MALAYSIANS owe their recent victory in gaining Pulau Sipadan to the laborious actions taken by the Government.
Meanwhile, the leadership is working very hard in securing Pulau Batu Puteh which the Singapore Government is also fighting hard to win.
But it is a shame to see the state of neglect on some of the islands that already belong to us.
Pulau Besar in Malacca and Pulau Merambong, off Johor, are two examples.
It is about time Malaysians realised they have a vested moral obligation as citizens of this country to ensure what our Government fights so hard to secure for posterity is not lost owing to our own misdeeds, greed, incapability and indifference.
Whether one is a fisherman, a local resident, business operator, local tourist or an employee of any of the various agencies responsible for the care and maintenance of the islands, the acute sense of accountability must prevail.
It is heart breaking to see Pulau Besar, for example, being laid to waste by Malaysians.
Garbage keeps washing ashore because we Malaysians have yet to learn what responsible waste disposal and management is all about in our very own backyards.
We close our eyes and perhaps ears, too, as foreigners abuse the beauty of Pulau Merambong.
Given the importance of the tourist dollar, we must treasure our islands which can prove to be perennial attractions.
Any form of abuse, neglect or indifference must be checked with urgency.
It is time, therefore, to put in place or enforce vigilantly a national action plan for the sustainable management of our numerous islands.
If locals are incapable of managing the resorts on these islands, let us give these resorts to others who have the track record.
If the authorities responsible for the security, cleanliness and safety of these islands continue to prove their incapability, then it is high time to hold them fully accountable.
While the Government is working hard to bring back our lost islands, Malaysians must protect, nurture and cherish existing islands for the prosperity of the country.