Netizens express their objection to the eradication of more natural resources and fauna habitat for the sake a tourist attraction via an online petition.
Malaysian park design company ESCAPE has recently revealed plans to construct a new theme park on the hill slopes of Cameron Highlands, and the collective local response so far is not what they expected. Facing an online backlash from thousands of Malaysians who are now calling for the project to to be stopped, this particular theme park is reported to be ESCAPE’s biggest one yet, more so than their other two locations.
ESCAPE currently operates parks in Penang (that has the world’s longest water slide), and a challenge park in Petaling Jaya known for their physical challenges and exciting rides.
The new park designed for Cameron Highlands will have a completely different theme that’s said to boast European-style attractions such as a 1.2-kilometre dry ski slope and countryside villages.
So far, people are not impressed with the news that the theme park is set to be constructed on 60 acres of highland area.
MALAYSIANS VOICE THEIR DISSATISFACTION
Expressing their disagreement of the planned theme park, angry Malaysians started on online petition on Change.org, pleading with the State Government of Pahang (who oversees Cameron Highlands) to stop development of the park. Although the idea of a new theme park in the vicinity may sound exciting, many Malaysians are not willing for more deforestation to occur in the region that is already facing dwindling ecology which is affecting the environment.
Many are voicing how a new theme park development will not only destroy important ecosystems in the region, the addition of more traffic to an area with massive traffic congestion issues during peak holiday seasons is simply unnecessary and undesirable.
The online petition has garnered close to 50,000 signatures to date.
“Cameron Highlands is a unique place with its natural flora and fauna. It is unlike any other constituency in Malaysia; it is not only home to hundreds of floral species that are rare to the tropics, but it is also an area with a substantially different ecosystem,” said the copy on the petition’s page.
“In recent years, there has been a lot of deforestation happening throughout Cameron Highlands, which caused massive land clearing, landslides, rising temperatures, and loss of natural habitat for animals and plant species.
“We, the local residents of Cameron Highlands urge State Government of Pahang, Department of Environment to not allow this ESCAPE theme park project to go ahead,” the petition added.
“We want to preserve our Cameron Highlands ecosystem as it is for our future generation. We must act now!”
Netizens who signed the petition expressed their objection to the decision to eradicate more natural resources and fauna habitat for the sake of another tourist attraction.
“People can go to Europe to ski; why would they do that here when there are so many other things to see and do?” said one person.
Others noted that the traffic congestion facing Cameron Highlands during peak times was already quite bad enough. “Have you been to Cameron Highlands on weekends?” one post said. “Seriously, Cameron Highlands does not need a theme park. Its strength lies in its population, the farms, and the tea plantations.”
ESCAPE RESPONDS TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
The collective concern over unnecessary deforestation of late is clearly not unfounded with the current realities of climate change , and ESCAPE has responded accordingly.
Promising functioning sustainability, the theme park is apparently designed with the inclusion of features such as rainwater harvesting, recycling programs, energy-saving infrastructure, are to operate with minimal disturbances to the natural environment.
“We will rely a hundred percent on renewable energy, which will come mainly from our photovoltaic facility, some from wind turbines, and mini-hydropower,” said the company’s CEO in a statement, who then also hailed Cameron Highlands as “more than just nice weather, vegetables, and strawberries.”
However, Malaysians do not seem to be buying into what looks like mere lip service to appease the masses. And who can blame them? Many instances have proven that well-intended promises are rarely fulfilled when it comes to large-scale projects developed on protected natural environments – think Johor’s Forest City and Melaka Gate.
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