FORMADAT calls for support in sustainable development in highlands

Posted on July, 10 2018

The visit aims to share FORMADAT’s legacy and some of its recent achievement in the international level with the Chief Minister.
Kuching, SARAWAK: The Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples of The Highlands of Borneo (FORMADAT) pays a courtesy call to the Chief Minister YAB Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg at the State Legislative Assembly Complex here today.

The visit aims to share FORMADAT’s legacy and some of its recent achievement in the international level with the Chief Minister. It also aims at seeking for support particularly in pushing for sustainable rice farming, and promoting its signature ecotourism event, Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge.

FORMADAT Malaysia Chairman Penghulu George Sigar Sultan led the six-member delegation who came from Bario, Ba’ Kelalan and Long Semadoh. They are also accompanied by Director of Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations (ISITI) UNIMAS, Pro­fes­sor Dr Narayanan Kulathu Ramaiyer, WWF-Malaysia Sarawak Programme Leader Dr Jason Hon and Senior Community Engagement and Education Officer Alicia Ng.

FORMADAT Sarawak Deputy Chairman Councillor John Tarawe said the community forum is a winner of world recognised UNDP Equator Award 2015 and since it was founded over 10 years ago, the alliance’s legacy is to instill unity among communities in the highlands, and enhance corporation for preservation and conservation of culture.

“The highlands in Bario, Ba’ Kelalan and Long Semadoh aims to be the organic valley for rice production, especially Adan rice, in Malaysia. Hence, we hope that local communities will be consulted or take part in the decision making process of the government’s Highlands Development Agency and Northern Development Agency,” he said.

FORMADAT also calls for sustainable logging practices to be implemented in the highlands for the well-being of locals and environment.

John said the highlands forms part of the Heart of Borneo and therefore, it is important for communities to be consulted to ensure sustainable logging operations through a platform called, Community Representative Committee or CRC, that serves to bring up people’s voices to timber companies operating in the area.

“We would like timber companies to recognise CRC’s roles in addressing issues affecting the local communities. Representation of communities living within or adjacent to timber concession such as CRC is after all, part of the requirements for sustainable forest management and certification in Sarawak,” he explained.

He said CRC is also an important communication channel linking local communities to the licensee on issues related to sustainable forest management, and to provide support in watershed and river protection activities such as river adoption programme.

On tourism, John said, FORMADAT is also a member of Heart of Borneo Tourism Task Force together with government stakeholders from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“At the local level, ecotourism zoning activities have been initiated by communities from all areas since 2014.” He added that the flora and fauna found in the pristine Heart of Borneo forest will attract tourists and FORMADAT is now focusing on organising the third edition of Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge (HoBHEC) which will take place next year and make it as a signature ecotourism event in South East Asia region.

HoBHEC aims to promote and conserve the rich cultural and natural heritage of the highlands in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia and North Kalimantan, Indonesia. The event has various trekking packages to cater different adventure seekers’ needs with flexible days ranging from between four and 14 days, starting from 27 June to 10 July 2019.

FORMADAT, an acronym for Forum Masyarakat Adat Dataran Tinggi Borneo or Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples of the Highlands of Borneo, is a trans-border community forum established by the main ethnic groups in the area - the Lundayeh /Lun Bawang, Sa'ban and Kelabit. The highlands of Borneo, which comprise the sub-districts of Bario, Ba' Kelalan and Long Semadoh in Sarawak; Long Pa’sia in Sabah, Malaysia; and Krayan Selatan and Krayan in North Kalimantan, Indonesia, constitute one geographic, environmental, and cultural land inhabited by people who share a common origin.

For more info, visit:
Media contact person: Councillor John Tarawe (019-438 1777)
Zora Chan, John Tarawe, FORMADAT, Malaysia, Heart of Borneo
John Tarawe was presenting a memento to the Chief Minister
© WWF-Malaysia/Zora Chan
FORMADAT logo, WWF Malaysia, WWF Indonesia
Zora Chan, Heart of Borneo, FORMADAT Malaysia, Eco Challenge, HoB, Sarawak
Ecotourism activities in the highlands helps to provide alternative income to farmers like Sultan Kading (right) as he works as a local guide
© WWF-Malaysia/Zora Chan
Visit the Heart of Borneo, HoB, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia
Visit the Heart of Borneo
© Heart of Borneo
Ba' Kelalan, Sarawak, Heart of Borneo, HoB, WWF Malaysia, Zora Chan
Ba’ Kelalan is one of the settlements in Sarawak’s northern highlands
© WWF-Malaysia/Zora Chan