Malaysian Prime Minister Angry About Sipadan Fiasco

The Sipadan reef destruction fiasco rumbles on, with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi publicly attacking his Minister Of Tourism for letting the building works go ahead against his express wishes

Sipadan and the recent reef destruction there is back in the news with a blistering public attack from Malaysia’s Prime Minister on his Tourism Minister. From the Malaysia Star, 27th July 2006:

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lashed out at Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman for going ahead with the RM4.5mil clubhouse project at Pulau Sipadan despite his objection.

“I was very angry with Musa. I told him not to build it. I said so many corals are dying and he promised that he would look into the project,” said Abdullah, who openly expressed his disappointment and frustration with Musa.

Abdullah said he was upset with the general quality of environment in the country, and that Malaysians should learn to appreciate the environment as it was a gift from God.

“God gave us such a beautiful gift. Why are we destroying it?” Abdullah said in his speech when attending the Malaysian Professional Centre annual dinner.

It’s quite dramatic that Abdullah has expressed public disapproval about the damage at Sipadan and here’s hoping that as the most powerful politician in the country, he’ll inaugurate some radical reforms to help protect Malaysia’s reefs and marine life in the future.

As for Sipadan itself, the diving goes on unabated: it’s peak season at Sipadan at the moment, and the management authority Sabah Parks reports that they are having to turn divers away from diving at Sipadan because they are constantly filling their maximum quota of 120 divers a day. (Which means you should also get it in writing from your dive operator that you can definitely dive at Sipadan i.e. that they will have secured the necessary permit for you ahead of time).

Clearly the news of the damage to Sipadan’s reef has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of divers visiting the island, and the patch of reef impacted – about the size of two tennis courts – is in about 3 metres of water, which means most divers won’t even see it. The long term impact of the damage remains to be seen and the prospect of more damage on the island if building continues is a very real concern.

Read more about Sipadan and Borneo Diving here on Divehappy

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