TEMERLOH: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah described the declaration of the Al-Sultan Abdullah Royal Tiger Reserve and the Tengku Hassanal Wildlife Reserve today as a positive paradigm shift towards championing environmental preservation.
The King said he hoped that both the tiger and wildlife reserve here will serve as an example to the world in the preservation of the environment and habitat for the critically-endangered Malayan tiger, and other species.
"During my 45 years serving as the Tengku Mahkota (crown prince), there was no effort to reserve such a huge area under the Sultan or Tengku Mahkota's name. Previously, I could remember waterfalls in the jungle were named after me.
"This is a huge area measuring some 134,000ha in Gunung Ais (Al-Sultan Abdullah Royal Tiger Reserve) and the Tengku Hassanal Wildlife Reserve.
"I want both proposed reserve areas to be well maintained so that it can be an example to the world in terms of protecting the environment," he said in his speech when declaring the Al-Sultan Abdullah Royal Tiger Reserve and the Tengku Hassanal Wildlife Reserve at the Lanchang Biodiversity Institute near here today.
Al-Sultan Abdullah described declaring both the forest reserves as a good move and advised the Pahang government to adopt a sustainable development approach so that the environment can be safeguarded for the long term.
"It is my hope and wish to see the approach become a reality and the state government has to consider various aspects before approving any types of projects either at hilly areas, the islands and the low lands.
"Forest areas represent 57 per cent of the total area in Pahang and I hope the state government will conserve more forest areas as it remains a vital green lung.I hope the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry will make long term plans on water catchment areas.
"I hope the ministry will identify the areas that can be gazetted as water catchment areas and it can be channeled to the nearby states including Pahang. This requires proper planning and should be studied properly before it is too late," he said, adding the Federal government can give some due consideration to compensate the Pahang government to maintain their "green lung" forest reserves as water catchment areas.
Speaking of the efforts of his son, Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah to safeguard the environment and wildlife, Al-Sultan Abdullah was grateful and hoped that it would be done effectively.
"When my son returned from England, he wanted to protect the animals and environment. I told him 'walk the talk' and prove what needs to be done, and get it going....only then I can support you.
"He has proven and I would say he has put in a lot of effort to learn and spend time with some of the experts. I hope the efforts will continue and my son will strive hard to champion the agenda and all of us, including the Federal government and wildlife related non-governmental organisations can provide the necessary support."
In his speech, Al-Sultan Abdullah shared his previous experience taking care of two tiger cubs and two young elephants which were gifted to him several decades ago.
"That was much younger when I was around 21 years old in Pekan and I used to keep them as pets. I used to bath them and bring them around in my car but as they grew their maintenance cost in terms of food became costly...more expensive than my own meals.
"It arrived to a point where the tiger began to attack me and the caretaker. I had no choice but to tell Perhilitan (Wildlife and National Parks Department) to set them free in the jungle.....when they grow they become wild and dangerous.
Meanwhile, Al-Sultan Abdullah said the Malayan tiger which is the country's icon is going extinct along with other wildlife due to various threats.
He said the population of the Malayan tiger was dwindling rapidly due to encroachments and poaching activities which were carried out without displaying any pity towards the species.
He stressed that preserving the wildlife, ecosystem and forests which are home to the critically-endangered Malayan tiger and other species has to be continuously strengthened.
The King said integrated efforts from all quarters, including non-governmental organisations and individuals have to be carried out immediately to preserve the Malayan tiger, an icon of the country along with other wildlife species from extinction in the country.
"The noble effort requires funds, training, technology and collaborations at the international level. The Orang Asli community can play a role in efforts to preserve and protect our national; heritage.
"Education and awareness provided at a young age in school will contribute to the efforts(conservation). Our children must be instilled with a deep sense of love towards nature and wildlife.
"Only through these measures we can evoke empathy towards the wildlife and environment, and produce a future generation who will embrace good values to care for the nature and ecosystem of the country," he said.
Also present was Tengku Hassanal, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.
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