Gunung Jerai is set to become the second geopark in Kedah and the country, following Langkawi’s footstep a decade later.
This recognition is yet another milestone that will boost Kedah tourism after Langkawi achieved the same feat to become first UNESCO Global Geopark in Malaysia.
An approval has been given to submit Gunung Jerai to the National Geopark Master Committee, according to Kedah state executive councillor in charge of tourism Datuk Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid.
“The geopark status is in the bag and Gunung Jerai is on track to be the centre of attention for tourists locally and abroad come the end of the year.
“Kedah will be in the limelight and a dossier on the background of Gunung Jerai, the Sungai Batu archaeology site and the mangrove swamps in the Sungai Merbok estuary are to be presented to the Geopark committee for final approval,” he said.
Director of Global Archeological Research Center, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Professor Datuk Dr. Mokhtar Saidin said the Geopark Promotion and Development Committee headed by USM is actively preparing a dossier to document the background of the 500sq km area to be submitted to the National Geopark Master Committee.
The dossier, he said, is expected to be completed in September to enable the area to be gazetted as a national geopark before another submission to acquire a Global Geopark status.
“USM has identified up to 25 locations with the potential to be included as part of a geopark with its unique and distinctive treasures, especially from the geological, ecological and archaeological aspects.
Among the locations are Titi Hayun (geological), Sungai Batu (archaeological) and Merbok mangroves (ecological).
Going forward, Prof. Mokhtar said his team would scrutinise the 25 locations before recommending them to UNESCO for these locations to be considered when upgrading Gunung Jerai to become a Global Geopark over the next three years.
Langkawi was inscribed as a UNESCO Global Geopark since 2007.