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Wednesday October 2, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 2, 2013 MYT 2:05:54 PM
by elan perumalphotos by p. nathan
Dilapidated: The orchid garden appears to have deteriorated over time.
EXCLUSIVE:THE Government’s plans to turn the agriculture park in Bukit Cherakah, Shah Alam, covering over 817ha of agro forestland, into the world’s largest botanical garden has come to nothing.
It is a sorry sight now, even after RM141mil was allocated in 2007 for upgrading works to be carried out in two phases.
It was also renamed the National Botanical Garden Shah Alam some time ago.
The Fishery Lake, Air Kuning Dam, Rabbit Farm, Cocoa Garden, Idyllic Village, Artistes Summit, Sapu Tangan Peak, Cherakah Watch Tower, Arboretum, Coconut Grove, Star Fruit Garden and Tropical Fruits Garden at the park are neglected and shabby-looking, and no longer an attraction.
Understandably, visitors are complaining about the state of affairs.
To see the situation up close, StarMetro visited the park recently and found it deplorable indeed.
If anything, only the recently re-opened Four Seasons Temperate House was worth seeing.
There are four climate-control rooms that mimic the climate conditions of spring, summer, autumn and winter.
To see more, the StarMetro team bought tickets costing RM3 for the tram ride, along with other visitors.
The driver simply drove us around. There was no interaction or announcements over the loud speaker highlighting attractions at the park, or even stops to see more of a particular area.
In addition, no colourful brochures were handed out to visitors. Instead, we were given photocopied pamphlets, with a map on one side and a description of the park on the other.
Along the way, we found the Mushroom Museum in a sad state of neglect while the Hydroponics Garden looked disused.
The ride ended at Kampung Budiman, the Cultural Village, and some visitors got down while others rode back in the tram.
The Cultural Village is an interesting sight with the houses built in the traditional kampung-style, but it was closed and devoid of activities.
Not only that, the surroundings are dirty and poorly maintained, with doors of some chalets for rent left wide open.
We then visited the Sungai Baru Dam, described in the pamphlet as a fishing paradise, but we found the fish-breeding cages empty and the river water a dirty, yellowish tinge.
A park employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said pollution from a development project nearby had killed the fishes in the cages.
A jungle-trekking path that leads to the highest point of the park and where the Sungai Air Kuning Dam is, cannot be used as it is covered with undergrowth and rubbish left behind by visitors, such as plastic water bottles and food wrappings.
The mini zoo is also pathetic, with its lethargic-looking animals such as horses, parrots and porcupines.
We were told the zoo used to have ostriches, but not anymore.
There are supposed to be animal shows here but we cannot imagine how that is possible looking at the condition of the animals.
There is also a workers quarters here, but all we saw were motorcycles parked outside.
Earlier, at the entrance to the park, StarMetro found several abandoned projects, further marring the tourist attraction.
One project had a signboard that said it was the park’s administrative complex.
Many people, including foreign tourists, visit the park, especially during weekends and public holidays, but there really is nothing to see.
It is supposed to be a botanical park but there are hardly any plants.
A trader, who did not want to be named, said: “The park was reopened just a few months ago and there were hardly any visitors before that.”
A visitor, Anthony Michael, 65, said he had read about the attractions at the park in the newspapers as well as the Internet.
However, he said, he was disappointed upon seeing it up close.
“Although this is my first visit, I feel the park has no allure. It seems to have gone to waste.”
A worker at the park said lack of forest rehabilitation programmes had led to the park’s present state.
The condition, the worker added, was made worse by development projects in the area.
Tags / Keywords:
Government, Central Region, BUKIT CHERAKAH
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