One year ago, Wetlands International released a report that revealed that the rate of deforestation in Malaysia’s province of Sarawak is about 2% a year. Most is being converted to oil palm plantations. “Total deforestation in Sarawak is 3.5 times as much as that for entire Asia, while deforestation of peat swamp forest is 11.7 times as much,” the report states.
A year ago, Long Bangan, a Penan village with about 600 people in northeast Sarawak, set up a blockade to stop timber and plantation companies from encroaching further into their land. This was the most recent in a series of blockades since 1987. The head of the village, Unga Paren told Malaysiakini that “Penans will die if the jungle is destroyed.”
Brett Goldsworthy, chairman of Shift2Neutral has responded to REDD-Monitor’s email asking some questions about his company’s REDD-type projects in Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. He states that his company “deals in facts”, but provides no new information. He states that his company manages its project “in an ethical and open way” but apparently only “to those people involved in the project”.
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia, put out a press release on 10 August 2010 about a carbon trading deal with indigenous peoples in Sarawak. On 6 August 2010, Reuters reported that an Australian carbon trading company called Shift2Neutral had “signed a deal with nine Malaysian tribal leaders to certify carbon offsets from a project aimed at preserving more than 100,000 hectares of tropical forest”.
Two press releases about Malaysia. The first is from the Bruno Manser Fund, publicising a video that shows how Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, was involved in vote buying for Robert Lau, the son of a timber tycoon. The second is from Carbon Planet, the Australian carbon trading company that got its fingers burnt in Papua New Guinea and is now starting to do business in Malaysia. Out of the frying pan, into the fire?