IPOH – The federal government’s proposal to turn Pulau Sembilan in the waters of Bagan Datuk into a marine park is inappropriate, says Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.
He said the state was still sticking to its decision to gazette the group of nine small islands as a state park in order to preserve its fish resources.
“The proposal to make Pulau Sembilan a marine park had been put forward even during the time of Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali when he was the menteri besar then and the state government was of the view that turning these islands into a marine park would have a big impact on the fishery industry there, which has been going on for generations.
“If Pulau Sembilan is made a marine park, it will come under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which means that for several nautical miles of the group of islands, fishing activities will not be allowed.
“After looking at the matter from all aspects, we decided to stand by our decision to retain Pulau Sembilan as a state park,” he told reporters after chairing a state executive council meeting, here, today.
He said the ministry which made the proposal on Pulau Sembilan would be meeting up with the state government to discuss the matter.
Zambry further said that besides safeguarding the interest of fishermen in the surrounding area, the state government’s main objective was to look after the islands by itself to curb trespassing by irresponsible parties.
He said the state government had also discussed with the state legal adviser on taking legal action against poachers and trespassers.
“All the rubbish including building materials that have marred the natural beauty of Pulau Sembilan have been removed,” he said.
Zambry also noted that the state government was now monitoring Pulau Jarak, located near the Malaysian and Indonesian waters, to be gazetted as a state park.
On another note, the menteri besar said the state government also planned to make Perak a tourist destination based on the concept of a huge geopark, among the biggest in the country.
He said a number of areas including caves and hills in the Kinta Valley had been identified for the purpose and were now in the process of evaluation by the Malaysia National Geopark Committee.
“We have received a proposal from a committee set up through the Minerals and Geoscience Department to create a geopark in the Kinta Valley and which is now in the process of getting recognition from the National Geopark Committee.
“Some of the areas identified like Gua Tempurung and Mount Korbu are known to the general public while others are lesser known, so we will highlight such areas as part of the geopark plan.”
Zambry said after all these locations had been agreed upon and recognised by the committee, the state government would seek recognition for these from the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council.
He sald with the existence of a geopark in the Kinta Valley, it would draw more local and foreign tourists to view and appreciate the beauty of this natural heritage. – BERNAMA