Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mossy Forest in Batu Gangan Forest Reserve

New route in Sungai Koyan makes destination easily accesible
Story and photos by Nik Naizi Husin
Saturday December 25, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Most visitors here are not aware of a mossy forest located in the Batu Gangan Forest Reserve.

This natural attraction, believed to be more than 200,000 years old, is nicknamed 'Lord of the Rings Forest' and 'Fantasy Forest' by local tourist guides.

Tourism Malaysia Pahang had recently organised a familiarisation trip for 60 people comprising travel and tour operators, hoteliers, media as well state tourism officers from Terengganu, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

Challenging trek: The difficulties when trekking in the forest
Challenging trek: The difficulties when trekking in the forest

The trip also included visits in homestay villages in Kampung Kuala Medang, Lipis and Kampung Sungai Pasu, Raub.

Something Humorous, how can forget...?

All systems go
Saturday December 25, 2010

We love Cameron Highlands and have been there a couple of times on family holidays.

The last time we were there, we drove up to see one of the tea plantations. When it was time to go home, my son and I got in the front seat. My wife put my daughter (then four years old) at the back, and when the door slammed shut, I drove off.

As I was driving off, I heard shouting. Looking into the side and rear mirror, I couldn’t see anything. As we drove down from the tea plantation, my eight-year-old suddenly said, “Pa, mummy not in the car!”

Shocked, I turned around, and sure enough, she was nowhere in sight. I quickly made a U-turn and went back up again and there she was walking down the slope.

We did not know whether to be angry or to laugh. It was a mixture of both emotions. What happened was my wife closed the door after putting our little girl in the back and was walking to the other side when I drove off!

We still have a good laugh about the incident. It was still a great holiday despite my leaving my wife behind.

Chor Ming Chong
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cameron Highlands Bus Tragedy

27 killed as tour bus overturns in Cameron Highlands (Update 5)
By Chan Li Leen, Ivan Loh, P.Aruna & Kahirul Ashraf Kammed
Published: Monday December 20, 2010 MYT 1:42:00 PM
Updated: Monday December 20, 2010 MYT 9:55:04 PM

IPOH: Twenty-seven passengers of a tour bus were killed after the vehicle hit a divider and overturned on its way down from Cameron Highlands Monday.

Twenty-two died at the scene of the accident and five at the Raja Permaisuri hospital here. Another 10 injured, four of whom are men, were being treated at the hospital. Two of the men were said to be in critical condition.

This is believed to be the worst road accident in the nation's history.

Those killed were two Malaysians and 25 Thai nationals. The bus had 37 passengers onboard, 34 of them Thai tourists.

According to Perak state deputy CPO SAC Datuk Zakaria Yusof, the cause of the accident could have been speeding or brake failure.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

YTL Cameron Highlands Resort Christmas

Walk along jungle trail part of Xmas at Cameron Highlands Resort
Wednesday December 8, 2010

TRADITION plays an important role in any festive season and Christmas is no different. This year, a group of media representatives and celebrities were given the opportunity to join in the celebrations, albeit a bit early, at YTL's Cameron Highlands Resort.

On Nov 20, legendary shoemaker Datuk Jimmy Choo hit the switch to light up the Christmas trees at the hotel and mark the beginning of the Christmas season up in the clouds.

The resort and its surroundings have been festively decorated and, with the flick of the switch, a spectacular display of lights burst into view, creating a magical display in the foggy evening.

All lit up: Visitors to Cameron Highlands will not miss these beautifullly litted X'mas trees at the YTL Resort in conjunction with Christmas.
All lit up: Visitors to Cameron Highlands will not miss these beautifullly litted X'mas trees at the YTL Resort in conjunction with Christmas.

YTL Hotels and Resorts executive vice-president Laurent Myter invited those present to sample some of the resort's Christmas delicacies before inviting them to join in the carolling by a crackling fireplace.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Learning about flora and fauna with YTL Cameron Highlands Resort

Learning about flora and fauna in Cameron Highlands
Thursday December 2, 2010

TRADITION plays an important role in any festive season and Christmas is no different. This year, a group of media representatives and celebrities were given the opportunity to join in the celebrations, albeit a bit early, at YTL’s Cameron Highlands Resort.

On Nov 20, legendary shoemaker Datuk Jimmy Choo hit the switch to light up the Christmas trees at the hotel and mark the beginning of the Christmas season up in the clouds.

The resort and its surroundings have been festively decorated and, with the flick of the switch, a spectacular display of lights burst into view, creating a magical display in the foggy evening.

Informative: Madi explaining about wild flora and fauna to members of the media and guests.
Informative: Madi explaining about wild flora and fauna to members of the media and guests.

YTL Hotels and Resorts executive vice-president Laurent Myter invited those present to sample some of the resort’s Christmas delicacies before inviting them to join in the carolling by a crackling fireplace.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Step In Farm CH Vegetable Farm

Picking fresh vegetables
By Simon Khoo
Thursday November 11, 2010

VISITORS to Cameron Highlands in Pahang would probably end up plucking strawberries and tea leaves at the plantation and farms here.

But few are aware that there is a plantation along the foothill which offers visitors an opportunity to harvest fresh produce themselves.

Colourful: Some of the cactuses available for sale at the plantation.
Colourful: Some of the cactuses available for sale at the plantation.

The farm, which is aptly named - Step In CH - is managed by farmer Lim Yoke Fan.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Tourism Pahang

Tourism in Pahang set to attract more visitors from Singapore
By Nik Naizi Husin
Monday November 8, 2010

SOME two million Singaporeans visited Pahang last year and the state has targeted an additional one milllion visitors from the island republic this year.

Pahang Tourism, Arts, Heritage, Women's and Family Development Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif said he is optimistic that the target would be achieved.

The state tourism agencies, he said, have played their role in promoting Pahang to the world and there would be more efforts from them to boost the industry.

Welcome dance: Traditional dancers from the State Secretary Office, Kuantan, performing the 'ulek Mayang' dance to welcome the Singapore travel agents and operators
Welcome dance: Traditional dancers from the State Secretary Office, Kuantan, performing the "ulek Mayang" dance to welcome the Singapore travel agents and operators

Currently, Pahang's main attractions which including Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Bukit Fraser, Tioman Island, Taman Negara and National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah have been the catalysts for visitation from tourists all over the world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Waste incinerator in Cameron Highlands

Not all welcome waste incinerator in Cameron Highlands
Tuesday November 2, 2010

FOR years, trash has been tipped over hill slopes at Cameron Highlands, marring the montane landscape and fouling up streams. Now, a waste incinerator has been built to deal with the waste. But not everyone welcomes the plant located on the existing dump in Kampung Raja.

They fear the health and environmental effects, as well as the project cost. Some say information on the project was not forthcoming.

“There was only one briefing for residents sometime in 2008. We had asked for more details then but no news came, and suddenly the plant was being built,” says Ramakrishnan Ramasamy, president of local NGO, Reach.

Suresh Kumar, branch secretary of Parti Sosialis Malaysia, says residents were only told of the positive effects of the incinerator – that there would be no smells and no polluting dump – but not of the risks of foul emissions. He says any possible pollution from the incinerator is especially of concern in Cameron Highlands because of the large farming areas.

Our lamentable track record in operating and maintaining trash incinerators further fuels anti-incinerator sentiments.

“Incinerators built previously were all abandoned due to the high cost of running them. They also had EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessment) then and still ended up as white elephants,” says Suresh.

A recycling scheme started by Reach three years ago has expanded to include five collection centres. Other vendors are also picking up recyclables. Hence, Ramasamy foresees a decline in trash volumes, which will ultimately affect the running of the incinerator. He says the Agricultural Department is also encouraging farmers to compost green waste.

“If all this (recycling and composting) have been given a chance and don’t work, then we can consider incineration. Incinerators should be the last choice,” says Ramasamy.--The StarNews

Hazardous Cameron Highland farms

Hazardous highland farms
By Simon Khoo
Tuesday November 2, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: It is estimated that half the vegetable farms here do not adhere to the standard chemical management practices as required under the law, said Occupation Safety and Health Department (DOSH) director-general Datuk Dr Johari Basri.

The conclusion was based on a field laboratory study conducted by Perak DOSH officers who randomly interviewed 45 farm workers in the highland, he added.

“During a basic occupational health check conducted in August, 46% of the respondents were found to experience backache, 16% suffer skin ailments and 8% have hearing problems.

“This is due to manual handling activities in the farms, exposure to hazardous chemicals and sound of heavy machinery.

“As such, our main aim now is to create an awareness on the need for farm operators to follow guidelines required by law,” he told The Star here.

Dr Johari said that under the Occupation Safety and Health Act 1994, action could be taken against the offenders for failing to comply with the requirements.

He said those found guilty could be fined up to RM50,000 or a maximum of three years’ jail, or both.

“We will not be too overzealous in enforcing the law as this is still something relatively new for farm operators.

“We want them to be aware of the need to follow these guidelines strictly before we start taking stern action in a year or two,” he said.

Dr Johari added that among the reasons given by farm operators for their failure to meet the regulations were lack of knowledge, communications barriers, costly protective equipments such as eye masks and respirators and that their farms were operating in a small scale.

He said several more studies would be conducted by his officers at other plantations in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, padi farming in Sekinchan and also tea plantations here to compile more data. -- The Star News

Monday, November 01, 2010

Govt help local estate workers own houses

Govt allocates RM50mil to help local estate workers own houses
By Simon Khoo
Monday November 1, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The Government has allocated RM50mil to help local estate workers to own a house before they retired, Deputy Human Resources Minister Senator Datuk Maznah Mazlan said.

Maznah said the allocation was provided for under the 10th Malaysia Plan and would be managed by Bank Simpanan Nasional.

"Presently, many locals are staying in quarters provided by their employers while still under employment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Too much pesticides in Vegetables

'Stop excessive use of pesticides'
Tuesday October 26, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Far­mers here are advised not to go overboard when using pesticides to ensure their produce continues to be in demand.

"Excessive use of pesticides will affect the good name of Cameron Highlands as a major vegetable producer.

"It will also affect the confidence of importers," said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Chua Tee Yong.

He also advised the farmers to protect their health.

"There have been reports that some farmers have died due to the excessive use of pesticides," he told reporters after opening the national-level Good Agri­cultural Practice Campaign here yesterday.

He was commenting on the opening speech by agriculture director-general Datuk Roseley Khalid earlier, who said a campaign had been launched to educate farmers on the use of pesticides.

Roseley said the campaign was launched in Cameron Highlands because there had been many reports that farmers here were not prudent when using pesticides for their crops.

Chua also called on state governments to communicate regularly with farmers, to give them confidence and security to invest in upgrading their farms.

"One of the reasons why farmers use a lot of pesticides for their crops is because the land lease on their temporary occupation licence is short.

"So they use pesticides to increase their production and maximise their output within the given lease time," he said.

In his speech earlier, Chua said he was confident the campaign would create awareness to farmers about the importance of good agricultural practices. --The Star News

Developing Cameron Highlands High Tech Farms

488ha of high-tech farms to be developed
Tuesday October 26, 2010

A TOTAL of 488ha of high-tech farms will be developed in Lojing and Cameron Highlands in efforts to increase production of quality fruit and vegetables bound for premium markets.

Four agriculture parks and a modern farming park will also be producing tropical fruits, while 9,000ha of an oil palm plantation owned by a government-linked company have been identified for intercropping of bananas and pineapples during the first three years of the oil palm replanting period.

These efforts are part of the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry’s efforts to tap into premium markets, one of four projects identified to achieve the goal of transitioning from agriculture to agribusiness under the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP).

The project aims to upgrade the capabilities of farmers to produce quality fresh produce that meet food safety standards of the premium European and Middle Eastern markets and reap the fruits of the growing global market for premium foods.

Limited compliance to global food safety standards, among other issues, have hampered efforts of producers to tap into demands for fresh produce for premium markets despite the nation’s ideal location and weather for growing tropical fruit as well as temperate crops in the highland areas.

The core crops that will be produced for export are the premium varieties of tropical fruit such as eksotica papaya, pineapple, rock melon, starfruit, jackfruit, banana, tomato, capsicum and lettuce.

Produce exported as premium products would command a higher price and could earn farmers a monthly income of about RM4,500 per hectare.

It is also estimated the project would contribute RM1.6bil to the gross national income and create 9,100 jobs in 2020. -- The Star News

Monday, October 18, 2010

Food from Organic Farming

Some interesting information about food from organic farming. Is this a healthier choice? Some would think so. However organic vegetables tend to be more expensive and could burn a hole in your pocket in your quest to have a healthier lifestyle. And for me? Give and take, because organic food are expensive so I don't indulge in it so much. - Jan.

Watch what you eat
By Andrew Sia
Monday October 18, 2010

World Food Day is observed on Oct 16. It provides an opportune time to take a closer look at what we tuck into daily.

OH no, not another preachy health food article!" A common reaction during our invincible youth, when we are free to eat whatever we want as it seems nothing will stop us from living forever – into an unimaginably ancient age at least.

But, as this writer discovered, the steady march of time reaps a harvest of little niggly aches and pains, spells of low energy and ominous head-shaking from doctors reading cholesterol test levels.

I, too, once believed that organic food was an over-priced indulgence of health freaks. But then I discovered that I felt more energetic because it digested well in my body, whereas some of the char koay teow or oily curry seemed to sit forever in my stomach, causing post-lunch lethargy.

Being a fussy foodie used to the wonderful flavours of Malaysian food, I was worried that healthy food was, well, bland. And I could not believe that organic vegetarian food could be so tasty until I had tried the buffet at GK Organic Farm near Bangi, Selangor.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cameron Highlands Gua Musang Road Needs Lights

Gua Musang-Cameron Highlands road needs lights
Friday October 15, 2010

Gua Musang in Kelantan is only about a 90-minute drive from Cameron Highlands. The journey of about 100km is truly enjoyable if you are travelling during the day. The cool breeze and greenery plus those Orang Asli settlements on both sides of the road give you a pleasant feeling and an experience of what eco-tourism is all about.

Nowadays, more local and foreign tourists are using this road to travel between Gua Musang and Cameron Highlands as this is the shortest way and also easiest to get to the North-South Expressway at Simpang Pulai.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Farming Output Hampered from land shortage and workers

Chua: Shortage of land and workers hampering agro output
Monday September 27, 2010

YONG PENG: Farmers continue to be troubled with issues related to land relocation and lack of foreign workers, said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Chua Tee Yong.

He added that the authorities need to come up with a long-term solution to these problems as it was important that the country be self-sufficient in food.

"Many farmers felt sidelined and unappreciated. They are forced to relocate because the plots of land given to them are being converted to residential or industrial land.

"The farmers are then left without land to farm in or are allocated smaller plots, where they cannot sustain their earlier production level," he said after attending a dialogue session with local farmers here recently.

Indonesian Workers in Cameron Highlands

There are many Indonesian workers in Cameron Highlands. There are about 2,000 of them working here in the Malaysian highlands. After all, Malaysia is just across the straights, easy to come over and we speak almost the same language (well there are some differences in the Malay usage, but we can get by). Malaysia seem to be the country of choice for many migrant workers coming from Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines and of course Indonesia too.

Indonesian workers slam anti-Malaysia activists
By Ivan Loh
Monday September 27, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: A group of Indonesian workers here have denounced anti-Malaysia activists in their homeland for attempting to disrupt the peace in the country which provides their bread and butter.

Holding placards that say they want peace, the group of about 50 men and women gathered at the Tanah Rata bus terminal at noon for about 20 minutes yesterday to voice their concern about the strained relations between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

World Clean-up Day programme

‘World Clean-up Day’ programme will be held today (Saturday September 25, 2010) at MDCH, Tanah Rata, from 8am-12.30pm and will be officiated by Cameron Highlands Municipal Council president. All are welcome.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cameron Highlands flower and vegetable traders in a huff over eviction notice

Cameron traders in a huff over eviction notice
By Ivan Loh
Friday September 24, 2010

IPOH: A group of flower and vegetable traders are up in arms following a notice to evict them from their stalls at Kea Farm, Cameron Highlands.

Flower trader Ramli Osman, 49, claimed that he and 17 others had received the eviction notice from the Cameron Highlands district office to make way for a commercial centre and apartments project there on July 29.

"We have been trading there for the past 17 years. It is unfair to ask us to leave abruptly," Ramli told reporters here yesterday.

"They want to relocate us somewhere nearby but that place is not strategic for our businesses."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Asparagus from Cameron Highlands Malaysia

In Malaysia, locally-grown asparagus is available almost all year round, coming mostly from the Cameron Highlands and Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. Other states such as Perak and Malacca are also starting to grow the vegetable. The local variety is green and skinny, and not as succulent as its imported cousins.

Sweet, succulent and tender, asparagus is a superfood that is both healthy and yummy. Asparagus, in all its incarnations – green, purple or white – has inspired much love. Cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, asparagus, a member of the lily family – which counts onions, leeks and garlic as kin – has been a favourite of kings in the past. Its popularity doesn’t seem to be losing momentum in today’s society, which regards it as a premium vegetable.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blue Valley estate workers in Cameron Highlands Salary Unpaid

Workers claim they have not been paid for months
Compiled by Ng Si Hooi, K. Ashraf Kammed and A. Raman
Saturday September 18, 2010

Makkal Osai reported that the Blue Valley estate workers in Cameron Highlands are claiming that they had not received their salaries for the past five months.

They claimed that the problem started after a private company bought the estate from the National Land Finance Cooperative Society.

Blue Valley MIC branch chief S. Cheran said that the estate management had failed to give any decision on the payment of the arrears.

He said he would set up a special fund in the name of the estate workers to help them overcome their daily expenses, children’s educational expenses and medical expenses adding that he hoped the MIC and other community leaders would contribute towards this special fund.

He said the Human Resources Ministry should look into helping the estate workers who had not been paid.

> Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item. -- The Star News

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Le Tour de Langkawi 2011

Le Tour de Langkawi 2011

Le Tour de Langkawi take after the famous Tour de France. So this is the Malaysian version of the long distance bicycle race.

The 10-stage Tour of Langkawi (LTdL), will be held from Jan 23-Feb 1 next year. The Tour will be flagged off from its 'home' in Langkawi

Next year's (2011) LTdL will have three stages more than this year's (2010), covering a total distance of 1,308.9km and with two consecutive climbing stages – the 136km Stage Four (Lumut-Cameron Highlands) and 128km Stage Five (Tapah-Genting Highlands).

