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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ZOO MELAKA TO BE PRIVATISED

21 November 2012 | last updated at 09:50PM

State govt to take over Zoo Melaka by year's end

By Hanis Maketab hzmak@nst.com.my

MALACCA: The State zoological park or Zoo Melaka would be taken over by the State Government from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Malaysia, which is under the Federal Government, by the year’s end.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the management of the zoo would be primarily taken over by a consortium which would be headed by the Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council.

The consortium would be made up of Koperasi Hang Tuah Jaya, Koperasi Bela Masyarakat (Kobemas) and WildlifeTheatre Melaka.

The consortium hopes to adopt the management style of the Singapore Zoo to steer Zoo Melaka to greater heights. Mohd Ali said that while the state government was awaiting an official letter from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, preparations were currently under-way for the take over.

“Th privatisation will include an upgrade of its facilities and infrastructure, which is expected to cost up to RM6 million.

“We would also be changing the name of the zoo to 'Melaka Zoo and Night Safari'. Once everything is finalised, the zoo would be a private entity, it will no longer receive the RM4 million yearly grant from the Federal Government, and therefore, the new management must work towards ensuring the zoo's continued success,” he said. Mohd Ali said he hoped the zoo's privatisation would be the first step in improving it as a major tourist attraction not only for the state, but for Malaysia as well. "Malacca Zoo is currently one of the best zoos in the country, and I believe it can one day become a world-renowned zoo," he said.

When asked on the fate of the contract employees of the Zoo Melaka, Mohd Ali said that they would be absorbed by the Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council. Zoo Melaka is a 54-acre (approximately 21.22 ha) zoological park located beside Lebuh Ayer Keroh in Malacca.

The zoo has progressed rapidly since 1979 to become the second biggest zoo in the country, behind the National Zoo of Malaysia (Zoo Negara). Zoo Melaka annually records than 400,000 visitors and more than half of the visitors are from Melaka and the neighbouring states. Its annual ticket collection exceeds RM3 million. The number of exhibits has also increased significantly since it opened and as of today there are a total of over 1,200 specimen made up of 215 different species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians in the zoo.

The major attractions in Zoo Melaka are the highly endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Sun Bear, Malayan Gaur, Serow and the Malayan Tiger. The zoo is also renowned world over as a a centre for wildlife research, conservation and breeding, especially for the Malayan Tiger, Wild Dogs (Dhole), panther, tapir, serow, barking deer, sambar deer and many others. 

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