Two years have passed since Malaysia started playing host to the two China giant pandas and since then, the country has spent RM30.2 million to upkeep the pandas.
Said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in a written reply, Putrajaya allocated RM25.4 million and the remainder was spent by Zoo Negara under the Giant Panda Conservation International Cooperation Agreement.
The two pandas were loaned to Malaysia in 2014 to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties but this came under heavy criticism from the public due to the high cost incurred for the pandas’ upkeep.
It is not RM3,200, RM320,000 or RM3.2 million, but RM30.2 million, an amount that could have been used to aid sectors and industries that are in need.
The education ministry, the women’s ministry, the cut in subsidies, and the remaining are sectors that may not have faced budget cuts but have also been neglected.
Malaysians who have been struggling to cope with the Good and Services Tax (GST) are continuing to suffer the consequences as more business are beginning to charge GST on food and services.
Yet, RM30.2 million is channeled to upkeep two and their recent offspring that would see more cost incurred.
The two giant pandas, Fu Wa (Xing Xing) and Feng Yi (Liang Liang), were loaned to Malaysia for 10 years since 2014.
Does this also mean that the Malaysian government will have to pay another RM120.8 million for the coming eight years?
Wan Junaidi said Malaysia would have to give an additional US$600,000 (RM2,598,109.73) to the China for each panda cub that is born here.
The birth of the cub may have reportedly set a world record as it is the first pair to naturally reproduce within 15 months in captivity, beating Japan’s record of 18 months, but how does this matter or compare to the welfare of Malaysians?
What does it matter of how many cubs the pandas have to Malaysians who are struggling to make ends meet not knowing what to put on the table for their next meal?
Has the diplomatic gift to Malaysia improved the economy significantly?
If no minister can answer to these, it just looks as if the government has been spending hard earned money in vain.
Source : Soo Wern Jun@The Heat Malaysia Online