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Archives 2017

Some items from the press relating to caves

Contents :
Gua Kelam
Book on Perak cave temples
Gua - a board game inspired by Mulu caves
Wind Cave reopened after floods
Niah Cave human remains to return to Malaysia
Mulu Caves Project 2017
Dered Krian, Bau
Mulu Park to be taken over by a Chinese group
Road to Mulu
Torch run through Mulu
Major face lift for Niah Park
Perak plans to develop largest geological park in the country
Kinta Valley Geopark
Sarawak Museum to close for 2˝ years for conservation work
Logging in Merapoh Forest Reserve

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Gua Kelam in disrepair

The year started with a report from NST on 3 Jan about the lack of maintenance at Gua Kelam in Perlis. Dark Future for Gua Kelam. The train into Gua Kelam 2 stopped running some time ago (2013?), see reports in Dec 2015.

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Study on Perak cave temples

Bernama on 6 Jan reported that a study would be done on some of the cave temples in Perak :

Publication Of Study On Chinese Temples In Cave Will Put Perak On World Map

IPOH, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Kampar and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences today signed an agreement to publish a study on Chinese temples in caves around Ipoh which is put Perak on the world map.
State Health, Transport, National Integration, Non-Muslim Affairs and New Villages Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said the study would be conducted by UTAR and the Academy.
"Among temples selected are Nam To Ngam and Loong Thow Ngam Tao temples at Gunung Lang, Sam Poh Tong and Nam Thean Tong temples at Gunung Rapat," he told a press conference after the signing here, today.
Dr Mah said he was confident that the publication, expected to be released in July, could attract more Chinese tourists to Perak, especially Ipoh.
"Before this tourists from China will just stop over at two or three temples before travelling to other states.
"But with this book I am sure they will be attracted to see more and will spend a night in Ipoh," he said.

NST 5 Jan "China's publisher set to publish book on Perak's temple caves". The Star on 9 Jan also had an article on this book, "Book on cave temples to be launched".

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Gua - board game inspired by Mulu

The Borneo Post 11 Jan described a new board game called Gua - "BoB’s new game inspired by Mulu Caves". BoB or Beast of Borneo is the publishing company that produced Gua.

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Wind Cave reopened after floods

Wind Cave at Bau is affected by flooding most monsoon seasons. In 2017 it was closed at the end of Jan, Borneo Post 31 Jan when water from the river outside flooded into the cave. The reserve was reopened again in Mar according to the Borneo Post 12 March. Fairy Cave was unaffected as it is high on the hill.

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Niah Cave human remains to return to Malaysia

Some 122 human remains from Niah Cave, which were taken to Nevada in the United States in the 1960s, will be returned to Sarawak in 2019. The collection came from Niah Cave excavations by Tom and Barbara Harrisson from 1947 to 1967. They found numerous stone and bone tools, shells and pottery as well as 262 human burials dating from 40,000 to 1,000 years ago. 122 of the burial remains were shipped to Nevada in 1966-67 to be studied by physical anthropologists and archaeologists Shelaigh and Richard Brooks. The collection was taken to the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV) after their retirement. At Sarawak they are preparing storage facilities to receive the Niah Cave collection, constructing a new museum campus, which will have a special space for sensitive artefacts including the Niah Cave collection. Read more in The Star, 23 March, "Niah Cave human remains to return; The Borneo Post, 23 Mar,

Dered Krian

Dered Krian near Bau in Sarawak was gazetted as a national park in October 2013 Sarawak Forestry. Some drone footage on travel with drone. The park has limestone hills and caves. Now there is a problem with quarrying. See Borneo Post 26 Apr Stop-work order issued to firm holding licence to quarry Dered Krian, and Apr 25 Reps lead demo against quarrying in national park. It seems the quarry licence was given long before the area became a national park.

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Mulu Park to be taken over by a Chinese group

It appears that the management of Mulu Park may have been handed over to a group from China. The management of the National Park resort is to be taken over by a Chinese company named Beijing Glory without a word of warning or consultation with the indigenous Berawan tribe, to whom the area once belonged before being confiscated. Needless to say there is native outrage, see Borneo Post 21 March "Abang Johari makes first visit to China as CM" and Sarawak Report 5 Apr "Native outrage as Royal Mulu is handed to Chinese management without consultation". Apparently the Marriott Hotel who took over in 2014 have pulled out [it seems the US company has pulled out following criticism over the corruption associated with the project - SR].

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Road to Mulu

In May there was some discussion in the media about building a road from Miri to Mulu. See Borneo Post 16 June "No immediate plan for road connectivity to Mulu" and 18 June "Dennis: Miri-Mulu National Park road will boost tourism".

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Torch run through Mulu

The 29th SEA games take place in Malaysia in 2017 and Mulu is one of the locations. The torch run for the games was partly done in Mulu in June, starting at the airport and ending at Clearwater Cave. The 6km run covered Mulu Airport, Mulu National Park, Kampung Batu Bungan, Wind Cave, Lady Cave, and Clearwater Cave. See more on the Borneo Post 11 June, also The Star 8 June "Mulu to be featured in torch run".

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Major face lift for Niah National Park

The Borneo Post May 27 reports that Niah Park will have a major face lift. It is mainly for the buildings as well as the board walks.
"The project comprises the setting up of Interpretation Centre, ticketing booth cum information kiosk, a multi-unit souvenir shop, public toilet and rest huts; information and interpretation signages as well as a 700m boardwalk.
This project costing RM3.4 million is funded by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia under the 11th Malaysia Plan.
The Interpretation Centre will showcase the history of human civilisation at the Niah caves, cultural heritage of Niah’s indigenous communities, biodiversity and natural assets of the park, and the geological features of the Niah Cave System.
This information will be provided to visitors by means of modern and interactive presentation including the integration of hologram technology which would be a first amongst national parks in Malaysia.
The multi-unit souvenir shop could accommodate six vendors at one time selling a variety of locally produced items.
According to SFC, this development project is expected to be completed in November this year.
Niah National Park which attracts nearly 30,000 visitors every year is a key site for biodiversity conservation and archeology.
Its main attractions include the ancient Niah Cave paintings, ‘death-ships’ and burial site."

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Perak plans to develop largest geological park in the country

The Star, 7 July reported that Perak plans to develop largest geological park in the country. The state has already identified several areas around the Kinta Valley based on proposals received from the Minerals and Geoscience Department. “We will forward our application to obtain recognition from the National Geoparks Committee..... After obtaining recognition at national level, we will then proceed to apply for the Global Geopark status from Unesco.... The identified areas include caves, mountains and hills located in the Kinta Valley. “We have unique caves, mountains and hills in the valley and if all these places are promoted and developed properly as new tourist destinations, we can attract more people to visit Perak. Some of these identified areas are well-known places like Gua Tempurung, Gunung Kanthan and Gunung Korbu, while some are lesser-known areas, but have equally interesting features and traces of heritage from ancient times."

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Kinta Valley Geopark

In connection with the above item, I don't know about the status of the geopark. The idea has been discussed since 2013 and I mentioned it in 2014. This is the Kinta geopark blog. And an article on the JMG page which says the park was launched in 2014.

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Sarawak Museum to close for 2˝ years for conservation work

The Sarawak Museum is one of the best known museums in SE Asia. The old building (ethnology museum) will close for about 2˝ years for refurbishment, from 23 Oct 2017. See notice on Sarawak Museum official site. There was also an article in the Borneo Post on 21 Sept.

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Logging in Merapoh Forest Reserve

In Oct 2017 there was news that illegal logging and possibly mining was taking place in Merapoh Forest Reserve. This was having an effect on one of the most important caves, Gua Hari Malaysia. One of the first reports was in Sinar Harian on 15 Oct 2017, "Hutan Simpan Merapoh kini makin parah?" (Is Merapoh Forest Reserve getting worse now?). On 16 Oct Bernama published a report "No Logging In Merapoh Forest Reserve and this was reprinted in The SUN on 16 Oct "No logging in Merapoh Forest Reserve" and also in Malaysian Digest. The Star had 2 reports on 20 Oct, "Seeing red over deforestation" with a photo of the destruction, and ‘Look for another trail to Merapoh caves’.

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