Labuan’s Kina Benuwa Mangrove Forest To Undergo Facelift With RM1.5 Mln Allocation

LABUAN: Labuan’s oldest gazetted Kina Benuwa Mangrove Park is set to undergo a major facelift with an initial allocation of RM1.5 million, as part of the island’s tourism development plan.

The proposed project, which has been submitted to the Federal Territories Ministry for approval, is to be implemented early next year.

Labuan Corporation (LC) chief executive officer, Dr Fary Akmal Osman said the agency wanted the mangrove forest to be a natural tourism area but should be upgraded to make it ecologically sustainable and tourist-friendly.

“It must be equipped with infrastructure and facilities like a wooden walkway through the mangrove forest, jetties for fishing and gazebo for visitors to rest, as well as mangrove boat rides,” she told Bernama during a Tourism Potential Study Tour today.

The Kina Benuwa Forest has been declared a crocodile habitat after anglers and members of the public sighted crocodiles sunning near the river bank    

Fary said the mangrove forest would be turned into Labuan’s eco-tourism product with involvement of the local community.

“We have been told by the local community that the mangrove is also home to fireflies (kunang-kunang) and that will add value to it.

“To appreciate the beauty of the untouched landscape of the mangrove swamp, we plan to have activities for visitors like taking boat rides, while the mangrove swamp is also where migratory birds rest from their journey, making it one of the best places for bird-watching.

“If they are lucky, they will get to see crocodiles sunning at the river mouth,” she said.

Fary said other new tourism products would include the newly-discovered Pulau Batu Rumput, also known as Pulau Layar, near the Kg Bebuloh Laut open sea.

“The discovery of this island was stunning….when the water recedes, we will witness over 100 metres of beach around the island, and that will last for about one to two hours, and certainly this will be a new ‘rarecation’ travel in Labuan,” she said.

Fary said the proposed tourism development plan was part of the agency’s efforts  to revive Labuan’s tourism industry.