KUCHING: Interhill Group, which owns the Pullman Kuching and Pullman Miri Waterfront hotels, is collaborating with the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) to sell LitSara products.
The collaboration is the first corporate partnership for LitSara products and part of Interhill’s corporate social responsibility initiative in giving back to indigenous communities.
LitSara is the trademark name for an essential oil extracted from Litsea cubeba, a local tree which has been used widely by indigenous communities in Sarawak for healing and culinary purposes.
Laboratory testing has shown that the essential oil has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and repellent properties.
SBC works closely with the indigenous communities whose traditional knowledge of the plant had led its team of researchers to the discovery of the essential oil.
The LitSara project currently involves the Bidayuh of Kampung Kiding in Padawan, the Kelabit of Pa’Ukat and Pa’Lungan in Bario and the Lun Bawang of Long Kerabangan and Long Telingan in Lawas.
The communities carry out sustainable harvesting of raw material, distillation of the essential oil for pre-commercialisation and propagation of the plant.
Under the agreement, LitSara souvenir sets of natural personal care products will be displayed for sale at Pullman Kuching and Pullman Miri Waterfront.
Proceeds will go towards the indigenous communities involved in the development of the products.
The agreement was signed recently by Interhill group executive director Albert Hu and chief operating officer (hospitality division) Eric Tan, while SBC was represented by State Secretary Tan Sri Morshidi Ghani, who is also its chairman, and chief executive officer Dr Yeo Tiong Chia.
Morshidi commended Interhill Group and Pullman hotels on the collaboration and encouraged the group to play an active role in raising awareness on the LitSara project and promoting the concept of benefit sharing.
He also called on the communities who have made the LitSara project possible to keep up the momentum and collaborative efforts with SBC.
Hu said the partnership indicated Interhill’s commitment to a long-term relationship which would benefit the indigenous communities.
“It is our hope to have the public support LitSara products in any way possible, be it through creating more awareness, purchasing or using the products yourself, for you too can help make a difference in the lives of the indigenous communities,” he said.
Tan added that the hotels would promote LitSara as a local product created by the people of Sarawak.
“In the long term, if opportunity permits, we would also like to use the products as part of our room amenities for hotel guests.
“This would be in line with the hotels’ branding of moving towards a greener environment using natural resources,” he said.