Really tough sport!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dirty Parit Waterfall

> Rubbish complaint

Parit Waterfall, Cameron Highlands has lots of floating rubbish on Aug 23. UK tourists also saw shameful scene. Redfaced

Always lock the car, right?

Always lock the car, right?
Saturday August 28, 2010

Cameron Highlands has always been my favourite place to visit, from when I was a teenager till today, when I have become a mother of two.

On Feb 1 this year, we took the opportunity to go up the hill again. My husband was feeling quite "adventurous" and did not make the room reservations. We left Kuala Lumpur at 6am and stopped in Bidor for breakfast.

From Bidor, we took approximately 1½ hours to reach Tanah Rata. It drizzled all the way. There were so many new hotels, so we made enquiries for rooms. However, they were all fully booked, including my favourite hotel, The Heritage.

YTL Award Winning Resorts

YTL has some really luxurious premium resorts, and of course Cameron Highlands Resort is one of them. Here are some pix to whet your palate, eh?

The Cameron Highlands Resort is one of the pieces of real estate owned by Tan Sri Francis Yeoh.
The Cameron Highlands Resort is one of the pieces of real estate owned by Tan Sri Francis Yeoh.

The award-winning Tanjong Jara Resort with its two swimming pools.
The award-winning Tanjong Jara Resort with its two swimming pools.

YTL has some award-winning real estate. This includes Pangkor Laut Resort, Tanjong Jara Resort and Cameron Highlands Resort. His hotel brands are Ritz-Carlton, Spa Village, J W Marriott and The Majestic in Malacca.

The group also has Malaysia’s fastest growing cement company in the country. It is the first ready-mix concrete company and the second largest cement company in Malaysia with annual production capacity of 6.1 million tonnes.

And not to mention the ultra premium properties like those Sentul and those Pantai Hill Park, Kerinchi.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Missing in Gunung Brinchang Cameron Highlands

Whenever you go for hiking adventure in Cameron Highlands do be careful! For instance this navy man that went missing in Gunung Brinchang, Cameron Highlands. This was not the first time I have come across this kind of jungle hiking misadventures, especially the Mount Brinchang trail #1!

Search on for missing navy man
Friday August 6, 2010

IPOH: A 70-man search and rescue team has been assembled to look for a navy man missing in Gunung Brinchang in Cameron Highlands.

Leftenan Mohd Al-Amin Rohizas had gone climbing alone on Sunday morning. When he failed to return home on Monday, his mother lodged a missing persons report.

Cameron Highlands OCPD Deputy Superintendent Wan Mohd Zahari Wan Busu said a rescue party, consisting of men from the army and police, was assembled on Tuesday afternoon. The search was hampered by heavy rain.

"Their search is centred around a 4km radius of the Brinchang Dam," DSP Wan Mohd Zahari said.


Missing navy man found 120km away
Sunday August 8, 2010

IPOH: The navy man who went missing after a hike up Gu­­nung Brinchang in Cameron Highlands last Sunday has been found.

Cameron Highlands OCPD Deputy Supt Wan Mohd Zahari Wan Busu said Leftenan Mohd Al-Amin Rohizas, 27, was found at 8.30am yesterday at Masjid Kampung Terah in Gua Musang, Kelantan, some 120km away from where he went missing.

"He was found by villagers, who in turn informed us," he said here yesterday.

Mohd Al-Amin is being treated at the Cameron High­lands Hospital and is reported to be in stable condition.

It was reported that Lt Mohd Al-Amin had gone hiking alone on Aug 1. When he failed to return home the next day, his mother lodged a report. -- The Star News

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stop the desecration of Cameron Highlands

Stop the desecration of Cameron Highlands
Thursday July 22, 2010

I was a resident of Cameron Highlands for almost 10 years and returned recently after a short break of three years. I am shocked at what I see today.

There appears to have been no control over land clearing, building development or river preservation. Hotels, housing schemes, farms and small industries have emerged indiscriminately all over the highlands, especially in the larger towns of Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Kea Farm and Bertam Valley.

There has been a complete desecration and disregard for this beautiful highland and its pristine rivers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Committee to look into plight of farmers

Committee to look into plight of farmers
By Sylvia Looi
Friday July 16, 2010

A COMMITTEE will be set up to look into the land problem faced by Bertam Valley farmers, which recently sparked a tense standoff.

Tanah Rata assemblyman Ho Yip Kap said the Perak Government had instructed a committee to be formed by the district office to look into the problem faced by the farmers due to the construction of a 79km road linking Pos Beteau in Raub and Bertam Valley.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Spice up farm produce

Spice up farm produce
Friday July 9, 2010

MALAYSIAN farmers should be bold enough to cultivate new vegetable and fruit species to provide consumers with a wider choice, said Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) senior assistant director (regulatory) Suhaimi Ismail said.

He said the farmers were generally contented with their existing varieties as they were confident the wholesalers would buy their supplies.

He, however, said many farmers dared not plant new vegetable and fruit species for fear the wholesalers might not purchase them.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

History About Police Fighting Against Communist

My hats off to them for taking the difficult road to protect the freedom of Malaysia during the Emergency period. And wonders of wonders, Paul Kiong also contacted me about trying to connect to a fellow police veteran whom he fought alongside. That's what you get for making the best website about Cameron Highlands! I get some unusual request, and of course get to meet interesting people! Though I have not met them face to face, just communicating with them is already intriguing enough! Perhaps one day I may get to meet up with them, then again some may be difficult like Roy Follows who is now residing in UK!

This post is rather dated but I was recently contacted by Paul. He asked me to google him and I found this article about him. Just thought I republished here to share about his experiences. - Jan.

Cops of Yore
By Revathi Murugappan
Sunday March 25, 2007

To mark the 200th anniversary of the Royal Malaysia Police today, StarMag talks to three retired officers who served in earlier times, in different capacities but under the same oath to put nation before self.

Copping communists

FOR three years, he led a double life during which the slightest mistake could mean his death at the hands of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP).

Fortunately, Paul Kiong managed to keep up the pretence so well that he successfully completed his mission and emerged from the jungle unscathed.

For this immense act of bravery, he was awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) or Grand Knight of Valour, the country's highest medal for gallantry. Only 27 other people have been awarded the SP – often conferred posthumously – for acts of extraordinary courage or sacrifice for the nation.

At 63, Kiong still cuts a dashing figure. He has an unmistakable "policeman aura" about him – he still walks like a cop with his head held high and a ramrod straight back.

But as a young man fresh out of school, he wasn't sure what career path to take. So he applied to the Customs Department, the air force and the police. As luck would have it, the police were the first to respond and after a series of interviews, offered him a job in 1964.

Water Quality From Cameron Highlands Rivers

Stream investigators monitor water quality
Thursday July 1, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Chew Lai Ling and Suhaimi Mamat are teachers in Cameron Highlands. Chew, 42, teaches music at her own Cameron Music School in Brinchang whilst Suhaimi, 28, teaches special education to students with learning disabilities at Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanah Rata.

One Saturday morning, Chew, Suhaimi and another 26 teachers voluntarily gave up their rest day to walk about outdoors. They were assigned to a "crime scene investigation" of a different kind.

They went to several locations and by the time they arrived at the final spot within this highland resort at about 4.30pm, the ambient temperature had rose to 30°C. At the final "crime scene," the team got the results. It was what they had expected and it was not a favourable one.

New Bertam Valley Road Causes Farmers to Protest

Tense standoff by farmers over road project
By Sylvia Looi and Ivan Loh
Wednesday June 30, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: About 400 farmers in Bertam Valley here blocked the main road for three hours to stop enforcement officers from tearing down their farms to make way for a road project.

The farmers used their vehicles to block the road, causing a 2km traffic jam. The standoff lasted from 8.30am until about 11.30am.

Several enforcement officers managed to enter the farms and remove flower pots and destroy vegetables by the side of the road.

Bertam Valley Village Deve­lopment and Security Committee (JKKK) chairman Tung Cheok Nam said: "Fortunately, no fights broke out."

He said Health Minister and MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai who is also the Pahang MCA chief and Pahang state executive council member Datuk Hoh Khai Mun arrived at the scene and asked the enforcement officers to stop their operations.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Foreign Workers Labour Shortage

Camerons tourism faces backlash over lack of foreign workers
Sunday June 20, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Tourism in cool Cameron Highlands, famous for its tea plantations, vegetable and strawberry gardens, is "under threat."

And it has got nothing to do with intruders, just the lack of foreign workers. Hoteliers and tour operators said the lack of helping hands might lead to more tea plantations and vegetable farms closing down.

Hotelier Datuk Yee Shan Kon said there would be a chain reaction if the agriculture sector suffered.

"The butterfly farms, cactus gardens, souvenir shops, restaurants and sundry shops will also be affected. The entire wellness of the highlands will be affected," said Yee, who is managing director of four popular hotels here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cameron Highlands Tea Industry Labour Shortage

This is another case of the short-sightedness of Government. They always think the locals will willingly take up employment in all areas of work. They make some industry not able to approve certain work permits and hope the locals will take up the vacancy. So tell me, what happens when no locals take up those vacancy? Time to close shop and relocate elsewhere where at least can find people to work, perhaps China? Vietnam? India? That will be the end of the local industry.

