Kuala Penyu’s unique road signs
Published on: Sunday, February 16, 2020
By: David Thien
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KUALA PENYU: Signages that combine both Bahasa Malaysia and English may only be peculiar to Sabah and Kuala Penyu is an example.

Beaches along the coastline here were scouted recently for international resorts like Club Med which has since confirmed building one.

If foreigner were to throng the town here, they could feel welcome wandering around as some street signage are showing English words.

The road leading into the town is known as Jalan Kuala Penyu Town, and there Jalan Post Office and Jalan Market Car Park, for example.

Its market stands out from other markets for sale of fresh sago starch flour, which are not available in many other markets.

However, a Kg. Likas signage for a so named village along the access road from Membakut, can confuse some people as the State capital’s Kampung Likas is more than 135 km north.

Nevertheless the beach like at the Likas Bay is plagued by plastic litter, which should see political parties active here to organise cleaning up campaign like ‘Gotong-Royong.’

Kuala Penyu’s coastal beach is one of Sabah’s breeding site for endangered leatherback and hawksbill turtles from April to this month August being their nesting season.

It is the nearest district to Kota Kinabalu for tourists to be able to see turtles in their natural nesting habitat

Due to weak enforcement of law, poaching for turtle eggs over decades has decimated the turtle population and now there is hardly any sighting of turtles landing to lay eggs like near extinct rhinoceros sighting that accorded the name Kuala Penyu or Turtle Confluence Estuary to the district.

Now tourists have to go to Sandakan’s Turtle Islands in the Esscom’s curfew enforced Sulu Sea at night against kidnapping, for the same attraction, that Kuala Penyu along Sabah’s safer West Coast, regrettably lost as a potential tourism treasure.

Seven years ago, the Sabah Environmental Action Centre made a belated urgent call that probably fell on deaf ears: “The Sabah Wildlife Department is urged to enhance its enforcement action against poaching of endangered sea turtles along the coastal areas of Kuala Penyu district.”

Its spokesperson C.Y. Vun recalled, “The Wildlife Department should work together with the District Office, local authority, the Fisheries Department, Sabah Tourism Board, nd NGOs to act against poaching.

“Members of the public should be taught about the benefits and importance of protecting endangered sea turtles that serve as a tourism attraction that can ensure economic prosperity for the people.

“Alongside fireflies, proboscis monkeys at mangrove forests and swamps of Beaufort and the Klias Peninsula, the promotion Kuala Penyu’s turtles sighting can be unique tourism attractions that benefit the people and state,” he stressed.

Even without the turtles, there is tremendous tourism potential, particularly for locals. Last weekend, a durian orchard here held its open house with offers of RM20 per kg for all variety of durians picked, attracted hundreds of people who came as far as Sarawak’s Limbang and Penang.

There is no remarkable hotel in town, but the rise of overnight homestay accommodation is making an impact for Kuala Penyu’s tourism, aside from fruits.

It remains to be seen whether the tourism ministries and boards show better leadership for developing tourism products here under the auspicious of the new Federal and Sabah governments.


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