Wednesday, July 17

Sea turtle conservation in Sarawak may get Michelle Yeoh’s touch


Yeoh (third left) with Abang Johari (on her left), Gramong (fifth from left), Talip (second from left), Len Talif (left), Ik Pahon (seventh right) and others posed for a photo after the meeting at a local hotel yesterday.

KUCHING: Malaysian-born international actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh is keen to do an international-standard documentary about sea turtle conservation in Sarawak.

Sarawak Forestry Corporation deputy general manager (Protected areas and biodiversity conversation) Oswald Braken Tisen said the proposed documentary could be the first of its kind ever filmed in the state.

A private meeting on the matter was held at a local hotel here yesterday, and present were Yeoh, Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, his assistant ministers Datuk Gramong Juna and Datuk Talip Zulpilip, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Promotion of Technical Education) Datu Len Talif Salleh, Tourism Ministry permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, and Oswald.

The concept for the documentary, which might include other forms of marine life, was discussed during the meeting.

Abang Johari, who spoke to reporters after the meeting, declined to reveal details of the proposed documentary as it was “still in the negotiation and initial stages”.

“What is confirmed for now is that the documentary is on. We are excited that Yeoh has taken the initiative to make a documentary here to promote Sarawak, more specifically its wildlife, to the world,” he said.

Yeoh, who is also a well-known environmentalist and animal lover, visited Talang Talang Island on Sunday. It was her second visit there in as many years.

Talang Talang, located off the coast of Sematan, is known for its sea turtle conservation.

Abang Johari said Yeoh adopted a turtle nursery during her first visit there in 2013. She also released a few baby turtles there then.

“Her passion and awareness for the need to protect turtles- a protected animal species in many countries – also inspired her to start this documentary. The state government will do all it can to assist her and her team when the filming starts.”

Oswald said thus far most sea turtle conservation documentaries filmed in Sarawak were local productions made by government and private television stations.

“I don’t think any international film crew had ever come here to film a documentary on sea turtle conservation,” he said.

Due to her busy schedule, Yeoh could not speak to the press after the meeting. The best she could do was waved to the press boys.

Sarawak has 10 marine national parks, stretching from Tanjung Datu to Lawas.