Bauxite in Malaysia: The environmental cost of mining

Source: BBC

Bauxite mining has become a controversial political issue in Malaysia. As the government implements a temporary ban on extracting the aluminium ore, BBC South-East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head visits the most-affected area.

Amid the monotonous dark green lines of Malaysia’s endless palm oil plantations, there are now vivid red gashes in the hills behind the east coast town of Kuantan.

These have appeared only in the past 18 months, as a frenzy of open-cast bauxite mining gripped Pahang province.

Tonnes of bauxite are being transported out of the region. It is the world’s main source of aluminium so is vital for the construction of everything from airplanes to saucepans and cooking foil.

The numbers are staggering. Read more

Expert: Bauxite industry needs stricter system

Source: The Star Online

KUANTAN: The Government should draw up more stringent procedures for the industry during the three-month moratorium on bau­xite mining, says a geologist.

Assoc Prof Dr Habibah Jamil, who is with the Science and Technology Faculty at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said it was vital because the ore posed a danger to health.

“Bauxite is high in aluminium hydroxide, iron oxide and chromium.

“These elements are inside the fine dust and can be absorbed into the body through inhalation,” she said.

She said bauxite could also pollute water sources and the heavy metals ingested by fish and animals could end up in people.

“Long term exposure to aluminium hydro­xide can cause Alzheimer’s disease while iron oxide will damage the liver,” she said. Read more

Enough of this nonsense! Malaysia was created as a secular nation — Clive Kessler

Source: The Malay Mail Online

JANUARY 19 — Enough of this nonsense! Enough already!

Malaya and then Malaysia was created as a secular nation.

Denial of this basic fact has become commonplace in recent times.

The pioneers in promoting the revisionist myth that there was or is nothing secular in the nation’s origins or about its Constitution have been the creative legal innovators and myth-makers of the PPMM: Persatuan Peguam Muslim Malaysia (Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association) –- notably Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar — and their like-minded associates in CENTHRA, the Putrajaya-based and Saudi-friendly Centre for Human Rights and Advocacy, headed by on Azril Mohd Amin.

Their lead is followed, and their disruptive views are echoed, by a horde of Utusan Malaysia scribes and ideologues and, in their wake, a claque of well-connected writers and publicists and ambitious politicos.

In the absence of any clear refutation, their increasingly unchallenged view now threatens to become “the default position”, the received and undeniable truth.

But are they right?

In short, no. And for three main reasons. Read more