Mangrove carbon storage: Oya, Dalat to be research focus areas

A screengrab of Abang Johari addressing the Oya Melanau Heritage Gallery opening ceremony via Ukas' live broadcast.

By Karen Bong

OYA, May 28: New studies found that mangrove forests can sequester or store up to three times more carbon than the tropical forests on land.

In highlighting this, Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said this is significant and will augur well for Sarawak’s future following the passage of the Land Code (Amendment) Bill in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) that enables the State to regulate and control the use of land for the storage, retention, capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“A special statutory body called the Sago and Nipah Development Board will be established to study, upgrade, and diversify the downstream activities of the sago and nipah industry in the State. It will be centred in Dalat at the cost of RM30 million.

“(With new legislation on carbon storage) Oya and Dalat will be the research focus areas for this new industry, and help will also be extended to Saribas,” he said when launching the Oya Melanau Heritage Gallery at Oya Square, which was streamed live through the Sarawak Public Communication Unit (Ukas) Facebook page today.

With the mangrove forests stretching from the Kuching to Lawas coastal areas, Abang Johari emphasised the need to protect and preserve the ecosystem as the economic activities generated will positively contribute to rural economic and development growth as well as efforts on combating climate change.

To ensure the future of Sarawak, he added that the government is continuously looking into new directions for economic growth and new revenue to spur development in multiple sectors.

“We have new aspirations to develop Sarawak towards 2030, such as through renewable energy including hydrogen.

“And most recently, the passage of the Land Code Bill also asserts Sarawak’s ownership for the space above our land. Many things are happening in the airspace or spectrum where signal transmission occurs.

“The airspace over individual states in Peninsular Malaysia is not long, but Sarawak is as huge as the whole of Malaya. So this means we have greater authority, similarly to our land,” he said.

As technologies continue to advance, Abang Johari stressed that this would be an opportunity for Sarawak to top up its revenue as anyone who wishes to use Sarawak’s land and airspace will now need to knock and seek permission from the government.

“With new streams of revenue, Oya and Dalat can be transformed and developed, and so are the many rural areas in Sarawak, including Balingian within Dalat constituency,” he added.

Earlier, Abang Johari took some time to tour the new Oya Melanau Heritage Gallery and the exhibition featuring the development of the Dalat constituency and the Melanau community’s way of life through traditional food, medicine, musical instruments, and games.

Minister of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development and Dalat assemblywoman Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Women and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus, chief political secretary to Premier Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman, Daro assemblyman Shafiee Ahmad, and Balingian assemblyman Abdul Yakub Arbi were present. — DayakDaily