Ministry channels more financial aid to zoos

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by BERNAMA

THE Energy and Natural Resources Ministry (KeTSA) allocated RM179,426 in financial assistance for zoos severely impacted by the lockdown.

“KeTSA, through the provision of a Biodiversity Conservation Trust Account under the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, has approved an immediate disbursement of funds amounting to RM179,426.

“It is an initial allocation through the Wildlife Relief Fund for 10 zoo premises and permanent exhibitions that are severely affected by the implementation of this lockdown,” KeTSA Minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said in a statement yesterday.

He said the ministry is equally concerned about the welfare of wildlife and affected zoo operations due to the lack of income arising from the Movement Control Orders (MCO).

“In addition to the absence of a source of income as a result of no entrance ticket collection, permanent exhibitions also had to bear the high operating costs, including providing food supplies, medicines, as well as husbandry of the animals.

“During the first MCO, a total of RM3.9 million was channelled gradually from the government and RM500,000 from Tenaga Nasional Bhd through its corporate social responsibility programme to 25 affected zoo premises and permanent exhibitions starting May 2020,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ministry has extended rent discounts to the end of the year for tenants of federal-owned land and buildings.

Shamsul Anuar said the initiative will alleviate the tenants’ burden caused by the MCO 3.0.

At the same time, the ministry is also helping tenants restructure cashflow to help them stay in business.

“The federal government has announced the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy Plus to reduce the burden faced by the people following the implementation of the MCO 3.0.

“Since the announcement of the first MCO in March 2020, the ministry has provided various initiatives by channelling aids to the affected sectors under the purview of the ministry.

“In order to help the affected tenants, the discount initiative, which is supposed to end on June 30, 2021, will be extended for another six months, starting from July 1 until Dec 1 this year,” he said in the statement.