CAMP site operators in Selangor will need to submit a survey plan to their respective local authorities in order to apply for temporary business licences and building permits starting this April, says Ng Sze Han.
The state Local Government Committee chairman said this decision was made following a three-day townhall and workshop session with 17 government agencies including the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council, Tourism Selangor, the Forestry, Fire and Rescue, Mineral and Geoscience (JMG) departments and camping industry associations and their representatives.
This session was held following the tragic landslide at Father’s Organic Farm in Batang Kali on Dec 16 that killed 31 people, an incident which had led to calls for more action to stop another similar disaster from happening.
"The survey plan which must be obtained from a licensed surveyor is to be submitted to their respective local councils. The objective is to know the exact location and geographical location of the area so that the authorities are able to determine its suitability.
"The licensing process will be based on two major factors- the suitability of the location and the following of guidelines by the operators," said Ng.
Touching on the cost of hiring a surveyor which campsite operators will bear, Ng said that such fees are fixed and the rates can be referred to from their associations.
"However, campsite operators must set aside the cost issue and look at this from a safety aspect. The objective is to ensure the safety of campers," said Ng.
On the initial guidelines for camping grounds, Ng said locations which are located near slopes that have been identified as weak by JMG and sites located near at risk areas which are known to flood, will not be approved.
As a majority of the campsites are located far away from towns or cities, Ng is urging campsite operators to cooperate by coming forward to register their operations with their various local councils as soon as possible.
"We seek their cooperation in this matter. Safety must be a shared responsibility, even among campers," said Ng.
Campsites who fail to register their sites will be considered as operating illegally and can be fined up to RM250,000 for doing so.
"The fine for operating without a business licence according to council bylaws is no more than RM1,000 but we can penalise the operator under other acts such as building and town planning," he said.
By rough estimates, 200 campsites have been identified and the implementation of the licensing of campsites makes Selangor the first state to do so, said Ng.