The Sarawak Government, in partnership with Shell Malaysia and PETRONAS charted a significant milestone with the earth breaking of the Piasau Nature Reserve in Miri today.
The newly appointed Head of State, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud officiated the earth breaking of the proposed development project of Piasau Nature Reserve. The momentous event was held at the former Piasau Camp near here, witnessed by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem, PETRONAS President and CEO Tan Sri Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas, Shell Malaysia Chairman Iain Lo and Cabinet ministers and community leaders.
Adenan applauded Shell and PETRONAS for their partnership with the government in developing the nature reserve. “I would like to specifically commend Shell and PETRONAS for having the foresight and acting as the catalyst in the project. Shell and PETRONAS are not only the main sponsors but will remain very much involved in the development of this Nature Reserve,” added Adenan.
He wishes to see more industry players emulate Shell and PETRONAS in doing their part for the future generation. Adenan called on relevant agencies to step up in their R&D efforts in terms of knowledge and utilisation of the biodiversity wealth in the state. In his officiating speech, Adenan stressed on successful conservation stories as brand positioning to promote Sarawak on the global tourism map.
“Sarawak is well positioned to benefit from ecotourism linked to our tropical forests and continual expansion of our totally protected areas (TPAs). The tourism industry in Sarawak should work closely with forestry industry to step up promotions of our many ecotourism assets with their corresponding wildlife conservation programs,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Shell Malaysia chairman Iain Lo said that sustainable development is about operating the business in a manner attuned to community expectations, with a shared responsibility with government and society to help facilitate the development of strong and sustainable communities.
“This continues the long tradition of positive contributions made by upstream operations in the Sarawak which stretches back over 100 years. At Shell, we are proud of our long history here in Miri. Over the years we have been blessed to have recorded many technological and business firsts. We are equally proud of the impact we believe we have had on the socio-economic landscape and the lives of people,” added Lo while emphasizing that Shell respects the basic concept of protected areas.
According to Lo, Shell will be contributing RM5 million towards infrastructure and biodiversity enhancement to repurpose land formerly used for staff housing into a nature reserve within city limits. “This will enhance the quality of life, the benefit of which is to be enjoyed by all the people of Miri. This shared gift to the people of Miri and Sarawak, made 50 years after the formation of Malaysia, is particularly symbolic given that the logo for the nation’s golden jubilee is the iconic hornbill.”
Meanwhile, PETRONAS Executive Vice President and CEO Upstream Dato’ Wee Yiaw Hin stressed that PETRONAS has always supported the preservation of the nation’s eco-heritage. “Our commitment to collective responsibility by the industry for the benefit of people and planet is reflected in the partnerships we have established post-Petroleum Development Act 1974 till today with IOCs such as Shell and other NOCs to actively govern areas such as natural resource use and biodiversity across operation areas,” he said.
Ministry of Resource Planning and Environment Permanent Secretary Datu Sudarsono Osman in his speech said the conversion works by phases, including demolitions, enrichment planting and landscape restoration and biodiversity protection will commence soon.
He said Piasau Nature Reserve Project Implementation Committee has been established to oversee the overall management and development progress of Piasau Nature Reserve.
He added that an Endowment Fund will also be established for the purpose of operations and maintenance of Piasau Nature Reserve. Sudarsono called for interested corporate bodies to explore and collaborate on ways to contribute towards this fund.
Piasau Camp was officially approved to be gazetted as ‘Piasau Nature Reserve’ on April 3, 2014 by the Cabinet of Sarawak with the total land area of 88.5 ha due to its ecological, aesthetic and historical importance. Piasau Nature Reserve also serve as green lung with recreational, scientific and educational values for the public and will help provide an environmental balance to the fast paced development of Miri City.
At the event, the Piasau Nature Reserve official logo was revealed, featuring the iconic pied hornbill, which prompted the Government’s initiative to turn the Piasau Camp into a nature reserve and gazette it as a totally protected area.
Taib and Adenan later joined Lo and Shamsul to plant fruit trees- the food for hornbills at the nature reserve near House No. 58 which is the favourite nesting site for the Oriental pied hornbill.
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