Mohamed Idris. Credit: Right Livelihood Foundation/Ulrike Altekruse

Mohamed Idris has Passed Away

News 20.05.2019

Mohamed Idris, founder of Sahabat Alam Malaysia – Sarawak, which received the Right Livelihood Award in 1988, has passed away at an age of 93.

“So many movements of today, including the World Rainforest Movement, were born of Mr Idris’s vision, his bringing activists together to become a bigger force. His contribution to the forest and biodiversity movement, the justice movement, the Third World sovereignty movement, the Decolonisation movement, gave strength to us all”, said 1993 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Vandana Shiva from India when she learned about the sad news of Idris’ passing.

Mohamed Idris

According to reports, the iconic environmentalist and consumer advocate Mohamed Idris passed away peacefully on Friday 15 May. Idris, who was President of The Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) died at a private hospital due to heart failure.

Logging is a great problem in Malaysia. In Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, logging is among other things destroying the culture and livelihood of the area’s native inhabitants, including the Kelabit, Kayan and Penan peoples.

Mohamed Idris founded Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), the Friends of the Earth organisation in Malaysia, in 1978. Over the decades, the organisation has fought many battles to save the tropical rainforests of Sarawak, and to protect the rights of indigenous people who depend on the forest for their livelihood and survival. SAM – Sarawak received the Right Livelihood Award in 1988 “for their exemplary struggle to save the tropical forests of Sarawak.”

“On Friday evening, we lost one of the greatest public interest leaders in Malaysia and the Third World. I worked very closely with him over 55 years setting up the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Citizens International. He was 93 but was to Chair a Press Conference on Monday against what has been described as a monster transport infrastructure project involving massive reclamation, tunnels and Super highways across the beautiful island of Penang. The battle for a better just world will continue ever more vigorously”, said Anwar Fazal, 1982 Right Livelihood Award Laureate from Malaysia who is also the Vice President of SAM.

Mohamed Idris also started the influential Consumers’ Association of Penang, Asia-Pacific Peoples Environment Network, and Third World Network news agency.

“We are deeply touched by the passing of Mohamed Idris. Our thoughts are with his family and closest friends. Idris was, and continues to be, a great source of inspiration for so many people and his legacy will live on”, said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Foundation.

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