Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Portion Of Green Lung Vanished

While passing by Lebuhraya Langkawi sometime ago, I stopped to look at what this old signboard was saying. I read in horror and prayed that this will not happen at all. 

Sometimes prayers do work and sometimes they don't...   

Sadly, I am witnessing another 2% or more of Langkawi's green lung is being stripped away for another township. Where is this location?
Click on the images to see a larger view

Those bloody "San Tai Wong"!

Tractors cutting into the edge of the forest

This could be the company responsible for the development. From the outlook of the signboard, it looked the project was put on hold for awhile. And since the economic situation has recovered, the development continues.

What will they be building over there?
15 units of Two-storey offices and shoplots
48  units of single terrace house
81 units of double-storey house
10 units of two-storey twin house
16 units of double-storey house

Power lines on the site
Reality sets in as population began to increase on the island, there goes Langkawi's natural heritage and her biodiversity. 

On the other side of the story, ever since the implementation of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program by the government, more lands on the hills and forest edge were sold to be cleared for building bungalows and villas. 

An excerpt from The Star report:

Wednesday August 4, 2010

Association: Probe sale of Malay reserve land to foreigners


GEORGE TOWN: The Kedah Government must inves tigate allegations that foreigners are buying Malay reserve land in Langkawi using the backdoor approach, said the Malaysian Asso ciation of Travel and Tour Agents Kedah chapter.
Its chairman Pishol Ishak claimed such deals – where foreigners allegedly used local residents to purchase the land on their behalf for a commission – were common knowledge.
The foreigners built bungalows and even set up tourism-related en-terprises on the island resort, taking a slice of the tourism revenue from lo-cal travel trade members, he added.
He was commenting on allegations by Ayer Hangat assemblyman Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid at the Kedah state assembly sitting on Monday that 50 foreign families owned such land in Langkawi.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak had said if foreigners used “Ali Baba” tactics to buy land to build houses, it would be difficult to trace them.
Pishol said the state government should ensure Malay reserve land was only leased to foreigners keen to develop Langkawi’s tourism industry with locals.
When contacted, Rawi claimed that most of the foreigners owned land in Ulu Melaka, and some had built bungalows for homestay packages or converted them to eateries. Others offered tourism activities.
“It has been happening for the last five years,” he said, adding he would raise the matter with the Federal Government.
Newly-appointed Langkawi Dis trict Officer Abdul Aziz Ghani said the state government had yet to notify the island’s land office about the allegations.
“We will check our records. There are various legal considerations, such as if the land is leased, bought or acquired,” he added.
“We would also need to monitor recent transactions to see if there has been a rise in land purchases. If it is reserve land, there is usually no new ownership.”
Kedah Tourism, Indian and Malay sian-Thai Communities Welfare committee chairman S. Manikumar said enforcement must be intensified to ensure such dealings did not occur.
He also blamed local landowners who sold such land despite their status as Malay reserve.
Once again, the state government and our Forestry Department have failed in moving towards their mission in creating a state park here.


  1. Hi Wchinner, It's no surprise that Langkawi's land use (as well as Malaysia's) is up on the drawing board again.

    After all, people are eying the island for major development now and in the future. The sad thing is that, many do not appreciate the very fact that Langkawi's lifeblood hangs onto Nature itself- the limestone hills, the turquoise seas, the wildlife, the paddy fields etc.

    If people keep developing the island without personally considering the negative feedbacks, Langkawi will face grave problems-including potentially losing its crucial tourism economy (that's by all accounts, dependent on Langkawi's natural assets)

    I don't see how Langkawi's going to benefit this sort of unsustainable development-this island will be condemned to destruction if such inconsiderate actions were to continue.

  2. Hi JK,
    The act of destruction in Langkawi is unstoppable.

    Conservation efforts on the island here is failing or if not, it is failed. I have some reasons to state this but i would put here in point form.

    1. Local Langkawians here are least concern when it comes to the loss of natural heritage on the island. The people that voiced out their concerns about the island are malaysians from mainland, foreigners and expatriates.

    2. Conservation efforts made by groups were only interested on what would benefit their companies and these companies are into tourism and hospitality industry.

    3. The nature society consists mainly of members that are into the tourism and hospitality industry in which can be more of disadvantage rather than an advantage. The society is in need of members who are not involved directly in such industry so that they can raise any conservation matters without having to think of the impact to their business.

    4. What more can i say about the local authorities here? The same old story that we all know.

    The island needs a strong fully funded NGO that is committed to conservation work and not just volunteers. This would help for a start.

  3. That's true, WChinner. Conservation endorsement should be an inclusive process. Leaving out any of the stakeholders and it will fall apart, no matter how well the strategies are.

    With more public education (on conservation and its benefits to Langkawians) provided by local nature societies and interested parties, I believe this barrier can be overcome.

    There's no need for some large-scale conferences or meetings, just low-level approach like day-to-day conversations, over-a-cup-of-coffee sort of chat, or even setting up of Nature Clubs in local schools.

    After all, that's how the public came to know about climate change, among others.


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