Cameron Highlands is facing labour shortage because not many local people want to work in this kind of industry. I also come across many factories during my sales visit around Malaysia, and the owners tell me a similar story of their woes. I don't know why, but some of these people always think the government will take care of them, work when they like it, don't come to work when they don't feel like it. Then when the factory cannot tahan get into the red and close down, they make big complain that the factory owner run away and now no job to do. This tidak apa work attitude won't get them far. So much for Malaysia Boleh. Boleh-land is fast becoming tidak boleh-land.

Labour shortage in tea industry
By Foong Thim Leng
Monday June 14, 2010

IPOH: The century-old tea industry in Cameron Highlands is facing the possibility of an untimely demise due to manpower shortage.

Two tea plantations there have already ceased operations due to lack of suitable workers and two more are operating at about 20% below full capacity, said Malaysian Tea Producers Association chairman Datuk Kesav Kumar Agarwal.

He said the plantations on 2,400ha of land needed 1,800 workers at any one time, 20% of whom had to be replaced annually.

Bharat Tea Plantation
Time for tea: Tourists enjoying the scenic view at the Bharat tea plantation at Cameron Valley. Tea plantations may cease operations if the labour shortage continues.

"If the figures are not attained, tea production may cease in a decade or even sooner. The industry supports thousands of people directly through downstream activities like re-packing, logistics, trading, marketing and retailing.

"A significant number will be adversely affected by the untimely demise of the industry," he said.

Without local tea, he said Malaysians would then have to pay more for imported tea, adding that the country’s gross domestic product would also be affected.

"The Government can keep the industry alive by approving permits for Bangladeshis, who are willing to work in the agriculture sector and have a track record of success in this field," he said.

Kesav Kumar said the Government now only approved workers from countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekis-tan, Pakistan and India but they were reluctant to work in agriculture-based industries.

The Home Ministry imposed a freeze on Bangladeshi workers in October 2007.

Kesav Kumar said it was impossible to employ locals as there was currently no unemployment in the Cameron Highlands.

He also appealed to the Govern­ment to allow foreign workers to be in the country for 10 years instead of five.

"The replacement worker has to be retrained and takes more than a year to become competent," he added.

Cameron Highlands has 2,500ha of vegetable farms, 480ha of flower gardens and 40ha of strawberry gardens, churning out RM580mil in annual sales.

"A significant attraction of what Cameron Highlands has for local and foreign tourists is the cool climate and the beautiful tea estates, flowers, strawberry and vegetable gardens. If they are gone, what will make visitors come?" said Kesav. -- The Star

Monday, June 07, 2010

Vegetable Prices Increasing

The local Malaysia news daily reported that the price of vegetables would increase by at least 30% due to low supply caused by the erratic weather and lack of workers.

Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers Association secretary Chay Ee Mong was quoted by the daily as saying that the supply of beans, tomatoes and chillies would be affected.

He claimed that farmers were reluctant to plant vegetables as they were facing difficulties getting workers.

Some 80% of the vegetables planted in Cameron Highlands is for local consumption while the rest are exported to Singapore.

Prices soaring due to shortage of workers, claim farmers
By Foong Thim Leng
Monday June 7, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Prices of vegetables have almost doubled since April partly due to a dearth of manpower, farmers here claimed.

Cameron Highlands Vegetable Farmers Association secretary Chay Ee Mong said the shortage of foreign workers had reached a critical stage, causing a steep hike in the cost of greens.

Vegetable prices from the highlands had increased between 50% and 100% since April, he added.

Good help: Chong (right) and his foreign workers harvesting brocolli in Brinchang.

Citing examples, Chay said English cabbage had gone up by 40 sen to RM1.60 per kilo, leafy mustard (sawi) price doubled to RM4, French beans (from RM2.50 to RM4), dwarf white mustard or siew pak choy (from RM1.50 to RM4), and tomato (from RM1 to RM1.50).

Vegetable farmers here are appealing to the Government to review a regulation on reducing the number of foreign workers from 2.5 million to 1.8 million.

They also want the Government to lift the ban on workers from Bangladesh.

Chay said the price hike was also a result of a reduction of imported vegetables due to natural disasters in countries like China.

Cameron Highlands produces 550 tonnes of vegetables daily, of which 80% is for the local market and the rest exported to Singapore.

Chay said many farmers were forced to operate with a skeleton crew and also work additional hours to meet demand because they had difficulties in hiring foreign workers.

"We hope the Government will approve the entry of 5,000 foreign workers, especially Bangladeshis, for farms here," he said yesterday.

The freeze on hiring Bangladeshi workers was re-introduced by the Home Ministry in October 2007 in view of the "scandals" surrounding their intake.

Chay said farmers preferred Bangladeshi workers because they were reliable, hard working and were prepared to work for more than five years.

He said only 10% of workers in Cameron Highlands were locals, comprising mainly orang asli.

A Brinchang farmer, Chong Sek Chuang, 47, said it took farmers about a year or two to train a new foreign worker.

By not extending their permits, he said Malaysia would become a training ground for workers.

"They can easily seek higher pay as skilled workers elsewhere," he said.

"We will lose whatever competitive advantage we have." -- The Star

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Illegal land clearing for cultivation in Cameron Highlands

Sultan of Pahang upset with illegal land clearing for cultivation in Cameron Highlands
By Nik Naizi Husin
Saturday May 29, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Illegal land clearing for cultivation has become a big problem in Cameron Highlands that it has prompted a call from the Sultan of Pahang himself.

Sultan Ahmad Shah Sultan Abu Bakar said he had received complaints and assured that the Government would take stern action against the culprits, especially those involved in the most recent case in Kampung Lemoi.

He gave assurance to the orang asli community living there that the issue would be looked into.

We are here for you: The Sultan talking to the orang asli during his visit to Kampung Manson.

Twelve hectares of land on the orang asli settlement in Kampung Lemoi was found to have been illegally cleared and cultivated.

"I have told the district officer (Datuk Mohd Noor Abdul Rani) to do the necessary pertaining to this matter," the Sultan told the orang asli during his visit to Kampung Manson recently.

He said police would be called to assist, if the need arose, in taking actions against those responsible for the land clearing.

He said there were also some who were given approval by the Government to open up land for cultivation but due to greed, went beyond the total hectarage approved.

He warned that the temporary operating licences of these greedy individuals could be cancelled.

Sultan Ahmad Shah said there had to be proper control on land clearing and excessive development in Cameron Highlands.

"It is a tourist spot visited by people from all over the world, so we do not want the environment to be affected by the illegal land clearing.

"If the environment is not protected, this area will face problems in future, such as disrupted water supply," he said, while commending efforts taken by the relevant authorities to tackle the illegal activity.

"I would also like to thank television stations for highlighting this issue for the Government to take note," he added.

New Route to Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lipis to Bertam Valley

Earlier, the Sultan was briefed by Mohd Noor on the new road from Sungai Koyan (in Kuala Lipis) to Lembah Bertam (in Cameron Highlands).

The 79km route is scheduled for completion in August. Work is in progress on the final stretch of 11km.

Sultan Ahmad Shah said that once the road was completed, all buildings next to the road would be vacated.

"I am satisfied with the progress of this project. It is targetted to open by Aug 26," he added.

The new road will be the fourth access to Cameron Highlands, apart from the routes from Tapah, Simpang Pulai (both in Perak) and Gua Musang (Kelantan). -- The Star

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rafflesia used as traditional medicine unwise

Warning against 'jamu' using Rafflesia

KUALA LUMPUR: Clinical tests on mice have shown that traditional medicine using the Rafflesia flower can have adverse effects on the liver and spleen, claims a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia senior lecturer.

Dr Nazlina Ibrahim, of the university's School of Biosciences and Biotechnology, said Masters student Khairunnadwa Jemon's research found that the internal organs of white mice, which had delivered offspring and were given compounds of buds of the Rafflesia for 14 days, had become smaller.

She said traditional medicine using the flower were usually consumed by women who had just delivered to shrink their uterus and by men, supposedly for sexual strength.

Dr Nazlina said in an article in the university's news portal that the research by Khairunnadwa, under her supervision, found that the liver managed to detoxify ingredients from the buds of the Rafflesia azlanii.

"But this process also shrank the liver from its original size. The experiment thus confirmed the ability of the flower buds. But the risks to other vital organs being affected also exists, that is, the liver," said Dr Nazlina in the article.

Warning against 'jamu' using Rafflesia

She said woman who have been drinking water boiled with the buds of the Rafflesia for after-birth treatment needed to seriously consider the adverse and dangerous effects.

Dr Nazlina said the level of toxicity seen in the study should be a warning to people taking "jamu" using parts of the Rafflesia azlanii as a source of traditional medicine.

"If one wants to reduce weight, one should have a balanced diet and exercise. These are more effective and safe," she said.

The Rafflesia has for generations been used as an ingredient of traditional medicine, and the buds of the flower can be bought for between RM9 and RM25, depending on the size. - Bernama

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rafflesia Flower Kerrii Found

650ha of Rafflesia Kerrii clusters found in Kelantan
Wednesday May 19, 2010

KOTA BARU: A 650ha site with many clusters of Rafflesia Kerrii has been found in Lojing Highlands, about 260km south of Kelantan.

The area has a potential to be a world heritage site but is threatened by encroaching development from neighbouring Cameron Highlands.

