News & Updates

Turtles are safe because islands gazetted

Sabahans can consider themselves lucky for being able to witness turtles landing on their shores because of the Government’s effort to gazette some of its islands, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister, Datuk Elron Alfred Angin.

He said following the coming into force of the 1984 Parks Enactment, the numbers have shown a slight increase despite a significant drop of turtle sighting worldwide.

“Turtle hatching can be seen almost every night on our islands,” he said during the launching of the Sabah Parks Turtle Conservation campaign here Saturday. The campaign will end on Dec. 15. “During the peak season the number of turtles landing on our shores can be 30-50,” he added.

Under the enactment, turtles can find sanctuary at the Turtle Islands, Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Pulau Tiga Park and Pulau Sipadan.

The others are the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Areas (SIMCA), which include Langkayan in Sandakan.

“To further better managed turtle conservation the construction of Sabah’s first hatchery were completed in 1966 at Pulau Selingan,” said Elron.

In his speech, Elron said during the observation conducted in 1979 until 2010 a total of 218, 305 turtle nests were recorded with hatchlings born inside the parks.

During the same period 13.07 million hatchlings were released back into the ocean. He also said since the 1970s up to 2010 a total of 54,904 turtles had been tagged.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon that these ancient animals could swim thousands of kilometres just to return to the place they were hatched,” he said.

Apart from the Ministry’s effort, Sabah Parks, Sabah Wildlife Department, Environmental Department, WWF and NGOs also played a vital role on turtle conservation works.

According to the Sabah Parks Director, Paul Basintal people are largely unaware that turtles were a protected species and that works on their conservation started in 1977.

And the aim of campaign is to raise the awareness of the public on the such efforts by the government, its departments, agencies and NGOs.

“This campaign is aimed at announcing to the public these initiatives and to allow an effective community involvement towards such initiatives,” said Basintal.

“Sabah Parks have been given the mandate to do the conservation works since the 70s. “The work requires a full time commitment regardless of public holidays,” he added.

Basintal also complimented the efforts of Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Environmental Department, UMS and WWF which had been doing their own bit in turtle conservation.

The said agencies also set up their own booths during the campaign.

This is the second time Sabah Parks had organised the campaign with the first one being at Lahad Datu in 2008.

Worldwide, 25 species of turtles are currently considered likely to become extinct and have reached conservation status.

In Sabah possession and selling of sea turtle eggs and goods are offences punishable under the 1984 enactment.

Source: Daily Express

Push for domestic tourism

The Tourism Ministry is planning to promote domestic tourism further and make it a major contributor to the economy, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said. “The importance of domestic tourism cannot be understated as the global tourism market records dip. Last year, the number of domestic tourists totalled 111.5 million, generating RM34.7bil in revenue,” she said.

Citing an example, she said that 75.9 million locals were day-trippers.

She said there had been a lifestyle change among locals after the five-day work week was introduced in 1999 to encourage more Malaysians to travel internally.

“It is also a good indication of the nation’s prosperity and stability,” she told reporters after the launch of the Tourism Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Dance Carnival yesterday.

Earlier at the launch of the dance carnival, Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor reminded Malaysians to maintain the nation’s peace and stability.

“Although Malaysia’s peace and stability is a blessing from God, we must work and strive to preserve it,” she said.

The carnival was introduced in 2009 to showcase various ethnic dances to promote Malaysia to foreign tourists.

Source: The Star

Sabah tourism students get raw deal

The government needs to set in place a better education and training system that is capable of satisfying the specific needs of the State’s booming tourism sector. Sabah Tourist Guides Association (STGA), in highlighting this yesterday, said most institutions offering training in tourism in Sabah do not properly screen their students to ensure that they have the qualities needed for the industry.

As a result, most of the students do not even make it into the industry after completing their studies, according to the association’s honorary welfare officer, Marry Ann C Degullacion.

Except for a very small percentage, she said some of the lucky ones who managed to land a job in the field they studied were likely to quit or be fired not long after they started because they lacked the required skills and passion.

“The fact is that education today, like any other industry, is driven by profit. Nothing wrong with that as long as it is not too focused solely on money making.

“It is sad to say but for some of these institutions the students only go as far as their education loan. Once they settled their fees, that is the end for them,” she said.

She was presenting the outcome of a group discussion during the Luncheon Talk between government officers and representatives from major industries here.

Senior officers from leading organizations under the plantation, tourism, oil and gas, agro processing and automotive sectors attended the half-day discussion facilitated by the Department of Skills Development.

A representative from each industry presented the outcome of their respective group discussions, highlighting pressing issues facing their businesses, in particular those concerning the training of skilled workers.

Marry Ann suggested that a special body be set up to monitor job placements of students from tertiary education institutions, to keep watch on both the quality and marketability of the students they produced.

This monitoring body, she stressed, must have a high standard for quality as it would determine the quality of the workers to be sent into the industry.

On another note, she said the authorities also needed to tighten the enforcement of laws governing the tourism industry, especially the tour guide sector.

“Tour guiding has become a cut-throat industry partly due to loose monitoring and enforcement by the authorities.

“There are for instance tour guides who don’t bother about renewing their licenses and make even more money operating illegally as unlicensed guides. On the other hand, there are tour guides who become taxi drivers because they would earn more driving cabs,” she said.

Earlier, she told the dialogue that there was still a need for more qualified tour guides, especially those who are proficient in English and other major foreign languages.

“English speaking guides are still very much lacking to support the industry in Sabah. We are also in need of guides who speak Russian, German and even Indonesian, to name a few,” she said.

In this regard, she suggested that more emphasis should be given on training new tour guides, apart from re-training existing ones and those who had left but wanted to rejoin the profession.

As Sabah is popular for its diving spots, she also suggested dive masters to be trained as qualified tour guides so that they can at least give a more accurate information about the State’s other attractions when visitors ask them.

She also proposed that Sabah should recruit more skilled lifeguards, pointing out that the many resorts and tourism spots in the State do not have sufficient or barely have any of this vital safety personnel at all.

Source: Borneo Post (by Murib Morpi)

Enlighten yourself on sun bears at BSBCC

Animal lovers can learn more about the elusive and endangered Malayan sun bear (pic) when the visitor’s platform at the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sabah is ready. BSBCC chief executive officer and wildlife researcher Wong Siew Te said construction of the platform has just begun and it was expected to open in June, next year.

He said little was known about the sun bear, which is the smallest bear species in the world and one of the rarest.

“The sun bear’s name comes from its distinctive golden-coloured chest patch, which resembles the sun,” he said during his talk on the bear at the Malaysian Nature Society headquarters yesterday.

He lamented that few Malaysians knew the importance of conserving this “wonderful, playful animal”, which faces extinction through illegal poaching and habitat destruction.

BSBCC is focused on rehabilitation, conservation, education, research and welfare of sun bears, he said.

Source: The Star (By ISABELLE LAI )

Climbathon: Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon – The Adventure Series To Debut In 2012

A new and exciting event called the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon – The Adventure Series will debut next year to spur Sabah’s tourism industry. State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the internationally known Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon which produced many strong climbers from Malaysia and across the globe ends this year.

He said this is done to provide a wider range of tourism products in the state through recreational activities and not just sports.

“This event will be replaced by a new and more challenging series called the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon – The Adventure Series, which is 23 kilometres compared to the 21 kilometres previously.

“We will begin the event next year when the tracks are fully completed and participants no longer need to race to the peak of Mount Kinabalu,” he told reporters after attending a presentation ceremony, here Friday.

Celcom presented a RM30,000 sponsorship for the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon taking place on Oct 22 and 23.

Masidi said the new route has long been used by local residents but needed to be improved for the safety and comfort of participants.

“The new route will cross through several villages in Kundasang. It starts at Dewan Taman Kinabalu and then into Timpohon, Masilou and other villages around Mount Kinabalu.

“Participants will also be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of villages there,” he said.

The ministry also plans to make the event an annual affair.

Source: Bernama