CIMB Islamic is working with WWF-Malaysia for the launch of the Peninsular Malaysia Terrestrial Conservation program, aimed at preserving and catalog the many endangered botanical treasures that call Fraser's Hill home.
Set specifically in the Bukit Fraser Forest Complex, the initiative is in line with Bank Negara Malaysia's Financial Sector Action Plan which emphasized the readiness of Malaysia's financial system to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. It will also provide assessments and recommendations on how to better conserve endangered species and habitats.
Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Sharif, CIMB Islamic's Chief Executive Officer, said that the goal of the project seeks the Pahang state government to gazette Fraser's Hill as a state park. "As a responsible corporate body, it is a necessity to protect the welfare and well-being of the surrounding community including national heritage sites such as the Bukit Fraser Forest Complex and the beauty of its unique flora and fauna for future generations to enjoy," he said.
"Our long-standing partnership with WWF-Malaysia certainly reinforces our joint-commitment in mitigating the risks for threatened species and endangered habitats within the 83,000-hectare Fraser's Hill Forest Complex.”
During the three-year project, WWF-Malaysia will work together with the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) to catalogue the vascular plants found in Fraser's Hill. CIMB Islamic will also contribute RM443,900 for this three-year project that kicked off in December 2021.
"This was made possible through CIMB Islamic's first-ever environmentally-focused savings account – EcoSave Savings Account-i (Ecosave) – that was introduced in 2008. Through Ecosave, the bank contributes 0.2 per cent of the total average portfolio balance to green and social causes every year,” he continued.
"The outputs from this botanical inventory will contribute towards the development of the "Flora of Peninsular Malaysia" project that was initiated by the government. The management recommendations from this project would also provide strong scientific justification for the Pahang state government to establish the Fraser's Hill State Park.”
Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Malaysia, Sophia Lim, added that the Bukit Fraser Forest Complex meets the three criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which qualifies it as an 'Important Plant Area'.
"Mountain forests have unique natural treasures, especially for flora species that thrive in cooler climates. In fact, the Bukit Fraser Forest Complex is a catchment area that forms several springs and flows into Sungai Pahang, thus benefiting the Orang Asli community to urban areas."
The project, which will from December 2021 to December 2024, also aims to increase public awareness of the importance and role of various flora in the ecosystem as well as human well-being. The research group has already inventoried nearly 1,500 species of vascular plants that cover an area of over 3,000 hectares in the project's first phase.