The site was discovered by a Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) research team headed by its senior lecturer Zulhazman Hamzah in 2008.

UMK vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Zainai Mohamed announ­ced the find at a two-day National Conference on Natural Resources here yesterday.

Dr Zainai said that with the discovery, the area could be developed for the agro-tourism industry, but it needed to be gazetted as a national and world treasure.

"Nowhere else in the world can we find clusters of such species and it should be gazetted as soon as possible to protect its natural habitat. Otherwise, development will destroy the area," he said.

He also said more research would be done on the area, including the economic spin-off, natural habitat and potential conservation.

Zulhazman said after a two-year study of the area, he concluded that it has a vast tourism potential.

"I discovered 26 spots using the Geographic Information System. I have plotted three different sites – Kampung Cedau, Kampung Kuala Rengi and Kampung Gedik.

"All the Rafflesias were located outside the Lojing Highlands forest reserve and therefore it is vulnerable to development unless they are protected," he said.

Rafflesia Kerrii is the second largest flower after Rafflesia Arnoldii.

He said serious efforts must be done to conserve the area that has no fewer than 260 pods scattered all over, adding that a working paper had been sent to the state government proposing that the area be gazetted but they have yet to receive any response. -- The Star

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cameron Highlands's farmers need foreign workers

MP: Cameron's farmers need foreign workers
Monday May 10, 2010

IPOH: The multi-million ringgit farming industry in Cameron Highlands is under threat due to the Government's ruling restricting the hiring of foreign workers, said Cameron Highlands MP Datuk S.K. Devamany.

Devamany, who is Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said that unless an exemption was allowed for farmers there to hire foreign help, the highlands could very well lose its status as the country's main food provider and exporter.

He claimed that farmers in Cameron Highlands were now experiencing a shortage of nearly 2,000 workers with the Government's move to reduce the number of foreign workers from 2.5 million to 1.8 million.

"We welcome the policy as we cannot allow our country to be overrun with foreigners.

"But we cannot totally dismantle a policy as it can be disruptive to certain industries," he told reporters here yesterday, adding that the farming industry in Cameron Highlands catered to a niche market.

"It grows 40% of our vegetables, strawberries - which cannot be grown elsewhere in the country - tea and flowers for both the local and export markets.

"We do not want all these products to be brought into the country," he said, adding that this would then lead to more imports.

Devamany, who recently met 28 farmer associations in Cameron Highlands, said farmers there required some 6,000 workers at any one time.

He said the farms were also losing foreign workers to other countries like the Netherlands, Japan and Taiwan after having trained them in computer technology and agricultural expertise.

"To produce vegetables, flowers and tea in a temperate climate, we need people trained for a minimum of two years in fertigation, fertilisation and pesticide application," he added.

He also said local workers were not used to the living and working conditions in the highlands. -- The Star

Friday, May 07, 2010

Orang Asli free to practice any religion

Well, I certainly hope so. Because sources from the ground for the past many years says otherwise. Sometimes there were road blockades and stand-offs. This kind of things never get reported in mainstream news. We just keep it to ourselves, hush-hush and pray that something will be done.

Freedom to practise any faith
Friday May 7, 2010

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The orang asli in Pahang are free to choose the religion they wish to profess without fear and pressure.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said statistics showed there were 13,741 households among the orang asli communities in the state and 1,000 of them were Muslims.

He said 800 of them were Christians, 300 Bahais, 90 Buddhists, 10 Hindus and the rest professed other faiths.

"The Government has allocated RM5.374mil for the Orang Asli Civilisation Development (Petama) programme.

"The youths among the orang asli are the main focus as they are the catalyst in their community’s social and economic development," Adnan said in his speech to close the Petama 2010 four-day homestay programme held in several orang asli villages in Cameron Highlands district here recently.

His speech was read out by Cameron Highlands District officer Datuk Mohd Noor Abdul Rani.

Adnan said Petama aimed to help the orang asli give priority to their children’s education for a better future. -- The Star

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pahang Attracting More Tourist

Pahang to attract more tourists with better packages
By Roslina Mohamad
Wednesday May 5, 2010

KUANTAN: Pahang, which registered 10 million tourist arrivals last year, has targeted to attract 13.6 million tourists this year by offering better and suitable tour packages featuring the state's popular destinations and activities.

State Tourism, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Shafiq Fauzan Sharif said there were efforts to upgrade current packages and design new ones to meet the needs of individuals and families.

"It will be a complete package including food, lodging, activities and places to go and it will be a concerted effort by the state government and industry players," he told reporters after chairing a dialogue with members of the Malaysian Association of Hotels Pahang chapter here yesterday.

The packages, he said, would include the state's 10 best tourism icons - Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands, Fraser's Hill, Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Lipis (historical and heritage town), Taman Negara, Tioman Island, Rompin (billfish sports fishing), Pekan (royal town) and Cherating (surfing paradise).

He also said Fraser's Hill was given a facelift recently costing RM24mil while RM500,000 had been set aside to develop Sungei Lembing, once dubbed the El Dorado of the East where the largest, longest and deepest subterranean mine in the world was once located. -- The Star

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our hill resorts need cleaning up

Our hill resorts need cleaning up
Wednesday April 14, 2010

I AM happy to read that there is a freeze on development in Fraser’s Hill.

I spent two days and one night there two weeks ago and came away feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. However, I noticed garbage on the way up the hill and also around Fraser’s.

Another thing I couldn’t help but notice was that some of the bungalows were dirty and rundown. There was also a resort there that looked utterly decrepit.

The English translation on some of the information provided for foreign tourists was atrocious, to say the least!

I have also been to Cameron Highlands and yes, garbage was everywhere too.

That draws me to the letter “Poor tourists are simply too dirty for comfort (The Star, April 13). As the writer points out in his letter, you don’t find rubbish in high class neighbourhoods in our country.

I stay in a new development area in Cheras and I see rubbish piled up everywhere. When I go to places like Tropicana and Damansara, for example, I find them so well kept. Why is this so?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fraser's Hill Development Halted

Pahang state exco rules out any new development in Fraser’s Hill
By Roslina Mohamad
Tuesday April 13, 2010

KUANTAN: No new land will be opened for development in Bukit Fraser, a popular highland resort in the state. The decision, made three weeks ago by the state executive council, is effective immediately.

Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the move was necessary to protect and preserve the natural setting of the highland, also known as "Little England".

However, the state government would still allow development that would add value to the current products, buildings or facilities, he added.

"We may entertain requests that will add value, such as a farm or hotel operators who plan to renovate or upgrade their premises," he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding at Bukit Gambang Resort here yesterday.

Old world charm: Fraser’s Hill’s clock tower, the town’s landmark is reminiscent of little village squares found in the English countryside.
Old world charm: Fraser’s Hill’s clock tower, the town’s landmark is reminiscent of little village squares found in the English countryside.

The MoU, between Bukit Fraser Development Corporation (the state’s tourism agency) and 20 tourism-related associations, is aimed at fostering better ties and networking.

Adnan, citing many examples where over-development could spoil the environment, said the state government would not want the same thing to happen to Bukit Fraser.

"Only 10% of Bukit Fraser has been developed and the rest of the highland will remain untouched," he added.

On developments in Cameron Highlands, another popular highland resort in the state, Adnan said the situation was still under control.

Conceding that there was land encroachment, and noting the poor sanitary and waste disposal system, he said the state government was working to overcome the problems.

"We are doing something about it. We can still mitigate the destruction that has occured in Cameron Highlands. It is not that serious," Adnan said.

On the second access route to Bukit Fraser that has yet to be opened to the public due to road defects and ongoing repair work over the past 11 years, Adnan clarified that it was not abandoned.

The works department was in the midst of repairing the route, he added. -- The Star

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Flower Show in Chelsea

Local flora set to bloom at the Chelsea Flower Show this May
By Sheila Stanley
Thursday April 1, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: A tropical Malaysia-themed garden is set to bloom at the Chelsea Flower Show in London this May.

The 220-sq metre garden, designed by award-winning botanical design firm Amphibian Designs, is inspired by lush rainforest and traditional Malaysian village garden plants.

The main person behind all this is 28-year-old ethnobotanist James Wong, an up-and-coming television star in Britain, who co-founded Amphibian Designs with partner David Cubero.

"We’d like to pair traditional Malaysian materials like sustainable coconut wood and white limestone with native species like pitcher plants," he said while on a recent trip to Malaysia to film the BBC2 documentary special James Wong’s Malaysian Garden.

While in the country, Wong took the opportunity to scout around for local plants that would survive the more temperate English climate.

Floral pursuit: Wong posing with the Rose grape (medinilla magnifica) plant at the YG Park nursery in Cameron Highlands recently.
Floral pursuit: Wong posing with the Rose grape (medinilla magnifica) plant at the YG Park nursery in Cameron Highlands recently.

One of the places he visited was Cameron Highlands, where in YG Park nursery he came across the Rose grape (medinilla magnifica) plant and the elephant ear taro (alocasia macrorrhizos).

He also shopped for some cultural items to be included in the garden.

"I picked up a tepak sirih while in Kuching – I think it’ll lend a unique feel to the garden," he said.

Intended as a showcase to highlight Malaysian flora and natural habitats, the Malaysian garden in Chelsea is part of Tourism Malaysia’s ongoing promotion to sell Malaysian parks and gardens abroad.

