Published: Saturday June 16, 2012 MYT 7:43:00 PM
Nazri explains why pandas will be in Putrajaya
LENGGONG: The pair of panda bears on loan to Malaysia by China will be placed at the Wetland Park in Putrajaya because of its location, which is at the country's administrative centre, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said Saturday.
"We appreciate the panda bears because they symbolise the close relationship between Malaysia and China.
"The people should have access to the bears and we chose the Wetland Park because the place is easy for the people to go," he told reporters after the 1Malaysia community gotong-royong with participants of the National Service Training Programme at Kampung Sauk here Saturday.
Mohamed Nazri said this in response to some quarters questioning the decision to place the bears at the Wetland Park.
On Friday, the Malaysian government signed an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), People's Republic of China (PRC), which will pave the way for the loan of the giant pandas to Malaysia.
The two giant pandas, to be loaned to Malaysia for a period of 10 years, is a symbol to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations, to be celebrated in 2014
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who witnessed the signing of the agreement Friday, said the two pandas would be placed at the Wetland Park in Putrajaya.
He also said the park would be installed with infrastructure similar to the natural habitat for giant pandas, and that the Yayasan 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) would bear half the cost of constructing the facilities.
In KUALA LUMPUR, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the pandas would be a great attraction for Malaysia's tourism industry, especially for the "Cuti-Cuti Satu Malaysia" programme with many people coming to see the real life pandas.
"I expect an influx of tourists from other countries, especially Singapore and Indonesia to see the pandas in Malaysia.
"There is a long queue. Many countries in Asean want pandas, but China is very selective about who they lend their pandas to. I believe the loan of the two pandas to us signifies the good relations between Malaysia and China."
Dr Ng was speaking to reporters after the launching of the "Eighth Malaysia Festival of the Mind" by the Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement (MMLM) at the Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC) main campus, here.
On caring for the pandas, she said this would be by the Environment and National Resources Ministry in collaboration with specialists from China.
"All aspects of taking care of the pandas are not only for their comfort but, hopefully, for them to produce babies," she said. - Bernama