According to the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, a programme to plant one million trees in Cameron Highland will be started instead of more high-rise buildings or hotels. This one million trees will be planted to reduce soil erosion and avoid landslides. I think this is a response to the recent clampdown on illegal plantations on Cameron Highlands. While this new 1 million trees is definitely welcomed, this does not take away the problem of illegal farms in Cameron Highlands.
Many friends said this is because the land officers there never kept track of new illegal farms. This is partially true but why did the people who saw these illegal farms NEVER reported it too. I think, one can only conclude that many people are benefiting from this, thus no one wanted to stop the party. This may not be a wise move for the long run. Soon, it will be Cameron ‘Hot’ land instead of Highlands. Without trees, tempetatures would definitely go up and once this happens, even 10 million trees could not stop it. By then, it would have been too late. Even the tourists would no longer go up and all these illegal farming would just be abandoned and the operators proceed to ‘rape’ other hills once they are opened.
I love Cameron Highland. On a yearly basis, I would go up at least once. On two separate occasions, I have attempted to buy a property there to be rented out but on both occasions, the prices were not to my expectations or the unit is somehow not what I wanted. There are also many newer high-rise projects which I think has got potential but the prices have gone a little high for my liking and thus I did not proceed beyond asking for the details. I think with this latest event, it may be slightly more riskier to buy.
It’s so important that whatever the development is, it must be controlled. For now, with so much noise from the public, it may be tough for the illegal operators to operate, hopefully. 6 months later, what would happen? I hope at least a few hundred trees would have been plated, some of the illegal plantation plots have been cleared and this time, the existing LEGAL ones better report the illegal ones or I think we would see this repeating until a time when it’s bye-bye for Cameron Highlands. Pity, but true. It may happen.
written on 15 Nov 2014
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