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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, April 9: The newly launched Sarawak Delta Geopark near Santubong here that spans 311,246 hectares from Bako to Padawan and boasts fascinating geological history, geodiversity and geoheritage encompassing millions of years has potential to gain global recognition as a main tourism attraction.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said that Sarawak’s aspiration to have the Sarawak Delta Geopark be recognised as a National Geopark and Unesco Global Geopark can be realised as the recommendations have been approved by the government in November 2019.
“The Geopark brand has potential to be marketed as a main tourism attraction, such as Gunung Mulu National Park, and that will definitely lure more visitors here.
“There are also existing attractions here including the Bako National Park, Santubong National park, Wind Cave Nature Reserve, Fairy Cave Nature Reserve and others,” he told a press conference after launching the Sarawak Delta Geopark today.
Abang Johari shared that in a book, scientists have made strong observations of the millions of years of ecology, archeology, history and culture surrounding the geopark.
“It represents scientific evolution; evidence of the formation of this particular area and history of this area and wider Asia. The extraordinary geology and geomorphology with geoheritage values here may not be available elsewhere but found here,” he explained.
Among the unique and significant features of the Sarawak Delta Geopark, he cited, include the Sundaland basement being among the earliest sediments in the geological evolution of the Asian region, aged 355 million years ago known as the Tuang Schist formation.
A complete sequence of the rocks from ancient oceanic crust aged 200-65 million years ago indicated the formation of Sejingkat that has tectonic evidence of the geological evolution of West Sarawak, Borneo and the region.
A 220 million-year-old ancient volcano also stands as a reminder of the Serian volcanic formation, one of the earliest igneous activities in Sarawak, forming an island arc of shallow sea archipelago along the edge of the Western Borneo Basement continent.
He noted that Malaysia has one Unesco Global Geopark in Langkawi and three national geoparks, namely the Jerai Geopark in Kedah, Lembah Kinta Geopark in Perak and Kinabalu Geopark in Sabah.
“There are 161 Unesco Global Geoparks in the world and the Sarawak Delta Geopark can be the 162th,” he added.
Abang Johari emphasised that this initiative introduced by the government must give maximum impact on the wellbeing of the State and people, especially in the geotourism aspect.
“I hope this initiative can improve the socio-economic status of the local community in line with Sarawak’s economic policy with focus on sustainable development, especially post-Covid-19,” he said.
Assistant Minister of Urban Development, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh was among those present at the event. — DayakDaily