Lulie briefs Taib on the peat soil samples. At right is Awang Tengah. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi
KUCHING: The Tropical Peat Research Laboratory (TPRL) in Kota Samarahan has been renamed Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute.
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud announced it when he opened the complex yesterday.
The institute is the brainchild of Taib, and the building has been in use since 2015.
Taib recalled that the state government decided to have such a facility in order to conduct research and development of tropical peatland in the state, with emphasis on the importance of tropical peat land and its impact on the environment.
He said the government was concerned with the lobbying by non-government organisations (NGOs) in Europe to ban the import of palm oil that were derived from oil palms planted on tropical peat lands. These activists claimed it had contributed to global warming through increased Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
He said these allegations could only be countered effectively through credible scientific data.
“Today, through the hard work of our research team led by Dr Lulie Melling, TPRL is now able to stand up at international forums to voice the state’s findings and counter any bias or speculative accusations against its development policies.”
Taib said he was glad that TPRL had achieved great successes and breakthroughs that enabled the private sector to convert peatland areas for commercial and agricultural purposes.
“TPRL’s hard work and the private sector’s decisions, particularly to open up the coastal lowland areas for agriculture and plantations, have contributed greatly to the socio-economic development of the rural areas and the state as a whole.”
Among those present at the ceremony were Second Minister for Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Resource Planning Datuk Naroden Majais, Assistant Minister for Rural Economy Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, Assistant Minister for Native Laws and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai, Science advisor to the state government Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Alfred Jabu Numpang and TPRL director Dr Lulie Melling.