SM Idris, eco giant, passes away; baton passed to young eco warriors

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SM Mohamed Idris, the larger-than-life president of the Consumers Association of Penang and Sahabat Alam Malaysia for as long as I can remember, passed away this afternoon at the age of 93. Deepest condolences to the CAP family.

His passing comes just hours after Education Minister Maszlee Malik took up a suggestion to visit the Sungai Ara Tamil Primary School to get a first-hand look at the innovative learning methods and sustainable practices in the school. The minister came away clearly impressed.

At the school this morning, principal Sangga Sinnayah told me that Idris had actually phoned him to touch base and find out more about the school. Little did we know this doyen of the consumer rights movement would pass away just hours later.

What a great loss to the environmental and consumer rights movement. Long before I joined Aliran, my first introduction to an NGO came in secondary school in SXI when a woman from CAP visited our school and gave us a talk on setting up a consumers club. That planted the seeds of awareness of the civil society movement in the country.

CAP under Idris was at the forefront of some major battles such as the struggle against the Asian Rare Earth plant in Bukit Merah in the 1980s. It was also part of the Friends of Penang Hill’s successful campaign to Save Penang Hill in 1990 – a monumental battle which contributed to then Penang Chief Minister Dr Lim Chong Eu’s shock defeat in the general election that year.

In recent times, Idris’ CAP was among the civil society groups that expressed strong opposition first against the Penang Global City Centre project at the Penang Turf Club ground in 2007 under the BN government – and more recently against the “PTMP”, including the massive land reclamation plans off the southern coast of Penang Island.

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The last time I saw Idris was some months back, when he was still holding court in CAP to a couple of researchers presenting their findings on the lack of accountability in many government-linked companies.

Idris was due to announce civil society groups’ backing for an online petition against the land reclamation, which has so far gathered over 8,000 signatures. (Please sign if you haven’t already done so.)

SM Idris may have left us – with his boots still on – but he planted many seeds in the consumer rights and environmental scene. Today we have a new generation of young adult activists in the Penang Forum movement. Many environmentally conscious children are also blossoming, thanks to the efforts of folks like Sangga and his team at the Sungai Ara Tamil Primary School. They are the hope for our future.

Here is my write up for Aliran about Maszlee’s visit to the school this morning:

Maszlee high-fives his way into ‘model’ Sungai Ara school that captured public imagination

The Sungai Ara Tamil Primary School in Penang received top-level endorsement for its wholesome all-round approach to education when Education Minister Maszlee Malik praised its efforts this morning.

The place was buzzing with anticipation ahead of his visit at 8.30am today as Maszlee took up the suggestion to visit the school. The school proudly claims it does not give its pupils homework and encourages its pupils to take part in outdoor activities – yet it is one of the top schools in the state with an 86% pass rate at the Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR).

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Since the school received a wave of publicity a month ago after its efforts were highlighted here, word has spread on social media and among neighbouring schools, civil society and the larger public.

Education Department officials from the state and the South West Penang Island District turned up in full force at the school this morning. Also present were 10 other principals from neighbouring schools in the district.

Children from the Al Iqtan Secondary School just next door were specially invited to join their counterparts in meeting Maszlee.

“This is the Malaysia baru,” beamed principal Sangga Sinnayah of the coming together. “This is how it should be.” Full article on the Aliran website

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BB Boy
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BB Boy

Hopefully Anil can visit and give talks to schools to champion environmental awareness, consumer rights and safety protection, and social justice – so as to inspire new generation that can empathize (not tak apa attitude) with surrounding happenings to uphold the truth and fairness regardless of gender, class, ethic and religious backgrounds. If the late SM Idris could somehow inspire Anil to be what a Marvel he is, I am sure Anil and his passionate followers (tunglang, shriek, calvinsekaran, Jordan, hehe Wei etc) could sustain the momentum at least for a better Penang to agree to prosper in diverse opinions.

tunglang
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tunglang

He lived a simple life, his passions were genuine, his purpose in life bigger than any of our dreams. His battle against the Monster PTMP relentless to the last breath.
His legacy we will never forget for generations to come.
We will miss a legend, SM Idris.
RIP.

