KOTA KINABALU: Preliminary discussions have started on a proposal to set up a real wildlife park in Sabah, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said.
According to him, the government is looking at locating the park in Penampang but stressed that the plan will only be implemented if it will benefit the natives and the district.
There are also legal and cultural issues that need to be given due consideration, he said when asked to elaborate on the proposal to relocate the existing Lok Kawi Wildlife Park which he mentioned in his speech at the Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) annual dinner cum launching of the associations Almanac 2016 on Saturday night.
Yes it’s only a proposal at this point of time although preliminary discussions between the District Officer and Sabah Wildlife Department have started a few months ago, he said when asked about the plan.
On the proposed location for the wildlife park, Masidi said they were looking at the Sugud Native Firewood Reserve but stressed that nothing was concrete yet as there were many issues to be trashed out before the next step could be taken.
We will only proceed if all legal and cultural issues can be trashed out. We fully understand that native reserve has cultural significance to the natives in Sugud. We don’t want to be seen to be taking over native rights and that is the reason why the proposal needs to be discussed exhaustively.
If it does proceed it should be for the benefit of the natives and Penampang generally, he said adding that the proposed park would be much bigger than the existing Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.
In his speech earlier, Masidi told the tourism players attending the dinner that the Sabah Wildlife Department was looking at the possibility of relocating the Sabah Wildlife Park in Lok Kawi to Penampang.
If we can find sufficient good land to relocate this is our contribution to the people of Penampang. But the Penampang people themselves must be receptive to the idea and their leaders must come together and tell us how we can make it happen, he said.