A RM17 million price tag

On 4 December 2009, Sime Darby Bhd, through its plantation arm, Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd, bought the entire issued and paid-up capital (50,000 shares of RM1 each) of an obscure new company, Nature Ambience Sdn Bhd, for RM16.8 million.

What makes Nature Ambience, which was incorporated only a year ago (on 12 December 2008), so special? Although it will become an oil palm plantation firm, a company search reveals its nature of business to be “general trading”.

On 2 October 2009, the Ministry of Land Development, Sarawak granted Nature Ambience approval to be the investor/developer for 26,211ha of Native Customary Rights land in Kapit and Julau, Sarawak. This was reportedly in line with the Sarawak state government’s “new concept of development on NCR land”. The Ministry is headed by James Masing, who is also the state assembly member for Balleh, one of the constituencies in Kapit.

With its purchase of Nature Ambience, Sime Darby will now be allowed to develop oil palm plantations in the Sarawak NCR development scheme.



This Christmas, give them hope…

If you are wondering how you can make the year-end extra meaningful, why not think of the Monfort Youth Centre in Malacca.

The students of the Monfort Youth Centre

Help the Centre give hope to the young: An artist’s impression of the proposed double-storey building – Images courtesy of Monfort Youth Centre

First of all, I want to say thank you for your support this year with this blog. Some of the discussions and debates we have had here have been priceless. We have witnessed many things together in the struggle for justice and freedom – sometimes “live” as news breaks. At other times, we have been aghast at the environmental and human price some of us have paid for unsustainable development. And if we start to talk about corruption, oppression and exploitation, we could be here all day…

The year end is also a time for us to reflect on our lives, our priorities and what our role is in the larger scheme of things. Jesus himself was born in poverty. He constantly identified with the poor and those whom society often shunned. He empowered them and gave them hope.



The RM1.20 tomato

Friend of mine bought a tomato for RM1.20 at the Tanjung Bunga market.

Now you would think a RM1.20 tomato would have to be pretty special.

No, this was just a little tomato, not even big and juicy.

Unlike ordinary tomatoes that would rot in a few days if left in the open, this one could keep for a while. Makes you wonder.

If a tomato could cost RM1.20, imagine the prices of other fruit and vegetables. The question is, how are the lower-income group coping? As food prices soar, as real wages remain stagnant and as overtime pay is slashed, many among the working class are struggling to put food on the table for their families – while some of our leaders squander our nation’s resources and their spouses go on shopping sprees abroad.