Minister says over 270,000 trees planted nationwide in past year after jungles cleared

Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar (centre) gives a sapling to Klang Municipal Council secretary Elya Marini Darmin during the launch of the Restoration, Reclamation and Rehabilitation Through Tree Planting Programme in Klang January 5, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar (centre) gives a sapling to Klang Municipal Council secretary Elya Marini Darmin during the launch of the Restoration, Reclamation and Rehabilitation Through Tree Planting Programme in Klang January 5, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KLANG, Jan 5 — The government has replanted roughly 277,000 trees covering a total of 459 hectares throughout the country since 2019 in an effort to rehabilitate land denuded of its forest cover.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the effort, under the ministry’s Restoration, Reclamation and Rehabilitation Through Tree Planting programme, was a testament to Malaysia’s commitment to preserving its environment and natural resources.

“Realising the importance of forested areas, Malaysia had in the past pledged its commitment to maintain over 50 per cent of its total land mass as natural forest cover at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

“Therefore, we must continually ensure tree replanting efforts and maintaining the existence of forested areas despite ongoing developments,” he said during the programme’s launch at the retention pond in Taman Bandar Botanik here today.

Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar plants a tree after launching the Restoration, Reclamation and Rehabilitation Through Tree Planting Programme in Klang January 5, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar plants a tree after launching the Restoration, Reclamation and Rehabilitation Through Tree Planting Programme in Klang January 5, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

According to Dr Xavier, the Restoration, Reclamation and Rehabilitation Through Tree Planting programme was allocated RM100 million under the 11th Malaysian Plan aimed at restoring 1,640 hectares of deforested areas with over a million trees involved.

Dr Xavier said today’s event was the ministry’s effort at organising campaigns to nurture responsibility and a love of nature among the public with the cooperation of various agencies such as the Forestry Department Peninsula Malaysia and the Forest Research Institute Malaysia.

Today’s programme was also aimed at promoting the Merbau tree (Intsia palembanica), an indigenous hardwood species, as Malaysia’s national tree as announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in August last year.

A total of 140 trees from 36 species exhibited during the Hutan Kita exhibition last month were transported and subsequently planted around the retention pond today.

“I hope as a start this area will serve as an example because there are many areas within our cities that we could utilise to become mini forests,” Dr Xavier added.

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