KUALA LUMPUR – The Harimau Malaya squad are certainly living up to their name, pledging to donate RM1 of every match ticket sold towards efforts on conservation of the Malayan tiger.
In a joint statement today, the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said they are collaborating in the campaign to prevent the Malayan tiger species from going extinct.
This is in support of efforts by the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) Ministry, which spearheads the drive on biodiversity conservation, said FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.
He said the FAM executive committee had decided on Tuesday to donate RM1 from each ticket sale for matches involving the national team, and the money would be channelled to KBS for this purpose.
“This is a mission that is clear for FAM and KBS regarding the conservation of Malayan tigers. Every time we go out to play and watch football, we are contributing to the life of the Malayan tiger in Malaysia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh urged all football fans to exhibit the same spirit on conservation of the Malayan tiger, saying this is in line with the Malaysia MADANI approach of emphasising sustainability.
“Harimau Malaya is a symbol and sacred calling for the national football team. We do not want tigers to become a mere mascot or slogan one day and no longer roaming the forests.
“If this species does become extinct, the country’s sustainability soul would simply fade and it would be meaningless for the national team to be still called Harimau Malaya then. In fact, we hope to rope in youths through the Rakan Muda programme to support this noble effort,” she said.
Yeoh said the effort is seen as innovative and inclusive because it involves the popular sport of football.
According to KBS and FAM, the wild tiger population in the country has dropped from about 1,000 in the 1970s to fewer than 150 now due to various threats like poaching.
“Tigers are an important indicator of biodiversity and their survival in the country’s forests is vital for preserving the ecosystem that supports our own survival.
“Therefore, it is time now for everyone to support this conservation effort, and this is why KBS and FAM have taken steps towards tiger conservation,” said the joint statement.
Kim Pan Gon’s Harimau Malaya squad will play a friendly match against Turkmenistan tonight and Hong Kong next Tuesday (March 28).
Both games are scheduled to begin at 10 pm at Sultan Ibrahim Stadium, Iskandar Puteri, Johor. – Bernama