Wednesday, March 28, 2018

‘Slide the City’ to be featured in Miri May Fest 2018

MIRI: The Students Council of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) is collaborating with a Kuala Lumpur-based event company and holder of the ‘Slide the City’ franchise in Southeast Asia for the event to be part of this year’s Miri May Fest.

Mirians are invited to the first ‘Slide the City Miri’ in Sarawak and Sabah.

Billed as a ‘family-friendly slip-and-slide water party event’ and a major highlight of Miri May Fest 2018, the event will take place at Curtin Malaysia campus from May 5 to 6, running 8.30am to 6.30pm daily.

‘Slide the City’ has been bringing gigantic water slides onto the city streets in the US, Canada, the UK, South Korea, Japan, China and many other countries for over a decade.

The first ‘Slide the City’ in Malaysia was held in Kuala Lumpur in December 2015 – it has travelled to Melaka, Pahang, Johor, Penang and Selangor since.

The highlight of ‘Slide the City Miri’ will be a gigantic three-lane water slide that according to the organisers, ‘will guarantee lots of fun for adults and young thrill-seekers’. Other attractions include live entertainment, fun games and a wide variety of food, retail and activity stalls run by student clubs and local businesses in a real carnival-like atmosphere.

“We aim to provide an invigorating experience for visitors and at the same time, help promote Miri as a tourism destination,” said organising chairperson Wong Pik Yee.


200 water villas to be built at Semporna resort

SANDAKAN: Sabah Green Development (SGD) and China-based company, Living Great Fortune (LGF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday to build 200 water villas at Sipadan Mangrove Resort, Semporna.

The water villa will be used for tourism to support the government’s initiative to attract more tourists to Sabah’s East Coast under the Sabah East Coast Tourism Belt which aims to increase the number of tourists to the state from 3.5 million (2017) to 10 million by 2023.

According to International Marketing Director of LGF, Ong Tat Kian, the water villas will be the pioneer project of such initiative, and the construction will start after three months, after the land is ready for construction.

“The villas will bring more tourists, especially from China, to come to Sabah’s East Coast. We will build more of such villas in other parts of the East Coast, but for Sandakan, probably not this year,” he said.

Ong also said that the villas are now open for investment to interested investors locally and from China. He said that investors will get to stay for a month at the villas for free, after they are completed. Thereafter, LGF will run the operation of the villas while 70 per cent of the profit will go to investors.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

From behind shadows, indigenous Borneo tribes begin to embrace eco-tourism

SAPULOT, Malaysia: The first thing to notice about Richard Gunting is his T-shirt. “I Am The Firstborn” it reads in bold white letters on black.

It is more than a fashion choice for the 67-year-old living in the heart of Borneo. It’s a life mantra.

Gunting’s home is hidden in the depths of precious, pristine jungle in Sabah, one of Southeast Asia’s most incredible treasures. This is a remote and isolated place; its custodians are secretive and traditional and the silver-haired Gunting is one of its leaders on a quest to ensure the prosperity of his people without a loss of their ancient identity.

His shirt shows his pride in the indigenous Murut tribe and their ownership of the land.

The Murut carry a fearsome reputation forged generations ago – they are known to have once been headhunters, a term Gunting believes is “misleading” and one he is ready to overhaul.

But he does not deny that survival has never been easy in this part of Malaysia. Even today, this is one of the poorest districts in Sabah where locals have seen living standards stutter and their land relinquished to oil and timber plantations, which have stimulated local economies but hurt biodiversity.

“When I was growing up, the whole area here was surrounded by pristine jungle and relatively clean streams. After this logging, I went up a hill again and I was shocked,” he said.

“The kind of jungle condition that I used to know had been dissected by a lot of roads that were constructed for logging purposes and a lot of erosion had taken place. It was so heartbreaking.

“I went up that hill some four years ago … I never went back again.”

If Gunting’s instincts and subsequent actions prove correct, the answer to saving a priceless landscape from further degradation from land concessions and industry is to stimulate eco-tourism.

He wants to open the door to communities who have long been in the shadows. But his fellow villagers mostly think he is mad to try, he admits.


Handlers to be held liable if tourists disturb marine life in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: All tourism industry players, including dive masters and tour agents found guilty of knowingly allowing their tourists to illegally handle and disturb marine life, will soon be penalized.

Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said he had instructed Sabah Parks to look into the possibility of putting the responsibility on tour companies and dive masters to ensure their clients knew the do’s and don’ts when they dived.

“I have asked Dr Jamili Nais (Sabah Parks director) to find out whether there are existing provisions in the enactment that allow us to penalize.

“If there is none, I think it is high time for us to seriously look into it before things get out of hand,” he said after launching the new office of Sabah Tourist Guides Association (STGA) at Lintas Square here yesterday.

Masidi said he often received complaints about irresponsible tourists handling marine life, which was an offence in some countries.

He said that doing so could jeopardize the well-being of marine life and more importantly, send the wrong signal to other tourists.

He said Western tourists were sensitive to such issue and bad publicity in the media could deter them from visiting Sabah.


Monday, March 26, 2018

State launches ‘The Colours of Sarawak’

KUCHING: A cultural performance called the ‘The Colours of Sarawak’ was officially launched at the Kuching International Airport (KIA) yesterday.

Headed by the National Department of Culture and Arts (JKKN) Sarawak, the performance will be held on selected dates throughout the year as a platform to further promote the state’s tourism industry.

According to JKKN state director Abdul Mutalib Abdul Rahman, there is no better place to showcase the uniqueness of Sarawak other than KIA, which is the main gateway to the state.

“We have 27 main ethnic groups in Sarawak. Added with the diversity of all its sub-ethnic groups, there is a lot of variations that we can show to the world,” said Mutalib during the launch of the show.

The variety of dances, songs of these ethnic groups, he added, is what makes Sarawak unique and an attraction to visitors. He revealed that last year, the state recorded about 4.8 million visitor arrivals, with more than 800,000 visitors arriving and departing via KIA.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: State launches ‘The Colours of Sarawak’