Kuala Koh in Kelantan is to be made a tourism centre as a result of an initiative of the South Kelantan Development Authority (KESEDAR) which will work with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and the Wildlife and National Parks Department.
KESEDAR chairman Datuk Sazmi Miah said Kuala Koh had the potential to be developed because of its tropical rain forest which was rich in wildlife, as well as flora and fauna.
Situated in the Bukit Hantu Forest Reserve and the Lebir Forest Reserve areas which border Terengganu and Pahang, Kuala Koh has an "ecosystem that is also suitable for ecotourism as well as research and development activities," he told Bernama.
He added that efforts would be made to address the need for improved transportation and promotion of the area, while ensuring that such improvements benefit the local community, particularly the Orang Asli.
From 2000 to 2006, about 25,000 tourists visited the national park located 96km from Gua Musang town — 2.2% of tourists comprised foreigners.
The Kuala Koh National Park already has camping facilities in places such as campsites, chalets, a hostel, meeting room, restaurant and boats.
On the recent incidence of pneumonia affecting the Orang Asli of the Batek tribe in Kuala Koh village, Sazmi who is also Bersatu State Deputy Head said the spread of the illness should not be politicised by certain parties to earn points among supporters.
He added that some quarters had also tried to place blame for the incident on government agencies such as the Department of Orang Asli Development.
All parties should instead focus on working together to curb the spread of the illness, he said.