More NGOs including MNS support the Open Letter calling on political parties to recognise environmental aspirations of the people
Established in 1940 with over 3,000 members in 14 branches across the country, the non-governmental organisation shows its full support to the Open Letter which was issued on 25 January by 16 NGOs.
Along with MNS, Friends of Sarawak Museum (FOSM) and Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) urged political parties to include the people’s environmental aspirations in their respective Party Manifesto and ensure they are given high priority to warrant sustainable development for current and future generations.
This means the Open Letter to the political parties are now supported by 18 organisations from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, namely Biji-biji Initiative, Civil Society Organisations for Sustainable Development Goals (CSO-SDG) Alliance, Ecocentric Transitions, EcoKnights, Environmental Protection Society Malaysia (EPSM), Friends of Sarawak Museum (FOSM), Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) Spiral, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), #PowerShiftMsia, Reef Check Malaysia, Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (SAWO), Sabah Environmental Trust, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society, Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM), Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES), Wetlands International Malaysia and WWF-Malaysia.
Friends of Sarawak Museum (FOSM) was established in 2013 while Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) was established in 1962.
The national body of the Malaysian Nature Society is now represented in the Open Letter. The MNS Kuching Branch which was listed in the earlier letter is a branch of the national organisation and is now not listed on its own. Henry Goh, President of MNS said, “We at the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is fully supportive of the Open Letter and we call on all political parties to respond so the voters know their position on green issues affecting the country.”
He added, “Voters in Malaysia generally have increased awareness and shown greater interest towards environmental conservation as well as sustainable development in the nation. It is very important to address the negative aspects of an imbalanced focus on development and forgetting the importance of what sustainable development can contribute towards the health and wellbeing of this and future generations. A balance between the two must start now.”
Rebecca D’Cruz of SSPCA said, “We lend our full support to this Open Letter. As voters, we call on the political parties on both sides of the divide to heed our sentiments. As Malaysians, we want to safeguard our environment for future generations.”
The group of NGOs are also using the social media to engage the public and ask them to fill in a survey to indicate to the politicians the environmental matters they are concern about. On the survey site (http://www.bit.ly/GE14envSv) it is stated that the results will be released through the media by end of March. There are six questions in the survey, with one of the questions asking if respondents would consider the environment as one of the factors when deciding on their votes. The youth voters have increased awareness towards democracy and value the importance of environmental conservation; they can become a deciding force in many constituents. With the election fever building up by the day, this latest move by the environmental NGOs is certainly adding another topic for the political talks and debates.
WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma urged the public to spend just a minute of their time for the online survey.
“Your support and participation in the survey is important in giving the environment a voice. Each of us rely on the environment for clean air and water, and healthy terrestrial, riverine and marine ecosystems to thrive and meet our daily needs. Hence, we need better policies governing and conserving the environment in this coming general election,” he added.
The Open Letter is available in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil.
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For more information, please contact:
Malaysian Nature Society
Rebecca Jothi D’Cruz
Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Friends of Sarawak Museum
Sheena Wong Sin-Yee