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Mantanani for marine park status next
Published on: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Pulau Mantanani may be the next to be gazetted as a marine park as Sabah aims towards complying the United Nations standard of having at least 10 per cent of its sea as a protected area by 2020.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said currently the state has gazetted 7.6 per cent involving three marine parks namely Tun Mustapha, Tun Sakaran and Tunku Abdul Rahman, all of which cover a total protected area of two million hectares.

"The United Nation has requested us to gazette at least 10 per cent of our ocean and we are almost there with 7.6 per cent with a total of two million hectares of protected marine parks," he told the 2nd Maritime Environmental Security Workshop, Tuesday.

He said he had asked his assistant Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming to look into the possibility of increasing the size of the marine parks in order to achieve the target.

He also said Sabah has a generous amount of areas that can be turned into marine parks and the government has identified some of them.

"We're seriously considering this. But it will depend on our engagement with the locals, the district office and all the relevant parties. It's not something we need to do in a hurry because there are many social implications."

"We believe Mantanani is a good candidate to be part of our marine parks in the future.

It's a beautiful island," he said.

The three-day workshop brought experts in related fields and the military from USA, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia, including Non-Governmental Organisations to discuss matters concerning maritime environmental security particularly in the region.

Masidi acknowledged that the workshop reflected strong relationship between Sabah and the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur toward the developing the state's capacity in protecting its maritime areas.

Meanwhile, Chris Sholes from the US Pacific Command hoped some proposals will come out from the workshop which would then be used to outsource funding to support specific initiatives.

Meanwhile, Pang said the committee would propose more than the required 10pc quota.

"The problem is, we need to get the locals to cooperate and in order to do so, we must give them options and provide them with more sustainable living, for example tourism," he said.

Acknowledging that the Tun Mustapha Marine Park (TMMP), the biggest marine park in the country, had been facing resistance from the locals, Pang said this was one of the issues the committee was looking into so as to avoid similar problems at future marine parks. - Locksley Ng

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