Formadat delegation calls on Chief Minister

Posted on : 11 Jul 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post Online

Formadat delegates in a photo call with Abang Johari (front, fourth left) and Uggah (front, second left) after their courtesy call on the Chief Minister at his office in the State Legislative Assembly complex.

KUCHING: The Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples of The Highlands of Borneo (Formadat) paid a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at his office in the State Legislative Assembly complex here yesterday.

The visit was to share Formadat’s legacy and some of its recent achievements in the international level with the Chief Minister.

It also aimed at seeking for support, particularly in pushing for sustainable rice farming and promoting its signature ecotourism event, Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge (HoBHEC).

Formadat Malaysia chairman Penghulu George Sigar Sultan led the six-member delegation who came from Bario, Ba Kelalan and Long Semadoh.

They were accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations (ISITl) Unimas director Professor Dr Narayanan Kulathu Ramaiyer, WWF Malaysia Sarawak programme leader Dr Jason Hon and senior Community Engagement and Education officer Alicia Ng.

Formadat Sarawak deputy chairman Cr John Tarawe, in a press statement after the courtesy call, said the community forum is a winner of world recognised UNDP Equator Award 2015 and since it was founded over 10 years ago, the alliance’s legacy is to instil unity among communities in the highlands, and enhance corporation for preservation and conservation of culture.

“The highlands in Bario, Ba Kelalan and Long Semadoh aim to be the organic valley for rice production, especially Adan rice, in Malaysia. Hence, we hope that local communities will be consulted or take part in the decision making process of the government’s Highlands Development Agency and Northern Development Agency,” he said.

Formadat also calls for sustainable logging practices to be implemented in the highlands for the wellbeing of locals and the environment.

John said the highlands form part of the Heart of Borneo and therefore, it is important for communities to be consulted to ensure sustainable logging operations through a platform called Community Representative Committee or CRC that serves to bring up people’s voices to timber companies operating in the area.

“We would like timber companies to recognise CRC’s role in addressing issues affecting the local communities. Representation of communities living within or adjacent to timber concession such as CRC is after all, part of the requirements for sustainable forest management and certification in Sarawak,” he explained.

He said CRC is also an important communication channel linking local communities to the licensee on issues related to sustainable forest management, and to provide support in watershed and river protection activities such as river adoption programme.

On tourism, John said Formadat is also a member of Heart of Borneo Tourism Task Force together with government stakeholders from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“At the local level, ecotourism zoning activities have been initiated by communities from all areas since 2014.”

He added that the flora and fauna found in the pristine Heart of Borneo forest will attract tourists and Formadat is now focusing on organising the third edition of HoBHEC which will take place next year and make it as a signature ecotourism event in South East Asia region.

“HoBHEC aims to promote and conserve the rich cultural and natural heritage of the highlands in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia and North Kalimantan, Indonesia. The event has various trekking packages to cater to different adventure seekers’ needs with flexible days ranging from between four and 14 days, from June 27 to July 10, 2019.”