CM: Pri­vate sec­tor can help pro­mote S’wak

The Borneo Post - - Front Page - Nigel Edgar

Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Openg is propos­ing for Sarawak Forestry Cor­po­ra­tion (SFC) to look into the pos­si­bil­ity of en­gag­ing the pri­vate sec­tor to pro­mote and mar­ket the state’s na­tional parks and wildlife.

KUCH­ING: Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Openg is propos­ing for Sarawak Forestry Cor­po­ra­tion (SFC) to look into the pos­si­bil­ity of en­gag­ing the pri­vate sec­tor to pro­mote and mar­ket the state’s na­tional parks and wildlife.

He sug­gested that the pri­vate sec­tor could look into tar­get­ing spe­cific tourists for pre­mium tour pack­ages, and pro­mote the best of what Sarawak’s na­ture and na­tional parks could of­fer.

“I would like SFC to look into the pos­si­bil­ity to get the pri­vate sec­tor to come in, and the pri­vate sec­tor is good at pro­mo­tion and also to find new mar­kets. But for the as­set it­self, it must com­ply with the con­ser­va­tion, and that has to be done by our SFC,” he said dur­ing SFC’s 16th an­niver­sary din­ner, here Sun­day.

He said the ‘pre­mium’ tourists

I’m very con­fi­dent that is the type of tourists we can at­tract that will give pre­mium rev­enue to our state. Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari Tun Openg

will be charged ac­cord­ingly, with the rev­enue then used to up­grade in­fra­struc­tures within the state’s na­tional parks.

“I’m very con­fi­dent that is the type of tourists we can at­tract that will give pre­mium rev­enue to our state,” he added.

Abang Jo­hari said his sug­ges­tion was be­cause dur­ing his past ten­ure as the state’s Tourism Min­is­ter, he en­coun­tered a tourist – a bird­watcher – who had come to Bako here just to watch birds.

In his con­ver­sa­tion with the tourist, he said he was told the lat­ter had spent a con­sid­er­able amount of money just to come to the state to watch the var­i­ous ex­otic birds here.

“In other words, we have to pay at­ten­tion to this type of tourists. They have a lot of money, and are will­ing to spend so much just to see the birds,” he said.

In this re­gard, Abang Jo­hari stressed the im­por­tance of con­serv­ing the na­ture and en­vi­ron­ment of the state, as it would not only en­sure tourists con­tinue to visit Sarawak but also make Sarawak one of the best des­ti­na­tions for na­ture and wildlife tourism.

“We have to look af­ter our na­ture. These are some of the at­trac­tions that we have, and these peo­ple (tourists) who come over here, they are rich peo­ple.

“That is the trend now be­cause the world is hav­ing a prob­lem where the nat­u­ral habi­tats of these an­i­mals are de­clin­ing, and they might go ex­tinct. That is why, thank God, we in Sarawak still have a lot of na­ture, so we have to look af­ter them prop­erly.”

Ear­lier, SFC chair­man Datu Len Talif Salleh in his speech touched on the de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion of

Sarawak’s indigenous hel­meted horn­bills as a re­sult of poach­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

He said a sin­gle casque of the bird could fetch over RM1,000 in the black mar­ket in China.

— Muham­mad Rais Sanusi

Abang Jo­hari (se­cond right) per­forms the of­fi­ci­at­ing gim­mick for the an­niver­sary din­ner, as Len Talif (on Abang Jo­hari’s right) and oth­ers look on.

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