Kota Kinabalu: Sabah is close to achieving the permanent forest cover it has envisaged for posterity.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, on Thursday said it had already achieved 49 per cent of the 55 per cent target.
"We will continue to work towards making the other six per cent a reality," he said, explaining these logged-over forests were now being rehabilitated.
Once under permanent forest cover, he said, they will be preserved without any sort of development therein so that this national treasure will not disappear.
Masidi was officiating at a Professional Administrator in the Globalised Era seminar here.
Illustrating his point about the need to protect the forest, he pointed out that 64 per cent of the remaining mangrove swamps in the country are in the State.
Masidi said hence the reason why Tourism, Culture and Environment are under one ministry in Sabah.
"In Sabah, our tagline is eco-tourism, and this tagline alone is enough to explain why we have merged all three aspects into a ministry," he said.
In Sabah, he said there are many beautiful places, vast seas, islands, land and animals, and all these, should the environment be not protected, will one day disappear due to development.
"We have all these gifts, and all these are also one of the main tourist attractions and therefore must be safeguarded," he said.
Apart from that, Masidi said the diverse culture and beliefs of people here is also another reason why tourists, domestic and foreign alike come to Sabah.
"So we can say that, culture and the environment is a huge part in tourism and all has to be maintained and balanced," he stated.
On other developments, he said participants of the seminar, mostly from the peninsula, must take the opportunity to learn more about Sabah and see for themselves the difference between East and West Malaysia.
The seminar, organised by Universiti Putra Malaysia's Administration Association, will end on Jan 30.
It is aimed at generating and getting new ideas from professionals in management, academic and corporate sectors in the country.
"It is also to identify challenges and strategies of good management practices, to fulfil the needs of today's society," said PPUPM Chairman, Jamsari Tamsir.