Speech by Chief Minister
SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER, DATUK MUSA HAJI AMAN, AT THE BOOK LAUNCHING OF THE BORNEO’S TROPICAL EDEN- SABAH IN CONJUNCTION OF THE NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION – SABAH HOTEL, SANDAKAN, 30th August, 2004
It gives me great pleasure to be here today, on this auspicious launching of yet another important book on Sabah entitled “Borneo’s Tropical Eden”. I wish to thank the organizer for inviting me to officiate this very significant event.
Let me also take the opportunity to congratulate the author, Dr. Chua Ee Kiam, for capturing the essence of Sabah through this book. I believe the publication of this book will be a valuable resource that will contribute towards our efforts in making the public more aware about the richness of our environment and the challenges of its management.
The book also proves that Dr. Chua and his team were dazzled by the exotic wildlife of Sabah, so much so that they were inspired to share their discovery of Borneo’s Tropical Eden with the rest of the world.
The documentation of team’s experiences gained through the exploration of the state is indeed a great addition to the list of existing publications on Sabah. I believe that it will heighten one’s appreciation and understanding of nature in our enchanting state. This book serves to express for all Malaysians in Sabah what has always been dear to our hearts – the unique natural wonders of our land and the exclusiveness of our heritage. This book serves as a window to this great Eden of ours.
We, in Sabah are very fortunate to live in an environment that is richly endowed with a range of diverse terrestrial and marine landscapes, which holds a unique and an even richer biodiversity. As such, for many years, Sabah has attracted multitudes of visitors from all over the world. They have come from near and far and many have returned just to experience this tropical haven.
Sabah is host to numerous natural attractions such as the majestic and awe-inspiring Mount Kinabalu that has been declared as a World Heritage Site. We possess a jewel in the ocean, a techni-coloured liquid landscape known as Sipadan, which is a world -renowned haven for divers and undersea explorers. Our rainforests, evolved over millions of years, are considered to be among the oldest in the world. This evolution has led to the formation of one of the most lush and ancient tropical rainforests that are home to an amazing array of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to Sabah. The state’s numerous meandering rivers and estuarine habitats are abound with fish, bird and animal life, and not forgetting here, in Sandakan, we have the world famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.
Indeed, Sabah has a great deal to offer to visitors. The State Government strives to ensure that visitors enjoy a memorable and enriching stay in Sabah, so that they will be charmed into returning again and again. Like true Malaysians, we always extend a very warm welcome to visitors far and near.
As you all know, the tourist industry has been experiencing a steady growth in our State. Whilst tourism is a lucrative business, and contributes to the economy, its impact on the environment has to be taken into consideration. In this respect, I am pleased to say that Sabah has an established tradition in the conservation of its unique and rich flora and fauna through a system of well-established terrestrial and marine parks and wildlife sanctuaries. On the part of the government, strict measures are being carried out to minimize adverse effects to conserve the natural environment. Large tracts of forests have been gazetted as Class One Forest Reserves so that the many diverse species of flora and fauna are not threatened.
In recent years, Eco-tourism has become very popular on Sabah. The term ‘ecotourism’ coined by Hector Ceballos Lascurain in 1983 was initially used to describe nature-based travel to relatively undisturbed areas with an emphasis on education. This concept has, however, developed to a scientifically based approach to the planning, management and development of sustainable tourism products and activities. Thus, apart from being economically viable and socially and psychologically acceptable, eco-tourism should also be environmentally and ecologically sustainable.
In this context, the relentless pace of development over the last three decades has created conditions far different from those in the past. The changes are so rapid and spread over such vast areas that it is difficult to keep an overview of how all these changes are affecting our environment. Therefore, I believe it is through books like BORNEO’S TROPICAL EDEN- SABAH, that we can be reminded of the uniqueness of our environment and the importance of preserving its various ecosystems. And, it is through the efforts of each and every one of us that the beauty of our tropical Eden can be passed on the future generations to ensure its survival.
Once again, may I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Chua Ee Kiam for coming out with this insightful book. For those of you who have yet to own this book, do get a copy for yourself and enjoy what BORNEO’S TROPICAL EDEN – SABAH has to offer.
On this note, it is thus with great pleasure that I hereby officially launch the book, BORNEO’S TROPICAL EDEN – SABAH.