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RM1.2 mln from US for marine park

KUDAT: The Tun Mustapha Marine Park shows promising growth as it continues to receive support which is aimed toward equipping the park with better features.Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais said the park had even received RM1.2 illion funding from the United States of America, to conduct research in order to manage the park efficiently. “The US government had promised a RM1.2 million allocation for the benefit of research into park necessities in terms of reinforcement. “It will also involve them giving us recommendations, such as investing in faster or bigger boats, radar and strategic placement of security posts, as well as how best to utilise limited resources to operate such an expansive park,” he told the media during the one-year anniversary celebration of the Tun Mustapha Park cum launch of Sabah Parks’ Kudat office, yesterday.

Of the early recommendations received by Sabah Parks was to engage in strategic partnerships, which prompted cooperation with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to harness its assets and capabilities. Other efforts include setting up a special taskforce for the park’s 100-day plan prior to gazettement, collaborating with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia, official visits and discussions with district offices, on-field surveillance operations while transmitting information to fishermen, human resource development and identifying strategic locations for substation construction and security post placement and preparing exploration plans for islands and villages to raise awareness within the local community and gain their support.

Jamili added that although the Tun Mustapha Marine Park Scientific Expedition had formally ended, research will be conducted continually and is always welcomed at the park. He also expressed full confidence that the park will eventually experience a tourism boom in given time. “At the Tun Mustapha Marine Park, there are a lot of things that you can’t find anywhere else, or that are better than they are elsewhere. “This is the largest park in the country and its niche lies not only in the marine aspect, but also terrestrially. “Aside from bearing witness to various wonders of nature, you also get to witness local life and observe the customs of the community. What more could you want?” said Jamili.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sabah Parks, Dato Seri Tengku Dr Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood conceded that the Tun Mustapha Marine Park has something more to offer. The marine epicentre of the world is the Coral Triangle, and the apex of it is this park and the Tun Sakaran Park. “That in itself already shows natural biodiversity. The Coral Triangle has 3,000 species of fish and over 700 species of coral, both soft and hard. “In the whole of the Sulawesi Sea alone, there are over 400 species. This is very special if you compare it to other places around the globe,” he said, adding that the focus is at the Tun Mustapha Park itself and the Tun Sakaran Park.

(Source : The Borneo Post, edited by Sabah Parks)