Restor­ing the pris­tine beauty of Tioman Is­land

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HOLIDAY TREATS -

Amo­men­tous ef­fort to re­store the pris­tine beauty and nat­u­ral her­itage of Tioman Is­land was re­cently un­der­taken by Ber­jaya Ho­tels & Re­sorts (BHR), ac­com­plished by a to­tal of 60 divers and over 100 other par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ing staff, me­dia, youth vol­un­teers and chil­dren from Seko­lah Ke­bangsaan Tekek, Tioman.

As an is­land rich in ma­rine life, Tioman Is­land nes­tles above the waters of the South China Sea and is renowned as one of the pre­mier re­sorts un­der the hos­pi­tal­ity arm of the pub­lic-listed Malaysian con­glom­er­ate Ber­jaya Cor­po­ra­tion.

Sup­ported by var­i­ous part­ners – Malaysian Na­ture So­ci­ety, Turtle Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety of Malaysia, Scuba Peo­ple, Sak­i­nah Divers, Ber­jaya Youth and Ber­jaya Cares Foun­da­tion, the three-day Tioman Is­land Clean-up Day (TICD) sched­uled from Oct 25 to 27 vows to strengthen con­ser­va­tion of Tioman Is­land (ma­rine and for­est) and ed­u­cate peo­ple on the im­por­tance of coral reefs, ma­rine life and for­est to the ecosys­tems.

Apart from ex­er­cis­ing its role as a so­cially re­spon­si­ble cor­po­rate cit­i­zen, the re­sort along with divers and non-divers ex­pe­ri­enced an ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­ney of cre­at­ing a kin­ship with Mother Na­ture.

Group Di­rec­tor, Cor­po­rate Mar­ket­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions – Ber­jaya Ho­tels & Re­sorts Abel Nel­son Nang en­thu­si­as­ti­cally said, “This year’s TICD is or­gan­ised as the Malaysian com­mu­nity cel­e­brates the Malaysian En­vi­ron­ment Week which falls from Oct 21 to 27. It ad­dresses the is­sues of global warm­ing while en­cour­ag­ing smart part­ner­ships in en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion pro­grammes and chal­leng­ing the Malaysian pub­lic to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble.

“In line and in sup­port of re­al­is­ing th­ese goals, the ob­ser­vance of TICD by Ber­jaya Ho­tels & Re­sorts al­lows us to high­light the im­pact of oceans on our sur­round­ings and the var­i­ous ways in which oceans con­trib­ute to our bot­tom line.

“Cel­e­brat­ing this CSR weekend pro­vides us with an op­por­tu­nity to high­light the con­sid­er­able chal­lenges we face in deal­ing with ma­rine pol­lu­tion, main­tain­ing the oceans’ ca­pac­ity to reg­u­late the global cli­mate, sup­ply es­sen­tial ecosys­tem ser­vices and pro­vide sus­tain­able liveli­hoods and safe re­cre­ations for our guests and sur­round­ing com­mu­nity.”

Tioman Is­land Clean-Up Day 2013 by BHR is a four-pronged CSR ef­fort com­pris­ing a Dive Clean-up by 60 divers (from Scuba Peo­ple and Sak­i­nah Divers) to re­move as much sea de­bris and Crown of Thorns from the sea beds; the Beach Clean-up by the me­dia and vol­un­teers from Ber­jaya Youth; the launch of BER­JAYA-MNS Project ROOTs (Re­vis­it­ing Our Orig­i­nal Trees); and last but not least – Turtle Con­ser­va­tion Workshop for Chil­dren by Turtle Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety of Malaysia.

One of the main high­lights of TICD 2013 – the launch of BER­JAYA-MNS Project ROOTs (Re­vis­it­ing Our Orig­i­nal Trees) was jointly graced by Leong Wy Joon, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Ber­jaya Land Ber­had and Mo­hamed Shah Redza Hus­sein, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Malaysian Na­ture So­ci­ety. Leong also pre­sented a grant of RM206,000 on be­half of Ber­jaya Cares Foun­da­tion to Mo­hamed Shah Reza to fund Project ROOTs.

“Coral reefs are the rain­for­est of the sea and home for var­i­ous liv­ing crea­tures, which is vi­tal to the ma­rine ecosys­tem.” Leong said.

“In June 2012, Ber­jaya Cares Foun­da­tion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Malaysian Na­ture So­ci­ety em­barked on a 15-month coral reefs con­ser­va­tion project by us­ing a sci­en­tif­i­cally proven method – the Biorock tech­nol­ogy which has shown pos­i­tive ef­fect on coral restora­tion.

“Based on the re­sults gath­ered from con­stant mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion at the site, the corals are grow­ing three to four times faster com­pared with nat­u­ral reefs.

“Work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Malaysian Na­ture So­ci­ety through Ber­jaya Cares Foun­da­tion, Ber­jaya em­barked on another en­vi­ron­men­tal project namely Re­vis­it­ing Our Orig­i­nal Trees (“ROOTs”). Project ROOTS is a ter­res­trial project study­ing the gaps of re­search ar­eas and high con­ser­va­tion value ar­eas on Tioman Is­land.

