‘ECRL project will take environs into consideration’

‘ECRL project will take environs into consideration’

There will be adequate environmental protection in the construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) rail line, said Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).

Its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak said the ECRL project team has been working closely with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (NRE) for over a year to improve the project alignment and design to minimise its impact on the environment and wildlife.

“It is important for the development of ECRL to be implemented with the environment in mind.

“We firmly believe that development and the environment must go hand-in-hand.

“A Wildlife Management Plan has also been formulated through MRL’s collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan),” he said in a statement yesterday.

Darwis said a special steering committee, chaired by the NRE’s deputy secretary-general, has also been set up to ensure that all matters related to natural resources and environment regarding the project will be addressed.

The ECRL project, said Darwis, is said to be among the “most challenging engineering and construction” projects in Malaysia as the 688km rail line is not on a flat terrain but cuts across the hilly terrain of the Titiwangsa Range and dense forest.

“As the ECRL traverses through various forests and wildlife habitats, it is crucial to explore the means to ensure the development incurs minimal damage.

“We are pleased to say that the scrutiny in protecting the environment has resulted in a more environmentally-friendly design and measures to ensure the welfare of the wildlife,” said Darwis.

The MRL, together with main contractor China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), will be implementing various environmentally-friendly initiatives, he added.

The ECRL project team and the NRE have also made design improvements to reduce the loss of forests.

The original design, said Darwis, could have involved the loss of over 2,000ha of forest reserves but modifications to the alignment and provisions of 45 tunnels with a total length of about 49km have managed to reduce the loss of forests by 90%.

Wildlife underpasses will also be built at 29 strategic locations so that wildlife can move freely despite the railway line passing through.

~News courtesy of The Star~


DPM: Vmy2020 to help boost tourism

DPM: Vmy2020 to help boost tourism

Visit Malaysia Year campaign will be held again in 2020, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“The campaign seeks to ensure that Malaysia remains a desirable destination for visitors from all over the world,” he said.

“Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) is a national mission. It will be the catalyst to drive the tourism industry further and achieve the visions outlined in the Malaysian Tourism Transformation Plan.

“I want all ministries and agencies to give their full support towards this programme,” he said after chairing the Cabinet Committee on Tourism meeting yesterday.

~News courtesy of The Star~


马航全新空巴A350 往返吉隆坡-伦敦启航

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Heavy rain expected to hit several states

Heavy rain expected to hit several states

Heavy rain is expected to continue in several areas in Johor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Terengganu and Sarawak until today.

The Malaysian Meteoro­logical Department has issued a severe weather warning for several areas in Johor and Pahang.

“Heavy rain is expected to continue in Johor (Segamat, Kluang, Mersing, Kota Tinggi, Johor Baru and Kulai) and Pahang (Rompin, Pekan and Kuantan) today,” it said in a statement.

The department has also issued a weather warning alert for Negri Sembilan, Melaka, several areas in Johor including Tangkak, Muar, Batu Pahat and Pontian, and several areas in Pahang including Bentong, Temerloh, Maran, Bera and Jerantut.

~News courtesy of The Star~

South-East Asia in the grip of chilly weather

South East Asia in the grip of chilly weather

Temperatures across South-east Asia have dipped beyond the norm in recent days, with non-stop rain and strong winds contributing to chillier tropics.

The thermostat has dropped to as low as 22°C in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and 17ºC in Bangkok, cold bouts have been reported in Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, and ice slabs have even been found in parts of Myanmar.

The weather has become so chilly that Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tweeted on Friday (Jan 12): "Wow, Malaysia's weather is really cold today, just like in Jeddah!" He had just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department attributed the chill to the north-east monsoon, but did not expect temperatures to dip further. The agency forecasts all-day rain to last until Sunday in Kuala Lumpur.

Thailand has been experiencing a cold snap since last month, with fog blanketing its northern regions and frost forming on mountains.

In Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, the temperature fell to as low as 8ºC, the lowest this winter for the city.

Though Cambodia was also struck by the cold weather this week, it was not as bad as last month, when the temperature plunge caused a sweater-shopping frenzy, and baby elephants had to wear hand-knitted coats.

The Philippines has been experiencing generally colder weather too, a result of the El Nino-La Nina weather dynamics, and the chilling Arctic air called the polar vortex. "We have seen a cold blast in the Pacific and Atlantic regions," said the local weather bureau's forecaster Nikkos Penaranda. The lowest temperature recorded recently was 12.2ºC in the northern city of Baguio on Jan 1.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said it recorded moderately lower-than-usual temperatures in the Riau Islands, an Indonesian province closest to Singapore, and in Nusa Tenggara Timur, east of the country's main tourist island of Bali. On Friday, the two locations registered temperatures of 23ºC to 25ºC.

All other provinces are seeing relatively normal temperatures, state weather forecaster Risda Novikarani told The Straits Times.

Over in South Asia, the northern parts of India were also in the midst of a cold spell, but meteorological officials said this was well within the range for winter months. "Temperatures have fallen and the cold wave condition is more severe in January than December," said Mahesh Palawat, director of private weather forecaster Skymet. "It is a normal winter."

According to India's Meteorological Department, minimum temperatures in most parts of northern India this week continued to be between 5ºC and 10ºC, and would remain so until Monday (Jan 15).

~The Straits Times/Asia News Network~