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Wetlands: Only one operator likely for Klias
Published on: Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: The community in Weston may get to manage wetlands in their own area as the State Government is looking into reducing the number of operators that bring in tourists to only one.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said the plan to have only one operator in wetland areas, particularly Weston and Klias, is to ensure that tourism business does not kill conservation or upset the ecological balance of the areas.

He noted that up to 2,000 tourists came to see the fireflies in the wetlands daily and the number was expected to increase.

Unless managed properly, there is a risk the fireflies will be gone, he said.

"I hope places like Klias and Weston are run by only one entity so that we are in a better position to manage the areas well.

"We don't want any Tom, Dick or Harry to set up operations and bring their own boat to (take tourists) to see the fireflies or the proboscis monkey," he said.

Pang insisted that there have to be right policies, management system and tools to better manage tourists who go to visit the wetlands.

"If not, the fireflies will be no more. And when tourists stop coming, there will be no income for the people," he said.

He added that the Ministry is currently looking into this, including getting the community in Weston to manage the wetlands, so that they too can enjoy the benefits.

He pointed out that the State Government made a wise decision in favour of conservation by limiting the number of operators in Sipadan Island years ago. - Leonard Alaza

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