Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Read a very interesting and easily explained article written by Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim in the New Straits Times today - I have know Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim since my Palm Oil days and he has been a man without any political affiliation and above that he is a person who writes based on scientific evidences.

As such, I'm happy to share the article for the benefit for my friends who we not able to glance through NST today.

the article as it appeared over the NST for your reading pleasure;

The Lynas rare earth s plant in Gebeng Malaysia can challenge China’s domination as the world’s leading supplier of the commodity

The Lynas rare earth s plant in Gebeng, outside Kuantan, is s one of the many processing plants being planned in the United States, Australia, Europe and Africa.

ASK any taxi driver in Kuantan about rare earth. Or listen to any coffee shop talk in Balok on Lynas Corporation.

Chances are, many will have negative things to say about the health and safety risks associated with rare earth processing.

Though the scientific facts say otherwise, a majority of the public in Kuantan is convinced that rare earth spells danger for their well-being.

The question is, are they fed the right facts? Are they being misled?

Whatever it is, there is no denying that those who vehemently oppose the Lynas rare earth plant in Gebeng have largely succeeded in shaping public opinion in their favour.

But how will that affect future foreign investments to Malaysia? Especially those high-technology investments which carry some level of risk related to safety and health, even though manageable with the proper system?

Judging by the pace of new technologies entering the marketplace in recent years, we will be seeing more such opportunities.

How do we deal with that? Do we just close our doors to such investments? Or do we prepare ourselves to manage safely and benefit from such opportunities?

One thing is clear though: the advent of the green economy will most likely increase mankind's dealings in new materials which can be challenging and risky.

We need to know how to manage such materials if we are to benefit from them. If we fail to do that, many others are lining up to deny us the opportunities.

This is seen in the rare earth business. While a minority in Kuantan is spreading negative facts about rare earths, everywhere else in the world is jumping on the business bandwagon.

China, for example, is expanding its involvement in rare earth production.

Most would agree that we need to seek new avenues to drive the nation's growth. Few would dispute the fact that our socio-economic future faces many threats.

The petroleum sector, for example, which for years has been a major contributor to the country's coffers, is showing signs of decline. The nation's oil and gas reserves cannot last forever.

Though new areas are being explored, it is just a matter of time before we join the likes of countries which were at one time flushed with oil wealth but are now dependent on imports. A good example is the North Sea. Not much oil is left there now.

Can revenue and other benefits from the rare earth business overcome the minimal and manageable risks of their extraction? Judging by the worldwide scramble to invest in rare earth, that is more than a realistic conclusion.

Rare earth has emerged as a strategic material for the world. And this has led to a rise in the global interest in the rare earth business. According to industry analysts, China, as the leading supplier, aims to control the trade in rare earth.

By imposing export controls, China also wants to influence world prices. Analysts believe that China is buying time to build the downstream sector by controlling supply as well as keeping prices high outside the country. Any new external source of supply would, therefore, not augur well for China. Analysts see Lynas as bad news for China. With increasing supply from sources such as Lynas, prices may decline, attracting more players into the downstream.

The rest of the world is campaigning hard to expand the supply sources of rare earth outside China.

Recently, there was a big rare earth conference in Canada to discuss strategies for increasing rare earth production outside China. And there was no one from China. And when news of Lynas getting their pre-operating licence was announced, there was jubilation at the conference as reported by a Malaysian participant.

The latest development is that new rare earth processing plants are being planned in many parts of the world.

These include the United States, Australia, Europe and Africa. Apparently, the interest in rare earth is not just because of their demand in green technology products.

Rare earth has, on the other hand, also found strategic applications in the military. Can Malaysia afford not to support investments in rare earth?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Pleased to share an article written by Saraswathi Muniappan from BERNAMA.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 (Bernama) -- The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda)'s venture into the canola business in Canada is laudable and will expand Malaysia's presence into the oils and fats industry, said Hulu Selangor Member of Parliament P. Kamalanathan.

"I am impressed with Felda's bold decision to get into the industry. Felda is known for palm oil and the industry's development. Entry into the canola business will strengthen its presence further in the oils and fats market," he said.

Canola, an acronym for Canadian Oil Low Acid Canola, is from the rapeseed family with low erucic acid. Its seeds are used to produce edible oil and is also suitable for biodiesel.

The business, TRT ETGO du Quebec Inc, held via Felda's commercial arm, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), has made a good impact in the Canola industry in Canada, he told Bernama after visiting the plant here today.

TRT ETGO is a canola seed and soybean crushing plant, with palm oil blending capabilities for both types of oil.

"I think they could be among the leaders in the industry right now," he said, adding that the success of the business was evident from the viability of Felda's commercial venture.

The crushing plant has help to promote Canola cultivation by creating more demand.

Farmers here have expanded their acreage to 40,000 now as compared with 10,000 before FGV owned the crushing plant, amid TRT ETGO's effort in promoting and creating awareness of the benefit of planting Canola.

"This figure is expected to grow further," he said.

Kamalanathan said he was proud to see the entire plant managed by Malaysians.

He said the venture into the canola business would help FGV expand Felda's presence in North America's oils and fats market.

Going forward, Kamalanathan said the government should assist Felda to venture into oil palm plantation which had a huge potential in Brazil.

"I would put in a proposal for the government to consider," he added.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


8th February 2012

Am now at Gate C37, KLIA waiting for an announcement to board flight MH002 to Montreal, Canada via Heathrow.

It has been a long time since I travelled long hours, the last was probably when I was serving Malaysian Palm Oil Promotion Council (that time was too frequent).

The flight to Montreal will take 20 hours and 50 minutes to reach and that's not included the 8 hours transit that i would be spending in Heathrow Airport - in short I will arrive in Montreal on 9th February at 1550 hours - Montreal local time (Malaysian time would probably be 10th February @ 0350 hours).

I will try my best to update my daily experiances of my travel as and when I get the opportunity or if there are wifi's easily available and even more important I hope it's free.

.....Journey begins.......

Heathrow Airport, London

Arrived at Heathrow Airport, London on 9th February 2012 @ 530am. London was already awake but the sun is so where to be seen.

The weather outside I was informed was at -1 degree C.

The good thing is I don't need to get out of the airport, but, having said that, I have to spend nearly 7 hours here before my connecting flight to Montreal take-off.

Since I did not have to clear immigrations, the clearance from terminal 4 to terminal 3 was rather easy, although there was a few security check, but all went on fine and nothing to worry about. In Malaysia we are so relaxed at the immigration and we normally don't put our guest into so much of screening, but, I guess it's only fair that each country has her own regulations and as visitors we need to adhere by it.

Glanced at the newspapers; it's all about Capello's (England's soccer team Manager) resignation and the other story was about Prince Harry who wants to return to the front line in Afghanistan serving as a helicopter co-pilot. Also in the news was Redknapp's chances of taking over Fabio Capello.

As I was walking to collect my boarding pass for the next flight, suddenly I see an adult in his mid 40s running holding his pair of shoes in his right hand and just with his socks and I wonder what trouble he has got himself into or did he forget something important somewhere, anyway, I hope he does no get into any kind of trouble.

Ah here, I saw a shop that sells Olympic 2012 gift shop - expensive!!!!!

What else, Harrods - we have it in Kuala Lumpur, Starbucks - many outlets in Kuala Lumpur as well.

While I look for my place to rest, you have a good time resting and having fun where ever you may be.

If anything interesting happens before I depart to Montreal, I shall share. Until then, I need to look for a place for a shower.

Signing off from Heathrow, London.

enjoy reading and the journey is only about to begin...

9th February 2012 @ 350pm - Montreal Time

Arrived in Montreal as scheduled which was 350pm. The weather outside was 0 degree celcius.

While the walk from the aircraft to the immigration checking was not that far, but I was shocked to see the long queue it took me 45 minutes before I could even show my passport to the immigration officers, while all my colleagues had no problems at the immigration, I had to go and show my passport to another counter, anyway, after a few more questions, I was allowed into Montreal.

I was shocked to see Montreal now - full of snow eveywhere - the snow fall in Montreal has turned into ice everywhere, it's my first experience seeing such situation - the weather was very cold, i can't imagine how it would have been if the weather was -20 degree celcius.

We reached the hotel at about 6pm - after nearly 30 hours of travel.

First thing first, needed to freshen up, as dinner was at 7pm - It was a good decision to have dinner early as this would enable me to be awake and not sleep earlier - one way to get adapted to the time change is to make sure to sleep at the same time the locals sleep.

We had dinner at a Tandoori Restaurant - good Indian/Pakistani food and indeed it was satisfying.

Back in the hotel by 930pm - perfect timing to rest and get ready for the next day. Another important thing - by 6pm it's dark in Montreal (it's like 8pm back home).

