Monday, June 2, 2008



Sabah, famous for its vast forest treasures and its landscape, is to host the inaugural Malaysian Rainforest Flora and Fauna Festival in August next year. The Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, who is also the Malaysian Landscape Advisory Panel Chairman, said the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in Sepilok here has been picked as the location of the biennial festival. She said the month-long festival would promote Malaysia and its tropical rainforest on the international tourism map, “Sabah has been picked to host the event based on its accreditation as one of 12 world bio-diversity mega zones which are rich in unique landscape and their flora and fauna. “Sabah can be said to be a pearl in terms of natural landscape and its rich flora and fauna. That is what we want to showcase to the rest of the world,” Jeanne told reporters after visiting the RDC here yesterday. During the visit, Jeanne, who was accompanied by her husband Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, also had an aerial view of the Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Sepilok Mangrove Forest Discovery Centre, the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the Forest Research Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre. They were also briefed by Sabah Forestry Department Director Datuk Sam Mannan on the concept of the festival. Jeanne said 59 per cent of Sabah was covered by preserved forest believed to have 10,000 species of flowers, 220 species of mammals and 440 species of birds. She said Sabah was also the habitat of more than 1,500 of the 30,000 orchid species. “It is hoped that the hosting of the festival can draw nature lovers from around the world who appreciate the uniqueness of the tropical rain forest and help boost the tourism sector based on the natural landscape of the country. The festival is organised by the Federal Government through the Malaysian Landscape Advisory Panel, the National Landscape Department, the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, and the Tourism Ministry. - Bernama