18 November 2010 (Thursday) – Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) celebrated the official declaration of its main campus in Kepong as one of the country’s natural heritage sites, whilst setting its sight on attaining world heritage recognition in the future.
“We will work towards that, by coming up first with a comprehensive conservation management plan for the area,” FRIM Director General Dato’ Dr Abd. Latif Mohmod told a press conference after the Official Declaration Ceremony which was held in FRIM this morning.
The ceremony was officiated by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, who also unveiled the Warisan plaque installed at the entrance of the FRIM Museum and Research Gallery.
Abd Latif said FRIM is proud of achieving the natural heritage status not just because of the recognition as a place of importance in the country but mainly for the protection of its forests for continued research as well as for the enjoyment of future generations.
He said FRIM is unique as it is the largest man-made tropical forest in the world, and it can serve as a model of reforestation, forest management and forest protection for the world.
Some 80 years ago, the FRIM grounds were abandoned tin mining pits, with some vegetable gardens and shrubby forest. Since 1926, pioneer foresters and scientists started planting various tree species and gradually nurtured the forest back to life.
In aiming for world class recognition, Abd Latif stressed that there is a need to promote, encourage but more importantly, demonstrate world class mentality and environmentally responsible behaviours.
“We have to start with ourselves; that is why FRIM aims to be a fully environmentally-friendly institute next year. Effective 1 January 2011, we will ban the use of disposable polystyrene and plastic bags particularly for food packing in the campus.
“FRIM staff may use recycle bags and food containers. Canteen and other food operators will also have to comply. No more use of polystyrene plates and cups, which are not only bad for the environment but for our health as well,” he said.
Abd Latif said FRIM has developed various environmentally-friendly food packages using agriculture wastes such as oil palm empty fruit bunch, which will be used at the institute.
“We will also check and advise our visitors to ensure they bring out the polystyrene and plastics that they bring into the campus. We will be strict to ensure cleanliness of the environment. It may be difficult at first for people to accept because we don’t like inconvenience, but gradually, it will become a habit to be responsible for our environment,” he said.
At the ceremony, Abdullah, accompanied by wife, Tun Jeanne Abdullah, also launched FRIM’s publication entitled, “FRIM Tapak Warisan Semula Jadi Negara”. The 194-page book provides an insight into the history of FRIM, its struggle to protect its forest against encroachment of “development”, its natural uniqueness as well as its biodiversity richness, amongst others.
Abdullah also presented “Friends of FRIM” certificates to corporate bodies which have worked closely with FRIM or supported its public awareness, environmental education, forest conservation and tree planting efforts.
The former Prime Minister and his wife also took part in a tree planting ceremony to mark their first visit to FRIM. Also present were Malaysian Forestry Research and Development Board (MFRDB) Chairperson Hajah Nancy Shukri, and National Heritage Department Management Service Division Director Hajah Nooraine Bt Hj Mohd Noordin.
|Tun Abdullah (right) receiving a copy of the book “FRIM Tapak Warisan Semula Jadi” from the FRIM DG (left), while Tun Jeanne, Hajah Nancy and Hajah Nooraine look on.||The former PM, wife and other guests taking a look at the Crown Shyness along the Salleh Trail after the official ceremony.|
|Tun Abdullah after penning his signature on the Warisan plague.||Tun Abdullah and wife presented with a “Friends of FRIM” certificate by Hajah Nancy after planting a Chengal tree.|