I was worried if I could sleep as this would be important for me to get adjusted to the local time, but, I was just to tired and I slept of by about 1030pm and as usual, we were told to be ready by 7am to start our official meetings.

10th February 2012 @ Montreal

Although I woke up a few times in between 1030pm till 630am, but, I had no problems sleeping and that was indeed a good news for me as I guess I'm able to adjust my sleeping time.

We left the hotel by 730am to Becancour (a 2 hours drive from Montreal) the weather outside was in between 0 & 1 degree celcius, but, it was windy and as such, it was very cold and throughout the journey, we could see so much of snow setting as far as the eyes can go and all rivers have turned into big skating arena's.

We arrived at Becancour, the destination for our first briefing - fellow Malaysian's briefed us nearly about 3 hours which included a visit to the plant to see for ourselves what they have done so far - and in one word AMAZING and if only all Malaysian companies have put in effort of this nature, we would be one very successful nation.

After the tour of the factory, we adjourned for lunch at a very small and colonial looking hotel called Manior Becancour and the entire hotel was covered with snow.

We were done by 2pm as we were planning to head back to Montreal, there was a suggestion that we take a drive to Quebec City which was 1 hour drive from Becancour. After a few minutes,we decided to head to Quebec City for a short trip.

Covered by snow it was - Quebec City. But, it was a beautiful sight, especially the river - St. Lawrence River, transforming itself from fully iced into a normal river - that sight was simply awesome, but, I could just not handle the weather, with the wind - always waiting to get back into the car.

We were done with the visit in Quebec City by 530pm and we departed back to Montreal - tired as well as cold I was by that time, just can't wait to get back to the hotel.

We stopped by a Thai Fast Food Restaurant to have our dinner and by about 930pm we reached the hotel as we were getting out of our car, it began to snow - yes for the first time I saw snow falling from the sky, and then the bad news, tomorrow the weather would be -10 degree celcius.

Can't wait to depart Montreal to Boston tomorrow and for now, I shall rest for a while and I do hope I get to sleep....

the journey continues.......

11th February 2012 @ Trudeau International Airport, Montreal, Canada

Its 1125 hours in Montreal = +13 hours in Malaysia.

As expected there was a heavy snow storm last night in Montreal from the room of my window I could see how strong the wind and the snow that came along with it, as much as I would have loved to take a picture of me and the snow falling on top of me, I guess I did not dare - afraid of the consequences - health concerns mainly.

Woke up early today and got ready to leave the hotel to the airport and we were informed earlier to be in the airport earlier as the security check could take some time.

Departed the hotel at 920am and was in the airport in 25 minutes - it was still drizzling with snow here in Montreal and by the way the weather outside is -14 degree celcius and with the wind it feels like -19 degree celcius.

as expected the security check was thorough and I expected it to be like that, but, I must say all the officers in charge did their responsibility very well and they were very kind and friendly throughout the process. All this did take place about 1 hour.

We are now ready to board the flight in a while will be reaching Boston, USA at 1330 hours on 11th February 2012 which is 0230 hours 12th February back in Kuala Lumpur.

will update later once I have reached Boston, USA.

and the journey continues........

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Thaipusam is a celebration of the day Lord Murugan, or Subramaniam or Kartikeya as he is also known, received the “Vel” or divine spear from his mother, Mariamman also known as Parvati, to kill the feared demon Soorapadman.

God has a reason for allowing things to happen we may never understand his wisdom but we simply have 2 trust his will.

God bless you all the way.

Every second God remembers you
Every minute God bless you
Every hour God cares for you because.
Every day I pray God to take care of U.


Monday, February 6, 2012


Today is the 6th day of February and it is also Chap Goh Meh, the finale to the Chinese New Year celebration. Being a public holiday this year’s Chap Goh Meh will be celebrated on a grander scale by the Chinese.

As i was informed by my friends, Chap Goh Meh, meaning “fifteenth night” in Hokkien, is a day to spend with loved ones. It is like Valentine’s Day for the Chinese. On this day, single adults throw oranges into rivers in the hope of finding a life partner.

Once upon a time, people used to write their names and telephone numbers on oranges that they threw into rivers. Nowadays with the widespread use of the internet, I guess people will probably write their emails or their websites addresses on the oranges that they throw, well I am indeed sure that some may even write the names that they use on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

To all my friends, I would like to wish you all a very happy Chap Goh Meh!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Saya mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mengucapkan kepada semua sahabat-sahabat saya yang beragama Islam Selamat Menyambut Maulidur Rasul.