From: Associated Press
Published April 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Malaysian PM Says Billions Lost to Environmental Degradation, Unchecked Logging

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia's prime minister said environmental degradation and unchecked logging have cost the country billions of ringgit (dollars), adding that rehabilitating natural resources in one of the world's most bio-diverse countries would be difficult.


"Billions of ringgit (dollars) worth of (the nation's natural) wealth have been destroyed, something that is very difficult for us to rehabilitate," Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said late Tuesday, according to the official Bernama news agency.


Abdullah said the government would step up efforts to keep forest destruction in check, Bernama reported, without elaborating.


Last week, environmentalists and beauty products retailer Body Shop launched a campaign to stop state-backed logging in a 130 million year-old rainforest in the northern Malaysian state of Perak.


The state government said it could not end the logging because timber is a major revenue earner.


Malaysia is home to some of the world's oldest rainforests and many of the most endangered species.


However, the country's rivers are also frequently polluted, and emissions from landfills seeping into key water sources have stopped supply of tap water to residents in the country's largest city, Kuala Lumpur, in recent months.


"If a baby crocodile is thrown into one (river), it will die in two minutes," Abdullah said, according to Bernama.


Source: Associated Press


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