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Tuesday January 4, 2011

The lure of the empurau

A CRUISE up the Rajang River with the empurau, reputed to be one of the most expensive fishes in the world, as the centrepiece could be the next big tourism draw for Sibu.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit believed that tourists would be fascinated by the habitat of the empurau which is found in the Rajang River. The empurau can cost about RM580 per kg.

“The empurau has migrated upriver and efforts should be made to capitalise on them for tourism,” Dawos told reporters after closing the Fabulous 1Malaysia Street and Restaurant Food Fair at the Sibu Town Square on Sunday night.

He pointed out that though the population of the empurau could have plummeted in the lower reaches of the Rajang River due to polution, they were still thriving in Balleh and near the Bakun Dam due to the water quality.

Thank you: Dawos (second left) presenting a memento to Sibu-Meradong Hawker Association chairman Ting Chuong Chiok. The others are from left Federation of Hawkers and Petty Businessmen’s Association chairman Lee Teong Chwee, Sibu Municipal Council chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King and Federation of Sarawak Hawkers Association president Kapitan Lim Sin Khee.

Dawos therefore hoped that more river cruises could be organised on the Rajang River besides the one operated by Pandaw Cruise which started last July.

“Tourists are fascinated with riverine activities such as people fishing and also the many longhouses they can see. Thus, local tourism industry players must be imaginative and creative in using local products to lure tourists,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dawos said his ministry would be stepping up its promotion of tourism products such as botanical gardens and parks in Sarawak.

In this respect, he said that he was disappointed that the Bukit Lima Forest Park in Sibu was not properly managed as its abundant exotic plants and trees were not labelled.

“Perhaps the Sarawak Forestry Corporation could get this done. Parks such as this must be able to tell a story to attract visitors and proper labelling of all plants and trees need to be done,” he said.

On food, he said local delicacies like “kampua mee”, “kolok mee” and “Sarawak laksa” were a huge tourism draw for the state.

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