Born to a Sarawakian-Chinese father and an English mother, Wong studied primarily in Singapore and moved to Britain for his university years.

He studied business in the beginning but realised his life’s passion was plants and decided to do ethnobotany.

He completed his MSc in Ethnobotany at the University of Bath and trained at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

His research resulted in him living in Ecuador for 18 months, learning how the Ecuadorians use their plants and picking up Spanish.

Wong ventured into television not because of the glamour but because he thought it would be the best way for him to do ethnobotany without spending the next seven years of his life "working towards a PhD in a remote part of the world and studying a subject that only the professors that marked my paper would ever read".

Wong has an infectious passion for plants and people, which doesn’t stop when the cameras stop rolling.

The Malaysian garden at the Chelsea Flower Show will be opened by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

For an update on the garden, visit
-- The Star

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blue Valley estate workers go three months without salaries

Estate workers go three months without salaries
Monday March 29, 2010

WORKERS at Blue Valley Tea Estate in Cameron Highlands have not been paid their salaries for the past three months, highlighted Tamil Nesan.

It quoted Blue Valley MIC branch chief S. Cheran as saying that the matter was brought to their attention and a report had been submitted to the Human Resources Ministry.

He said the workers received many benefits when the estate was managed by the National Land Finance Cooperative Society, but the benefits were reduced and salaries were paid late when it was sold to a private company.

Production of tea leaves had stopped temporarily and the workers were assigned to do outdoor work, he said, adding that the workers were also facing various health and housing problems. -- The Star Compilation

Saturday, March 27, 2010

REACH Cameron Highlands

REACH-ing out
Saturday March 27, 2010

Cameron Highlands has been experiencing accelerated growth, especially over the past two decades that, while beneficial to the local economy, is threatening the area with environmental degradation.

Part of this can be attributed to poor planning and enforcement.

Landslides, silted rivers and dams, constant water disruptions and poor water quality have become common issues in this picturesque highland retreat.

Alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating environment, especially the declining water quality and deforestation, a group of Cameron Highlands residents decided to form Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands or REACH in 2001.

REACH replanting
Giving Mother Nature a hand: REACH volunteers planting tree saplings to counter deforestation in Cameron Highlands

"It all began back in 2000 when laboratory testings confirmed the presence of E. coli, a bacterium that’s a health hazard, in our treated drinking water," says REACH president Ramakrishnan Ramasamy, 45.

"As there were farms located above the water catchment areas, we collected water samples and did further tests. We were shocked to find that not only did they show presence of animal faeces, there was human waste as well due to the lack of proper sanitation by farm workers!

"The authorities promised to shut down the 68 farms but till now, nothing much has been done. We have no problems with farming but we are concerned when the farms are located above the water catchment areas," he adds.

REACH reports that 97% of Earth’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable and almost 3% is locked away in ice caps and glaciers or deep underground. It is estimated that only 0.003% is actually available for use. Mountain areas are the main sources for fresh water, and so must be protected.

REACH is also worried about recent findings that show the presence of DDT in the rivers, a synthetic pesticide for controlling malaria that is banned in most developed countries.

"As DDT is banned in Malaysia, we suspect that it is smuggled from neighbouring countries and mixed into local pesticides. It has a half-life of up to 100 years, which is very detrimental to the environment and our health in the long run. We will publish a full report when we have compiled more facts," says Ramakrishnan.

Besides highlighting the water issues in Cameron Highlands, REACH’s other two core concerns are reforestation and recycling.

"We are working with the foresty department, corporate companies and organisations on an on-going project to reforest a 17ha site at Hulu Bertam Forest Reserve, Gunung Brinchang.

"Planting endemic tree saplings ensures that the original biodiversity of the area is retained," explains Ramakrishnan.

Their recycling project has also gained momentum due to overwhelming response from the community.

"We have set up many collection centres all across town and we have a compactor site where recyclables are compacted to facilitate easier transportation to factories in Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur," reveals Ramakrishnan.

Many hotels and schools in Cameron Highlands are already involved in the programme, encouraging recycling via buy-back schemes and creating awareness through talks.

REACH published Wild Orchids Of Cameron Highlands last year, a coffeetable book featuring the 630 wild orchid species of Cameron Highlands.

"Our committee took eight years to work on this book. Plans are also afoot to set up a wild orchid sanctuary to house wild orchids confiscated from poachers," he says.

REACH is run by a group of volunteers with funds from membership, donations, small grants, reforestation activities and sales of souvenirs. Visit to become a volunteer or for more details.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jim Thompson Thai Silk King

And yet another conspiracy story about Jim Thompson, the Thai Silk King. Nobody knows for sure what happened to him and probably never will considering that there is just isn't enough evidence about what transpired on that day. Still there will be people who just loves a good mystery and will come with a conspiracy theory of their own. And so we have another angle to the disappearance of Jim Thompson!

Looking for the Silk King
By Foong Thim Leng
Tuesday March 23, 2010

New theories emerge about Jim Thompson's disappearance over 40 years ago.

IT has been 43 years since Thai Silk King Jim Thompson went missing in the jungles of Cameron Highlands but the hills are still buzzing with tales of what could have happened to him.

Some of the theories on Thompson's disappearance contain conspiracies fit for a spy movie, while others are too ludicrous to believe.

Recently, a mundane story came out of Cameron Highlands that Thompson's disappearance was a simple road accident.

"An alternative story says the culprit was driving a timber lorry and the body was disposed of at a sawmill," he said in an interview.

Rivers said he first heard of the intriguing Thompson case when he came to the highlands over 20 years ago.

"The story is so famous that in London alone, there are about 20 bars and restaurants serving Thai dishes and food from Asian countries named after Jim Thompson.

"Even the Strawberry Park Resort in Cameron Highlands has the Jim Thompson Terrace, a restaurant with a Jim Thompson hamburger as one of the items on its menu," he said.

Today, tourists are still queuing up daily to visit the Jim Thompson Thai House (Museum) in Rama Road 1, Bangkok, although many do not know that Cameron Highlands is in Malaysia.

Captain Philip J. Rivers at the verandah of Moonlight Cottage where Jim Thompson was last seen in 1967.
Captain Philip J. Rivers at the verandah of Moonlight Cottage where Jim Thompson was last seen in 1967.

As the story goes, Thompson had come to the highlands with his close Thai friend Mrs Connie Mangskau less than a week after his 61st birthday in 1967 to spend an Easter weekend with friends, Dr T.G. and Mrs Helen Ling of Singapore at their holiday bungalow, Moonlight Cottage, located above the golf course in Tanah Rata.

He and his friends attended church service on Easter Sunday which fell on March 26 that year and then had a picnic before returning to the bungalow. Thompson was last seen standing at the verandah. Despite a massive search that followed, he was never found.

Tales of his disappearance then spread like wildfire.

"Pundits pontificated that Thompson was a CIA agent embroiled in Thai politics, because of his wartime service in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services).

"He was also labelled a man of mystery, a soldier of fortune and even a spy, becoming a double agent working for the Chinese communists. Conversely, they whisked him away to settle the war in Vietnam or to revive the silk trade in China.

"His wartime service was exaggerated to turn him into a skilled jungle fighter who had been behind Japanese lines in Burma or directed the Thai underground.

"That is all nonsense," said Rivers who has carried out research on Thompson.

Rivers said the case attracted a host of practitioners of the occult arts, including mediums, clairvoyants, bomoh, soothsayers, astrologers and palmists.

One of them, Peter Hurkos, was a private investigator said to be a telepathy expert from Los Angeles, hired by the Thompson family.

His credentials were that he had assisted the police in search of the mysterious killer in the Boston Strangler case.

It was also said that he had crushed the scepticism of a non-believer in Boston by telling a young policeman correctly that he had been making love to his wife on the kitchen table a few hours ago.

His spiel was that Thompson had been drugged unconscious, abducted and flown off to Cambodia.

Jim Thompson pondering over one of his silk designs at a tropical garden in Bangkok in 1965.
Jim Thompson pondering over one of his silk designs at a tropical garden in Bangkok in 1965.

But when he was told that there was no landing strip, the story was amended to include an equally impossible boat ride to a neighbouring state for the plane trip.

Beside Hurkos, a swamp of mediums and mystic psychics swept through the jungle and came out with an assortment of sinister possibilities.

Retired Deputy Supt Ismail Hashim, 85, who was the OCPD in Cameron Highlands then, said he logged 118 such people but many others came later.

"They were of all races and nationalities and many had come all the way from Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Some even posted in their predictions.

"For days, the hills were alive with the sound of incantations, gongs and firecrackers to ward off evil spirits.

Strawberry Park Resort resident manager Lim Wai Ming said the story circulating in Ringlet was that on his death bed, an elderly farmer confessed to his family to ease his conscience that he had once knocked down and killed a European man and buried him in an unmarked grave.

However, the cliff-hanger was that he died before he could gasp out where the body was buried.

Long-time resident of the highlands Capt Philip J. Rivers said it was a credible story.

Rivers is a master mariner, lecturer in nautical studies, and a former insurance fraud investigator. He is also the author of the book, ‘1421' Voyages: Fact and Fantasy, published by the Perak Academy.

"In 1967, it was rumoured that a lorry had struck Thompson on the road but this was not reported to the police.

