‘Vast rainforests’: Sarawak Minister’s alternative reality


Your eyes are deceiving you: Sarawak actually has vast rainforests, and the state itself has “proper and sustainable forest management in place”, says a Sarawak minister.

Sarawak Infrastructure Development and Communication Minister Michael Manyin was invited to officiate at an event organised by Unimas’ Faculty of Engineering. These were some of his pearls of wisdom in the Borneo Post.

Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin said unscrupulous individuals often criticised the state for destroying its environment and forests based on reports by armchair reporters out on a witch hunt to smear the good name of Sarawak.

He said foreign NGOs and media organisations often published baseless articles, claiming that the state was destroying its natural forest and habitats for the animals and the indigenous people in favour of mega development projects such as hydro-electric dams.

Manyin said the state adhered strictly to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment reports which must be carried out before the implementation of any (mega) projects.

“If you travel by land or fly across Sarawak, you will see the vast area of rainforest. All these allegations about destroying animal habitats are not true. In fact, Sarawak has a proper and sustainable forest management in place. It is also vigorously promoting its eco-tourism to the world. Our tourism products include the Mulu Cave, which is recognised as a Unesco heritage site.

Go have a look at our environment, forest rehabilitation, eco-tourism destinations and tell the whole world about it.”

Wow, and I thought only 5-10 per cent of primary rainforests were left in Sarawak! Perhaps Michael is mistaking tree plantations, oil palm plantations, timber concession areas, secondary jungles, and forests submerged by dams as “rainforests”.

That’s not all. Michael is also talking about the construction of four more dams, because hydropower is ‘renewable energy’. Notice how these guys adopt the ‘green’ language to push their favoured environmentally questionable projects. Does that mean more forests will be flooded?

Who will use all that electricity? Don’t worry, Michael will get the MNCs to come in and sign up for cheap electricity.

Does that mean public funds will be used to finance the dam construction? If that’s the case, it would mean that the public would be subsidising the cheap electricity that draws these power-guzzling MNCs to Sarawak. Much like how EPF loans were used to finance the construction of Bakun Dam…?

By the way, Michael, what do you make of the MACC investigations into Sarawak chief minister Taib Mahmud?

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4 Jul 2013 12.32pm

I think it is a right royal shame for UNIMAS academics to continue inviting brain-dead politicians to grace their intellectual events. To what end? For what purpose? Why do informed academics pander to flatter ignorant and arrogant politicians? Do UNIMAS academics not have any self-respect and dignity? Or do UNIMAS academics only see themselves as dutiful carpets there for politicians to walk all over them; to be wiped on and used as shoe cleaners? UNIMAS is really in a big mess. Hence, UNI-MESS!