Archive for August, 2012

MALAYSIA: Aug 31 will always be a special day AND Sept 16 is MALAYSIA DAY

TODAY is our National Day, even for Sarawak although it actually gained independence from the British on July 22, 1963.

But somehow calling Aug 31 just our National Day belies the importance of that date since it is, for all intents and purposes, our Independence Day.

While the peninsula or Malaya obtained independence from the British on that day in 1957, Sabah also gained independence on the same date but six years later.

Anyhow, as an independent nation, we are celebrating our 55th anniversary today and on Sept 16 we will celebrate our 49th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia when Sabah and Sarawak joined the federation.

This means we have 15 days to celebrate the formation of Malaysia.

Read More: HERE

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Lightingup My Village

Pico hydro is water power up to 5 kW. It was given the name “pico” by Nigel Smith because it needs some different ways of thinking to micro, mini and larger hydropower. There are thousands of sites where people have a source of falling water but do not have electricity. For these rural communities, pico hydro is the lowest-cost technology for generating electricity. Lighting from this source is cheaper than using kerosene lamps, and safer, too. For more facts and figures on pico hydro for lighting, there is an article in Boiling Point (May 2007). On the News page is an interesting cost comparison, taken from a report prepared for the World Bank. It shows that Pico hydro is potentially the lowest cost technologyfor off-grid electrification.

This web site includes information on ways to design, manufacture and install the various parts of pico hydro projects. It includes documents that you can download to assist in the process.

The main parts of the system, as shown in the picture, are: intake from stream or river, pipe (known as the penstock), water turbine, electrical generator, electronic controller, electrical distribution system.

Read More at: http://www.picohydro.org.uk/

Sabah’s Biodiversity For Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical Potential

The Sabah State Government through the Sabah Biodiversity Centre SaBC and Universiti Malaysia Sabah UMS signed an agreement today to explore the state’s biodiversity for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical potential. SaBC Director Dr. Abdul Fatah Amir signed on behalf of the State Government, and UMS Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Shariff Abdul Kadir bin Shariff Omang Al-Haj signed for UMS.

The agreement is signed for a period of two years – 2012 to 2013, during which the State Government will allocate RM1.58million worth of funding to UMS to carry out biotechnology research on selected biological resources in Sabah.

Playing its part, UMS, through its Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation will provide facilities and expertise in the relevant areas of marine and terrestrial biotechnological product discovery. 300 selected species, 150 of which from the marine and another 150 from the terrestrial of Sabah’s biological resources will be analysed for their potential anticancer and antioxidant effects. The main outputs from this strategic collaboration are the production of chemical compounds and also the establishment of specimen database, as well as extract and chemical profiles of such biological resources.

In addition, such collaboration can be seen as an effort to support the building up of the State’s economic competitiveness through modern biotechnology. It is also a long term strategy in building up Sabah’s technological capability in biotechnology besides being a plan for biodiversity conservation through the creation of awareness on the value of the biological resources through biotechnology to the people. Such collaboration will be long term, and will not only be confined to screening potential biological resources and producing chemical compounds alone, but will proceed up to cell-based analysis, and pre-clinical trials research in the near future. By doing this, the chances of Sabah’s biological resources being tapped by international pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies will be greater.Sabah Biodiversity Centre SaBC is a State government department established under the Sabah Biodiversity Enactment 2000. It was established in May 2008. One of its functions under the Enactment is promoting the identification of new natural and biotechnological products derived from the biodiversity and biological resources of the State.

The Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation ITBC is one of three centres of excellence in UMS. It was established in 1996. ITBC’s main research trusts are; 1 Biosystematics and Biodiversity, 2 Ecological Processes, 3 Advancement of Biodiversity Natural Products Chemistry, and 4 Nature Tourism. The research trusts are focused to enhance and utilise biodiversity for conservation and future promotion of biodiversity for commercialisation.

My say: Are the social scientist consulted?

Read More HERE

Simply Amazing: Man and Nature

They are notoriously shy around humans, beating their tails and chattering their teeth to try to warn us off before emitting loud whistles to tell other members of their colony to flee.But when these alpine marmots see Matteo Walch, they scuttle to his side and show him nothing but affection.

