Friday, June 08, 2007

Langkawi given Geopark Status

Langkawi makes history as the first Unesco National Geopark in South-East Asia.

“The island was accorded geopark status on June 1. It was given the status because it fulfilled three key criteria set by Unesco,” said Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

The criteria included having a large mangrove park, natural resources such as beaches and islands, as well as a multi-racial culture.

“The resort island has about 10,000ha of mangrove swamp, making it the largest in the country. The application to Unesco for the branding status was made last May,” Mahdzir told reporters after launching the RM1bil Fuji Electric Device Technologies plant in Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP).

This granite formation on Pulau Tepur, in the Langkawi archipelago, is one of the many attractions in the islands.
Mahdzir said the new status should help boost the island's profile in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2007 and Visit Kedah Year 2008.

“We will work closely with the Tourism Ministry to promote eco-tourism in Langkawi,” he said.

On the Unesco website, a geopark is described as territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, for geological as well as archaeological or cultural values.

As of September last year, 48 sites in 15 countries had been endorsed as Unesco National Geoparks.

The concept of a geopark, introduced ten years ago, serves three goals: to conserve a healthy environment; to educate in earth sciences and to foster local, sustainable ecology development.

On foreign and local investments in Kedah, Mahdzir said the state government had approved 279 manufacturing projects in Kedah between January 2002 and April 2007, attracting investments worth RM19.3bil.

“Some RM9.5bil is from foreign investments, while the remaining RM9.8bil is from local investors.

“Kedah is now the third highest ranking state in Malaysia, after Selangor and Johor in terms of total capital investment.

“These investments have created 30,000 jobs for Kedahans,” he said.

Source : STAR
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