Botany and Tourism

Perak Academy hosted Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr Abdul Latiff Mohamad in its third talk of the 17th Perak Lectures series. The talk was held at the Perak Academy premises along Jalan Tun Sambanthan on Thursday, March 3.

The former professor of plant taxonomy and biodiversity has been actively involved in leading scientific expeditions throughout his career.

“There’re four species of Rafflesia in Peninsular and Perak has it all. I would like to relate that to tourism, as everyone likes to observe and photograph the flower. We’d predict the blooming and you could alert the surrounding hotels. The blooming lasts from four to five days, so you won’t miss it. Then, the caretaker would be able to make some money for conservation by charging visitors accordingly. This formula has been used by Sabah successfully,” the 67-year-old expert said.

“How lucky Perakians are to have the best-managed mangroves in the country, in Matang. The present Sultan is very enthusiastic in looking after the botanical assets,” added Abdul Latiff who hails from Kelantan.

One of his interesting mentions was the Perak flower, “Perakanthus velutinus” found in the state. “Anthus” means flower while “velutinus” refers to the velvety texture of the hairy leaves when touched. This was the first plant named after a state in Malaysia.

To him,  ecotourism means conservation and a win-win situation because the eco-tourists of today are an educated lot who believe in sustainable development.

Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat, a Fellow of the Perak Academy also gave a short presentation. He is the honorary editor of Folia Malaysiana, a magazine devoted to botanical knowledge and the founder of Suriana Botanical Garden, a private botanic garden dedicated to plant research and conservation of endangered native flora.

“The real problem we’re facing in our country is that we don’t have enough young people engaged in botanical research. We need about ten times more botanists than what we have today,” Datuk Seri Lim exclaimed.

Present at the event was the Deputy Chairman of the Perak Academy, Chan Kok Keong.

The upcoming talk entitled, “Bifurcation of the Malaysian Legal System” on Saturday, April 2 at Syeun Hotel will feature Professor Andrew James Harding, the Director of Centre for Asian Legal Studies of National University of Singapore. Watch this page in Ipoh Echo for a report.

Mei Kuan

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