The eight-year-old built up a remarkable relationship with the creatures since first being taken to see them by his nature-loving family four years ago.

The family return to visit the colony in Groslocker in the Austrian Alps for two weeks every year.

Matteo’s father Michaela, said: ‘Their friendship has lasted for more than four years now.

‘He loves those animals and they are not at all afraid of Matteo because he has a feeling towards them and they understand that.

Read more: HERE

Credit:  The real life Mowgli: Schoolboy Matteo Walch, eight, forms special relationship with colony of alpine marmots | Mail Online.

Must involve local communities in any project

In a not-so-pleasant news carried by The Borneo Post on Friday May 11, 2012, the RM419 million geothermal power plant project has been put on hold by the Tawau Municipal Council TMC pending a meeting between TMC and Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd TGE.

Local media were told that the councilors “did not know anything about the project” and TMC as the local authority was also in the dark.For the record the Renewable Energy project would help the East Coast in addressing the acute power supply shortage with its 30MW initial production due in 2014.

Details are as follows:

Location : Apas Kiri, Tawau

Cost : RM400 million RM419mil as disclosed to TMC during the briefing

Generating capacity : 30MW

Energy tapping : via 12 wells, 1800m to 2000m deep

Build up area : 20 hectares

Expected completion : 3 years due in 2014

Tenure : 21-year REPPA with SESB

Awful, awful mistake: Communication gone to the drain?

It is understandable that the affected community would be duly worried about potential environmental mishaps in and around the site, and in every project water dam, power plant, nuclear facility, etc the people must be involved in the initial discussions. They are one of the stakeholders for such ventures, albeit not as direct owners. There are now claims that these villagers were not invited to the briefing. I can’t believe it; someone is duty-bound to prove it – hopefully the same local media who reported it will take the initiative.

TMC councilors vehemently denied any knowledge of the project. Read about it here. It is difficult to understand that TMC was not informed of significant development right in front of its door step. The proposed site is just 20km away from Tawau town.

TMC president did not state if he too, was in the dark about the proposal. Therefore, we’ll take the news at face value and assume that he was duly informed and invited to some of the more important briefings earlier on. In that case, the onus is on him to inform his councilors.What has gone wrong with our work efficiency?Let’s say these people councilors, villagers indeed know nothing about the approved geothermal power project. Who is at fault then? One would probably be quick to point to TGE Sdn Bhd or even SESB. If it is true that way, then I’ll say ‘serve them right’ for the delayed implementation plus liquidated and ascertained damages suffered as a result.

But I wouldn’t really buy it. TGE wouldn’t want to trade lack of communication for RM419,000,000.00 worth of investment. For that amount of money, the venture has to be done right the first time. And I believe Ir. Andrew Amalados have thought of this long before anyone else raised the issue.

My say: don’t under estimate the power of local communities

Read more: Here

Streaming (Run of River) Hydropower

Streaming Hydro systems are often referred to as Run of River systems, because the river continues to run rather than being held back by a dam as with Reservoir systems. Although we use the term Streaming Hydro here, Run of River is still a widely accepted term for this type of hydro-power system.

The diverted water flows down a pipeline (known as a penstock), passing through a turbine to generate electricity, and then recombining with the original stream. As we discussed earlier, this pipeline is used to contain the water to build high pressure at the bottom where it enters the turbine.

In effect, Streaming Hydro systems “borrow” a portion of the stream’s water to produce power, returning it to the stream after the energy is extracted. Unlike the Reservoir system, Streaming Hydro does not change the natural course of the stream or store water for future use.

Read More:  HERE.

Sabah needs native land tribunal

July 2012 – KOTA KINABALU: A tribunal to deal with native land matters is urgently needed in Sabah, says lawyer Kong Hong Ming here today.

He said the State Land and Survey Department cannot handle the number of land claims and need a better approach to solve the problem. “There are some 7,115 claimants to land in various districts and are still waiting for their applications to be processed. “Some have been going back and forth asking for feedback and development for a long time,” he told reporters when met at the court complex.

Kong said the idea for the land tribunal was initially proposed by Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum earlier this year to which the state government had welcomed. “I suggest that all parties who are well versed in laws concerning land matters be involved in this tribunal. Let’s give it a try and see how it goes,” he added. — BERNAMA

Source:  New Straits Times.