"It was said that the driver in his panic placed the body on to the back of his vehicle, drove off and buried the body in the outskirts of a vegetable patch.

"The stories were that Thompson was either eaten by a tiger, leopard or a wild boar, gulped down by a python or swallowed by quicksand.

"Others argued that the orang asli had accidentally killed him with a dart from a blow pipe, some said he had fallen into an animal trap," said Ismail.

He said a ridiculous tale featured Thompson in a cannibal feast but the most amusing of all was that a tribal "princess" kept him imprisoned as a "love slave".

Rivers said there were quarters who claimed that the police were slow in their investigations and had only done a "cosmetic search" for Thompson because of the conspiracy theories.

"From what I have learnt, the police had done a thorough search for Thompson, and Ismail had been on the scene immediately on the evening after receiving a report," said Rivers.

"Practically all police units, including the Special Branch, CID, Police Field Force, orang asli from Senoi Praaq and the Jubah teams had swept the jungle and the highlands during investigations.

"Experts on secret societies were also sent up to check whether Thompson could have been kidnapped. A woman inspector, Tan Ai Bee, was sent to stay with the women at Moonlight Cottage on the pretext of offering protection to determine whether Thompson's disappearance had something to do with domestic matters," said Rivers.

Others involved in the search included a British Military Police sergeant and a small detachment, convalescents from the British Military Hospital, local residents, missionaries, students from the American School, tourists and golfers, two Dayak Rangers with a tracker dog and two Danish friends of Thompson from Bangkok.

Even former adviser to the Malayan Aborigine Department, the famous Richard Noone, hired by the Thai Silk Company, failed to locate Thompson after a search with orang asli despite his extensive knowledge of Cameron Highlands both before the war and during the Emergency.

Noone's final observation was that "Mr Thompson was not in the jungle, dead or alive as he would certainly be found by now."

"The possibilities have narrowed to Thompson accidentally meeting his death and his remains lay undetected somewhere in the Cameron Highlands," said Rivers.

Rivers will be giving a talk entitled He Never Left The Hills – The Real Search For Jim Thompson, organised by the Perak Academy at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh, at 7.30pm on Friday. For reservations, contact 05-547 8949/016-551 8172. -- The Star.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Strawberry Farm in Genting Highlands

Strawberry lure at Genting
Story and photos by Nik Naizi Husin
Thursday February 25, 2010

Bentong: Genting Highlands has new attractions for the droves of tourists who visit its theme parks and casino. It is now also home to strawberry and orchid farms.

Genting Strawberry Leisure Farms chief executive K.C. Chung said his farm was conceptualised a year ago to diversify the tourism products in Genting Highlands.

“Cameron Highlands is famous for its strawberries and people travel there to visit its many big farms.

Getting ripe: Chung showing the unplucked strawberries at his farm in Genting Highlands recently.
Getting ripe: Chung showing the unplucked strawberries at his farm in Genting Highlands recently.

“Although our farm is just a little over 2ha, we optimised the use of space with the help of friends who are experts in farming besides my own experience.

“The local tourism industry can keep growing if the players are creative in coming up with new ideas,” he said.

Full blossoms: Genting Highlands in Pahang is not just known for its theme park and casino as it is attracting tourists to an orchid farm and a strawberry farm in its locality.
Full blossoms: Genting Highlands in Pahang is not just known for its theme park and casino as it is attracting tourists to an orchid farm and a strawberry farm in its locality.

He said that Genting Highlands appealed to visitors for its cool climate and theme park and now the strawberry farm as well.

“At my farm, visitors can pick strawberries, vegetables and mushrooms by themselves,” he said.

There are several types of mushrooms growing at the farm.

Chung said the farm was crowded during school holidays as admission was free.

For leisure: An attraction at the farm is this bamboo hut.
For leisure: An attraction at the farm is this bamboo hut.

Some 3km up the road leading to Awana Genting is an orchid farm.

It is a little hidden and many visitors are unaware of it, but orchid lovers have known about The World of Phalaenopsis for years.

Some 50 species thrive on the 0.4ha there.

It was established by Y.K. Yap, who started collecting and growing orchids as a hobby until he realised he had enough of them to start a small farm. -- The StarMetro

Optimum land use; The rows of the strawberry plants at the farm.
Optimum land use; The rows of the strawberry plants at the farm.

Footnote: I think I saw their farm on the way down from First World Hotel. Maybe next time might give it a visit and look see. Something nearer to KL folks rather than travel so far to Cameron Highlands to see strawberry farm. Then again, Cameron Highlands is more soothing with all the greenery than Genting Highlands, eh? - Jan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vegetables to cost more during CNY

Shortage of supply may raise prices of greens
By Foong Thim Leng
Wednesday January 20, 2010

Cameron Highlands: Prices of vegetables with names that symbolise good tidings are expected to go up during Chinese New Year because of higher demand and lower supply.

Supply of the vegetables is expected to be lower because farms here were recently affected by bad weather, said Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers Association secretary-general Chay Ee Mong.

These include pak choy (cabbage – which gives the meaning of wealth), sang choy (lettuce – longevity), spring onions (chung – wisdom) and leeks (suan, which rhymes with "counting" in Mandarin).

Chay said demand for local vegetables would also increase as imports from China were expected to cost 30% more because heavy snowfall there resulted in poor harvests.

"We expect imports to be less as China has to feed its own population," he said in an interview.

Chay added that the price of leafy greens such as sawi from the highlands was affected by the big production of the vegetable from lowland farmers.

Vege prices up, pork to cost more due to high demand and low supply

Chinese New Year reunion dinners and other festive meals are going to cost more as prices of popular festive vegetables and pork keep escalating.

Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers Association secretary-general Chay Ee Mong said prices of pak choy (cabbage), sang choy (lettuce) and suan (leeks) — vegetables that symbolise good tidings — are expected to increase by as much as 30% due to high demand and low supply.

Prices of live pigs have risen by 4% since last October, from RM730 per 100kg to RM760, and the price of pork from RM14 to RM22 per kg during the same period because of a reduction in porkers (adult pigs) by breeders due to disease and culling of old sows.

To stabilise the rising pork prices the Veterinary Services Department has stepped in to relax the import conditions for pork and pork-based products, while the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry will for the first time put pork under the price control list along with sugar and other essential items for Chinese New Year. -- The Star News.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cameron Highlands Enviromental Issues

Cameron Highlands will always have environmental issues as long as there are "tidak apa" people in the government approving project without a care. Perhaps the lack of transparency in approving projects or some other undesirably elements (you know what I mean, the sad state of affairs in this country won't be solved overnight). Cameron Highlands will not be the only affected place, there are so many examples of gross neglect in preserving the environment in every part of Malaysia. Once this blows over, it will just be a footnote in the government. Sheesh...

Stop project in Cameron
Tuesday January 12, 2010

GEORGE TOWN: The Kampung Tersusun (Melayu) Anggerik project in Cameron Highlands should be cancelled to prevent tragedies related to hill development.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S.M. Mohamed Idris said that although the authorities’ move to issue a stop work order was positive, they should in fact put an end to the project.

"The project should not have been approved by the authorities as it falls under Class 4 (above 35 degrees gradient) slopes.

"There should not be any form of physical development in this environmentally sensitive area," he said.

Mohamed Idris, who is also Consumers’ Association of Penang president, was commenting on The Star’s front page report headline, "Hillside hazard" which said phase one of Kampung Tersusun (Melayu) project had encroached into 'forbidden’ zones. The proposed settlement scheme fell on a hilly terrain within Mentigi Forest Reserve and Gunung Jasar.

Mohamed Idris said that in view of the grave danger and previous tragedies in highland areas, it was vital the proposed development be relocated to a safer location.

"The authorities should also take firm action to ensure that the developers undertake rehabilitation of the exposed slopes," he said in a statement. -- Star News

Bureau urged to do own probe on environmental complaints
Wednesday January 13, 2010

PETALING JAYA: The Public Complaints Bureau's (PCB) over-reliance on feedback from government agencies that it is investigating can undermine its ability to resolve recurring problems of over-development in Cameron Highlands.

"I don't think the bureau is doing a thorough job. It is overly reliant on agencies against which complaints were levelled for clarification.

"It should be more proactive in handling complaints, like analysing all angles of mismanagement," said R. Ramakrishnan, the president of environmental watchdog Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach).

He said that from his experience in handling environmental-related complaints filed with PCB, the bureau wrote to the agencies concerned for comments.

"For instance, the slopes on Gunung Jasar clearly fall into the category of environmentally-sensitive area, where no physical development is to be allowed, and this is noted in the Local Plan, a document prepared by the district council itself," he said in response to a Starprobe article on the proposed settlement scheme in Tanah Rata.

The scheme, Kampung Tersusun (Melayu) Anggerik, is to be undertaken by the chairman of the Desa Anggerik Development Committee and claimed on its signboard that it had obtained the work permit from the Land Office.

District officer Datuk Mohamad Noor Abdul Rani, who is in charge of the Land Office, however, has refused to comment on the matter.

Local residents have petitioned for the project to be relocated as the development could destabilise the steep hillside. -- Star News

Contractor erred during earthworks
Thursday January 14, 2010

KUANTAN: The contractor who carried out earthworks in a settlement scheme that apparently encroached into a hilly terrain within the Mentigi Forest Reserve and Gunung Jasar did not put in place mitigation measures.

