On Malaysia Day we celebrate all who are working in some capacity to preserve the natural heritage of our country because conservationists are patriots. We know what it means to love this nation so intensely that we will endure untold hardships and time away from loved ones to complete our mission because our work is the tangible expression of our commitment to our country.
We will go to the mountain tops, to the depths of the seas, into the darkest caves, and distant forest interiors, and we will call ourselves lucky to have known this miraculous rain drenched country so well. We know that we will never be rich, except in experiences and friendships, and we are at peace with that, because what is more important than ensuring that the beauty of nature and the lifeforce of this place persists? We will lend our voices to speak for our fellow Malaysians that experience little of the opportunities that being a citizen in a developing nation should offer, but all of the instability and misery of a despoiled environment, declining resources and concern for the future. We experience disappointment upon disappointment in our mission. Each loss of species or habitat or geological monument, now gone forever is deeply felt. Of late there are far too many of these losses and disappointments. Yet we find the resolve to preserve hope because we must. When we criticise, as we are called to do, understand that it comes from a deep love and concern for the long-term welfare of this nation and its people, as much as it is for wild nature that has no voice and is now at our mercy. Conservationists have no need of accolades. We do not expect to be admired for our sacrifice. We only ask one thing of all citizens and leaders – do right by our country. Protect our ecosystems and our natural heritage – these are where the true riches lie, these are what make Malaysia truly blessed, these are what our country needs to face the challenges that the future holds.