Imbak Canyon Studies Centre Opens to World-Class Rainforest Biodiversity Research

TONGOD, Sabah, 26 March 2019 (Tuesday): Amidst lush greenery and the beautiful Imbak Falls, the Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC) was officially open today, marking a milestone for the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA), a pristine rainforest in the heart of Sabah, and home to a wide variety of flora, fauna and unique landscapes.

Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie bin Haji Apdal officiated at the opening ceremony, accompanied by the Director of Yayasan Sabah Datuk Haji Jamalul Kiram bin Datuk Haji Mohd Zakaria; PETRONAS and Yayasan PETRONAS Chairman Datuk Ahmad Nizam Salleh; and President and Group Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.

The launch of the ICSC is an important step in the Sabah State Government’s move to protect the State’s rainforest heritage and the environment, adding to its capabilities to host world-class biodiversity and environmental research.

ICCA is one of the five conservation areas managed by Yayasan Sabah Group, in addition to Danum Valley, Maliau Basin, Silam Coast and Taliwas River.

Since 2010, PETRONAS has committed a total of RM83 million towards the conservation of Imbak Canyon – making it the first and largest ever local partnership with Yayasan Sabah Group to conserve a gazetted forest protection area in the State.

Today, the parties extended their partnership for the ICSC through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).  ICSC is a 27-hectare facility that sits within the 27,599-hectare core zone of the ICCA.

Chairman of PETRONAS and Yayasan PETRONAS Datuk Ahmad Nizam Salleh said: “ICSC is central to the conservation work at Imbak. In order to spur research activities here, PETRONAS through Yayasan PETRONAS, plans to introduce an environment research grant to spur research related to biodiversity, carbon sink as well as in new energy.”

“We are confident that the partnership with Yayasan Sabah Group will enable us to protect intellectual property rights and commercial patents that may arise from the research conducted in Imbak Canyon,” he said.

“We want to continue the work in conservation in a sustainable and scalable way, where there can be shared success,” Datuk Nizam added.

Meanwhile, the Director of Yayasan Sabah, Datuk Haji Jamalul said: “ICSC will strengthen the position of ICCA as a centre of learning for the indigenous communities, in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources as well as gene bank conservation and exploration of pharmaceutical and biotechnological potentials. Additionally, Yayasan Sabah Group is also committed to empowering the local community towards a better standard of living for a sustainable future.”

The construction of ICSC expands the close collaboration between Yayasan Sabah Group and Yayasan PETRONAS towards the conservation and development of the Tongod community in particular and for the state of Sabah.

“In line with the mission to improve the quality of life of Malaysians in Sabah, the construction of ICSC will create more jobs for communities living nearby in the Imbak area, especially young people, in hospitality and tourism related activities. Through these we hope they can improve their livelihood in a sustainable way,” Datuk Haji Jamalul added.

About Yayasan  Sabah Group

Yayasan Sabah Group is a foundation for the people in Sabah. It provides various educational and social programmes for the betterment of Sabahans. These efforts include agro-plantation, hospitality and tourism, shipping and real estate development in the seventies and eighties. In order to meet global demand, Yayasan Sabah Group has invested into biotechnology and horticulture, fisheries and food industries, oil and gas besides Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) industries.

Please visit the website:  for more information.

About Yayasan PETRONAS

For 45 years, from marine to mangroves, forests and rivers, PETRONAS has been consistently contributing to the well-being of our environment through various initiatives at key stages of conservation. Through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm, Yayasan PETRONAS, the organisation will deepen its efforts in research, rehabilitation, training and public awareness programmes as well as activating the network of PETRONAS staff volunteers for a number of environmental conservation to restore the balance in nature. Local community development is also a key aspect of Yayasan PETRONAS’ conservation efforts.

Yayasan PETRONAS’ investment in Imbak Canyon is part of its commitment towards environmental conservation in three areas – Research, Rehabilitation and Renewables.

Please visit the website:  for more information.

About Yayasan Sabah Group-PETRONAS Imbak Canyon Conservation Partnership

Phase 1: 2010-2013

PETRONAS’ contribution: RM6 million

Areas of collaboration: environmental education, public awareness, community outreach, research, ethno-forestry study and documentation, capacity building, formulation of the ICCA Strategic Management Plan, and initial works for ICSC.

Phase 2: 2014- 2017

PETRONAS’ contribution: RM77 million

Areas of collaboration: construction of the ICSC and related facilities, including the construction of the Ulu Kinabatangan Information Centre and the Ulu Kinabatangan Jetty.

Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC)

Size: 27-hectare
Managed by: Yayasan Sabah
Facilities suitable for research, education, training and nature recreation
Expected visitors: VVIPs, educational groups to researchers and jungle trekkers and scientists.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Sam S. Karnail
Group Manager
Corporate Communications Division
Yayasan Sabah Group
Jackson Sawatan
Head, Media Engagement
PETRONAS Sabah & Labuan
Group Strategic Communications