Sarawak govt working to make Niah Caves a Unesco heritage site

Ting (clad in red) with Zolkipli (to his right) and Lukanisman (fifth left) with others kicking off the gotong-royong programme.

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By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Sept 14: Efforts are underway to get Niah Caves to be listed as a Unesco world heritage site.

The state government, via its Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports together with the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), are in the process of completing the paperwork to nominate Niah Caves for the purpose.

“We are in the process of completing the paperwork. Once it is completed, we hope that Unesco will consider adding Niah Caves into the list,” SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton told reporters after a gotong-royong at Niah National Park, here, today.

At current, Mulu National Park is the sole Unesco heritage site in Sarawak.

The inaugural gotong-royong programme involved some 10 agencies.

Zolkipli expressed content that the trend of visitors to Niah Caves continue to rise. He said the number of visitors to Niah Caves for a whole year could reach up to 30,000.

“Travellers from our neighbouring country are choosing to come and visit Niah Caves, which have have ancient paintings, ancient burial ground and bird nests collecting activities that attracts them,” he said.

Nearly 400 volunteers from 10 agencies including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were taking part in the gotong-royong hosted by the Miri police force.

Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting, Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni and Miri police chief ACP Lim Meng Seah were present.

Ting said upgrading works on Niah Caves, located about 45 minutes’ drive from Miri city, will be carried out.

He lauded the gotong-royong effort to clean the surrounding area of the Niah Caves. He called on visitors and the local community to change their mindset in keeping the area clean and not to litter inside the cave.

“Everybody must do their part to keep the facility or the property clean, leave nothing (trash) behind when visiting the national parks or recreational places,” he said. — DayakDaily