Thursday, December 9, 2010

PM's Impetus Development to Langkawi

How new development can help Langkawi to preserve her natural habitat?   

Our dear PM Najib visited Langkawi recently and I was hoping that he would seriously bring solution into the conservation issues of the island and her fragile rainforest. Instead he brought in another news. RM 1billion for the island and for what purpose?



Source from Bernama :

LANGKAWI (Dec 8, 2010): Langkawi needs to have new impetus as part of the plan to be a premier tourist destination in the world, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said today.
He said that since a year ago he had discussed with several parties, especially Khazanah Nasional Berhad, about Langkawi's redevelopment process in order to fulfil former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's wish to develop Langkawi as top tourist destination. 
"We want new development. Therefore, we need new impetus. The development concept must preserve the current situation and natural habitats around the island," he said in his keynote address at the official launch of Teluk Datai Resort's Development Plan at Teluk Datai, here.
Also present were Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.
Najib said the redevelopment process also should create value to the country, such as joint venture with local companies, as tourism was a major sector that the government wanted to push.
"The development is not only for Teluk Datai but for Langkawi as a whole. Many people said Langkawi is a loss after Tun Dr Mahathir's era as prime minister," he said.
He said today's event was to announce a four-in-one project, with the development of 14 units of villa as the main project.  
"The second is to build a new 300-room hotel, the third an upmarket five-star to six-star hotel and the last the redevelopment of the Datai Golf Course to international standard," he said.
Najib said the development plan was a partnership between government-linked companies and private companies to create value to the project and the country.
The development projects would involve about RM1 billion to be invested in Teluk Datai via its investee, Teluk Datai Resorts Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Khazanah Nasional and also the original founders, through Archipelago Hotels (East) Sdn Bhd. 
As part of corporate social responsibility, Teluk Datai Resorts has adopted Sekolah Kebangsaan Ewa under the Pintar programme. It is one of the schools in Langkawi where the most number of employees of Teluk Datai Resort send their children. — Bernama


My heart sank with dismay after reading this news.

Dear PM,
Your generosity in giving Langkawi RM1Billion would definitely bring wealth to the islanders. However, what the island is deeply in need is fund to preserve her natural heritage in a realistic way. The RM1Billion could do very well for these:

1) Conservation projects and studies that involve the local people here and thus creating awareness. The funds can be very useful for the children here to be educated on nature education, environment and English language.

2) The Book Village (Kampung Buku) in Lubuk Semilang was the brainchild of our Tun Dr M which was created to encourage the local islanders to read. Now, it is in a very shameful state. The building is about to be torn down by frenzy termites. Why not convert the entire place into a Natural History Museum where scientists from around the world could study and research on Langkawi's unique biodiversity?

3) Kilim Geoforest Park is one most visited geopark in Langkawi. The boardwalk next to the jetty is in a horrible state. Wooden planks have given away. If that could be fixed with those fund, school children could benefit from it by learning the mangroves ecology in a much affordable way. The incomplete bridge or tower project initiated by LADA is a real eye sore. 

4) The concrete building, Kubang Badak Jetty was built to promote eco-tourism to help the local villagers by uplifting their livelihood. But look at that jetty now. It was completed for almost two years now and yet there is no water supply to the toilets and washing area. It is an embarrassment for tourists to walk in there.

5) Langkawi island is now fragmented and has already lost 50% of her rainforests. Should she continues to lose her habitat, all flora and wildlife will go along with it. Why not bring in consultants and experts to create wildlife corridors on the whole island so that the population of biodiversity can be sustained?

6) Enforcement agencies such as the Marine, Wildlife, Forestry and the Environmental department could not do their job well because of the lack of staff in each department. 

7) The bridge on the sea by the airport could be fixed and the public can enjoy it with recreational activities like walking and fishing. It is also very embarrassing for the locals to explain to our foreigners the purpose of this bridge and why it is now left as a white elephant.

8) The Langkawi Falls, the man made waterfall at Temurun Waterfall was once the pride of our Tun Dr M. It was an attraction and had received lots of visitors but the entire place is  now haunted.

9) Improvise the sewage system and waste management along Pantai Cenang. In that way, this will reduce the increasing population of jellyfishes.

10) Refurbish and redevelop all abandon and incomplete buildings that are left standing in Kuah town.

11) Convert Langkawi into a State Park!

We have to remind ourselves that tourists from all around the world choose Langkawi as their destination because of her natural heritage and not because of the resorts. Langkawi can contain more than 220 species of birds, 450 species of butterflies, undiscovered species of insects and plants. Isn't this would be a waste to replace all of these with that RM1billion resorts development? RM1billion is a lot of our money, sir, please use it wisely. Hope you can help!

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4 comments:

  1. You've got good points there, Wchinner.

    Newspaper articles here in Australia have been promoting Pulau Langkawi as an emerging destination of choice in the region in recent times.

    The impetus given for Aussie travelers to the island isn't its duty-free goods, nor is its
    hotels. In fact, it is Pulau Langkawi's natural beauty and quaint surroundings that rivals traditional Aussie destinations such as Bali and Phuket.

    I'm deeply disturbed by the Malaysian government's response to the growing tourism industry and sincerely hope that Langkawi will invest more on its natural assets than to damage them in the long run.

    Ron Kirby

    ReplyDelete
  2. http://www.camcoglobal.com/en/1285582935774.html

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE68S0Q220100929?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FmergersNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Mergers+News%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

    Seems like the majority shareholder of Camco, the group that will do the environmental impact study on the Teluk Datai development, is Khazanah Nasional which in turn is owned by the Malaysian.

    NST states in it's print edition on Thursday dec 9th 20101 that "Khazanah has 5.3% stake" in this company.

    Meanwhile Reuters states:
    "Khazanah on Monday said it would invest 1.86 million pounds ($3 million) for 9.28 million Camco shares. It also said it would buy a further 19.6 percent stake in the secondary market, giving it a final holding of around 24 percent and making it Camco's biggest shareholder."

    Can Mr Cohen's Camco International be counted on to give an objective environmental impact study? I certainly hope so - there's more than money at stake here.

    In the same print version of the NST 9 dec 2010

    "TDR plans to develop only a fifth of 598 ha at Teluk Datai, while the rest, comprising 100,000-year-old rainforests will be untouched"

    That's approx. 120 ha or 12,000,000 sq meters or just shy of 300 acres that will be affected(if my math is correct).

    It's unclear (to me) from the article whether these 120 ha are outside the rainforest (perhaps under the water of the bay itself?)

    ReplyDelete
  3. http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/12/10/business/7594911&sec=business

    "KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, has teamed up with Camco International to set up Camco South East Asia, which will be involved in carbon emission reduction projects.

    Khazanah will have 40% stake in the joint venture company while the remainder will be held by Camco International."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Ron Kirby;
    Thank you for supporting our (minorities of the islanders) statement.

    Hi Anonymous Dec 11th;
    Many thanks for feeding the news in.
    The redevelopment has already started.

    ReplyDelete

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