Friday, May 27, 2016

Tun Mustapha Marine Park - Nation's biggest marine park


Kota Kinabalu: The State Government has officially gazetted 898,762.76 hectares in the northern seas of Sabah as the Tun Mustapha Marine Park.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun tweeted the new marine park, Thursday, as being the biggest in the country and the newest conservation initiative carried out by the State Government.

"It's done! Tun Mustapha Marine Park in northern Sabah is gazetted," he said, accompanied by a photo of the State gazette dated May 19.

The park is located off Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas right up to the Straits of Balabac, where the Sulu Sea and South China Sea meet in the northern part of Sabah.

With the declaration, the size of protected marine parks in Sabah now stretches to about two million hectares.

"Efforts to gazette the park have been carried out through consultations with various parties with interests in the area," he said.

The area covers 50 islands and includes the three main ones of Pulau Banggi, Pulau Balambangan and Pulau Malawali with more than 180,000 people living in the coastal areas and islands.

It was earlier reported that such a move was the only means of protecting sharks in the area due to the reluctance of the Federal Government to legislate a ban on shark hunting.

"The area is rich in various marine life and located within the coral triangle covering waters within Luzon Island in the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

"The triangle area has over 500 species of corals that is the habitat of numerous marine life. This includes 243 invertebrate species, 550 fish species, four species of turtles, dugongs, crocodiles and sharks," he said.

As an open marine park, the Tun Mustapha Marine Park will be managed through a collaboration between various bodies involving both government and non-governmental organisations, as well as local communities, said Masidi.

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Kaamatan fever heats up as festival draws near in Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: The excitement is building as the peak of the annual harvest or Kaamatan festival nears.

Various preparations, from the beautification of traditional houses to holding district harvest queen competition marathons, these are ongoing and many are already attending Kaamatan related events throughout Sabah.

By now, most of the district harvest queens have been selected to represent their areas to compete in the finale come May 30 and 31 as they vie for the Unduk Ngadau title.

It is among the most looked forward to events, with beauties from all districts and sub-districts in Sabah trying to win the hearts of judges and the public with their demure poses, knowledge of Sabah’s traditions and use of their native tongue.

An array of stalls serving local delicacies at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association centre (KDCA) were also set up earlier this month.

It is the site where the state-level Kaamatan festival has been held almost every year and workers were seen busy fixing loose nails and strengthening the structures.

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11th Sabah International Folklore Festival rebates and discounts


Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Cultural Board will consider offering rebates and discounts to countries which have difficulty in paying the advance fees for the 11th Sabah International Folklore Festival (SIFF).

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said these rebates will be offered based on their previous record of participation as well as their distance from the State.

"I have discussed with State Cultural Board General Manager Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai and so far, there are only seven countries who had registered…the participation is limited to 10 groups this year.

"And we realised that favourite participants like Kazakhstan have yet to confirm their participation.

"I was made to understand that among the reasons given were these countries can't afford to pay the advance fee of US$30 for each group member," he said during the launching of SIFF official website at Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens, here, Thursday.

Citing Kazakhstan, Masidi said the group has to take two days to reach Sabah and the implementation of the advance fee made the situation harder for them.

"We are willing to consider giving rebates and discounts to countries which had been consistent in their participation for SIFF.

"This is one of the ways to reduce their burden, especially those who come from far as it will involve big expenses."

He reiterated that Sabah Cultural Board does not gain any profit through the advance fees payment.

"The fees don't pose a significant impact on cost reduction to organise SIFF. We imposed the fees so that participants will take this event seriously.

"Should we make it easier to be participated, then the risks of getting low quality participation is higher.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sabah Bah – Island Hopping at Tunku Abd Rahman Park


Another must do activities when you are in Kota Kinabalu is the island hopping at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

This time around, as time doesn’t permit us, we only managed to cover 2 islands which is Manukan and Mamutik Island for just half a day.

The marine park is basically a cluster of 5 islands which is Pulau Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik and Sulug and it is accessible via speedboat rides from Kota Kinabalu Town which will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

One thing that you should now is that the departure and the arrival are located at Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal which is next to the Malaysia Royal Custom Department.

There are numbers of tour agents around the terminal and just haggle like a pro to get the best deal of the day.

As for us, we managed to get a deal for a price of RM30 which includes 2 island hopping and a snorkelling gear.

On top of that, we even haggled on the price of the parasailing package for RM120 (for 2 pax).

Another tips, if you wanted to cover and visit at least 3 islands in the Marine Park, start your day as early as you can and be at the jetty by 9am as visitors are required to leave the island by 4pm on the same day.

Besides, you might want to avoid the long lines of tourists looking for boats and packages especially over the weekend.

Pulau Mamutik (Mamutik Island)

After 20 minutes, the boat then stopped at the first island which is Pulau Mamutik.

We were so excited to see school of small fishes at the jetty and it gave us a wide smile on our face upon our arrival.

With the white sandy beach and crystal clear waters beneath clear blue sky, we couldn’t asked for more.

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RM10 mln boost for Sabah eco-tourism


KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd will contribute RM10 million for the promotion of Sabah as an eco-tourism destination in the next two years.

Assistant Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said this is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.

Pang reminded that Sabah is a beautiful destination and Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is one of the most beautiful airports in the country. He also commended Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd for its effort to beautify KKIA with its Faces of Sabah artwork which features the 34 races in Sabah.

Speaking to press members at the Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd Green Day 2016 and Aerodarat Services Sdn Bhd Safety and Health Campaign held at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) yesterday, Pang also reiterated that KKIA is expecting the commencement of the Jeju Airlines flight operations from South Korea to KKIA.

“The airline will start operating in July this year,” he said.

Additionally, Yunan Lucky Air will also be bringing in passengers from Kunming, China to Sabah, he said.

“This is a two- to three-year contract,” he added.

Pang also mentioned that tourist arrivals from South Korea and China were on the rise between January and March, this year.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: RM10 mln boost for Sabah eco-tourism
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