It is a great honour to be here this morning to officiate the launch of Phase 2 of The Habitat Penang Hill and to officially open the newly completed Langur Way Canopy Walk. On behalf of the Penang State Government, I wish to congratulate The Habitat on the important milestone of finally completing their Canopy Walk on Penang Hill.

This project is in line with the State Government’s vision to create a unique and prestigious tourism product that will project our treasure trove of green hills and the 130 million year old rainforest that will transform Penang Hill as a destination for high-value tourists. The Habitat is built on the State Government Land measuring approximately 10.04 acres. Not only is Penang Hill about being 702 meters above sea level or enjoying the exquisite views of George Town, it also promotes natural areas with much to learn from this 130 million year old rainforest.

As a government which practices CAT principles, a Request For Proposal by open tender for the Establishment of an Eco-Tourism Venture (ETV) comprising of an Educational Nature Trail and Canopy Walk on Bukit Bendera (Penang Hill), North East District, George Town, Penang was called in September 2010. It was the first RFP by open competitive tender issued by the new State Government at the time and Creative Quest Sdn Bhd. (CQSB) was the only bidder. Approval was given based on the components suggested and also that the bidder has teamed up with experienced and qualified professionals. The ETV project has been undertaken by CQSB on a build – operate – transfer (BOT) basis for a period of 50 years and will be returned to the state at the end of the concession period.

This is a 4P partnership of Public Private People and Professional(4P) Partnership where the state government provides state land and consultations and the private sector provides funding, the people helps to oversee the successful implementation and professionals offer their knowledge and expertise. The initial cost projected for this project was RM3 million. However, following the company’s appreciation of the state government’s commitment to expand and promote Penang Hill with beautification projects of more than RM 30 million, the company has decided to increase its total investment to RM35million.

The design works has been carried out by qualified and world-class engineers and architects with minimum tree cutting and with close monitoring by the State Government. Phase 1 of ‘The Habitat’ was completed and opened to the public comprising of 1.6 km Educational Nature Trail, Curtis Crest – Tree Top Walk that gives us the highest viewing platform in Penang offering 360-degree views of Penang Island, the mainland, including Gunung Jerai (Kedah Peak) and the islands of Langkawi on a clear day. The Tree Top Walk is about 100m in length and is 800 meters above sea level, and stands 13 meters above the ground. It has an open area for events measuring around 15,000 square feet and can accommodate 300pax for a cocktail function, Souvenir Shop with Refreshment Kiosks.

Last year, The Habitat also established itself as a premier venue for Unique Events when it hosted several functions at Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk, the highest viewing point on Penang Island. This included a Sunset Cocktail Function for over a hundred delegates from the World Travel Mart held in Penang in April 2017, the Penang Hill BioBlitz Appreciation Dinner in October 2017 for over a hundred scientists, participants and guests who took part in The Habitat’s Biodiversity Expedition into the Penang Hill rainforest.

The results of this Expedition will go towards listing Penang Hill and its environs as part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which will be yet another important internationally recognized accolade for Penang. Prof. Dr. Margaret D. Lowman who has been named as the ‘Real Life Lorax’ by National Geographic and the ‘Einstein of the Tree Tops’s’ by Wall Street Journal will also be assisting.

The Habitat recently celebrated its 2nd year of operation on 8th January 2018. The world-class eco-tourism attraction on Penang Hill has quickly gained recognition by being awarded with TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2017 and worked their way up to No. 4 out of 226 “Things To Do on Penang Island” on TripAdvisor within a relatively short period of time.

I am told that Langur Way Canopy Walk is one of the most unique structures of its kind and is one of the two-span ribbon bridge in the world. Each span of the bridge is 115m long making a total span of 230m and it sits 40m above the forest floor. I am also informed that this Canopy Walk is likely to be the highest Canopy Walk in the whole of Malaysia located as it is on top of Penang Hill which is roughly 700 meters above sea level and that it can accommodate up to 900 people weighing an average of 100kg each at any one time! It is also the only concrete Canopy Walk of its kind to be built in a pristine rainforest.

I wish to thank CQSB and The Cockrell family for their belief in Penang Hill and for their commitment to help make Penang Hill a world-class eco-tourism destination and educate the public on the natural wonders of our 130 million year rainforest on Penang Hill. We welcome the opportunity to highlight and promote Penang as an internationally recognised green and sustainable tourism destination and thank the team at The Habitat for helping us achieve this goal. We are also looking forward to the launch of Phase 3 of The Habitat project, The Habitat Aerial Trail or Zip-Lines, later this year and look forward to coming back for that event.

I have the privilege of announcing that every last Sunday of the month, The Habitat will have a 50% discount for MYKAD holders throughout the whole year of 2018.

Without further ado, I hereby officiate and welcome all to join me in officially launching The Habitat’s newly completed Langur Way Canopy Walk.

Thank you.