Maliau Basin Conservation
Area is indeed important and worth saving.
Maliau Basin Conservation Area....
one of the few remaining areas virtually untouched by man
– not just in Sabah and Malaysia, but in the whole world!
• contains unusual forest types and a high botanical
• is a refuge for rare and endangered animals such as
Sumatran Rhino, Orang utan, Banteng, Proboscis Monkey and
Bornean pygmy elephant.
• boasts extraordinary geomorphological features including
an exceptionally high number of waterfalls – probably
the highest number of any area in Malaysia.
• is the catchment of one of the headwaters of Sabah’s
largest and most important rivers – the Kinabatangan.
• offers unique opportunities for research, education
and wilderness recreation and eco-tourism.
390 km² (39,000 hectares) Maliau Basin was originally
part of a 10,000 km² (one million hectares) timber concession
belonging to Yayasan Sabah, an organization formed in 1966
through an Enactment by the State Legislative Assembly, with
the objective of improving the standard of living and education
of Malaysians in Sabah. In 1981 Yayasan Sabah voluntarily
designated Maliau Basin as a Conservation Area for the purposes
of research, education and training, along with Danum Valley
Conservation Area further to the east.
In 1997 the
Maliau Basin Conservation Area was upgraded by the Sabah state
government to a Protection (Class One) Forest Reserve and
extended to its present size of 588.4 km² (58,840 hectares).
the Sabah Forest Enactment, an area under this forest classification
cannot be granted timber concession rights. With the publication
of the Government Gazette, The Maliau Basin Conservation Area
Forest Rules (1998), the legal status and modus operandi of
the area were established.
Day to day
management of Maliau Basin Conservation Area is carried out
by Yayasan Sabah, on behalf of an inter-agency Maliau Basin
Management Committee comprising:
Sabah (Chairman) & (Secretariat)
• Sabah Forestry Department
• Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment
• Universiti Malaysia Sabah
• Sabah Wildlife Department
• Sabah Parks
• Sabah Museum
• National University of Malaysia
• Universiti Putra Malaysia
• Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
• Department of Environment Conservation
• Danum Valley Management Committee
• Department of Town and Regional Planning
• World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia
• Academy of Science Malaysia
• Tawau Municipal Council
• District Office Tongod
• District Office Keningau
• District Office Nabawan
The Maliau Basin Management Committee was established in April
1998 with the responsibility to advise the state government
on policy in regard to all aspects of management of the Maliau
Basin Conservation Area, according to the rules in the gazetted
Order. The current Chairman (2004-2008) of the committee is
Tan Sri Datu Khalil bin Datu Hj. Jamalul, J.P., who is also
the Director of Yayasan Sabah, while Dr Waidi Sinun also from
Yayasan Sabah is currently the Secretary.
Conservation Area is also gazetted under the state Cultural
Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1997, which affords provisions
for the preservation, conservation and enhancement of the
cultural heritage of Sabah.
In 1999, a
four-year project was initiated by Yayasan Sabah in collaboration
with DANCED / DANIDA (Danish International Development Assistance)
to prepare a management plan for the area and to establish
a new facility, the Maliau Basin Studies Centre, at the southeast
edge of the Basin, for conservation, research, education and
Basin Conservation Area Management Project 1999 – 2003
of Maliau Basin Conservation Area, Sabah, Malaysia”
project was agreed upon as a Malaysian-Danish Government to
Government cooperation project in the field of environment
in October 1998. The development objective of the project
was to secure the conservation of Maliau Basin for the benefit
of Sabah, Malaysia and the international community.
provided through DANIDA (Danish International Development
Assistance) was further defined and a Danish consultant was
selected to be responsible for the actual provision of the
DANCED inputs. These inputs and the related conditions were
settled in a contract signed October 1999 between DANCED and
the consultant, Ornis Consult Ltd. and NEPCon Joint Venture,
while Malaysian input was through Yayasan Sabah, on behalf
of the Maliau Basin Management Committee.
A Project Steering
Committee (PSC) was established to monitor the progress of
the project, and to approve all major changes to project implementation.
The PSC was thus responsible for the formal overseeing of
the project by the Malaysian Government and DANIDA.
the PSC comprised:
• Secretary of the Natural Resource Office of the Chief
Minister’s Department, Sabah (Chairman)
• Director, Sabah Forestry Department
• Director, Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation)
• Director, Sabah Economic Planning Unit, Chief Minister’s
• Representative from Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture
• Principle Assistant Director, Federal Economic Planning
• Environment Counselor, Royal Danish Embassy Malaysia
A Project Management
Group, consisting of the Project Director, Dr Waidi Sinun,
of Yayasan Sabah, Research & Development Division, and
Chief Technical Adviser, Mr Hans Skotte Moeller, Orinis Consult/NEPCon,
supervised a project team comprising both local and international
project ran officially from October 1st 1999 to September
30, 2003 and the objectives included:
• Establishment of a functional management structure
for the Maliau Basin Conservation Area;
• The development of field facilities for research and
• The production of a comprehensive 10-year Management
• Enhanced capacity among staff of Yayasan Sabah and
other stake holder agencies;
• Raised awareness about the needs for long-term conservation
among Sabahans and Malaysians at large; and eventually,
• The successful implementation and institutionalization
of the Management Plan.
of the Maliau Falls
Only about 30%
of Maliau Basin Conservation Area had so far been explored,
and during the Project researchers carried out botanical,
faunal, meteorological, hydrological, geological and soil
studies as well as detailed mapping surveys.
The project also addressed
public awareness and environmental education about Maliau
Basin Conservation Area, and its potential for ecotourism.