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

China Press showed his landed bungalow house with a big compound. Certainly not a simple life compared to many Penangites living in small apartment units.

Shriek
Guest

Everyone can see how best tung land spin. Still wants to believe his word? Greens usually middle class no worries about next week.

Yogesmaran
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Yogesmaran

A colonial-styled bungalow! Not simple indeed!

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Why not ask China Press was the bungalow inherited from his father? His words & his deeds prove more than a bungalow, bought when MR was strong & property not speculated.

Shriek
Guest

Tung land. You better protect and declare is his property as a heritage as it is over 100 years and historic similar to Dr sun’ s residence.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

SM Idris quotes:
“I hope everyone can transform their mindsets don’t be enslaved by materialism.

“Enjoy life and don’t be burdened by debts brought about by unnecessary wants,” he said.
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2012/09/01/octogenarian-mohamed-idris-wont-rest-in-his-quest-to-transform-mindsets/#pDLWW6iUbxbfgdwC.99

Wei
Guest
Wei

hehe…if i have bungalow and properties in the heritage zone i would have enjoyed life too…pity me…

Shriek
Guest

Must refrain from buying 4wds, condo and Ronda rondo for one ton mee.

Milk Tea
Guest
Milk Tea

Thank you for your everything, SM Idris. Keep the fight on, green warriors especially from the NGOs. Don’t trust any PH ministers, they are equally as bad as those from BN.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Lucky you no need to think of next meal or income. Just look at recent Aust election. The greens are real hypocrates. Talk about keeping.green. Bob Brown and his convoy drove more than 400 miles to protest opening of a mine owned richest man of India. How much pollution and fossil fuel burnt. The greens still win the same no of seats. Those Indian immigrants said it is discrimination of indIan owneship playing racial overtones.

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

The state will consider naming a road after late Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris, says Local Government Com­mittee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo.“If there are suggestions to name a road after him, we will definitely take it into consideration,”
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/21/penang-open-to-naming-road-after-sm-idris/#rPKeR7OjkiiADJw4.99

tunglang
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tunglang

NGOs garner 12,000 signatures against PSR project https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/20/ngos-garner-12000-signatures-against-psr-project/ GEORGE TOWN: Concerns that millions of tonnes of sand at high seas off Perak will be sucked up for the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project were among the points raised in an online petition against it. Uncertainty over the livelihood of 6,080 fishermen in Perak on top of the 4,817 inshore fishermen in Penang was also among the 20 points in the petition raised by 45 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to be sent to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, urging him to stop PSR. The petition, which started on May 10, had,… Read more »

Shriek
Guest

Why ngos not petition and protest when reclaiming in south next to sing land? Pg gomen easy meat to eat and bully. South Island is untouchable due to VIP?

Wei
Guest
Wei

those out of state busybody NGOs sign petition against PSR yet pretend nothing happens when environment was destroyed to make way for development in their states…different place different standard…hehe

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

45 NGOs back petition urging PM to cancel Penang reclamation project (from Penang, Johor and Malacca and other states)
https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/476778

Sign the petition here.

tunglang
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tunglang

Penang South Reclamation project will affect Perak due to sand-mining, says group https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/penang-south-reclamation-project-affect-052933073.html GEORGE TOWN, May 20 — More than 6,000 fishermen in northern Perak will also be indirectly affected by the proposed Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, an environmental group claimed today. Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) President Hafizudin Nasarudin said there will be sand mining activities off the northern coast of Perak for the reclamation works in Penang. “This will affect fishermen from Manjung to Tanjung Piandang,” he said. The reclamation works will also affect the natural nesting spots for endangered turtles, such as Olive Ridley turtles that… Read more »

