Malaysia: Sarawak govt allocates RM70 million for artificial reefs, structures

MUHD AMIRUL FAIZ AHMAD New Straits Times 12 Dec 18;

KUCHING: The state government has allocated RM70million to have artificial reefs placed between Tanjung Datu and Lawas, which would double as a protection against marine thefts.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg said the man-made structures, which were used to improve marine ecosystem, could also serve as a buffer zone to block fishing nets cast by foreign fishermen at the Malaysian waters.

“The state government has taken such initiative to protect its marine sources from continuously being encroached by foreign fishermen.

“We have also have Beting Patinggi Ali declared as the National Marine Park.

“Every inch of areas owned by Sarawak would be protected despite the ongoing South China Sea’s territorial dispute,” he said after attending Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) dinner here yesterday.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari who is also Urban Development and Natural Resources minister, said in future, the exploration of forest produce would be expanded to ecotourism, rather than focused solely on timber logging.

“We can no longer depend on forest produce (such as timber) as it is not a sustainable move. Thus, the rich and diverse resources should be harnessed through ecotourism by imposing tax on tourists (among others),” he said.

He said forest management in Sarawak was carried out effectively through the designation of forest industrial areas and replanting of trees for commerce purposes.

“It is better for the state government to optimise eco-tourism due to the limited resources. We must be wise in managing them (resources) as the forests are an invaluable natural heritage,” he said.