KUALA LUMPUR: Efforts to become a developed nation will be futile if the environment is not conserved, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Prime Minister said the country had seen the impact of disorganised development that were merely profit driven.
“We need to realise that our effort to become a developed nation will not be achieved or recognised if all we can see are tall skyscrapers but our rivers are polluted, forests are barren and the air we breathe is polluted.
“In other words, we will only be a successful developed nation when we are capable of ensuring that the conservation and preservation of the environment is in tandem with physical development,” he said in his speech at the Taman Tugu Earth Day celebration here yesterday.
Also present were Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali; Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali; Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar; Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad; Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin; and Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh as well as other prominent guests.
Dr Mahathir said Earth Day, which was first celebrated worldwide in the 1970s, was to emphasise the importance for everyone to conserve the environment.
“Conserving and preserving the environment is both an individual and collective responsibility and it must be continued regardless,” he said.
He said that the Earth Day celebrated at Taman Tugu, a 26.7ha park located in the heart of the capital city, was proof of the Pakatan Harapan government’s commitment towards ensuring sustainable development in line with environment conservation.
Dr Mahathir said about 4,000 types of rainforest trees were planted around Taman Tugu, adding that celebrating this year’s Earth Day here was meaningful and symbolic.
He said the Taman Tugu project was also an effort to produce more nature lovers through educational programmes conducted here over the weekend.
Since the park opened its doors to public in August last year, Taman Tugu has attracted over 30,000 visitors from local and abroad.
“I am sure that every visitor here can bring back the same message to their family and friends on the importance to conserve and protect the nature.
“I believe that this will further increase their awareness and will become a spontaneous act which does not require campaigns and reminders on conserving the environment,” Dr Mahathir said.
The Taman Tugu project is a non-profit corporate social responsibility initiative by Khazanah Nasional Bhd with the support of various public, private and civil society organisations and sectors.
There are two components to the project which is Taman Tugu, where a 26.7ha of green lung is conserved in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and turning it into an urban forest park for the community, as well as the National Public Trust, which is a public trust to own, manage and protect Taman Tugu and other potential assets of heritage value.