By Neville Yapp, 30 June 2017
The Department of Environment (DOE) in collaboration with Sabah Forestry Department (SFD), held a one day gathering in May at the community hall of Kampung Mumiang to share the preliminary findings on the causes of mass fish death which occurred in 2016. The opening speech was delivered on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAFI) by the Sukau Assemblyman YB Datuk Saddie Abdul Rahman. The gathering was also attended by village leaders from Pitas Laut, Bongun and Abai, Department of Mineral and Geoscience, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Chemsain Consulting Group and representatives from palm oil companies operating in the area.
As part of the Ramsar Community Group 8 (RCG8) process, Forever Sabah (FS) has been working closely with the villagers of Mumiang since late 2015 to highlight the issue of pollution in their fishing territory, mass fish deaths, conduct independent surveys of the polluted tributary and raise funds and partnerships necessary for a community-based water quality monitoring programme.
During the event, Mada Hussin, the JKKK of Kampung Mumiang handed copies of the collective’s own findings to Datuk Saddie, the Director of DOE and the Director of EPD. It is hoped that the data developed through hard work by the community can provide insights and clues to the real causes of mass fish deaths in the Melangking Tributary.
During the event, we were able to build a working relationship between the Assemblyman of Sukau, communities and relevant government departments. Unfortunately, there was no time allocated for a Q&A session but the FS team is planning to hold a series of dialogues in the future to create a space for better interactions between communities, government agencies and the private sector.