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  The Star 18 Aug 06
Malaysia: RM10mil to build reefs for turtles

The Terengganu government has allocated RM10mil to build giant artificial coral reefs in several designated costal areas in the state in an effort to protect the leatherback turtle.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the state was committed to conserving the leatherback.

“We want to provide a conducive environment for the turtle and increase its population,” he told reporters after making an underwater dive to colour a giant Malaysian flag in conjunction with a National Day celebration in Pulau Kapas, off the coast here, yesterday.

He was among 51 divers involved in the Merdeka Dive 2006 event, which was later listed in the Malaysia Book of Records as the first of its kind in the country. The event was jointly organised by the state and the Malaysian Coral Reef Conservation Society.

Idris said the state was involved in other joint efforts to conserve the turtles, including one with the World Wide Fund for Nature and another with national petrol corporation Petronas.

On a related development, Idris said the state planned to build an underwater gallery off Pulau Bidong which would also act as an artificial reef.

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