PETALING JAYA: Global environmental activist group Greenpeace, which has in the past criticised Malaysia over extensive deforestation and ecologically unfriendly oil palm plantations, has set up its first office in the country.
The Star reported that the office in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, would serve as a base for 10 Malaysian employees, while complementing the NGO’s other centres in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
“Southeast Asia is a key battleground for us to win our environmental goals,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Naderev Saño was quoted as saying during an official launch of the office on Friday.
“Malaysia is an important community for us to work with in realising the dream of a healthy and prosperous Southeast Asia.
“We want to see change and a transformed world where nature serves to the benefit of people… We are here to help the community change the destructive mindset and bigotry to achieve this goal,” he added.
According to its website, Greenpeace has been working in Malaysia on volunteer-led projects focussed on ending haze caused by burning peatlands in the region, and ensuring zero deforestation.
It added that the NGO has also campaigned hard to keep the oceans healthy and thriving.
It also said Greenpeace has been involved with local networks, working with like-minded NGOs in the country.
“For example, in 2014, we launched a report in coalition with local organisations to ‘Stop Lynas’,” it said, referring to the controversy around the rare earth company’s refinery set up near Kuantan.
It also said Greenpeace Southeast Asia is supported by thousands of Malaysian netizens who sign its environmental petitions online.
In September last year Greenpeace activists blocked transportation and unloading operations of Malaysian palm oil company IOI Group at the Rotterdam Port, accusing it of forest destruction and child labour.
In Oct 2011, the Netherlands’ Independent Appeals Board ruled in favour of Greenpeace which alleged that Malaysia did not practise sustainable forest management.
The decision meant that the Dutch would ban wood products certified under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) from entering the country.
The board reportedly said that MTCS had demonstrated no respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and conducted environmental impact assessments that were inadequate.
It also said MTCS failed to make maps of its certified forests accessible to the public and failed to guarantee that these forests did not disappear for other land uses such as plantations.