RM70 million to keep pandas for 10 years, does not benefit the people

SHAH ALAM, 22 May: A total of RM70 million of public funds are to be used to bear the cost for keeping two Chinese pandas for 10 years.

The PKR Consumerism Bureau Chairman, Yahya Shari, said that the government’s move to bring Fu Wa and Feng Yi, and the special treatment given to the pandas, does not benefit the people.

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“The decision to bring the pandas on the basis of diplomatic ties and on loan does not benefit the people. It is no more than mere entertainment,” he said, quoted from Keadilan Daily.

With the presence of the two pandas, Malaysia would have to pay China around RM3 million every year to keep the pandas for 10 years.

This was reportedly agreed in the Giant Panda International Conservation Cooperation Agreement signed between Malaysia and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), on June 15, 2012.

An estimate of RM25 million was spent on constructing an enclosure for the pandas at the National Zoo, involving a special exhibit area of 1.6 hectares to house the two pandas.

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It was reported that RM15 million was born by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the rest by the government.

The care-taking cost by the National Zoo is estimated at RM1.5 million per year.

“We find it strange why the government is willing to waste millions of ringgit just to loan the pair of pandas from China,” said Yahya.

The panda pair arrived at the MASKargo terminal, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), yesterday (21 May) and was flown in on a special flight from China on a plane decorated with pictures of pandas.

If the two pandas reproduce, Malaysia will have to pay RM2 million to China and can only keep the baby panda for a period of two years.

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