We would like to thank Zari Malaysiana for keeping in the public eye the frightening cable car project for Bukit Larut, known affectionately by many of us as Maxwell Hill. We are distressed that a project that has had so much opposition from nature lovers can continue to be planned by the authorities.
Bukit Larut is one of the premier highland nature site in the peninsula, if not the best. A cursory visit to Cameron Highlands will reveal the almost total destruction of the once beautiful site. Genting Highlands is rapidly declining and Fraser’s soon to join them. Bukit Larut, the oldest of the hill stations, remains the best location to observe nature in its element. The bird life there is rich and many bird watchers come from various parts of our country and abroad to appreciate its wonder.
Any planned development of the hill, including the cable car will only spell destruction. Not a single nature site in the entire country has been developed without a significant and excessive amount of destruction and loss of the natural habitat, and resultant loss of bird life. The beauty of the current situation at Bukit Larut is that the difficult access to the hill is what preserves it. The lack of amusement and activities at the hill top keeps it from destruction. What is the purpose of rushing people up the hill so that they can then rush around to eat, buy, play loud music, and ignore the nature all around them? Almost every nature spot we have caters to an immature Malaysian local tourist. One that thrashes the site, wants more concrete, one that complains about the lack of amusement. From karaoke in the jungle to adventure biking and growing piles of rubbish, our pristine nature sites are being degraded by a sheer lack of sensitivity to nature.
I am sure we will be assured of an environmental impact study that approves the cable car project and that minimal destruction will take place. Look at the reality in Cameron and Genting Highlands. We could not understand the recent huge outcry against the Penang hills development when the Pahang government has already raped not just Cameron Highlands but the entire 20-30 km stretch of highlands on the road from Camerons to Gua Musang (it could be longer, we had no heart to see more). An environmental disaster of epic proportions fueled by greed and corruption.
We plead with the Perak state government and our federal government to leave Bukit Larut alone. It is a resource not just for Perak but for the whole country. Let it be a site where we can at least continue to see the beauty of our country’s flora and fauna and not in a caged zoo. Leave the rickety old jeeps alone. They will bring up the discerning nature lover from abroad and locally who will gasp at the beauty of the more than 250 species of birds there and be in awe of the towering trees. From rapidly moving Streaked Spiderhunters to the yellow-crested Sultan Tit, from migrating thrushes from Siberia to magnificent local Hornbills (rapidly dying out in our country). The lack of amenities means only those who are serious and love nature will come. The best way to care for nature is not to touch it.
May we please keep Bukit Larut alive for our children, as there is no hope for the other hill stations. Leave this undisturbed natural sanctuary alone. It is a gem among stones.
Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)
Lim Swee Im (Datin, Dr)
On Behalf of the Malaysian Nature Society
and Perak MNS Bird Group