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Sabah to look forward on proposed Kinabalu as UNESCO Geopark

Liew (seated at centre), flanked by Prof Dr Ibrahim (right) and Prof Dr Felix, with district officers and senior government officials at the Ministry’s Conference Room. – SNT Pix / Courtesy of Tourism Ministry

KOTA KINABALU: Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Christina Liew is optimistic that geo tourism is the way forward as yet another new tourism product for Sabah in the coming years.

She said, they don’t have to look far as the proposed Kinabalu Geopark is just at our doorstep.

Her Ministry, through Sabah Parks, is on track to get the Geopark recognised as a National Geopark Site (Malaysia) prior to being declared as a UNESCO Global Geopark Site.

Liew, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, has given her blessing for the ultimate realisation of the proposed Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark, describing it as a new concept of tourism.

In this regard, she has directed the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai to prepare a Cabinet Paper for submission to the State Cabinet for consideration and approval.

Dubbed “Aspiring Kinabalu Geopark”, the proposed Kinabalu Geopark area covers the entire Kinabalu Park area, and the whole or part of the Districts of Ranau, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu. Kinabalu Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has an area of 75,370 hectares.

“I am happy this is becoming a phenomenon for Sabah. Let’s go for it – a declaration for Kinabalu Geopark to be a UNESCO Global Geopark. After all,  the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is encouraging nations to protect and preserve their cultural and natural heritage which have outstanding universal value of biodiversity.

“Why Kinabalu Park, one may ask. Basically, it is a source of geological heritage for Malaysia in general and Sabah in particular. We want to conserve this for the present and future generations not only for its ecological functions but also for education, recreation and economic development purposes.

“Having a Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark Site will put Sabah on the world map and boost tourism growth, It will also bring socio-economic benefits to local communities involved in the Kinabalu Geopark Initiative.

“This can be achieved through creating jobs and participating in tourism-related entrepreneurial activities,” she said after a meeting with officials from the Sabah Parks, Department of Minerals and Geoscience Malaysia, Sabah, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

Among the key personnel present were Sabah Parks Director Dr Jamili Nais who is Chairman of the Aspiring Kinabalu Geopark Technical Committee; UKM Prof Emeritus Dr Ibrahim Komoo; UMS Geologist Prof Dr Felix Tongkul; Sabah Parks Assistant Director (International Relations), Ludi Apin, and Principal Geoscience Officer Jenneth Cyril who represented the Director of Minerals and Geoscience Malaysia, Sabah, Mohd Yusop Ramli.

The birth of Mt Kinabalu was the culmination of geological processes in western Sabah whiich began about 40 million years ago. Geologically, Kinabalu Park is a granite intrusion formed 15 million years ago and thrust upward one million years ago by tectonic movements (that is, movements of the structural geology of the earth’s crust) and shaped by forces that continue to define its landscape.

Liew commended the key stakeholders (including Sabah Parks (Lead Agency), Department of Minerals and Geoscience Malaysia, Sabah, UKM and UMS) for having laid the preparatory groundwork for the proposed Kinabalu Geopark since 2014. – SabahNewsToday

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