The Sultan Ahmad Shah Environment Trust was established in 2011 with the intention of protecting our natural earth and its environment, conserving its natural habitat and preserving the heritage and legacy of the people. The people of Pahang have deep Malay traditions, which I am very proud of and I am therefore honored to be able to help my people improve their livelihoods in their villages.
SASET was conceptualized during a visit to Tioman Island with my son, Tengku Fahd, several years ago, during which I noticed his concerns about the wellbeing of the natural settings on the island, which time and rapid development have been slowly eradicating. I realised then that steps must be taken to conserve our natural surroundings in order to restore the balance to the ecological system.
For information, there is no denying that conservation and preservation efforts require a great deal of support in both monetary and humanitarian forms. In Pahang, there has been little effort to restore the areas of our natural forests that have been affected by illegal logging activities. This has resulted in excessive soil erosion and subsequent sedimentation in the tributaries and rivers, turning the once-crystal-clear waters of our rivers into little more than swamps. The replanting of trees and preservation of green vegetation in open areas will help to reduce river pollution and cleaner rivers.
On top of that, there is still a dire need to educate the public –school children, adults, corporations, and everyone coming into contact with nature and its environment – on the magnitude of the environmental circumstances and the importance of the goals we have set out to achieve. It is also imperative that we educate the rural communities on the conservation of the environment and protection of their natural resources in order to improve their lot in life. This will involve a study of each village to identify a potentially sustainable economic activity that will provide stable employment and reasonable income to its people.
However, altruistic our intentions none of these goals would be achievable without the necessary funds to ensure that these conservation and preservation projects are carried out. We hope to raise such funds through the education of the public about our initiatives and programs. Socially responsible corporations, corporate citizens, foreign environment agencies and the general public are one and all welcome to contribute to our cause. The disbursement of these funds to various bodies for the implementation of our programs, events and research will be done under the guidance of the Board of Trustees.
To add, corporate leaders, heads of government agencies, relevant NGOs, and notable individuals who are influential, innovative and responsible have been invited to be on the Board of Trustees to contribute their ideas and resources to the SASET. In 2011, we were able to provide basic training for TI Rangers and set up the voluntary Emergency Response Center in Kuala Tahan, a small contribution which I believe could take us in the right direction towards the support needed from our society for the Sultan Ahmad Shah Environment Trust.
Furthermore, the conservation and preservation of our environment is not something that can be achieved overnight, or through the efforts of a single organization. It requires the collective support, desire and dedication of many other entities to be able to implement the programs that we have planned. What we have accomplished so far are baby steps towards our greater goals, but they are steps nonetheless, as we enter what we hope will be a rewarding and encouraging journey for the Sultan Ahmad Shah Environment Trust and for the state of Pahang.