Saturday, August 03, 2013

Decisions on Sabah islands difficult but right

KOTA KINABALU: The state government needs to have the courage to make difficult but right decisions to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy all the beautiful islands in Sabah.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said this when referring to the large number of complaints by local and foreign tourists on overcrowded and dirty islands in the state, especially on Sapi Island.

Asked if to limit visitors to the islands was the best way to protect the beauty of the island parks in the state, Masidi said Sabah Parks needed to decide how to manage them better.

“We will have to decide how to manage them better after my meeting with the management of Sabah Parks. The Park under its enactment is empowered to make its own rule on the type of activities that are allowable on areas (including the islands) under its jurisdiction.

“That is why Sabah Parks limit the number of divers per day at Sipadan at 120 and climbers (of Mount Kinabalu) at 192. These are their carrying capacity. Numbers are good business for business operators but if we are not careful, we may end up killing the goose that lay the golden eggs,” he said.

“In any case, a gazetted park (in the case of Sapi Island, which is part of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park) is supposed to be clean and pristine. The principal purpose of gazetting it is to protect its natural environment, and any human activity on the island should only be to facilitate visitors to enjoy its beauty and pristine nature.