Wednesday, July 24

Fortifying rightful ownership


Gazetting of Luconia Shoals as marine national park strengthens Sarawak’s legal rights to marine resources in the area

Abang Johari (fourth right) presses a button to officiate at the handing-over of Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) solar centralised system at Pulau Talang Talang Besar. Also seem are Dr Abdul Rahman (right), Jamilah (left), Dr Rundi (beside Abang Johari) and Len (second right).

SEMATAN: Luconia Shoals, which is located in the South China Sea and lies over Sunda Continental Shelf in the Malaysian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) within Sarawak’s territorial waters, has been gazetted as a marine national park.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in disclosing this, said the park is the biggest in the country.

He pointed out that the park is about 163 to 180 km from Sarawak’s shorelines and comprises a number of reefs, with some features exposed during low tide.

“The state has gazetted Luconia Shoals, which is located within Sarawak waters, as marine national park and is the biggest marine protected area in the country and entrenched Sarawak as the rightful owner of the marine resources in the area,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He had earlier officiated at a handing-over of Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) solar centralised system at Pulau Talang Talang Besar, here.

SEB has allocated RM1.56 million for solar energy for Pulau Talang Talang Besar, Pulau Talang Talang Kecil and Tanjung Datu National Park to supply 24-hour electricity in the area, to support Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) with turtle conservation effort.

Abang Johari stressed that the state government was committed to have more water bodies to be gazetted as marine protected areas and continue with the Sarawak marine and coastal conservation as initiated by the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

“The state is committed and will continue to gazette more protected areas, both in sea and on land,” the chief minister asserted.

The chief minister also pointed out that the government was serious in preserving the environment and show to the world that the state means business.

He also said that the state would provide facilities to national parks and hope that SEB complement the effort like providing 24-hour power supply.

He mentioned Loagan Bunut national park in Miri as one of the parks SEB could consider.

Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said his ministry would work with the Tourism Ministry to ensure that the existing tourist attractions like the national parks would not be a loss to the state.

He said the ministry was looking at new technology to provide lighting to the state, adding that the state would enjoy 100 per cent coverage by 2025.

According to him, at the moment 91 per cent of rural areas are provided with power supply for which the state government has allocated RM2 billion and RM2.8 billion is allocated for water supply.

Also present were Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning and Land Administration Datu Len Talif Salleh, Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi and Tanjung Datu assemblywoman Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu.