KOTA KINABALU: Known for its birds’ nests, the Madai Caves in Kunak district have long been the habitat of a huge number of swiftlets.
According to attractionsinmalaysia.com, the Idahan people hold harvesting rights and have been harvesting nests in Madai Caves for over five centuries.
The caves are also an important archaeological site as traces of human existence and habitation dating back 15, 000 years ago were found. The Federal Government is keen to develop Madai Caves provided the Idahan consent to the plan.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (pic) said some of the areas could be developed into tourist attractions, complete with chalets, homestays, restaurants and other amenities.
“Of course, this can only be done if the birds’ nest owners, mostly from the Idahan community, agree to it, ” he said during a visit to the site on Friday, adding that the government would assist in every way possible to make the place a tourist destination, if there was an opportunity to do so.
Mohamaddin said Madai Caves should be preserved to maintain the heritage of the Idahan community.
“With proper conservation, we will be able to create job opportunities for locals in the area, ” he said