PULAU TALANG-TALANG BESAR, Sematan, Sept 13: The Luconia Shoals has been gazetted as a marine national park, making it the biggest one in the country as it covers a bigger area compared to the rest.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the declaration was made to prevent others from laying claim over it and to ensure that this heritage of Sarawak would be preserved.
“The late Tok Nan (former chief minister the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) was very passionate about environmental conservation. During his time, he initiated what we call the marine masterplan national park.
“What we are doing is preserving our rights. This is the rights of ‘Anak Sarawak’. Tok Nan said we have to defend our rights, and I’m here to carry it through,” Abang Johari said in his speech at the handing-over ceremony of Sarawak Energy’s solar system to Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) at Pulau Talang Satang National Park here today.
He asserted that the main reason for Sarawak to gazette the Luconia Shoals was mainly for conservation and preservation purposes.
“There are also other people who lay claim on those reefs as well, but we have to defend our rights. It’s not just about oil and gas; it’s about safeguarding our rights.
“But even so, the Luconia Shoals Marine National Park will be out of bounds to oil and gas explorations,” he asserted, and told members of the press to “read between the lines” when asked whether it was foreign powers or Petronas/federal government he was talking about.
The new Luconia Shoals National Park lies over the Sunda Continental Shelf in the Malaysian Exclusive Economic Zone within Sarawak’s territorial waters.
The South Luconia Shoals (Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali) is located 163 to 180km from Sarawak’s shorelines, while the North Luconia Shoals is located between 187 to 254km from Sarawak’s shorelines.
It is suggested that there is extensive oil and gas resources under the sea bed in these areas as there are a number of Petronas oil and gas platforms located less than 25km from the boundary of the then proposed Luconia Shoals National Park.
A sunken British’s cargo vessel known as Viscount Melbourne was discovered in the Northern Luconia Shoals in 2015, and the site has been declared as a maritime archaeological site within Malaysian waters by the Sarawak Museum Department.
Meanwhile, the chief minister stressed that Sarawak also wanted to announce to the whole world that its conservation efforts had been successful, especially with the increase in the population of the turtles and primates (orangutans).
“And as far as eco-tourism is concerned, Tanjung Datu will be the most pristine destination in Sarawak as it has the sea, the beaches, the islands and the mountains,” he said.
Abang Johari said with the new electricity supply made available using the solar system, the government would be able to build more accommodation for tourists to visit Pulau Talang Satang National Park. — DayakDaily