LETTER | News about the Malaysian government having sunk some eleven replicas of Asean monuments on the seabed of Pulau Bidong off the shores of the state of Terengganu is not just shocking but a plain, outright, dumb action.
It seems that the tourism, arts and culture ministry spent RM300,000 from the Asean Cultural Fund to place the replicas on the seabed at this popular world diving spot.
Conservationists are right in condemning this irresponsible and seemingly creative action by the authorities as the project goes against the basic principles of marine tourism. True too, the money spent should have been used to protect the ecosystem instead as a responsible government.
As the Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia (Ecomy) CEO Andrew Sebastian painfully pointed out that this “circus” is a “visual desecration” and certainly any responsible mind will know that “Divers don’t come to see underwater replicas of buildings” as such irresponsible, foolish actions “stands to impede coral growth”.
Asean nations must protest because their respective country’s monuments must also not be desecrated in such a manner and be used to wilfully destroy nature in its pristine state.
The 11 underwater monuments are the Petronas Twin Towers of Malaysia, the Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque of Brunei, the Jose Rizal Monument of the Philippines, the Merlion of Singapore, the Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan of Thailand, the Tran Quoc Pagoda of Vietnam, the Shwedagon Pagoda of Myanmar, the Patuxai Monument of Laos, and the Indonesian National Monument and Cambodia’s Independence Monument.
And to top this idiosyncratic project, Malaysia even erected an object constructed apparently to signify the “togetherness of Asean countries”, called the Asean Symbol of Unity Monument.
If no member nation protests over this downright dumb move then they too must share in the collective sense of irresponsibility that without doubt seriously causes long-term injures to precious nature, gifted for the betterment of our region.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.