State Local Government, Envi­ronment and Health Committee chairman Datuk Hoh Khai Mun said the contractor, who started earthworks on May 4, did not have measures such as a siltation pond, causing silt to flow into a nearby creek.

"A stop-work order was issued on May 8 last year and no work has been done since as the authorities are not satisfied with the contractor's mitigation steps," he said after a state exco meeting here yesterday.

The Star highlighted the adverse environmental effects following earthworks carried out for the Kampung Tersusun (Melayu) Ang­gerik project, which is a new settlement in Cameron Highlands.

Silt and uprooted old growth during land clearing had affected the creek's water quality while nearby residents had expressed concern over the site, described as an "environmentally sensitive area".

It was also reported that the project was undertaken by the Desa Anggerik Development Committee chairman and a building plan indicated that there would be 80 lots on a 13ha area.

Hoh said an application for a land clearing permit was submitted to the land and district office about three months earlier by Sabri Saad, a Desa Anggerik committee representative.

He said the Drainage and Irrigation Department had, in its feedback, stated that the DID had no objection to the application as the creek was small.

"A permit was issued on April 17 last year with various conditions and that the department would monitor the progress," Hoh said, adding that the stop-work order was issued following a complaint from the DID.

However, Hoh denied the scheme had encroached into the reserve, adding that it was actually located within a Malay reserve area gazetted on Nov 19, 1998.

He said the creek was also not feeding into Sungai Terla, which was the main source of water for Cameron Highlands, as the site was located downstream from the river and the temporary occupation licences were only for 76 individuals on an 8ha land.

Hoh said he would meet the district officer today.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hillside hazard and other issues

Cameron Highlands is popular for tourist. But it has a number of enviromental issues. And yet again they are in the limelight for irresponsible development. And this was showcase in the frontpage of the local daily too! Cameron Highlands popularity sure produces it own set of problems. Hopefully the authority will do the needful to keep the enviroment protected or we are going to lose this beautiful highland retreat, not to mention the damage to its biodiversity. Sigh!

Hillside Hazard
By Hillary Chiew

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: This famous hill resort is no stranger to bad press, environmentally speaking.

From landslides to rising temperatures, from illegal land use to river contamination, the famous hill station is threatened by overdevelopment.

With the scarcity of flat land, development projects have inevitably encroached into forbidden zones. The latest involves a settlement scheme on a hilly terrain within Mentigi Forest Reserve and Gunung Jasar.

Last May 4, bulldozers cut a 500m trail into the forest reserve, uprooting the old growth and silting creeks that feed into Sungai Tela, a major water source of Cameron Highlands.

A signboard declared that the clearing is for phase one of Kampung Tersusun (Melayu) Anggerik undertaken by the chairman of the Desa Anggerik Development Committee. There is no mention of the architect, geotechnical engineer and developer.

But the earthwork stopped abruptly four days later. Sources said a stop-work order was issued by the District Office, signed by its Chief Assistant District Officer Mohd Isa Awang Chik, purportedly following complaints from the Drainage and Irrigation Department over the absence of silt prevention measures during the construction of the access road.

For the last eight months, residents of Carnation Park and their neighbours in Lembah Jasar, who live next to the project and had opposed it, have been left in the dark over the fate of the project. The residents numbering approximately 2,800, are wary that the project might be allowed to resume later.

A resident, who only wanted to be identified as Mrs Chong, said the residents first heard about plans to develop the forest reserve in 2005.

High tension: The TNB pylon on the ridge of Gunung Jasar, Cameron Highlands has caused landslides on the steep terrain.
High tension: The TNB pylon on the ridge of Gunung Jasar, Cameron Highlands has caused landslides on the steep terrain.

"We collected (signatures for) a petition and submitted it to the Mentri Besar. Then everything went quiet. Right after the March 8 general election (in 2008), word went around that part of the reserve had been degazetted and turned into a Malay reserve, and that temporary land titles had been issued to the Desa Anggerik Committee.

"We are shocked that a human settlement is going to be located on such steep slopes. It will endanger the would-be occupants as well as we who live at the fringe of the hill," she said.

An area of 562ha was gazetted in 1933 as the Mentigi Forest Reserve but a total of 203ha were already excised over the years, with the largest plot being 192ha in 1996.

She said Gunung Jasar is prone to erosion, as evident from the occurrence of several landslides along the TNB pylon; the area was destablished when the transmitter structures were erected. Chong expressed concern that future phases of the housing project will creep into steeper terrains.

She insisted that the petition was not against the creation of a Malay village but was an appeal for the project to be relocated to a safer place.

According to the Local Plan, the project site falls into Class 3 (above 26° gradient) and Class 4 (above 35° gradient) slopes which are environmentally sensitive areas that should not have any form of physical development.

Nevertheless, the project claimed that it had obtained a "work permit" from the Land and District Office, as declared on its signboard.

District officer Datuk Mohamad Noor Abdul Rani, however, refused to be interviewed. He conveyed a message of "no comments" through his personal assistant.

When contacted, Desa Anggerik Committee chairman Usop Yong also declined comment.

Who's responsible? The signboard announcing the Phase One development of Kampung Tersusun (Melayu) Anggerik next to the road leading into Carnation Park. It does not state who the architect, geotechnical engineer or developer are.
Who's responsible? The signboard announcing the Phase One development of Kampung Tersusun (Melayu) Anggerik next to the road leading into Carnation Park. It does not state who the architect, geotechnical engineer or developer are.

"The matter is with the state government. No comments," he said.

Meanwhile, the contractor for the project – Alam Rimba Sdn Bhd – when approached in Tanah Rata in June last year confirmed that a stop-work order was issued in the early days of the project but said the directive came from Kuantan, the state administrative centre.

"The state government instructed that all hill slope projects be stopped temporarily. The rest of it, I don't know. I'm just the contractor," said its director Capt (Rtd) Azman Ahmad.

However, he claimed that the title for the land was approved 15 years ago.

"We discussed with the Land and District Office and the State Govern-ment the shortage of land for the growing population of Malays in Cameron Highlands. Those given the lots are Malays who live in the town, like civil servants, business operators and pensioners. They are low-income earners."

When asked about safety measures, he explained that the cutting of the slope will be limited to a built-up area of around 278sqm in a lot measuring 501sqm to 929sqm.

The building plan obtained indicated that there would be 80 lots on the 13ha site. Overlaying the plan on the Local Plan clearly showed the type of terrain the development will be located on (see graphic).

He said the building plan was drawn up by the Town and Country Planning Department and submitted to the Land and District Office for approval.

He later turned hostile and questioned this reporter's intention. "Is this going to be a positive or negative story? Are you trying to jeopardise a project for the Malays?"

Last July, residents brought their concerns to the attention of the Public Complaints Bureau (PCB).

Following its inspection of the site on Sept 20 by two of its officers, accompanied by a land and district senior officer, state PCB director Azlan Shah Abdul Latif informed Chong (the complainant) that the case was closed as there was no evidence of earthwork that contravened the stop-work order and that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the case which it has listed as case No.48793.

The state Malaysian Anti-Corrup-tion Commission has not found any element of corruption in the development of the project in Kampung Tersusun Melayu Angerik.

Pahang MACC Director Datuk Sutinah Sutan said the commission had received complaints and reports from the public alleging corrupt practises.

"We investigated each and every allegation and found that the problem was more towards administrative than corrruption.

"Nonetheless we will continue to keep an eye on the project to ensure there is no hanky panky involved,'' she told The Star.

She appealed to the public to contact or provide the MACC with information if they knew of any corrupt practises that took place either involving the project or any other deals. -- StarProbe.

Water supply affected by overdevelopment

IT may be the coolest place in Pahang but Cameron Highlands is a water-stressed district in the state.

A resident of Carnation Park, Vasu Karupiah, said that overdevelopment has affected the water catchment areas in the highlands and that illegal vegetable farms are placing tremendous strain on the water supply. The situation is further compounded by the influx of tourists during the holiday seasons.

"During peak season, the flow is controlled, and this housing estate is at the end of the supply line, so we often end up without any water," he lamented.

As Carnation Park, a mixed housing estate comprising four-storey apartments, link-houses, low- to medium-cost flats and bungalows – and 570 households – is close to the Mentigi Forest Reserve which has clear running streams, residents have resorted to siphoning the water off the hills.

They claimed that they had no choice as they could not cope with the frequent water disruptions. A check in the hills showed rubber pipes lining the paths, transferring mountain stream water into huge rubber water containers which are then directed to individual homes.

Other residents said it was a shame that the water supply is getting contaminated as more water catchment areas are contaminated due to soil erosion and the leeching of agro-chemicals from indiscriminate land-clearing and farming practices.

Tung Wan Fee, who used to picnic atop Gunung Jasar, said the highest pylon is perched precariously on the ridge. He expressed concern that any further disturbance could destabilise the slope and cause the pylon to collapse.

Many Kandasamy, a resident of Block B of the SEDC flats located on a hillock, said he learnt that the controversial Kampung Anggerik development project will stretch from Carnation Park to the slopes surrounding the flats.

"We have a water tower here that might collapse if the slope is disturbed. We've not been told what exactly the project entails. How can a housing project on these slopes be approved?" he said, gesturing towards the slopes that are presently covered in thick vegetation. -- StarProbe.