LETTER | Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) is pleased to hear the announcement by the government not to proceed with the construction of the airport on Tioman Island.
The cabinet decision comes after the technical committee meeting on the environmental impact assessment report (EIA).
RCM applauds the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) ministry's commitment to preserve and conserve natural resources and the environment responsibly.
The rejection of the proposal to construct a new airport on Tioman Island is a massive victory for the environment and biodiversity, not only on Tioman Island but in Malaysia as a whole.
It also means the local community's livelihood on Tioman Island will not be negatively affected as its economy recovers from the Covid-19 lockdowns.
The concerns voiced by the public regarding the reclamation of protected marine areas that will destroy coral reefs, which are important habitats for various marine life, made an impact.
RCM expresses gratitude to the public; 1,412 people have commented on the EIA from 21 June to 4 August, and over 26,000 people have signed the petition to oppose the construction of the new Tioman Airport on Change.org.
Not to be left out is the SmallTownsMy team for producing awareness videos which showcased the local islander’s voices and impacts of the construction, and the Youths United For Earth for the awareness videos.
In addition, gratitude goes to the various local and international media partners for covering the story and bringing light to the situation, and the Reef Check Foundation headquarters and network for solidarity with the matter.
RCM also expresses deep gratitude to the government agencies for making the right decision, the scientists for lending their expertise and providing feedback on the EIA, and all NGOs and people for sharing the stories and raising awareness.
Most importantly, RCM thanks the local community of Tioman Island for standing firm and fighting to protect their island and its biodiversity.
RCM hopes this will be the final and conclusive decision on any proposal to construct a new airport on Tioman Island to protect Malaysia's environment and biodiversity.
Reef Check Malaysia fully supports this decision and looks forward to working with the relevant authorities to ensure sustainable tourism development, both on Tioman and throughout Malaysia.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.