The Association for Welfare, Community, and Dialogue is dismayed by a notice posted on the Perak Forestry Department’s website which states that visitors entering Bukit Kledang and the Kledang Saiong Forests for daily recreational activities from July would need to apply for an annual pass.
The rates of the pass are different for citizens and non-citizens.
For citizens, those below the age of 18 would need to pay RM100, adults RM200, and senior citizens, RM10.
As for non-citizens, the charges would be RM400 for those below 18, and RM800 for adults.
There would also be a RM20 processing fee for all categories.
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Is this a way of trying to make some tourist gains from this hillside, when the most appropriate thing to do is to promote Bukit Kledang to Malaysians and foreigners by promoting free, bountiful nature, which would attract more people to its side?
One wonders on what basis and rationale the Perak Forestry Department has come up with this new policy. It has to explain its underlying rationale.
One has to have a philosophy behind one’s reasoning since nature is not made for private or bureaucratic gain, but for the common good without distinctions.
The fee that is charged would be difficult for ordinary folk, what more the burden of administrative aspects that would put off people from exercising their right to health and environmental awareness.
Ultimately, the hill could only be exclusively used by those who can afford the fees, which is unjust.
It is time for the Perak state government, through its Forestry Department, to create safety and educational measures along the hills for people to exercise, take part in recreational activities, and spiritually align themselves with the environment since the state government has come up with lofty ideals of greening the state.
It is the duty of a responsible state government to facilitate and empower its residents to be healthy and environmentally conscious by providing avenues to realise this, instead of making the hillside a place to fill up government coffers. – Malaysiakini