Published: Monday, 07 August 2023 08:17
LETTERS: A recent media report revealed that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed Tioman International Airport includes measures to mitigate environmental and socio-economic impacts. The EIA report suggests carrying out a marine conservation and rehabilitation plan, which involves relocating and propagating corals to four designated sites and two coral farms before any construction begins. Additionally, to address potential socio-economic impacts, the report recommends offering tax reductions to resort operators and related businesses for at least five years. While the relocation of corals may appear to be a measure to protect these fragile organisms, it is important to examine the drawbacks and limitations of this approach. Relocating corals from their natural habitats to new sites can have an adverse effect on their survival and the ecosystems they support.
Transplanted corals often struggle to adapt to new conditions, leading to a high mortality rate. The disturbance caused by relocation can disrupt the balance of the ecosystem and result in long-term ecological consequences. Furthermore, offering tax reductions to compensate for the potential socio-economic impacts is insufficient. While reduced taxes may provide short-term financial relief for resort operators and businesses, it does not address the damage to Tioman's environment and biodiversity. The long-term sustainability of the island should not be compromised for economic benefits.
Instead, it is crucial to prioritise measures that protect the island's natural resources, promote responsible tourism practices, and invest in the development of alternative industries that are less detrimental to the environment. Pahang boasts the largest nature reserve in the peninsula. So an intervention in the proposed airport project is vital, and it would be a loss to see the island depleted with the development of the airport. Tioman is a testament to the importance of sustainable development.
Its ecosystems, including coral reefs and marine life, are invaluable assets that support tourism and the economy. However, constructing a new airport risks damaging these ecosystems.
Choosing the environment over financial gains may seem counterintuitive in our profit-driven world, but neglecting our environment will have far-reaching consequences.
Devastating floods, resulting in loss of lives and millions in damages, serve as a stark reminder of the impact of climate change. By prioritising sustainable development and protecting Tioman's ecosystem, we can mitigate future risks and safeguard communities. The heatwave, amplified by El Nino, indicate the deteriorating climate health of our planet, with severe implications for communities and biodiversity. Tioman is vulnerable. Preserving its ecosystems ensures the wellbeing of future generations and the protection of its biodiversity. It is disheartening to witness a lack of recognition regarding the significance of this protected area and its failure to prioritise environmental preservation. We urge the government to reconsider and engage in sustainable alternatives that respect Tioman's ecosystems. The proposed airport threatens this paradise. However, we are not powerless in this fight. I urge people to express their dissatisfaction with the project by providing their comments on the Department of Environment's portal. The EIA report is open for public comment until Aug 4. Our voices matter.
Youth climate advocate
Co-founder of Project Ocean Hope
PhD candidate, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Published: Monday, 12 June 2023 11:10
LETTERS: How many people are aware or remember which of the 13 states have had their respective visit state years? There is no online record that Penang, Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Sabah have ever designated a year to visit their state, but they have been successful in drawing visitors throughout the years. The Land of the Hornbills staged three Visit Sarawak Years in 2003, 2013 and 2019. Kedah had one in 2008, Selangor in 2015, and Kelantan in 2016.
The latter tried to have another in 2020, the same year as Johor, but both were called off together with Visit Malaysia Year 2020. Visit Terengganu Year was 2017, and so was Visit Perak Year. In 2019, there was Visit Melaka Year. Next year, we will have Visit Perak Year and Visit Melaka Year, and possibly Visit Perlis Year. Sources have claimed that 2023, 2024 and 2025 are Visit Perlis Years. State governments that have designated a year to visit their states will line up promotions and activities. They will also spend funds conducting promotions in other states and countries with a sizeable delegation that may include a dance troupe.
It would be better to spend limited funds on something concrete and there is no better way than building tourism centres. It would be more enjoyable for locals performing cultural dances for visitors to join in rather than just watch. The authorities must fully understand tourism to develop it. For example, the number of foreign visitors to Malaysia in 2019 was not just 26.1 million foreign tourists but 35 million, as 8.9 million foreign excursionists also visited Malaysia in the same year. Likewise, domestic tourism includes tourists and excursionists. And domestic visitors are not only those from other states but also within the same state. Travelling to another city or town for shopping or dining is counted as domestic visitors in domestic tourism surveys. The top five states with the greatest number of domestic visitors are Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Sabah and Sarawak. Source: NST