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Malakoff champions turtle conservation

18 July 2012

After a refreshing morning downpour, the sun burst through the clouds to brightly welcome some 100 participants comprising Malakoff staff, students and teachers from the Company’s adopted schools, namely, Sekolah Kebangsaan Segari, Sekolah Kebangsaan (C) Pei Min and Sekolah Kebangsaan Tamil Ladang Huntly. This year, we were pleased to invite one additional school, Sekolah Agama Rakyat, to join in this day-long programme at the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC) over in Pasir Panjang, Lumut.

Organised for the second consecutive year in line with the World Wildlife Fund Malaysia’s call to safeguard the turtles, this ‘Kenali Penyu, Sayangi Penyu’ has become an integral part of Malakoff Corporation Berhad’s ongoing efforts at environment conservation under its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility platform – the Malakoff Community Partnerships.

After receiving goodie bags containing stationery sets, foldable water bottles and solar LED lights and after the hearty breakfast on-site, the children could barely sit still through the customary welcome speeches and mock cheque presentation!

Speaking at the event, En. Abdul Rahman Hussin, Plant Manager of Lumut Power Plant for Malakoff said, “Malakoff recognises the importance of turtle conservation given that their numbers are dwindling at such an alarming rate. As such, we are taking concrete steps to play our part as an active and responsible participant of the local community in conservation efforts which support these species of turtles.”

“I am especially pleased with the enthusiastic commitment shown by our participants today. It is important for more Corporations and individuals to collaborate as well as contribute towards turtle conservation in Malaysia,” he added.

During the programme, a series of awareness activities including a colouring and photography contest were lined up to encourage participants to better understand and champion this turtle conservation cause.

In addition, participants also attended an educational talk conducted by TUMEC which highlighted the important part individuals can play in conserving turtles. This was followed by a tour of the premises where they got to see the different types of turtles which come to these shores – namely the Olive Ridley Turtle and the Green Turtle species.

The highlight of the programme was the actual release of baby turtles into the sea. These students were given the rare opportunity to hold young hatchlings in their hands before an emotional send-off that saw the baby turtles disappear from the shoreline, into the open sea.

Also present at this event was Tuan Haji Sani Mohd Isa, Director of the Perak Fisheries Department, who shared, “I would like to commend Malakoff for its commitment towards turtle conservation by its championing this event for the second consecutive year. I hope that more Corporations will follow Malakoff’s proactive measures to protect Malaysia’s marine turtle species.”

Norhafizah bt Abdul Halim, a Standard Five student of Sekolah Kebangsaan Segari, one Malakoff’s adopted schools, added, “I have learnt so much about turtles today and some of the ways we can safeguard these endangered species. It was a very special moment for me to hold a baby turtle for the first time before releasing it to the open sea.”

“Today’s event has made me realise how important it is to start taking action to help conserve these turtles because their decline in numbers is irreversible. I will definitely share what I have learnt today with my friends and help spread awareness of this cause.”

Malakoff also sponsored the installation of additional information boards in both English and Bahasa Malaysia, around TUMEC to better educate visitors on the importance of turtle conservation. Apart from this, new signboards and a gazebo were also put up to offer greater convenience to tourists visiting the Centre.

Regretfully, the leatherbacks of Rantau Abang are not the only ones facing extinction. The Olive Ridleys and Green Turtles which come to these shores of Perak, Penang and Malacca are also in danger of disappearing from our planet.

“Turtle conservation efforts in Perak are still not widely known. Malaysians can certainly do more if they are aware about how important it is to protect these sea creatures,” added En. Sani.

Thank you to all our young friends, teachers and Malakoff volunteers, for both their time and resources. Let’s keep sharing and taking positive action so that generations to come can continue to see and touch these graceful, beautiful turtles.

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