Putrajaya seeks extra RM5.6m for giant pandas

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is requesting for an additional allocation of RM5.6 million for the care of a pair of giant pandas which will arrive in the middle of April this year. — AFP pic
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is requesting for an additional allocation of RM5.6 million for the care of a pair of giant pandas which will arrive in the middle of April this year. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 ― The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment requested an additional allocation of RM5.6 million today for the care of a pair of giant pandas due from next month.

The request was part of the Supplementary Supplies (2013) 2014 Bill, which was tabled Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

The ministry is requesting RM8,439,150 in the Bill, of which RM5,648,000 will go to implement the Giant Panda Conservation Collaboration Programme.

This amount is on top of the RM10 million previously requested by the ministry to fund the construction of a Giant Panda Conservation and Exhibition Centre in the National Zoo, which did not receive any funding in 2013 despite being given the green light by the Economic Planning Unit.

The federal government sought today parliamentary approval for an extra RM2.4 billion it spent on top of Budget 2013, according to a bill presented to lawmakers today.

The biggest item listed in the bill was RM2.1 billion in contributions to statutory funds. The amount refers to development spending in 2013 and is not a fresh allocation, the bill added.

The pair of giant pandas will arrive in the middle of April this year, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said in January.

He announced that the total cost of the exhibit would be RM25 million, with RM15 million funded by the 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and the rest by Putrajaya.

A 1.6 hectare area has been reserved in the zoo for the exhibition.

The pandas were part of a bilateral deal signed by Malaysia and China in June 2012, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. 

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