CM defends tiger park idea
By LOOI SUE-CHERN
Friday March 20, 2009
GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has defended his proposal to start a tiger park in Relau, saying that the state needed a new eco-tourism project.
“Some people have suggested a zoo but it is not economical to have one presently. The people, especially children, are generally interested in big animals. The ‘wow’ factor is there,” he said when asked to elaborate on his idea.
Lim had announced that the state government planned to create a tiger park on a 40ha plot owned by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) known as the Pondok Durian Cap Kaki.
He said Penang, in its pursuit to become an international city, should have such a park as most international cities had zoos.
The park could have a few other animals but it would mainly feature tigers which symbolised bravery and dynamism, he added.
“It will be a private-driven project and a tender will be called if the state government goes ahead with the plan.
“Currently the state is collecting public feedback. Those who want to contribute ideas or suggestions can write to the state government in Komtar or the MPPP,” he added.
The project, he said, would also help the state government and the MPPP tackle illegal farming activities at the proposed site.
It was reported earlier that the proposal had received negative feedback from the public and several non-governmental organisations like the Malaysian Nature Society Penang branch. They are concerned about the safety issues and felt that the state should concentrate on promoting Penang’s heritage, culture and arts.
Meanwhile, Penang National Park and Wildlife Department director Noor Alif Wira Osman said the state government and private parties involved in the project would have to iron out legal problems if the plan goes ahead.
He said it was not like setting up a bird park.
“The location for the park must be suitable. The safety around the tiger enclosures and surrounding areas is also a main priority,” he said, adding that the care for the tigers would also be subjected to close monitoring by the department.
“There are strict guidelines to follow to get the permit,” he said.