By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Sept 2: No more mining gold in caves, as private companies have been urged to embark on agro-tourism in Bau as an alternative to gold mining which can bring better returns for investors and the local community.
Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (MTCP) Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said apart from being known as a gold mining town, Bau is also known for its nature, culture, and geological heritage.
If well managed and developed, he said these resources can be turned into attractive and lucrative business opportunities to benefit all stakeholders concerned, including the local community.
“We don’t look at gold only as a precious metal, as tourism is also the new version of gold. We need to lean towards using the facilities and cultural heritage available to increase the people’s economy.
“We have to look at our heritage, culture and food as our new form of gold which we could market to the locals as well as outsiders.
“We don’t really need to go digging into our soil, destroying the caves and all that (now) just to mine the gold because we have this alternative gold which can bring a bigger income and better returns for the community,” he said when officiating at the grand opening of Borneo Keranji Farm in Bau here today.
Abdul Karim, who is also Minister for Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development further commended the farm, which adopts the concept of agro-tourism where it offers a conducive environment for people to experience nature, appreciate the local arts, learn agriculture, as well as have a short getaway.
“Borneo Keranji Farm is an exemplary practice of responsible tourism for sustainable development. I hope to see more initiatives as such in the near future,” he added.
Operating since January this year, Borneo Keranji Farm is an accommodation that has a laminated wooden building design. This place has rooms, restaurants, event halls and is surrounded by natural attractions for visitors.
At the Farm, old school buses are also transformed into accommodations with some Iban and Bidayuh artwork on the buses as well as at the entrance and gardens.
The Farm also care for animals and crops which would give the visitors an opportunity to see some farm animals and learn how food is grown.
To assist the communities, Borneo Keranji Farm hires local residents from the neighborhood as employees in the areas of food and beverage (F&B), housekeeping, cleaning and as tour guides.
Amongst those present were Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh, MTCP permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Bau District officer Anielia Siam, Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) chief executive officer Amelia Roziman, Sarawak Research Society chairman Dr Hiram Ting, Pemanca Bong Jong Long as well as Borneo Keranji Farm owners Ho King Wong and Sim Hui Yong. — DayakDaily