Interesting correspondence between 10 year old boy complaining about Malaysia's deforestation to Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamed and the PM's written reply back to the boy.
We don't know for sure was Darrell coerced by his parents or not. It is interesting to know our PM replied back to the boy.
The boy wrote (Darrel Abercrombie):
I am 10 years old and when I am older I hope to study animals in the tropical rain forests
. But if you let the lumber companys carry on there will not be any left.
And millions of Animals will die. Do you think that is right just so one rich man gets another million pounds or more. I think it is disgraceful."
The Prime Minister replied on August 15, 1987:
Dear Darrell, It is disgraceful that you should be used by adults for the purpose of trying to shame us because of our extraction of timber from our forests.
For the information of the adults who use you I would like to say that it is not a question of one rich man making a million pounds.…
The timber industry helps hundreds of thousands of poor people in Malaysia. Are they supposed to remain poor because you want to study tropical animals?
When the British ruled Malaysia they burnt millions of acres of Malaysian forests so that they could plant rubber…. Millions of animals died because of the burning. Malaysians got nothing from the felling of the timber. In addition when the rubber was sold practically all the profit was taken to England. What your father's fathers did was indeed disgraceful.
If you don't want us to cut down our forests, tell your father to tell the rich countries like Britain to pay more for the timber they buy from us.
If you are really interested in tropical animals, we have huge National Parks where nobody is allowed to fell trees or kill animals.
I hope you will tell the adults who made use of you to learn all the facts. They should not be too arrogant and think they know how best to run a country. They should expel all the people living in the British countryside and allow secondary forests to grow and fill these new forests with wolves and bears etc. so you can study them before studying tropical animals.
I believe strongly that children should learn all about animals and love them. But adults should not teach children to be rude to their elders.