MERSING, Nov 16 – Mersing would be declared the first national geopark site in the state in March next year.
Its assistant district officer Mohamed Afiq Zubir said the matter had been agreed upon by the National Geopark Development Committee, and the papers on the proposal by the state executive council, which would be examined by the Valuation Committee, were already in the works.
He said geology is the most important element in applying for the geopark status, but it must be accompanied by others including biodiversity and culture of the local community.
“The proposal to make Mersing a geopark is in line with government’s effort to position the district as a thriving tourist destination, both domestic and internationally.
“The district’s uniqueness is based on the belief that it was one of the earliest land formed in the peninsula, apart from the existence of a once active volcano 300 years ago.
“Every week, hundreds of tourists would arrive in Pulau Tioman, making it a popular tour destination. The geopark status would encourage tourists to spend time to explore the district,” he said in his speech at the launch of 2018 Mersing Geopark awareness programme at Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim, here, on Thursday.
Mohamed Afiq said for the past 10 years, the state government, with the assistance of the East Coast Economic Regional Development Corridor (ECERDC) have carried out various infrastructure projects in efforts to achieve this.
He said geopark was part of a sustainable regional development which would focus on restoration of the natural heritage, people’s wellbeing, and generation of income through tourism.
“It is hoped that a comprehensive plan would be prepared in ensuring that the aims of the geopark development would be achieved.
“The aims include elevating the socio-economic status of the people while protecting their wellbeing, apart from contributing profit for Johor,” he said.
Also present was National Geopark Development Committee chairman Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd