Gerik, 29 August 2022 – Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), in collaboration with Persatuan Pelindung Harimau Malaysia (RIMAU), yesterday launched the joint project to equip, train and deploy two new Menraq patrol teams, in addition to the existing three teams, with a total funding of RM1.2 million over a period of three years, from November 2021 to October 2024. Without immediate action from relevant stakeholders, the Malayan Tiger could go extinct within a decade with the alarming population of less than 150 in the wild today.

The launch was officiated by YSD’s Governing Council Members, Dato’ Jeffri Salim Davidson, the Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sime Darby Berhad, and En Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, the Group Managing Director of Sime Darby Plantation Berhad; as well as Dr Hjh Yatela Zainal Abidin, CEO of YSD together with Ms Lara Ariffin, the President of RIMAU during a three-day project visit to the Royal Belum State Park (RBSP) in conjunction with International Tiger Day. YSD also provided food aid and hygiene kits to 105 Orang Asli families in Kampung Sungai Kejar during the visit.

Menraq, or “people” in the local Jahai dialect, was founded by RIMAU as a community-based wildlife protection patrol team made up of Orang Asli (Malaysian indigenous people) youth from the Jahai tribe to supplement the Perak state rangers’ anti-poaching efforts within the RBSP. This initiative is conducted in partnership with the Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC), a long-term partner of YSD since 2017 in protecting the tigers, and the flora and fauna in RBSP.

RIMAU works closely with the Jahai tribe in training ten identified youth with necessary knowledge, skills and know-how to become part of the Menraq patrol team. They receive training on important patrolling protocols for their safety and protection to ensure the success of their anti-poaching operations, whilst enabling seamless data collection using the SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) platform.

RIMAU also engages the local communities in Kampung Sungai Kejar and 55 identified primary schools in Hulu Perak, including one in RBSP, to create the awareness of wildlife conservation through creative storytelling about the Malayan Tiger; classified as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.

YSD’s sponsorship is unique as it includes the channelling of stipend to the village’s community fund, to be managed by the Orang Asli community leaders to purchase their basic necessities such as rice, milk, diapers, and medication among other things, while also assisting Orang Aslis who have lost their jobs or source of income due to the pandemic.

“Working towards the common goal of improving the population of the Malayan Tiger in RBSP so that we do not lose this majestic species one day, YSD’s sponsorship for RIMAU is two-pronged as we are supporting not only the crucial boots on-the-ground aspect while creating awareness on the importance of bringing the Malayan Tiger back from the brink of extinction, but also in providing the Orang Asli with a much-needed alternative sustainable livelihood by earning income for their villages as they become part of, and work for the Menraq patrol team,” said Dr Yatela Zainal Abidin, CEO of YSD.

“RIMAU is dedicated to saving the Malayan Tiger and believes that local communities can play a crucial role in its preservation. We are delighted to be working with YSD to increase the number of Menraq patrollers in Royal Belum. To ensure the tigers are safe from poachers, we need to expand further patrolling efforts in other parts of the country. YSD is also committed to delivering programmes to the younger generation to be custodians of our natural world,” remarked Lara Ariffin.

"The strong support from YSD has been critical in protecting the biodiversity in RBSP. We have been able to conduct more effective patrolling of RBSP through the additional support of YSD-funded PSPC rangers, which began with only five, and has now grown to 15 strong resulting in more visible outcomes. Collective efforts by PSPC, NGOs, and responsible corporations have demonstrated that urgent synergised action is needed to achieve real impact and positive developments. PSPC is now progressing toward our goal of zero poaching, and with this continued support from YSD and RIMAU, we will, God willing, achieve it," commented En Shah Redza Hussein, PSPC Director.

Previously, YSD had committed RM630,000 for conservation education through the Layar Liar Malaysia online documentary series produced by Nuvista Media, founded by Harun Rahman and Lara Ariffin. The 52-episodes Bahasa Malaysia series also features episodes on the critically endangered Malayan Tiger and the Menraq patrollers and are available for viewing for free on Layar Liar Malaysia’s official social media accounts.

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Last Updated:
09 Sep 2022
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