MIRI: Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting has given an assurance that facilities at Niah Cave in Batu Niah will be upgraded.
“Once the paperwork has been approved by the Cabinet, the upgrading works can start,” he said.
Niah Cave is located about 45 minutes by car from Miri. It is where 40,000-year-old human remains were discovered.
The latest archaeological findings at the Trader’s Cave nearby showed significant evidence that people from Africa came to the cave some 65,000 years ago.
Currently, efforts are being made to get Niah Cave to be listed as one of Unesco’s world heritage sites.
The state Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Ministry together with Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) are in the process of completing the paperwork for the purpose, according to SFC chief executive officer, Zolkipli Mohamad Aton.
Currently, Mulu National Park is the sole Unesco World Heritage site in Sarawak.
Zolkipli added that the number of visitors (usually up to 30,000 per year) at Niah Cave has increased.
“Travellers including those from neighbouring countries like to visit the cave where there are ancient paintings, ancient burial site and bird nest harvesting,” he said while leading a communal work party yesterday morning in Niah Cave.
Nearly 400 volunteers from 10 agencies including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) took part in the police-hosted event that was also attended by Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting, Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni and Miri police chief ACP Lim Meng Seah.
Ting praised those involved in the work party as it helped make the cave and its surrounding area cleaner and more presentable.
In urging people not to leave their litter inside the cave, he also told everybody not to leave their trash in any national park or recreational place.
As for Lukanisman, he hoped similar programmes could be held in future at the area.