Wednesday, 28 October 2009

When conservation loses to greed

Personal note: This Minister shows great personal qualities and appreciation of the environment we should commend him for. Will you?

You could write to him c/o Email Contact: Surely, the least we can do is to thank him and show our appreciation for his



When conservation loses to greed

Published on: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daily Express, East Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the greatest challenge in the effort to conserve the forests is not the environment but managing human greed.

He said laws alone are insufficient to ensure all conservation efforts would be successful because there are many greedy people today and this makes conservation work even more difficult.

"I just don't understand why the richer they become, the more they want," he said at the closing of a regional forum on "Enhancing Forest Ecosystem Connectivity and Corridors Within the Heart of Borneo in Sabah" at Pacific Sutera, Tuesday.

He said while he is not against people enriching themselves, they must have a limit to making profit.

"They must think of the welfare and interest of other people instead of only their own."

Hence, he said, forest conservation would only be successful if everyone inculcates a passion to conserve the forests for the present and future generations.

As a member of the State Cabinet, Masidi said he is proud of what the Government has achieved. The past two years they 10 new forest reserves have been gazetted.

He said it took a lot of political will and the price they paid was worth billions of ringgit in terms of revenue to the State.

"Success comes from the heart without being told to care for Mother Earth. So, it's high time to return what we have taken from nature," he said.

Masidi, who is also Karanaan Assemblyman, said since people live among or close to nature, it should only be natural that they ensure the forest is preserved or enhanced so that it could also be enjoyed by future generations.

However, conservation is not something that is popular and that if people really implement what he had suggested some would certainly be earning less money.

Reminding the participants of the forum, he said God gave the forest to mankind for the latter's benefit. "Therefore, humans should look after Mother Nature and not destroy it.

"And as responsible corporate citizens, they should only take what is necessary. But we have done practically everything to nature and because of that we have to be ashamed of ourselves.

"We have destroyed beautiful forests and hills and polluted the rivers to satisfy our greed."

Citing oil palm plantations in Sabah, Masidi said although things are improving with their show of cooperation in the preservation of riparian reserves, there are still those in the East Coast who plant oil palm right up to the riverbanks.

The pesticide and fertilisers they sprinkle and spray on the palm trees, during the rainy season would be washed into the river, thus causing the river inhabitants to dwindle or go extinct.

In the 1980s when he was the District Officer in Sandakan, he said when they put their hands in the river they could literally grab prawns from the water and haul them up.

Nowadays, he said it would be the crocodiles waiting to pounce upon unwary humans.

Nevertheless, he said it is unfair to totally blame the oil palm plantations for the degradation of the Kinabatangan River as research revealed that plantations are not the main factor contributing to the river's decline.

Conservation, therefore, is an invincible guideline to humans as to what should be done to conserve the forests.

"At the same time, there should also be strong political will (to ensure conservation efforts are successful)," he said