PUTRAJAYA, Feb 2 — The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry has called for cooperation for all parties to ensure wetland restoration and conservation initiatives and programs could be implemented effectively.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr. Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said although Malaysia now has seven Ramsar sites — Bera Lake (Pahang); Tanjung Piai, Kukup Island, and Pulai River (Johor): Kuching Wetland National Park (Sarawak); Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands and Kota Kinabalu Wetlands (Sabah) — they only presented a small fraction of the size of the recorded wetlands.
“These sites are protected under the forestry, state park, and land laws either as permanent forest reserves, state parks, or wetland protection sites.
“(However) there are still wetlands with no specific protection mechanisms,” he said, in a statement today, in conjunction with the World Wetlands Day 2021 celebration.
Feb 2, 2021, is the 50th anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, otherwise known as the Ramsar Convention, which was created on Feb 2, 1971.
Shamsul Anuar said wetlands in Malaysia comprised peatlands, mangroves, rivers, lakes and coastal areas which serve as habitats for a variety of flora and fauna species, especially migratory water birds.
He added that wetlands have high conservation and economic values in terms of forest, marine and tourism revenues, other than ecosystem benefits such as protection from tsunamis, water catchment areas, breeding areas, flood control and carbon sink.
“Forty per cent of species around the world live and breed in wetlands and over 200 new fish types are discovered every year in freshwater wetlands,” he said.
He said this year’s World Wetlands Day celebration themed ‘Wetlands and Water’ emphasised on wetlands contributions towards the quality and quantity of clean water.
“I hope this year’s celebration can remind us of the importance of restoring and conserving this invaluable treasure for the wellbeing of the present and future generations,” he said.