KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will get to keep the baby of the two giant pandas, Fu Wa and Feng Yi, if they successfully mate in Zoo Negara.
Deputy Natural Resources and Environment minister Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit said the two giant pandas, which will be on loan to Malaysia from China, will arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.30am on April 15 after a sending off ceremony in China.
"If the two giant pandas produce a baby here, we will get to keep the baby.
"When the baby reaches three years of age, its parents, Fu Wa and Feng Yi will be sent back to China," he said when wrapping up points for the ministry during the debate for the Supplementary Supply (2013) Bill 2014 on Tuesday.
James said this in reply to a question by G. Manivannan (PKR - Kapar) who asked if it was true that if the two giant pandas produced a baby, the cub must be returned to China when it is three-years-old.
James said if a baby was produced, the cub would belong to Malaysia while its parents will be sent back to China when it reaches three years of age.
"We will care for this baby panda and it will be part of the zoo for visitors to see and appreciate," he said.
On the bamboo leaves to be fed to the pandas, James said the plant species was found in Malaysia and has been identified by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, which will continue efforts to ensure the leaves would be supplied.
It was reported that under the Bill, the ministry sought an additional RM5.6 million (S$2.2 million) in expenditure last year for the giant panda conservation cooperation programme.
The giant pandas will be kept at a RM25 million panda complex in Zoo Negara, which features three main exhibit areas that would be kept at under 24 degrees Celsius to mimic their natural habitat.
On June 15, 2012, the Malaysian and Chinese governments clinched a deal for Feng Yi (female) and Fu Wa (male) to be loaned to Malaysia for 10 years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries this year.