THE OPENING REMARK BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
FOR THE OPENING CEREMONY PHASE I OF 'THE HABITAT' ECO-TOURISM VENTURE (ETV),
PENANG HILL, PENANG, MALAYSIA
17 DECEMBER 2016
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I would like to thank the organizer for inviting me to officiate the opening ceremony of Phase One of 'The Habitat' Eco-Tourism Venture at Penang Hill, an internationally-benchmarked eco-tourism attraction.
2. This project is built on the State Government Land, measuring approximately 10.04 acres that allows us to appreciate the natural beauty of Penang Hill. Penang Hill which is about 702 meters above sea level is the best place to enjoy not only the exquisite view of George Town but also the whole of Penang Island and Seberang Perai.
3. A Request For Proposal by Open Tender for the Establishment of an Eco-Tourism Venture Comprising of an Educational Nature Trail and Canopy Walk on Bukit Bendera (Penang Hill), North East District, George Town, Penang was conducted in September, 2010. It was the first RFP issued by the present State Government and Creative Quest Sdn. Bhd. (CQSB) is the only bidder.
4. In accordance with CAT government of Competency, Accountability and Transparency, Creative Quest Sdn. Bhd. was awarded the Eco-Tourism Venture been undertaken by CQSB on a build – operate – transfer (BOT) concept which will be returned to the state after the end of the 50 years concession period.
5. This project has been undertaken via the Public Private Partnership (PPP) where the state government provided state land and consultation while the CQSB provided funding and expertise. The initial cost of RM 3 million was injected into this project which was later increased to RM35 million when Creative Quest Sdn. Bhd. gained confidence from the state government's commitment to enhance Penang Hill.
6. I was told that the First Phase of 'The Habitat' which will be opened today with facilities as follows:
i. Educational Nature Trail during 1.6 km along the existing drainage system route built in the 1800s by the British East India Company until Summit Road;
ii. Tree Top Walk that gives the highest viewing platform in Penang offering a 360 degree view of Penang, Seberang Perai and up to Gunung Jerai (Kedah peak) on a clear day. The Tree Top Walk is about 100m in length and is 820 meters above sea level, measuring 12 meters above the ground. It has a great open area to hold events measuring around 1500 square feet and can accommodate 300 pax for a cocktail.
iii. The Old Experimental Garden at the Helipad Plateau;
iv. Administrative office and Visitor's Centre;
v. Construction three (3) Giant Swings; and
vi. Refreshment Kiosks.
7. The State Government will ensure that the environment is highly protected especially the forest reserve. In line with this, the State Government has agreed to list Penang Hill under the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Program with the help of Universiti Sains Malaysia. CQSB will be funding this program together with Penang Hill Corporation. Prof. Dr. Margaret D. Lowman who is well known as 'Real Life Lorax' by National Geographic and "Einstein of the Tree Tops" by Wall Street Journal will be also helping to achieve this program.
8. I am confident that The Habitat Penang Hill will be a success as a eco-tourism landmark on Penang Hill. We will work hard to land another award by UNESCO for Penang as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve.
9. And this is only the begining. We look forward to coming back here to launch phase 2 with the Canopy Walk Bridges – 230 meters long and 40 meters above the forest floor and Canopy Discovery Tour with a big Zip Line of 700 meters.
10. I hereby launch Phase I of "The Habitat"- Penang's latest addition to world-class exo-tourism.