latin America is most often about supplying outside markets like the European Union (EU), where refining of the crude oil and transforming it into final products takes place. The jobs and wealth created around these activities do not benefit people in the producing countries.

11. The palm oil industry is committed to a number of high standards like ethical conduct.
The reality of the conduct of the palm oil sector in countries like Indonesia fails to substantiate these claims. To the contrary, the sector has been involved in cases of corruption, graft, and bribery as well as rent-seeking by politicians, public and government officials. Furthermore, many cases of violence have been reported in the hundreds of conflicts with local communities that companies are involved with.

12. RSPO guarantees sustainable oil palm.
RSPO suffers from structural problems that make it impossible to deliver this promise: the huge majority of its members are the big global players in the palm oil sector who maintain and fuel a model that guarantees huge quantities of “cheap” palm oil, mainly to fulfill demand in industrialized countries and for emerging markets, and generates enormous profits for them.
Another problem is that RSPO does not differentiate between different scales of operation, applying the same criteria to small plantations and to monocultures of tens or hundreds of thousands of hectares that per definition are never sustainable for local people and nature.

Much closer to a sustainable way of producing palm oil and many products based on it are the traditional systems of growing oil palm and processing palm oil for products sold on local and regional markets. These traditional oil palm economies are still practiced in many western and central African countries and in a specific region in Brazil. These diversified traditional palm oil systems, where palm oil is grown in agroforestry or intercropping schemes provide significantly more benefits for local and national economies in these countries, at a much lower environmental cost. RSPO just serves as a form of “greenwashing” of oil palm plantations and their image.

The booklet concludes that the presented claims of the palm oil industry are not only misleading, many times they are also false, including the statement that they improve the wellbeing of local communities. For most people life indeed changes dramatically with the invasion of oil palm plantations in their territory, but for the worse.

Hundreds of resistance struggles taking place in oil palm expansion areas in Latin America, Africa and Asia are testimony that communities do not easily accept all these impacts imposed on them. They struggle for recognition of their land rights and territories, and demand support for their alternatives to large scale plantation development.

Stronger alliances among communities and organizations in consumer countries and countries with large oil palm plantations are needed to more effectively challenge the ongoing expansion of oil palm plantations.

Besides exposing the lies and empty promises of oil palm companies, this will need solidarity with those defending the territories and forests on which communities in Asia, African and Latin American countries depend and that are at risk of being taken over by oil palm plantations. Solidarity is also needed with those working towards different production and consumption models which are not based on further destruction of forests and peoples’ livelihoods in the global South.

World Rainforest Movement
July 3rd, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

MNS Miri Annual General Meeting 2013

Date : 13 July 2013 (Saturday)
Time : 2.00 - 4.00 pm
Venue : Lambir National Park

Here's your opportunity to get involved in your local branch and have a say in the type of activities you'd like to see offered in the next term. The success of the Branch is very much dependent on its committee.  Nominations for the following positions are welcomed.

1.Branch Chairperson
2.Branch Vice Chairperson
3.Branch Honorary Secretary
4.Branch Honorary Treasurer
5.Ordinary Committee Members
   (At least one and not more than 6 members can be elected.)

Only valid members with paid-up memberships up to 31st July 2013 are eligible to attend, stand for election and vote at the AGM. The AGM requires a quorum to proceed therefore please inform us if you're able to attend for us to do a headcount. Please e-mail us at

A little dose of attention to our garden birds

Join Malaysia's Garden Bird Survey this weekend (15 - 16 June). It's so simple, anyone can do it. It'll be a fantastic family event and one that will get kids excited about nature.


On either 15th or 16th June 2013, spend 30 minutes (no more, no less!) at a green patch (e.g. park, garden or playground) near you and jot down the birds that you see.

Submit your data on the My Garden Bird Watch website ( within 2 weeks of the count date. That’s it. Check this website for the survey results in August/ September. By the way, submissions which are considered valid (e.g. meets the time and date requirement, acceptable list of birds) will be in the running for special prizes! Prizes include, 3 winners X One pair binoculars & MNS membership subscription for a year AND 2 winners X Guide to Birds of Johor & Suara Enggang subscription for a year. Winners will be notified via email or phone in September.