Shriek
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Shriek

What can we learnt frim recent aust election result? Penny wOng and his merry labour mates went into the election with some green platform. For 3 years, exit poll predIct labour will win the election. Turn out only those professionals and youngsters vote labour and greens. Rest who are concerned about conservative and practical econs continue to vote the present government

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

Strange that for his community service and contribution SM Idris was not bestowed with a Datuk title.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

After a lifetime of activism, titan of consumer rights Mohamed Idris, laid to rest in Penang (VIDEO) https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/lifetime-activism-titan-consumer-rights-042629465.html GEORGE TOWN, May 18 ― Born in India 93 years ago, the legendary activist SM Mohamed Idris was interred at the Perak Road Muslim Cemetery at 10.30am today. Best known for his advocacy work as the president of Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), Mohamed Idris was given a respectful send-off by his four children, grandchildren, close relatives and political leaders covering both sides of the aisle, some of whom he had sparred orally with when he was… Read more »

Wei
Guest
Wei

don’t simply speculate if you know nought……

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

It’s a simple question of leadership which Anil answered, dumdo!
What speculation???

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

Grumpy Cat also passed away.

But Komtar CAT is getting stronger, with “infinity stones”?

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

The new generation eco-warriors must pressure the government to close down those illegal plastic recycling factories that import waste plastics from the first worlds.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Tung land real idiot. He barks at developers but allow scot free importers of plastic which in fact garbage who dump along roadsides

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

You dare to bad mouth me by telling a lie? You have no sense of honesty in what you said notwithstanding the shriekings which make no sense so far.
The Bunians would love to teach you a human lesson if only you dare to take up my challenge. Dare or not?

Shriek
Guest

Clearly a fact. You oredi abandon your Belum Valley but very happy to buy a condo from developer instead of supporting heritage shophouse.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Again another glaring lie of assuming-spinning proportion for the ill-purpose of character assassination. My condo was bought long before my x-ploration of Belum rainforest. My support of Pg heritage culture was long before I bought my condo just when the Rent Control was about to be abolished (you think I didn’t want to stay in George Town ah!) This proves you have nothing constructive but Tak Malu Lying harder day + night to get more Komtar Dedak! Pity you can’t live without it. My constructive suggestion: you go to that Buddhist centre @ Solok Terengganu for delicious free + hearty… Read more »

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

That time no complains about developers. Land is plentiful and developers can build anywhere. Since turn of this century, things have changed. Land is getting scare. Just look CHina. Everyone wants a car and house and live yankees. Or tung land still wants to suppress the poor and let them continue in sty.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Do you still not understand what is sustainable development (even in times of land aplenty in the 60s-90s when Pg gomen was good in integrated planning) which for years anilnetto.com has been explaining or was it you mindless shrieking-wailing for years making your brain dumber? Nobody oppose development, it’s your undeveloped mind that thinks all NGOs oppose development. That’s how outsiders perceive you. And more insane when development is done for the rich & greedy developers in times of property glut than for average Penangites in need of affordable housing. Now, can you understand (a bit)??? Hope you will not… Read more »

Shriek
Guest

Tu lang. Spin and peddle again. In the 60s, life is simple. Only radio and TV in black and white. No 1G but 0G. No environment and pollution laws. 5 cents is like bullock cart wheel. No blanga, Nepal or Viet Cong in penang. Land is plentiful and houses are big and low rises. 20 stories buildings are landmarks.
BTW while no protest again abolition of Rent Control. See Sun Star on seniors ikling for a living in heritage area. As young man, you should organise protest.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

When Rent Control issue arised were you there to witness the problems for those living in George Town? No protest? Media coverage under the control of who? Who stopped CM Koh’s car?
If you don’t understand (at all) the issue, don’t comment just to spin & attack.
You look more like a nincompoop!

Shriek
Guest

You real dude. You mean your condo is built for the poor? Why not all those affected by rent control relocate there? If developers are greedy then those working for developers like your nephew orso want his share.