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[January 12, 2014]
Sabah to uphold its policy on islands [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KOTA KINABALU: Despite being unpopular with tour operators, the government will uphold its policy of preventing islands in Sabah from being overcrowded by visitors.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the controls were required in order to ensure the state's natural wonders remained pristine.
He said a special committee under the chairmanship of the state permanent secretary was already looking into the possibility of limiting the carrying capacity of each island.
"This may not be favoured by tour agencies, but we need to look ahead and find ways to sustain our tourism products," he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, he stressed that there would be no development within or around Sipadan, which is well-known as one of the top diving destinations in the world.
Masidi was commenting on reports about an investment project said to be focused in Sipadan involving China's Diving Best, a Chinese company.
"To my understanding, they are talking about the Sipadan Mangrove Resort in Kalumpang, which is located near Tawau and is already in operation, and not Sipadan (Island).
"I assume that they are talking about an expansion.
"Everyone knows Sipadan is a highly protected area. No one is allowed to put up a structure, either on the island or around it." Yesterday, Masidi launched a coral planting campaign organised by the Inland Revenue Board in collaboration with Sabah Parks at Manukan Island off here.
As part of the board's corporate social responsibility programme, 129 divers planted 3,040 individual corals and created a new Malaysian record.
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