MIRI: The Sarawak government will balance urban growth and nature conservation, assured Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday.
Speaking at the Love Hornbills Day 2020 event held at Piasau Nature Reserve (PNR) here, Abang Johari said balanced urban growth and nature conservation would protect Sarawak’s rich and varied ecosystem and ensure that people would continue to benefit from nature.
He also announced an allocation of RM30 million to help build the Piasau Nature Discovery Centre.
“Sarawak has its natural beauty, including various species of exotic birds such as the Hornbill and via this centre, we hope to attract more tourists or scientists to do research or bird-watching activities here,” he said, urging the people of Sarawak to protect the hornbill, which is the state bird of Sarawak.
“We are lucky that we have urban forests in cities and towns, such as Samajaya Nature Reserve (Kuching); Bukit Lima Nature Reserve (Sibu); Bukit Hitam Nature Reserve and Bukit Sembiling Nature Reserve both in Limbang; and now we have Piasau Nature Reserve in Miri.”
Piasau Nature Reserve, gazetted by the government on December 31, 2013, covers an area of 93.5 hectares.
Abang Johari added that urban forests were vital for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.
At the event, the minister revealed that the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre had been awarded the World Excellence Tourism Awards 2020 under the category of Sustainable Tourism, and that a prize-giving ceremony would be held in Berlin, Germany next month.
“These awards are given to acknowledge those who have contributed towards the country’s tourism industry.
“This shows the world recognises the uniqueness of Sarawak’s parks and wildlife. Well done, Sarawak Forestry Corporation!” he said.
Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Urban Development and Resources Assistant Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh; Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting; Women, Family and Childhood Development Assistant Minister Rosey Yunus; Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni; and Sarawak Forestry Corporation chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton.