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KUANTAN: As the Pahang government carries out restoration and rehabilitation works at biodiversity-rich Tasik Chini in Pekan, efforts are already underway to revive the area as a popular tourist spot. State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said while initiatives to restore greenery around the country's second-largest freshwater lake is carried out, the facilities and accessibility at the lake will be improved to help regain its popularity.

"Yes, Tasik Chini has seen a drop in visitors over the past two to three years as the place was not well-maintained. Now, while the state government is committed towards conserving the Tasik Chini Unesco Biosphere Reserve, it will look into ways to provide the necessary facilities to lure visitors. "Besides improving the resort at the lake, promotion activities will be carried out extensively. The carrying capacity (quantity of people) visiting the lake is vital to ensure the vicinity is well-protected," he said at the state legislative assembly sitting. The Lanchang assemblyman was replying to a question from Sim Chon Siang (PKR-Teruntum) on efforts to attract visitors to the famous Tasik Chini.

Earlier, replying to a question from Mohd Sharim Md Zain (BN-Chini) on measures taken by the state government to conserve the Tasik Chini resort, Sharkar said a special action committee to look into the conservation efforts has been set up. "All conservation efforts are in line with rehabilitation efforts at the lake. The state government has agreed to expand the Tasik Chini Unesco Biosphere Reserve area from 6,922 hectares to 9,147 hectares.

"The rehabilitation steps include building a fish nursery, replanting trees and ground cover plants. It will be done in stages with the involvement of several government agencies namely the Forestry Department, Fisheries Department, Wildlife and National Parks Department, and Forest Research Institute Malaysia," he said. Last week, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail had said that there was now zero-mining activities near the lake and a moratorium has been imposed on the issuance of new licences for mining at the site. Wan Rosdy who recently visited the lake to inspect the rehabilitation progress, said rehabilitation works, which began in August, are proceeding as scheduled. On June 25, Wan Rosdy announced that rehabilitation works at an area spanning 600ha in Tasik Chini, which had been affected by mining activities, was estimated to cost about RM20 million.

Source: NST