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Setting up of Malaysia Biodiversity Centre to be presented to Cabinet soon

Publish date: Wed, 22 Mar 2023, 10:44 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Biodiversity Council (NBC) is considering the proposal for the establishment of the Malaysia Biodiversity Centre (MBC) to the Cabinet.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the setting up of the centre was discussed in the first meeting of MBC (MBN1) to improve the country's management towards biodiversity and establishment of a Natural History Museum in the country.

He added that it was agreed during MBN1 that the MBC be appointed as the legal body to increase biodiversity management in the country.

"The meeting earlier also discussed human conflicts towards wildlife in the Peninsula; conservation efforts on Gelam tree; access implementation and benefit sharing in Sabah; and the Reef Ball project in Sarawak.

"The meeting will further discuss and take the government's input provided from related ministries on ways to establish these centres and initiatives.

"MBN1 had also agreed with NBC's terms of reference; coordination of Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework into the National Policy on Biological Diversity 2016-2025," he said during a press conference in Parliament, today.

Fadillah, who is also the Plantation and Commodity Minister, said MBN1 had emphasised the importance of biodiversity management through a whole-nation approach, involving the national, state and community levels.

He added that seven papers, which comprised the initiatives to preserve biodiversity in the Peninsula, as well as Sabah and Sarawak, had been presented in MBN1.

When asked about a statement made by environmental group, Rimbawatch, where some 2.3 million hectares have been earmarked for deforestation, Fadillah said the ministry would issue a statement on it soon.

"Our commitment is to ensure that we are able to preserve over 50 per cent of our forest and we have preserved more than that. That is our commitment.

"(And) if we look at the current situation now, the state government is also committed to not carrying out any deforestation for any planting, especially for commodities.

"This includes oil palm trees where a limit of 6.5 million hectares (of land) can be used and currently only 5.8 million hectares are used."

Previously, RimbaWatch said Malaysia had earmarked 2.3 million hectares of forest for deforestation, an area larger than Perak, Penang and Melaka combined and 100 times the size of Kuala Lumpur.

The group said this could see the nation's forest cover fall to less than 50 per cent and Malaysia's forest cover could decrease to 15,636,737 ha, or 47 per cent of the total land area.

This number, however, is below the government's promise of maintaining 50 per cent forest cover.

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