MY GARDEN BIRDWATCH is a non-profit project run by the Bird Conservation Council (BCC) of the Malaysian Nature Society and sustained by volunteers of various backgrounds who care for birds and their habitat. MYGB is grateful for the financial assistance from Wild Asia (2010), Tan Kean Cheong Bird Conservation Memorial Fund (2011 & 2012) and Schmidt Marketing, Malaysia (2012 & 2013). 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wanna learn about Frogs ???

MNS Miri has the rare opportunity to join the staff of Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) for a frog survey that is currently being done at Lambir National Park. Limited space available as we are tagging along during the survey.

Date : 17 April 2013
Venue: Lambir National Park
Time : 1830 hrs (meet  at ticketing office)

Please come prepared with appropriate footwear, rain coat and a torchlight.

Those interested, please contact us at

Friday, April 5, 2013

Reschedule - Earth Day Beach and Reef Clean Up

Please be informed that the Earth Day Beach and Reef Clean Up jointly organised by Shell and Sarawak Forestry has been rescheduled to 22nd June 2013. Please refer to the message from the organisers below:
In consultation with the MD/CEO of Sarawak Forestry, the Reef and Beach Cleaning committee would like to inform you that the date of the event have been rescheduled to 22nd June 2013, instead of the original date of 20th April 2013. Kindly note that the launching venue of the event remains unchanged. We have rescheduled the above activity due to the current turn of events in the state. 

Please note that participants who have already pre-registered will not be requested to repeat the registration process. However, subject to your availability, please confirm your participation in the first week of June by emailing to me.  If another person is taking part in your place, they will need to undertake the full registration process.

We apologize for any possible inconvenience this rescheduling may cause. Should you require any further information or clarification, please contact us via email or call me at 017-8590724.
Thank you and warmest regards,


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Calling for Volunteers !

Dear Members,

MNS Miri have been invited to participate in two upcoming events:

1. 15 April 2013 (Monday) - Curtin Earth Day 2013 Celebration, 10 am - 3 pm @ Curtin University
2. 20 April 2013 (Saturday) - Shell and SFC Earth Day Beach and Reef Clean Up, 7 am - 1 pm @ Piasau Boat Club

These events are ideal opportunities to spread the message of conservation and to get more people excited about nature. There will be at least one committee member at these events to man the stalls but we certainly appreciate any volunteers to help out where your time permits. Needless to say it also enables visitors to know more about our activities from fellow members. 

At both this events, MNS Miri will be setting up a small booth/stall to display posters, distribute membership forms and sell our t-shirts. Volunteers will be expected to help man the booths/stall together with one of our committee member, chit-chat with visitors, collect membership form/fee and just flash the occasional cheery smile in case our committee member falls short in that area. 

Please contact Joyce @ to register your support or if you have questions.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nature Appreciation Walk

Hill Myna sighted at Piasau Camp
Image by Musa Musbah
Thanks to the family of Oriental Pied Hornbills, we've been rediscovering what little gems mother nature has in store at Piasau Camp. Join us for a relaxing stroll this Saturday and find out what this little enclave has to offer.

Date : 6th April 2013
Venue : Piasau Camp  (Meet at Piasau Boat Club)
Time : 1600 hrs - 1730 hrs

Those interested, please contact Musa -

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Night Photography at Lambir National Park

Join Musa and other avid photographers for a night walk in Lambir National Park.

Date: 8th March 2013
Time :6:30pm - 9:00 pm
Meeting Place : Meet at Lambir National Park @6.20 pm

All park fees apply. Please come prepared with your torchlight, water, proper shoes and a raincoat. RM5 will be imposed for non-MNS Members. 


Those interested, please sign up with Musa (

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Earth Hour, 23 March 2013 - Switch OFF!

Earth Hour, the global environmental initiative, began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses switched off their lights for one hour to take a stand against climate change.This year, Earth Hour will take place on Saturday, 23 March from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

All MNS Miri members are urged to switch off non-essential lights for the hour. If you're stumped as to what can you do to amuse yourself in this hour of darkness... join us for a night, camping outdoors as we commemorate Earth Hour.

Date: 23 - 24 March 2013
Venue : Baraya Laut Resort (See Map below)

Tentative Itinerary (will be fine tuned):
23 March, 2013 
3.00 pm onwards - Arrive at Baraya Laut and pitch your tents
6.00 to 10.00 pm  - BBQ, Earth Hour and Astronomy Appreciation (led by Musa)

24 March, 2013
Free and easy in the morning 
Check out by 12.00 pm

Costs for accommodation/BBQ pit (rental of bungalow which is a must for the use of the campsite) will be equally shared. We're suggesting a group BBQ so any costs incurred for the group BBQ shall be split as well (will be communicated over mail). For those without tents, there are rooms available at the bungalow so first come, first serve. And if you don't fancy camping, don't hesitate to join us for BBQ/Earth Hour and make your way back to Miri. 

Those interested, please sign up with Joyce ( /  

Non-members are more then welcomed with a token fee of RM5.00 on top of the shared costs. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cycling and Birding at Sg. Tujuh Road

Image courtesy of Peter Pillai
Anyone fancy a cycle ride on the Sungai Tujuh Road on a Saturday morning? It will be more of a birding exercise but of course, cycling up the ASEAN bridge will provide enough cardio for the day.

Things you need: cycle, sunscreen and helmet.

Date: 2nd March, 2013.
Route: Car park (just before the ASEAN bridge, to the left)- Kuala Baram Sungai Tujuh Road
Time: Be at the car park/ shed at 6.45 am. Should wrap up by 10 am.

All of the above is of course dependent on the weather. Fingers crossed.

Those interested please e-mail Miriam Chacko (

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Trekking at Similajau

Date : 29th - 31st March 2013
Venue : Similajau National Park, Bintulu

Tentative Itinerary:
29th March : Drive to Similajau National Park (own arrangements). Overnight at park accomodation.
30th March : Trek along the coast. Overnight either at the park or Bintulu town.
31st March : Return to Miri

The beauty of Similajau National Park is its coastline, a chain of golden sandy beaches, punctuated by small rocky headlands and jungle streams, and bordered by dense green forest. Similajau was gazetted as a park in 1976, to provide a conservation zone for the unique geographical features of the coast and to protect the flora and fauna of the surrounding area. The park covers an area of 8,996 hectares, and the main trekking trail hugs the coast so that visitors are never far away from the main attractions of Similajau - Sarawak Forestry

Those interested, please e-mail Amer (

Friday, February 22, 2013

Earth Day Beach and Reef Clean Up

In conjunction with Earth Day this year, Sarawak Forestry Corporation together with Shell Malaysia is organizing a beach and reef clean up in Miri.

Date : 20 April 2013 (Saturday)
Venue : Piasau Beach and Miri-Sibuti Marine National Park
Time : 0730 - 1300 hrs
* Light refreshments will be served

Those interested to volunteer, please register with Samantha Kwan (

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Birdwatching at Curtin Lakes

Join us for a morning of birding at the Curtin Lakes.

Date : 16 March 2013
Time : 0700 - 0900hrs
Venue : Curtin Campus

Here are some links to previous visits to Curtin to gauge what may be in store:

Those interested please register with Musa at

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Birdwatching - Piasau Camp

Date : 19th January 2013
Venue : Piasau Camp (Please meet at Piasau Boat Club @ 0700 hrs)
Time : 0700 - 0930 hrs
           (light breakfast will be served at 0900 hrs at PBC)

MNS Miri birders Musa and Erwin will be leading a birdwatching awareness session for the school children of Tenby International School at Piasau Camp. Volunteers (with some knowledge of bird identification) are most welcomed to help out. Please contact Musa, for further details.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Niah Cave - Cave Formation Appreciation (POSTPONED)

Due to adverse weather forecast i.e. tropical depression Sonamu heading this way, this trip is postponed until further notice. Apologies.

Image by : Sara Wong
We're in luck. MNS Miri member, Dominique, a geologist has kindly offered to share her knowledge on cave formations and the geological features of Niah Cave. Dominique, who currently works at Curtin University has spent a fair amount of time in Niah Caves for her research, and we're privileged to have her with us for a visit to Niah Caves. Details below:

Date : 12th January 2013 (Sat)
Time : 0700 hrs - 1600 hrs. (Meeting point: Taman Awam Carpark at 0700 hrs).

We'll be walking into the Great Cave. Please come prepared with appropriate footwear, raincoat, torchlight and clothes you won't loose sleep over if its soiled with guano. Those interested please register with Joyce ( or Non-members will be charged a token fee of RM5.00, all other park fee applies.