KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today promised to speak with China to extend the stay of two giant pandas currently on loan to Malaysia.
He is optimistic that Beijing will consider Malaysia’s request due to the strong bilateral ties between both Asian countries.
“The pandas are due to return. I will contact the Chinese government, especially Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the continuation of pandas being in Malaysia,” he said in his speech to mark the 60th anniversary of Zoo Negara here.
The national zoo is has been housing a pair of giant pandas from China named Xing Xing and Liang Liang since 2014.
The loan of the two animals was for 10 years under the International Giant Panda Conservation Cooperation Agreement.
Liang Liang birthed three cubs in Malaysia: Nuan Nuan, Yi Yi, and Sheng Yi.
The first was returned to China in 2017 and the younger two cubs last year in August.
Anwar also announced today an allocation of RM5 million from the government for Zoo Negara’s development.
Anwar said Zoo Negara also received additional funds through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes by several companies and managed to collect a total of RM5 million.
“We are grateful to the big companies in our country for giving a lot of support through CSR, for the success of conservation and also general control at the National Zoo.
“With this RM10 million, we will control and organise representatives from the Menteri Besar of Selangor and the government so that we can work with the Zoo Negara foundation committee so that we can improve the planning and projects at the Zoo Negara,” he said.