Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Proposed Sabah Marine Park expected to be the largest in Malaysia

By Arman Gunsika

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat hopes the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park will materialise in the next three years. The marine park will be established in the northern part of Sabah.

Tan Sri Chong who is also Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said he wanted to preserve the northern part of Sabah, recognising its economic potential and the pressing need to protect its pristine waters from the destructive practices.

Local inhabitants would be incorporated into the management of the proposed park. The proposed park covering 1.03 million hectares is expected to be the largest marine park in Sabah as well as in Malaysia. It comprises fifty islands including Banggi island.

Tan Sri Chong said this to members of WWF Malaysia Board of Trustees, WWF Heads and Chief Executive Officers and Senior officials from USA, Indonesia, Netherlands, Philippines and Malaysia.

They are on their 10th Trustees' Retreat in Kudat to see the potential of the proposed park.

Briefing the visitors, Director of Sabah Parks Datuk Lamri Ali outlined the status and progress of research and surveys undertaken in the area of the proposed park.

Among the proposed projects which required funding were continued inventory of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, developing alternative livelihood opportunities for the local community such as seaweed cultivation and giant clam rearing, survey on migrating species and Educultural and awareness programmes for the proposed park need to be understood and respected by the local people.

WWF Executive Director Dato Dr Mikail Kavangh pledged support for the park and making it a long-term reality. He congratulated Chong for his initiative adding that the realisation of the Park would be 'extraordinary conservation achievement' for present and future generations.

He said there was also a need to raise awareness about the superlatives of Malaysia's biodiversity among the Malaysians.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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