Saturday, August 24

State to better protect dive sites — Abg Jo

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KUCHING: Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg yesterday pledged to look into whether the state has any ordinance to better protect local dive sites.

He said the government was aware that the dive site off the coast of Santubong, where the wrecks of two Japanese WWII warships are located had grown in popularity of late.

“I believe we have some provisions of law but I have to check. We do know it has become a popular dive site for people to look at the WWII shipwrecks,” he told reporters when met at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex in Petra Jaya here.

He was responding to a comment by scuba instructor Ernest Teo to The Borneo Post on Friday on the lack of legislation and policies to preserve local dive sites.

Abang Johari said the ministry would have to find out more before making more comments.

Teo said divers had plundered the wrecks of the two Japanese warships Katori Maru and Hiyoshi Maru over the years, stripping them of artefacts or movable parts.

He added local dive sites would risk losing their historical, cultural and tourism significance if such plunder was left unchecked.