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Sandakan declared a Nature City

SANDAKAN: Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman declared this Sabah east coast town a Nature City as bursts of fireworks lighted the night sky above a sea of people who turned out to mark the colourful occasion.

“By declaring Sandakan a nature city, it will make it a regional tourism centre of Borneo,” he said in his speech at 8.30pm last night when the municipality of Sandakan was officially named a Nature City although its status remains a town.

Musa said Sandakan, endowed with rich biodiversity and natural beauty, was one of the 12 mega bio-diversity areas adopted by the Rio Summit and had all the potentials to become the premier nature tourism spot of Borneo.

He said Sandakan was synonymous to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and was proud to be home to the Gomantong caves, famous for its birds nest, and also Pulau Penyu, also known as Turtle Island among a wide variety of natural attractions.

“We must look after our natural heritage and private tour companies must strive to promote Sandakan as a nature tourist destination,” said Musa.

Musa said that the declaration of a Nature City should spur the communities in the municipality to continue striving towards excellence.

Sandakan Municipal Council president Datuk Adeline Leong, in her speech when launching programmes to mark the occasion, said the declaration of a nature city would spur the council to work harder to achieve a full fledge city status in the next five to 10 years.

She said the aim of making Sandakan a nature city was to value the natural heritage and promote eco-tourism.

Colourful floats, parades by government agencies marked the evening launch.

Earlier, Musa led thousands of people in planting 20,000 hibiscus plants in 14 selected areas throughout Sandakan.

The feat was achieved in one minute, setting a record in the Malaysia Book of Records. The flower has been adopted as Nature City of Sandakan’s flower.

He also launched the Natural History Publications’ Colour Guide Sandakan written by Wendy Hutton.

Source: The Star

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