Improving connectivity at national parks

Abang Johari (left) with Zulkipli interact in a teleconference with Primatologist. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: National parks across the state will be equipped with fibre-optic internet to improve connectivity of the local community and tourists.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in announcing this said a total of RM3 million was allocated for the purpose through Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to upgrade the internet connectivity to nine national parks (NP) in the state.

“These are Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Bako NP, Gunung Gading NP, Tanjung Datu NP, Kubah NP, Matang Wildlife Centre, Similajau NP, Niah NP and Lambir Hills NP.

“The project is expected to be completed by July 2021,” he said, adding that the 100 Mbps internet will benefit many across the national park areas.

“Visitors can download up-to-the-minute information on the park and the idea of ‘real-time’ Instagramming on the park grounds to attract more tourists to our parks.

“The determination of a multiplier effect of tourism is also a very important part of the economy, at the same time to improve the livelihood of local communities living around the parks,” he said on Wednesday.

Abang Johari speaking to reporters at a press conference. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said with the limited number of visitors due to Covid-19, the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre had set up a trial live streaming recently which garnered 1,000 views.

“With parks limiting the number of visitors, we are hosting live feeds and allow people to watch our orangutans live, while sitting in their homes and they may come back visiting us after the pandemic,” he said.

Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) general manager Dr Zaidi Razak said it would facilitate a richer tourism experience by exhibiting national parks through augmented reality (AR) to the public.

“This is made possible by ensuring increased bandwidth capacity at national parks due to our partnership with relevant telecommunication service providers and stakeholders, thus turning our rich biodiversity into new revenue stream for our state,” he said.

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