13 August 2022
Kuala Lumpur: WWF-Malaysia today launched a project supported by CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad (“CIMB Islamic”) to inventorise and catalogue the botanical treasures of the Fraser’s Hill Forest Complex, under its Peninsular Malaysia Terrestrial Conservation programme.
Apart from emphasising floral species diversity, endemism and conservation status, this botanical inventory project will also provide assessments and recommendations for conserving the various species, as well as their habitats.
The Fraser’s Hill Forest Complex sprawls nearly 83,000 hectares across the Titiwangsa Mountain Range, comprising six forest reserves, state land forests and the Fraser’s Hill Town Board.
WWF-Malaysia’s CEO Sophia Lim at the launch event said that as a key biodiversity area, Fraser’s Hill Forest Complex meets the three International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria that qualify it as an Important Plant Area due to its high species richness and presence of threatened species and endangered habitats.
“This is because montane forests are home to natural treasures unique from those found in the country’s lowland tropical forests, especially flora species that thrive in cooler climate,” she pointed out.
As a biodiversity hotspot, Lim said Fraser’s Hill Forest Complex is also an important water catchment area, where the headwaters of several rivers form. These rivers then flow into Pahang River, benefiting various users, from the indigenous communities that inhabit the forest all the way to the downstream users populating the towns.
“For these reasons and many more, WWF-Malaysia has envisioned a bright future for Fraser’s Hill Forest Complex: one where it is protected and sustainably managed to continue providing the crucial ecological services beneficial to mankind,” she added.
This project also aims to increase public awareness about the importance and the role of floral diversity in conservation. Under the project, WWF-Malaysia held a virtual awareness event titled ‘Flora Saturday Series’ on three Saturdays in June 2022 to raise awareness on the importance of the flora kingdom in maintaining ecosystem and human wellbeing.
The project is part of a three-year Fraser’s Hill Conservation Programme, which was made possible through a contribution of RM443,900 by CIMB Islamic to advocate the security and protection of the Fraser's Hill Complex as a State Park. This was achieved through CIMB Islamic’s first environmentally-focused savings account, EcoSave Savings Account-i (“EcoSave”), through which the bank contributes 0.2% of the total average portfolio balance to green and social causes.
CIMB Islamic’s CEO Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff said, in line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Sector Blueprint agenda which emphasises preparing the Malaysian financial system to be more sustainable and climate-resilient, CIMB Islamic has always been at the forefront of value-based intermediation, championing initiatives that prioritise positive impact on society, which include the conservation and preservation of the environment.
“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. Today is yet another significant milestone as we continue reinforcing our ongoing efforts to support and care for society, including environmental protection. Playing our role as a responsible corporate citizen, we are cognisant of the need to protect the welfare and wellbeing of the surrounding communities and the country’s beloved heritage site, the Fraser’s Hill Forest Complex, as well as its unique flora and fauna for future generations to enjoy.
“Looking ahead, we hope our collaboration with WWF-Malaysia will contribute positively towards the betterment of the environment, local communities, and the general economy at large, aligned with CIMB Group’s new brand proposition, ‘Moving forward with you’. We also hope more business communities and financial institutions can join us on this journey by playing a more active role in biodiversity protection and conservation,” Ahmad Shahriman elaborated.
Customers can choose to open an EcoSave account at any CIMB Islamic branch nationwide, with a minimum deposit of RM250. Subsequently, apart from indirect contribution towards green initiatives, customers who maintain a monthly average balance of RM5,000 without any over-the-counter transactions within the month, will enjoy a RM5 monthly cash incentive. In addition, customers will also receive quarterly updates via EcoSave’s e-newsletter on green initiatives undertaken by EcoSave.