Thursday, June 04, 2015

Malaysia’s first Marine Spatial Plan in Semporna

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to mark another milestone in its continuous endeavour to better protect its rich biodiversity, having embarked on an effort to develop and implement the first ever Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) in Malaysia.

To be developed and carried out jointly with WWF-Malaysia, the MSP is a forward looking plan to guide coastal development and marine activities, with the ultimate aim of striking a balance between economic development and protecting the environment within certain areas.

The State Government, through the Town and Regional Planning Department (TRPD), yesterday officially inked its commitment by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with WWF-Malaysia for developing the MSP, with Semporna being chosen as the pioneering district.

WWF-Malaysia Conservation Director Dr Sundari Ramakrishna said the MoU was for both parties to work together in charting out the MSP oceanographic technics and other related technologies and resources.

“We will discuss what are the plans of the local government for coastal areas and the sea. So, we will have to work with the islanders, local communities, agencies at the district and state level,” she said to media after the signing.

The signing was held as part of the official launching of Semporna MSP project, which was officiated by Permanent Secretary of the Local Government and Housing Ministry, Datuk Matius Sator, who also witnessed the signing together with Sulabayan member of parliament Datuk Jaujan Sambakong.

“We already have Sabah Structure Plan 2033, which will go to the Cabinet very soon. There is going to be a Semporna Local Plan. This plan must be aligned to the Semporna MSP. If you look at it (Sabah Structure Plan), it’s about land use.

“But we should also look at what is happening in the marine sector… how many vessels are you allowing, how many licences, how many tour operators, can you build new resorts there? These things are not dealt with. Everyone has to come together to decide and explain what is going to happen.