Sunday, February 23

SEB, SFC collaborate on enhancing turtle conservation, eco-tourism

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Abang Johari witnessing the signing of the MoU by Sharbini (seated third left) and Wong (seated third right) as well as Aisah (seated second left) and Oswald (seated second right). Also seen are Morshidi (left) and Dr Abdul Rahman (right). — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) has formalised an agreement with Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) to work in partnership to enhance the latter’s turtle conservation programme and promote eco-tourism at turtle landing sites Tanjung Datu National Park, Pulau Talang-Talang Besar and Pulau Talang-Talang Kechil.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at Menara Sarawak Energy yesterday in the presence of Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg to confirm SEB’s intent to provide the sanctuaries with green energy via a solar centralised system.

The MoU includes other areas of cooperation with SFC such as to allow SEB to evaluate new solar technologies for potential applications at remote and rural areas.

Signing the MoU on behalf of SEB was its group chief executive officer Sharbini Suhaili while SFC was represented by its chief executive officer Wong Ting Chung.

Serving as witnesses to the MoU were SEB executive vice-president for Corporate Services Aisah Eden and SFC head of Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Oswald Bracken Tisen.

Commenting on the collaboration, Sharbini in a statement said sustainability underpinned SEB’s business, operations and interactions with the community.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, SEB is pleased to be able to help provide electricity to Tanjung Datu National Park and the two turtle islands of Pulau Talang-Talang Besar and Pulau Talang-Talang Kechil by providing a green source of energy free from carbon emission to these protected areas, replacing noisy diesel generators making it more conducive for turtle conservation.”

SEB will connect Tanjung Datu National Park with 10kW of solar power, Pulau Talang-Taang Besar with 8kW and Pulau Talang-Talang Kechil with 6kW. The three turtle sanctuaries currently use diesel generators with restricted hours of operation that require high maintenance costs.

It will also train the parks’ rangers on the operation and maintenance of the system. The technical team will continue to attend to breakdowns, do periodical inspection and scheduled maintenance as required.

Meanwhile, Wong said SFC was fortunate to have SEB as a partner, first in biodiversity conservation and now in eco-tourism development as exemplified by this joint undertaking at Talang Satang National Park.

“We believe that this is because, like SFC, they are truly committed to sustainability in its many manifestations,” he remarked and hoped that other corporations will step up and be active corporate sponsors by donating not just money, but also energy and resources like SEB.

Last year, members of Sarawak Energy Group Executive Committee (GEC) made personal commitments to support turtle conservation by sponsoring through SFC’s turtle adoption programme.

SEB is engaging in this project to promote the use of renewable energy and support the management of turtle hatcheries in the area.

Its engineers from the Research and Development Department volunteered to initiate the solar scheme and took it upon themselves to do the ground work and execute the project in an effort to cultivate the mindset of being a socially responsible citizen and volunteerism within the organisation.

Prior to this, SEB has collaborated with SFC in environmental conservation on Wildlife Monitoring and Rescue (WiMOR) operations. WiMOR is designed to conserve wildlife, flora and fauna within the Murum Hydroelectric Project area.

In addition, SEB also collaborated with SFC on the Murum Tagang system, which was designed to protect fish species in the Murum area.

These initiatives are part of SEB’s broader sustainability agenda for hydropower development, particularly in terms of managing its impact on the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem in the project-affected area and in ensuring that biodiversity impacts arising from the project activities are managed responsibly.

The MoU signing followed a special briefing during which Abang Johari was updated on SEB’s business and operations.

This was his first visit to Menara Sarawak Energy since he was appointed as chief minister.

Among those present were Public Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Assistant Minister for Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications) Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Assistant Minister for Public Utilities (Water Supply) Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani and SEB chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi.