New airport in Tioman to benefit islanders and the nation .
New Straits Times 30 Oct 2003

Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that the Government decided to build a new airport in Tioman for the future benefit of the people there and Malaysia in general.
and Malaysia in general.

Stressing that the development of Tioman must be implemented without harming the natural environment, the Prime Minister said a small portion of the island has to be sacrificed for the development of the new airport so that more people could enjoy the beauty of Tioman.

"We don't wish to see development resulting in the destruction of plants and vegetation, the beaches and coastline and the marine life in waters off the island, reputed to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

"All these have to be preserved properly because tourists are attracted to Tioman island because of this. However, it is also necessary for us to build the proper infrastructure so that people could travel here at ease," he said in his speech through video-conferencing during the ground-breaking ceremony at the site of the new airport on the island, at Kampung Paya.

Dr Mahathir said that the government has allocated more than RM100 million for the construction of the airport which would further enhance tourism and directly improve the income and living standards of the Tioman island residents.

The new airport, designed to accommodate bigger aircraft like the Boeing 737, will facilitate travel to the resort island, which now has an airstrip at Kampung Tekek.

"The beauty of Tioman would be meaningless if it cannot be enjoyed by more people. As such, we have to make a little sacrifice affecting a small part of the island to build the airport so that the greater part could be enjoyed by more visitors." Dr Mahathir said that Tioman has also been accorded duty-free status, thus directly benefiting its residents who could enjoy much cheaper prices for goods and services.

"I hope the people would enjoy the benefits, as experienced by the people in Langkawi. Previously, Langkawi was filled with wooden dilapidated houses but today the standard of living is very high. I am confident Tioman island could be developed rapidly and the residents could benefit more from its development," Dr Mahathir said.

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Pahang Royal Reef

By Siti Hajar Abd Aziz, New Straits Times - City Life

Next month, more than 200 local and international divers will take part in an initiative to help save the coral reefs of Pulau Tioman in Pahang.

The "Pahang Royal Reef" event will be held from Sept 18 to 21 in the waters of Pulau Renggis, located some 300 metres from the Pulau Tioman sea-belt.

Speaking during a Press conference recently , Pahang Cultural, Arts, Tourism and Women's Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Maznah Mazlan said a total of 50 artificials reefballs would be planted in a diamond-shaped formation under the sea.

The reefballs, each weighing 300kg, would encourge the growth of corals on its harsh surface.
Maznah said the project, which ass being carried out under the patronage of the Pahang royal family, was also aimed at preserving Pulau Tioman's marine eco-system.

"We hope this effort will help to lift the island's status as a premier diving destination in Southeast Asia," she said.

"The event will be held annually, which will see more underwater areas being planted with such reefballs to encourage coral growth."

Tengku Mahkota Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is expected to launch the event.

Maznah said the organisers also hoped to create two entries for the Malaysia Book of Records - for the largest participation in underwater launching and the deployment of artificial reefballs.

On how long it would take for the coral to grow on the reefballs, Planet Scuba Sdn. Bhd director P.K. Chee said last year, four such reefballs were planted in the waters of Pulau Dayang, located 60km east of Mersing, Johor.

"We dive in periodically to check the development, and we are happy to announce that more corals are growing on the reefballs," he said.

"It may take some time, but for an area which is a bit sandy, the presence of such reefballs will definitely help to encourage the growth of corals."

Also present were a representative of the Pahang royal family, Lt-Kol Datuk Tengku Kamarulzaman Sultan Abu Bakar and Planet Scuba cheif executive officer Roland Lim.

The event is co-organised by Planet Scuba, Patimas Computers Berhad, ING Insurance and Berjaya Hotels and Resorts with the co-operation of a number of government agencies.

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