Sarawak Delta Geopark declared sixth national geopark, governments now aiming for international recognition

Abang Johari (centre) together with other distinguished guests applaud after activating the mountain model to officially declare the Sarawak Delta Geopark.

By Karen Bong and Chris Bishop

KUCHING, Sept 24: With Sarawak Delta Geopark, covering an area of 3,112 square kilometres, officially declared as the sixth national geopark in Malaysia today, the Federal and Sarawak governments are now eyeing to have it inscribed as a Unesco Global Geopark in the near future.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, together with Federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, officiated the ceremony held at Dewan Lagenda of Sarawak Culture Village (SCV) in Santubong here today.


Sprawling 3,112 sq km, the Sarawak Delta Geopark located in the southern part of Sarawak with unique and fascinating geological, biological, and cultural heritage value is the second biggest in Malaysia after Kinabalu National Geopark covering 4,750 sq km.

“The national recognition is highly valuable in Sarawak’s environmental sustainability efforts and, most importantly, for the protection and preservation of all the natural resources and assets in this area in the aspect of history, geology, biodiversity as well as culture.

“This is important to Sarawak. I am thankful to Datuk Seri (Takiyuddin), who shared his intention to list Sarawak Delta Geopark as a candidate for the Unesco Global Geopark.

“And if this can be achieved, it will elevate the status and strengthen the development in this area, apart from efforts to enhance protection and preservation of values surrounding it,” he told a press conference today.

Abang Johari (seated, centre) addressing a press conference. Also seen are Takiyuddin (seated, second left) and Awang Tengah (seated, second right).

Takiyuddin emphasised that it is his next mission to have Kinabalu National Geopark listed as a Unesco Global Geopark, followed by Sarawak Delta Geopark in the near future.

“Malaysia already has Langkawi Unesco Global Geopark, and we hope to get Kinabalu and Sarawak Delta to be recognised as well.

“The global recognition criteria cover archaeology, history, cultural, and natural resources which required international research. Langkawi, for example, has rocks dating back millions of years.

“But I strongly believe, and I am optimistic, that what’s available in Sarawak is prestigious and of high value to achieve global geopark status,” he added.

Abang Johari also pointed out that the geopark’s strength will have a big impact on the local economy as well, not only in the tourism industry but especially to enable Sarawak to further explore the potential in the biodiversity sector, given the plants available.

“Now we see that the pharmaceutical industry requires compounds to create drugs or medicine and vaccines to overcome various diseases and new diseases like Covid-19.

“As such, protection and preservation of our diverse biodiversity is crucial to enable socioeconomic gain for Sarawak,” he said.

Furthermore, Abang Johari added that plans are already in the pipeline under the 12th Malaysia Plan to upgrade the roads and basic facilities that will connect the entire Santubong peninsula stretch and Bau to make it accessible and add value to the areas.

The plan, which includes a dual carriageway road to Santubong, he informed, is now in the implementation stage with the budget already set aside, while the plan for the Bau sector has already been announced.

The Sarawak Delta Geopark’s national recognition was confirmed on June 20 this year. So far, a total of 28 geosites with unique rock landscapes have been identified, of which eight sites are of local value, eight sites of national importance and 12 of international significance.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Urban Development Datu Len Talif Salleh were among those present. — DayakDaily