Experts and activists have urged the government to prioritise environmental conservation and protection initiatives in Budget 2024, scheduled to be tabled next month.

Ecological Association of Malaysia president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail said more funds are needed for research, education and awareness programmes as well as wildlife habitat monitoring.

“The government should provide allocations for research on the country’s wildlife species, such as tigers, elephants, as well as tapir, and their habitats.

“The research findings, particularly those concerning protected areas such as national parks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and protected marine ecosystems, can be shared through seminars and conferences,” he told Bernama today.

According to him, the government should also pay special attention to measures to address climate change and the loss of ecological diversity.

“In addition to flooding, property damage, and fatalities, climate change can result in biodiversity loss. Since Malaysia is the 12th most biodiverse country in the whole world, it’s crucial that we pay attention to this issue,” he said.

Ahmad also hoped that the government would place more emphasis on tiger conservation efforts and provide allocations for research and monitoring of the wildlife habitat.

“As top predators, tigers play an important role in maintaining balanced ecosystems,” he added.

Meanwhile, MareCet Research Organisation co-founder and vice chairman Fairul Izmal Jamal Hisne said Budget 2024 should address marine environmental issues such as sea pollution.

“In past budgets, there have been funds for the environment, but they were mostly for land areas like forests, while marine life was kind of left out.

“Therefore, for this budget, we are hoping that the government will consider increasing marine protected areas in the country,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiment, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said that the national development agenda must include elements of environmental care and conservation.

According to him, environmental conservation and management have received less funding in recent years.

“We are not against development, but it must be balanced and take into account efforts to protect the environment. Eco-forest parks in Malaysia have good infrastructure, but most of them are poorly maintained, except for the one in Putrajaya.

“This is also a problem. It seems that local authorities have not done much to maintain the existing infrastructure in the eco-forest parks,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency