Malaysia: Dr Mahathir cleverly replies a young boy from England about Deforestation in a letter from 1987 - The Coverage
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Malaysia: Dr Mahathir cleverly replies a young boy from England about Deforestation in a letter from 1987

A BOY FROM ENGLAND SENDS A LETTER TO DR MAHATHIR IN 1987 CONCERNING DEFORESTATION AND IT WAS CLEVERLY REPLIED BY DR MAHATHIR HIMSELF.

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“The clearest way into the Universe is through the forest”

Nature presents itself with the forest and the species that lives within it. It covers an approximate thirty percent of the world’s land currently, it used to be more and it will never be more than what it is. Day by day, that percentage goes down yet we fail to see what man will never be able to conceive which is an earth without the forest.

According to WWF,
“Malaysia’s land surface was once almost entirely covered with forest. Today, forests still cover about 59.5% of the total land area. However, deforestation is a major concern as the country is still rapidly developing. In the 20 years from 1983 to 2003, there was a reduction of about 4.9 million hectare of forest cover in Malaysia. This is about 4 times the size of Singapore – an average of 250,000 hectare of forest being lost annually! Apart from deforestation, the remaining forests face threats from unsustainable logging, illegal removal of forest products and encroachment. “

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It’s no doubt that we have read this kind of passage numerous times in our lives especially during our schooling years, in the papers, on social media and even on articles such as this. However, there is more to deforestation than what we already know.

Recently a Facebook user by the name of Insanul Kamil Ali Dawam shared with us photos of a letter once sent to Dr Mahathir and his reply to a boy from England in 1987 concerning on the issue mentioned above. Since her posting, it has garnered over 5,000 shares.

She captioned:
A boy from England wrote to Dr Mahathir on logging in 1987. Read how Mahathir replied him.

Source: Logging Against Natives of Sarawak

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I am 10 years old and when I am older I hope to study animals in the tropical rain forests. But if you let the timber company carry on there will not be any left. And millions of animals will die. Do you think that is right just so one rich man gets another million pounds or more. I think it is disgraceful. 

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Every tree that is extracted creates jobs for at least ten poor men who support probably ten wives and thirty children. In addition , the rich man pays 40% income tax. Without this rich man not only will the Government get no tax but there will be no logging and numerous people will be jobless. Additionally the rich man reinvests his money or simply spends it. No matter whether he invests or just spends money a lot of people will benefit , people who otherwise would be very poor. The health and other services also for the poor.  

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The timber industry helps hundreds of thousands of poor people in Malaysia. Are they supposed to remain poor because you want them to study tropical animals ? Is your study more important filling the empty stomach of poor people ? Are Malaysians expected to lose millions of pounds so that you can study animals ? 

When the British rule Malaysia they burnt millions of acres of Malaysian forest so that they could plant rubber. The timber was totally wasted because in those days nobody wants Malaysian timber. In addition when the rubber was sold practically all the profit was taken to England. What your father’s fathers did was indeed disgraceful.

If you don’t want us to cut down our forest , tell your father to tell the rich countries like Britain to pay more for the timber they buy from us. Then we can cut less timber and create other jobs for our people.

If you are really interested in tropical animals , we have huge National Parks where nobody is allowed to fell trees or kills animals. In any case we don’t cut all the trees when we do logging in the forests. Only marked mature trees are cut. We also do reforestation.   

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I have to say, it is a good read from another perspective of deforestation. We’re always informed that deforestation harms the environment and its effects such as Global Warming and what not. Not to say they are not true, they are at all means very true. However, in Dr. Mahathir’s reply, he points out the many economic benefit is creates such as employments and he also puts an ironic view to what Great Britain did when they ruled our country.

In one of the paragraphs, he states out that the country is doing it not because they want to but they need to in order to sustain the country’s economic growth. While in the next paragraph he openly tells the boy that if he really wanted to study about Animals, there are many more places to do so and not just in the tropical forest itself, while pointing out the country doesn’t just do deforestation but also reforestation.

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I personally do see where Dr. Mahathir is coming from, but I still have a mix feeling about the whole thing. In all, it is a good read. What do you all think? Impressed by Dr. Mahathir’s reply? Let us know and let others know.

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