KUALA TAHAN: The number ofnational parks and wildlifesanctuaries in Peninsular Malaysia are expected to increasein the near future, with plansunderway to identify and inventorise potential protectedareas.
The target for this move is toincrease the current 700,000haof land area gazetted as wildlifesanctuaries, national parks andwildlife reserves to 1.1 millionhectares.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk SeriAdenan Satem said the Government was keen to identifypotential protected areas in thecountry to be gazetted.
“If there are other suitableareas to be turned into nationalparks, we will do so. The morenational parks we have the better,” he told reporters afterlaunching the Kelah (MalaysianGolden Mahseer) Sanctuary inTaman Negara on Thursday.
Adenan said the Government had to work hand-in-hand with state governments toidentify suitable areas to beconverted into protected areasunder the jurisdiction of theDepartment of Wildlife andNational Parks.
“We have identified two tothree potential areas. We willhave to bring this up to thestates, as land is a state matter.
“The states also have plans toestablish more protected areas,”he added.
He said the identified areaswere listed in the SeventhMalaysia Plan and these included potential areas for Sarawakand Sabah as well.
On Taman Negara, Adenansaid the Government had proposed it as a World Heritage Siteto Unesco.
“We have sent our application and hope that it will be successful,” he said on his maidenvisit to Taman Negara.
He said the national park hadthe potential to tap the ecotourism market sustainably,while benefiting the local communities.
He said ecotourism was avery important revenue earnerfor the country, which could nolonger rely on logging andextraction of forest products.
“Logging and extraction offorest products is no longer apriority. There’s more to a forestthan just felling it,” he said.