WITH the tourism industry on the road to recovery, tour operators and local communities affected by the Covid-19 assault in Selangor are urging authorities to address tourist sites that fell into disrepair during the order to movement control.
The Sungai Panjang Hornbill Conservation Center in Kampung Rancangan Tanah Belia 2 Sungai Panjang in Sabak Bernam is the prime example.
Village chief Aidiezam Dollah Kosnan said the place had been poorly maintained for almost two years.
The proliferation blocking the path to the watchtower, the collapsing structural roof and the wooden benches without some of its feet in the waiting area are some of the maintenance issues that need to be addressed.
âFor security reasons, I tell visitors not to go up to the watchtower,â Aidiezam said.
For now, visitors are advised to head to Jalan Blok 2 and Jalan Blok 4, where red and yellow-billed hornbills can be seen majestically perched in front of the houses of the villagers.
The ideal time for these observations is at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., every day.
âI hope something can be done to restore the conservation center soon,â he added.
Another place that needs help is Bagan Nakhoda Omar Beach, 43 minutes away.
Here, black water is seen flowing into the perimeter drains surrounding a food court from a public washroom, resulting in a foul odor.
Environmentally, the presence of black water is a sign that the water has been contaminated with urine, feces and flushing water, and that the sewage system needs attention.
A stranded ship parked outside a dilapidated building also alters the general landscape.
Parts of the building’s roof gave way and panels of its exterior walls fell.
A disturbing sign of the condition of the beach is a crooked sign on the main road leading visitors to the place.
Signs of neglect are evident in some sections of Shah Alam National Botanical Gardens.
At the entrance, chairs are missing in front of the ticket office.
So there is an entire section of a roof at the photoshoot section near the padi field.
A bridge, connecting the walkway across the field to a cottage, has been replaced by a single, fragile and unstable plank.
Holes are a common feature here – a gaping one from a boat and several more from the wooden floor of a gazebo next to the field.
Bird watchers still maintain that the lack of maintenance of these facilities has not affected the number of bird species that can be found here.
Selangor Tourism Association advisor Taib Wahab, who has 35 years of experience in the tourism industry, said maintenance of facilities at tourist sites is important to ensure the continuity and survival of the business sector.
âWhen people travel to a place, they expect to come away with good experiences.
âIf a destination can’t meet these criteria, they won’t come back and recommend it to others.
âIt’s also embarrassing for those bringing friends, relatives or guests from abroad,â Taib said.
During his reconnaissance trips to the state to design sightseeing packages, Taib listed Sungai Sepang which offered river cruises and fishing trips, the Chiling Waterfall in Kuala Kubu Baru, as well as the leisure cabins of Pangsun and Gunung Nuang, both at Hulu Langat, as areas in need of attention.
Taib also noted black water, which gives off an unpleasant odor, coming from the tributaries leading to Sungai Sepang as cruise ships move further upstream.
âBoatmen have told me that the problem at Sungai Sepang, which straddles the Selangor-Negri Sembilan border, is from agricultural effluents on the Negri Sembilan side,â Taib said.
âThe authorities should do something to prevent the effluent from flowing into the river. This is not only in the interest of tourism, but also from an environmental point of view.
Taib said some form of regulation at Chiling Waterfall is necessary when activities such as open cooking are concerned, so that the fragile environment does not suffer from visitor overload and abuse.
Another concern was the garbage problem at Gunung Nuang, a popular hiking destination, he said.
Another attraction that needs special attention is the Pangsun Leisure Chalets next to the banks of the Sungai Langat in Hulu Langat.
While cabin operators offer comfort in the form of changing rooms, shelters and camping facilities for a nominal fee, more needs to be done with respect to the cleanliness and outlook of the area.
âThere are areas where some cabins have been abandoned or have fallen into disrepair.
âThere should be some control to ensure that dilapidated structures are removed so that they do not become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and snakes.
âThe area is also strewn with trash left by picnickers, which should be cleaned up by cabin operators,â he added.
Mohd Hanafiah Hussin, chief of Kampung Kuala Pangsun village, where these cabins are mainly located, said he discussed the matter with the cabin operators.
They do not report to the Village Community Management Board (MPKK) but are managed by individuals.
âThe first cabins appeared about 30 years ago and their numbers started to increase when tourism started to take off at Hulu Langat.
âThese cabins weren’t supposed to be built so close to the shore as it is government reserve land, but over the years they have become a draw for tourists who use these facilities when swimming. in the river, âhe explained.
Mohd Hanafiah said operators had been tasked with maintaining their cabins and maintaining the area, but due to the lull in tourism activities following the MCO, they were unable to afford the costs. maintenance fees.
âThey don’t charge much. Some of the cabins are available between 25 and 50 RM per day, âhe said.
However, in the long term, the MPKK hopes to find a win-win solution to the problem and invites organizations to help it either through monetary investments or by showcasing its expertise in business operations.
With Malaysia also one of the top diving destinations in the world, Malaysia Scuba Diving Association (MSDA) Vice President Jenny Lee said that although her members have no issues with the facilities at some of the 19 diving destinations in the country, water pollution was of increasing concern. and the shelling of fish that hit coral reefs.
âWe have one of the richest marine environments in the Indo-Pacific Basin and, as healthy coral reefs are an integral part of the scuba diving experience, we hope that a lasting solution can be found to preserve these sites so that the industry can continue to thrive. , ” she said.
MSDA Treasurer Ness Puvanes Velu and Executive Committee Member Mastura Abd Manap said comments from dive centers revealed that the mainland’s waste, surface runoff and effluent as well as plantations endangered marine life at dive sites.
These forms of pollution are carried by sea currents to the dive sites. As a result, the corals at the sites struggle, leaving a less than desirable landscape for divers.
Ness said in a 2019 State of Coral Reefs report by Reef Check Malaysia (RCM), it was stated that out of a total of 180 sites surveyed by trained volunteers and marine park government officials, we have still a relatively high standard of living coral, at 40.63%.
âBut it should be noted that the value in 2018 was 42.42%,â she added.
âExamples of threats to coral life are fish bombardment and illegal trawling, as they have the capacity to devastate vast areas of coral reef.
“We hope that those responsible can realize that their actions will eventually affect their livelihoods as well,” Ness said.
Understanding that reducing water pollution would take time for policies to work, MSDA hopes that booms can be placed on rivers that flow into the sea to trap waste as a short-term solution.
MSDA also hopes that the security presence can be strengthened at dive sites located in vulnerable areas like Sabah, for example.
“Although the locations are now generally safe, the increased presence of security patrols will go a long way in giving tourists a sense of confidence,” Ness added.