Nervousness is high | The star
The project to build a cable car network from Tapah, Perak to Cameron Highlands, Pahang, worries some residents of Tapah.
They consider the proposal inappropriate as it may harm the environment, including the flora and fauna of the areas concerned.
Rafaey Isa Mustafa, who operates a stall near the Lata Iskandar waterfall in Tapah, is concerned that such a large project could negatively impact the waterfall and its natural environment.
The 37-year-old trader said Lata Iskandar is known for its picturesque landscape and is a hotspot for recreation.
“The water is crystal clear now at the waterfall.
“I am concerned that the construction of the cable car project will destroy the beauty of the area and affect our livelihoods.
“Unlike Genting Highlands, Lata Iskandar does not have enough space for development and severe traffic jams can occur during the holiday season causing pollution,” he added.
Rafaey also believes the ground is not stable enough for the project.
“As it stands, there have been several landslides in Tapah, especially during the monsoon season.
“A few months ago there was a major incident which blocked part of Jalan Tapah-Cameron Highlands.
“If clearing works take place, it will affect the entire ecosystem and will have an impact on the stability of the soil in the region as well as on the quality of the water near the waterfall,” he said. said, adding that the livelihoods of the Orang Asli community in the region would also be severely affected.
He believes that the project funds should instead be used for the benefit of the community and protect the environment.
In October, it was reported that a cable car project was being prepared under the Batang Padang District Council 2035 Local Plan Project.
According to the plan, the project, which is expected to be completed by 2035, will have four stations along its route – Lata Kinjang, Kuala Woh and Lata Iskandar in Tapah and Ringlet in the Cameron Highlands.
Each station will have kiosks selling snacks and tickets as well as amenities such as surau, parking lots and toilets. Potential hotel sites will also be identified.
A man Orang Asli from Tapah, who only wished to be known as Sik, said he was not aware of the project.
“As our Tok Batin (village chief) has not yet shared any information about the project with us, I don’t have much to say.
“However, I think construction projects like this could cause landslides.
“Several landslides have taken place in recent weeks,” he added.
Likewise, Marina Hamzah, 39, owner of a guesthouse in Tanah Rata, thinks the project needs to be reviewed.
She said the last cable car station should not be located in Ringlet as it is not a tourist area.
“If the project is aimed at attracting more tourists, then Ringlet is not a suitable place.
“All of Cameron Highlands attractions are mainly found in Tanah Rata, Kea Farm and the Brinchang tea estates, so it would be better if the station was built elsewhere,” she added.
She is also worried about traffic jams in the region even without the cable car project.
“Traffic in the Cameron Highlands is already crowded, so if the cable car service stops at Ringlet, how will tourists see the rest of the Cameron Highlands?
“Will there be a car rental service set up since tourists usually spend at least one night here?”
“If the project is to attract tourists, then these issues need to be addressed,” she added.
Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman, field agent for Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), believes the project will do more harm than good to the region.
“State governments, whether Perak or Pahang, need to verify the plan for the Cameron Highlands, because development there may already be at its peak.
“To install a pylon, they need a pitch as wide as a football field.
“Looking at the project, the plan for this cable car network from Lata Kinjang to Ringlet would involve a lot of pylons,” he said.
He added that parts of the forest should be cleared to make room for these pylons so that they do not end up near the villages of Orang Asli.
“These forests are part of the Titiwangsa mountain range, known for its natural habitat and the abundance of flora and fauna,” said Meor Razak.
He said SAM would send a letter of objection to the Tapah District Council on this matter.
“Although this is only a proposal, we will fight against it as it would not only harm the Orang Asli community and the surrounding environment, but also the tourism industry in the Cameron Highlands.
“Tourists will not be able to see the attractions along the Jalan Tapah-Cameron Highlands if they take the cable car and this will affect the livelihoods of locals who depend on visitors who stop to buy food, drink. and other articles.
“I was also told that during a public engagement organized by the district council, some Orang Asli expressed their disapproval of the project,” he added.
When contacted, Tapah District Council Chairman Muhamad Sahlan Husnin said the council was eagerly awaiting the project to become a reality.
“We expect more tourists to come to Tapah in the future with this project.
“Each station will be equipped with kiosks and other facilities that will have a positive impact on the local economy and create employment opportunities.
“The cable car will also offer an alternative route to the Cameron Highlands, especially when the roads (to the highlands) are closed,” he added.
Regarding the concerns of residents, Muhamad Sahlan assured that a thorough research would be carried out before the project is approved.
“This is just an idea at the moment, we haven’t discussed it with the Pahang government yet.
“Right now, we are reviewing comments from a public engagement we held a few weeks ago.
“We understand that there might be issues raised by the Orang Asli community and environmental issues as well, which is why it is important to do thorough research first,” he explained.
He said the project was initially scheduled to begin this year, but several setbacks, including restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, had kept him from moving forward.
“Besides the cable car project, we also have other projects for the district, such as a hub for the rubber industry and the transformation of Tapah into an agricultural center,” he added.