Published: Monday, 29 October 2018 11:01
THE residents of Pulau Tioman, off Rompin, Pahang, staged a protest against the construction of a new airport on the island, at Kampung Genting on Oct 21.The village head claimed that the new airport would be built on reclaimed land near Kampung Genting.“I urge the government to reconsider this plan. We, the people of Tioman, do not feel that this new project will benefit us,” he said, adding that the villagers were in the dark about the project.
“Why is there no transparency in communicating information about this airport to us? The authorities have not sought our feedback.”Pulau Tioman has an airport in the main village, Kampung Tekek, but it has a short landing strip, allowing only smaller planes to land. Many of the villagers feel that it would be better to upgrade the current airport and use suitable airplanes to operate flights into the island.They suggested allowing more flights into the island from other airports (besides Subang Airport) such as from Kuantan, Senai and Singapore.They also suggested improving ferry services in Mersing and Tanjung Gemok jetty.
Pulau Tioman is a well-known tourist destination. Tourist arrivals have been steadily increasing since 2008.However, the island does not have adequate infrastructure and facilities to support the growing number of tourists. It would not be able to cope with the influx of tourists that the construction of a new airport would bring.
A new airport is not what the island needs. It will not benefit the local community or the environment.I have been living on the island for the past five years. The focus should be on improving and upgrading infrastructure, as well as the drainage system, rubbish disposal method, waste treatment and electricity supply.
Pulau Tioman is hit by frequent water shortages in addition to problems due to improper wastewater treatment facilities. The incinerator on the island is not able to accommodate the large amount of trash generated or process certain waste such as electrical and electronic waste.
The building of a new airport not only removes the focus of what really needs fixing on the island, but it also leaves a negative impact on the local community and environment.
The main attraction of the island is its beautiful coral reefs, which will face irreversible damage if the construction is carried out. It can also cause a change in currents and sand movements, which may lead to beach erosion.
The locals are concerned that this new airport may turn Pulau Tioman into another Boracay Island (the Philippines) or Maya Bay (Thailand), which had to be closed due to severe environmental damage brought about by uncontrolled tourism expansion.
While the locals do not oppose development on the island, they feel that this airport project would impact Pulau Tioman negatively. More research and an environmental assessment of the island must be done before such projects are approved.
The needs and views of the locals should be considered.
Pulau Tioman is a marine protected area and it should remain pristine and protected.
Published: Wednesday, 12 September 2018 08:49
KUALA LUMPUR: Chronic traffic jams at Cameron Highlands, especially during the holiday period sees the need for restricted vehicle access to the tourist spot. Tanah Rata state assemblyman, Chiong Yoke Kong said the four-day holiday period had resulted in a chronic traffic jam in the hill station. He said tourists flocking the hill station by vehicles have seen traffic coming to a standstill from Ringlet to the Blue Valley. A short distance of one to three kilometres would require three to four hours to reach the respective destinations, he added.
He said three additional main roads connecting Cameron Highlands had been built over the last 20 years. These are namely the Jalan Ringlet-Sungai Koyan which connects Raub, Ringlet and Sungai Koyan; Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands and Jalan Gua Musang-Cameron Highlands. “These roads had made it very convenient for tourists to come to Cameron Highlands from the West Coast, East Coast and Pahang, hence the substantial increase of a number of tourists throughout the 20 years which is evident by the statistics in 2017 that has recorded 750,000 tourists in 2017.
“Based on traffic reports by many traffic apps, an average of more than ten thousand cars coming to Cameron Highlands is recorded every day during long holidays,” said the Dapsy national political education director in a statement. He added that despite four roads connecting the hill station, only one main road was available inside Cameron Highlands area.
In addition, he said the district does not have enough parking lots and thus is unable to accommodate 10,000 cars, he said. “The unplanned and disorganised development by the local and state government has created several traffic bottlenecks in Cameron Highlands,” said Chiong. He said local authorities had been lax in enforcing the law against vendors and tourists who park illegally.
Chiong proposed the Cameron Highlands District Council to utilise the entrances at Blue Valley and Ringlet, and can cooperate with the Perak state government to build parking lots at Tapah and Simpang Pulai which are at foothills. This is in order to implement vehicle restrictions and provide feeder services such as small buses that bring tourists to Cameron Highlands.
He said restricting entry of vehicles into tourist attractions is a common traffic control measure in many countries. Chiod said for example in China, traffic categories had been classified and there are feeder services to lead tourists’ vehicles to their connected parking spots.