KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — The cabinet, at its meeting yesterday, agreed to the nomination of the Endau Rompin Johor National Park to be recognised as an ASEAN Heritage Park (AHP), said Minister of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.
He said it would be the fourth AHP for Malaysia after the National Park in Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, Kinabalu National Park (Sabah) and Mount Mulu National Park (Sarawak).
“The nomination of the Endau Rompin Johor National Park will, among others, enhance its image as an important conservation area in Johor and the second National Park in Peninsular Malaysia, strengthening management of the park based on ‘best management practice’ on par with the management of protected areas in the region and internationally.
“Apart from that, it also enhances the networking and cooperation of protected areas between the country and other countries,” he said in a statement today.
AHP is a regional cooperation initiative to manage the networking of protected areas in the ASEAN region, which is uniques, with biological diversity and important ecological values.
The matter was agreed by ASEAN member countries through the ASEAN Declaration on Heritage Parks and Reserves 1984 signed by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on 29 November 1984.
The Endau Rompin Johor National Park is covered by over 90 percent of tropical rainforests and ecosystems, with 80 globally endangered plant species listed under the IUCN Endangered Species Red List, comprising Critically Endangered (3 species ), Endangered (16) and Vulnerable (26).
The park is also an important habitat for the conservation of endangered mammals, especially the Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris), Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) and Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus).
According to the statement, KeTSA will submit the nomination on the park’s nomination documents to the AHP Secretariat in the Philippines for consideration by the ASEAN working groups as well as approval at the ASEAN Ministers level in 2021.
Shamsul Anuar said the nomination reflected Malaysia’s seriousness in preserving and acknowledging protected areas as an invaluable national treasure.
He called on all state governments to also take the initiative to submit nominations for international recognition such as AHP as it can help in the promotion of the tourism sector ,not only in Malaysia and in the ASEAN region, but also internationally.
“However, before the potential of ecotourism is aggressively explored, development and management of ecotourism areas must be implemented sustainably to ensure that the existing flora, fauna and ecosystem are always preserved,” he added.
For that purpose, he said, a carrying capacity study should be implemented and the need for ecotourism operators to ensure the capacity limit is complied with.
He said the effort was also in line with ASEAN’s intention for conservation measures to be implemented to maintain ecological processes and genetic diversity, ensure the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as conserve forest areas that have high value in terms of culture, education, research, recreation and ecotourism.