Sunday, May 26, 2013

Voters didn’t buy ‘lie’ on marine park

The speedboat race was one of the water sports featured during the annual Marudu Bay Carnival in Kota Marudu yesterday. The other events were boats decoration and fishing competition. The carnival was held to promote the beauty of the coastal bay and its biodiversity, mangrove swamps and marine resources, including for eco-tourism.
KOTA MARUDU: The opposition’s lie during the election campaign that the gazetting of Tun Mustapha Marine Park would involve six kilometers of non-coastal land, including in Matunggong, had failed to influence voters in the coastal areas, according to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said the opposition had used every tactic to scare the people from voting for Barisan Nasional including cooking up ‘illogical’ facts that the proposed marine park would result in the government taking over their non-coastal land.

“Thankfully, the voters in the coastal areas were not taken in by this rubbish concocted by the opposition to confuse the people, but instead we gained increased majority votes in these areas,” he said when opening the Marudu Bay Carnival here, yesterday.

Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu Member of Parliament, said it was important for people to always question such claims by asking for concrete facts and data, especially as there were many unverified information in cyber space that was quickly spread as ‘facts’.

The decorated boats are one of the features of the colourful Marudu Bay Carnival, an annual activity in Kota Marudu.
He pointed out that the proposed marine park was part of the international and state efforts to conserve and develop resources at the area, which is rich in biodiversity, for the well-being of the people living there.

“These involve protection of the fisheries and banning of destructive fishing methods that will cause depletion of the marine resources.

“The claim that the gazetting of the marine park will involve taking six kilometers of the people’s land is a blatant lie and an illogical one. If this was true, we would also protest together with the people.

“And this claim clearly shows that the opposition will twist anything to gain the people’s vote by hoodwinking them,” he said.

Ongkili said conservation and development efforts for the proposed park would instead involve consultation with the people living in the area.

On the annual Marudu Bay Carnival, he said it was one of the efforts to promote the beauty of the coastal bay and its biodiversity, mangrove swamps and marine resources, including for eco-tourism. He also reminded the residents to upkeep the cleanliness of the bay.

Marudu Bay covers Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu districts right up to Pulau Banggi. Its valuable resources have been recognised and Marudu Bay is part of the five-country continental shelf and the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security, as well as part of the proposed 1.02 million hectares Tun Mustapha Marine Park in northern Sabah. The proposed park is also home to endangered marine animals, such as green sea turtles and dugongs.


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