“This project aims to pro­mote con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­able na­ture tourism by high­light­ing unique nat­u­ral flora and fauna to in­spire aware­ness preser­va­tion of Tioman’s nat­u­ral as­sets,” said Leong.

He added that the ma­rine and land ecosys­tem of an is­land are equally im­por­tant. The preser­va­tion and con­ser­va­tion ef­forts for both should be treated as one mod­ule.

He said, “We’re pleased that Project ROAR is pro­gress­ing well and has shown great re­sults in en­hanc­ing the growth rate of coral reefs.

“This year, we are pleased to sup­port another mean­ing­ful project by Malaysian Na­ture So­ci­ety which aims to pro­mote con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion of Tioman’s for­est. We hope our con­tri­bu­tion will cre­ate a wider aware­ness on Tioman’s unique is­land for­est amongst the pub­lic.”

Mo­hamed Shah Redza Hus­sein said, “MNS is once again proud to em­bark on another project in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ber­jaya Cares Foun­da­tion to en­sure that Tioman’s nat­u­ral wilder­ness and beauty re­mains pro­tected. Project ROOTs show­cases the ter­res­trial land­scape of Tioman and part of its out­reach in­cludes em­pow­er­ing the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in the hope that they be­come en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­wards of this beau­ti­ful is­land.

“Rakan Na­puh is a com­mu­nity en­gage­ment pro­gramme set up to en­cour­age lo­cal com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in pro­tect­ing the wildlife and nat­u­ral her­itage of Tioman.

“Na­puh or the ‘Greater Mousedeer’ was es­pe­cially cho­sen as the icon be­cause it is na­tive to the is­land and un­for­tu­nately at present, cur­rently be­ing hunted un­sus­tain­ably.”

In con­junc­tion with TICD 2013, Ber­jaya Youth or­gan­ised an In­sta­gram Eco Com­pe­ti­tion for youth aged be­tween 18 and 38 years old.

Four con­test win­ners and their part­ner were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate at the Tioman Is­land Clean-Up Day and learn more about the im­por­tance of en­vi­ron­ment con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion.

Ber­jaya Youth is a plat­form specif­i­cally cre­ated by Ber­jaya Cor­po­ra­tion Ber­had for the youth com­mu­nity of Malaysia with the ob­jec­tive of cul­ti­vat­ing lead­er­ship, cre­ativ­ity and proac­tiv­ity while pro­mot­ing the spirit of vol­un­teerism, pos­i­tive think­ing and good val­ues through var­i­ous projects and ac­tiv­i­ties.

Nel­son Nang re­marked that it was es­pe­cially heart­en­ing be­ing able to reach out to 50 school chil­dren aged 10 and 12 from Seko­lah Ke­bangsaaan Tekek.

“For many years now, through Ber­jaya Ho­tels & Re­sorts’ Lov­ing Earth com­mit­ment we have been pro­mot­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity through our un­der­wa­ter and beach clean-up; as well as Turtle Con­ser­va­tion Aware­ness Pro­gramme for chil­dren.

“The in­clu­sion of the lo­cal school in the pro­gramme to­day re­flects BHR’s main CSR fo­cus on help­ing the com­mu­nity in which we op­er­ate, and is clearly com­mu­ni­cated through our new cor­po­rate value – LIVE & CARE: Care for the Planet and Care for the Peo­ple.

“It’s re­ally only through this process of ed­u­ca­tion that we are able to change their phi­los­o­phy and nur­ture a spirit of lov­ing the earth. Chil­dren are the next gen­er­a­tion and are re­ally the am­bas­sadors of change,” added Nel­son Nang.

Con­ducted by Chen Pelf Nyok from the Turtle Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety of Malaysia and co-fa­cil­i­tated by the me­dia, the Turtle Con­ser­va­tion Workshop by the beach aimed at fos­ter­ing aware­ness on pro­tect­ing tur­tles through in­ter­ac­tive and fun-filled learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

The chil­dren were briefed on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of dif­fer­ent turtle species and the dan­gers fac­ing them, caus­ing their ex­tinc­tion. The chil­dren then par­tic­i­pated in group dy­namic ac­tiv­i­ties in­cor­po­rat­ing threats-to-tur­tles story nar­ra­tion and games.

Only a small amount of 22 reef-de­stroy­ing Crown of Thorns (COT) were re­moved dur­ing the dive clean-up, cov­er­ing is­lands with div­ing sites where coral beds are abun­dant and oth­ers – iden­ti­fied as the most pro­duc­tive ar­eas of coral reefs breed­ing ground. Th­ese is­lands are Reng­gis, Labas, Soyak and Malang Rocks.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call 03-2141 0088 / 1800 883 236. Log on to www.ber­jaya­ho­tel. com or e-mail klso.rsvn@ber­jaya­ho­tel.com.

Tioman Is­land nes­tles above the waters of the South China Sea.

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