Is exporting coral reef a sound business for Malaysia?

QUICK TAKE: Local environmentalists were unamused when news about a prospective coral reef export project in Bidong Island last week.

The project was announced by Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who said that the country had the potential to be a major exporter of coral reef with its 3,600 km, or 1.27 per cent, of the world’s coral reef’s location representing more than 540 species of hard corals.

The project is a joint venture involving Terengganu, Department of Fisheries Malaysia, Malaysia Terengganu University, and Yayasan Coral Malaysia, which signed a memorandum of understanding on April 23.

The project will receive an allocation of RM27 million from the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry.

While the project may actually be sound, it raises a couple of interesting questions.

First and most important is whether or not we, as a country, really need to exploit our natural resources in such a way for mere profit.

Are we so morally and aesthetically bankrupt that the only beauty we see in our natural surroundings is the green colour of money?

Is profit the only thing our government thinks about? While the ministry has every right to explore alternative projects that involve aquaculture, including the ‘breeding’ and ‘harvesting’ of corals, isn’t the RM27 million better spent on other less adventurous projects?

02 May 2015 – Ant Daily
Is exporting coral reef a sound business for Malaysia?
by Mike Tan


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