Azalina: Environmental rape threatening country’s image
KUALA LUMPUR: The Government fears that recent incidents of stripping the environment by certain political leaders could hurt Malaysia’s image and the tourism industry.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said cited logging in Kedah’s catchment area, indiscriminate land clearing in Cameron Highlands and sand theft in Selangor as examples.
“I am concerned over the greed of certain quarters which has threatened our environment.
“I do not want tourists to think that Malaysia is insensitive to environmental issues, making it seem as though we allow our environment to be threatened,” she said after visiting the Bernama news agency.
Azalina said that while the ministry was working hard to protect and promote the environment, unscrupulous people were destroying it.
She urged leaders to exercise caution and practise sustainable development.
“The natural wealth of the country is among the best (in the world) and this is a major attraction for foreign tourists,” she said.
Azalina said she would seek a bigger allocation for the ministry in the 2009 Budget, which is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on Aug 29.
She said the ministry would also continue to spend on tourism promotion campaigns, especially overseas, despite the Federal Government’s decision to cut back on spending.
Azalina said the ministry’s current expenditure for global promotion campaigns was about RM250mil.
“We must and will continue to spend in order to get better profits. Even in the Ninth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review recently, tourism was identified as a sector that would generate more income for the country,” she said.
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