Malaysia Spends So Little in Protecting its Flora and Fauna

Ho Su Wei
3 min readAug 9, 2021

That’s right, I actually looked into how much Malaysia actually spends protecting wildlife and their habitats. Every year, the Department of Statistics would publish data on how much is spent in protecting the environment specifically in areas of

  1. Pollution Management
  2. Protection of wildlife and habitat
  3. Environmental assessment and charges
  4. Waste management
  5. Other environmental protection expenditure

This article will focus on how much is being spent on the protection of wildlife and habitat. Here are 4 things that you should know about this in Malaysia.

Protection of Wildlife and Habitat only constitute 0.2% of total environmental expenditure in 2019.

In 2019, a total of just RM6.4m was spent on the protection of wildlife and habitat. In comparison, The highest spending came from pollution management at RM2.0bn, followed by waste management at RM752m. Environmental assessment and changes came in at RM65m. This is just too little to amount to anything in terms of protecting the wildlife in Malaysia, where a total of RM2.9bn was spent in 2019 to protect the environment.

Source: DOSM

Environmental protection expenditure for wildlife and habitat has declined from its peak in 2017 and has historically been low

Protection expenditure for wildlife and habitat was on the rise from 2013 to 2017, increasing from RM6.4m to its peak of RM9.8m. However, that expenditure would experience a drastic decrease in 2018 to RM5.6m. While 2019 did experience an increase to RM6.4m, spending on protection of wildlife and habitat in Malaysia remains very small throughout the years.

Source: DOSM

Most of the spending on the protection of wildlife and habitat was concentrated in East Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur.

The bulk of the spending on protection of wildlife and habitat goes to Sabah at RM2.2m, followed by Kuala Lumpur (RM2.2m) and Sarawak (RM1.5m). The rest of the states of Johor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu, Kelantan and Melaka constitutes the remaining at RM0.5m. Sabah and Sarawak obviously are facing the fastest degradation of forests hence, it takes up the bulk of the protection expenditure. Kuala Lumpur is interesting as more and more land there is converted for residential and commercial development.

Source: DOSM

We need to increase the amount of spending as our forested areas have been on a decline since 2015

Forested areas which also include peat swamp and mangrove forest, has declined from 19,653,901 hectares in 2015 to 19,479,110 hectares in 2018. While this only represents a decline of 0.9% in 3 years, it is still a substantial amount and the lack of expenditure to protect wildlife and habitat could impact them significantly if forests continue their current decline.

Source: DOSM

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Ho Su Wei

Founder of Slice of P.I.E and hopes to provide simple investment, economics and personal development insights to ordinary people.