A lecturer with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has urged the management of Simalajau National Park to urgently replace or repair dilapidated walkways in the park’s mangrove forest.

Philip Lepun learnt first-hand how dangerous the walkways could be when he and 30 of his students visited the park on yesterday.

“A section of the ‘educational trail’ walkway suddenly collapsed as were walking on it. Fortunately we all escaped with only minor injuries,” he said adding that he and three students fell.

The walkways are about 3 meter above ground.

Philip said the repair work would not be massive as it affected only certain sections of the walkways, adding as a whole, they were still in good condition.

“But to avoid a similar incident and for the safety of public, urgent measures must be taken to repair or replace the dilapidated parts with stronger, steadier and more durable materials.

“This place is one of Bintulu’s most popular tourist attractions.

“We don’t want people especially foreign tourists to fall and hurt themselves,” he said.

Philip said the park, which is situated along a coastline forest, had plenty to offer tourists.

“It has unique flora and fauna, making it an excellent place for visitors, especially students to learn more about our forest and biodiversity.

“It would be unfortunate for us if people try to avoid this place because of its dilapidated facilities,” he said.

The park’s warden Anne Malissa King promised to immediately inspect the problem after learning of the incident.

Note: Also published in The Star (print version) today.