MARANG: Pulau Kapas – known locally as “Nemo Island” due to the abundance of clownfish around its corals – is in need of better facilities, say visitors and resort operators.
Located about 6km from the Marang Jetty in the South China Sea, the 21.33sq km island is only a 15- to 20-minute boat ride from the mainland, but it is fast losing out in popularity to Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian.
An observation by Bernama of Pulau Kapas found various shortcomings, especially the damaged jetty, which is the first point of contact for visitors to the island.
Nemo is the name of the clownfish abducted by a diver in the classic 2003 computer-animated film Finding Nemo.Officially, the island got its name from the cotton trees found there as well as the stretches of soft, white sandy beach.
Repeat visitor Hanum Razak, 50, said he had toured the island twice – the first time in 2015 – and found that not much had changed with the infrastructure as the jetty was still damaged.
“The steps can no longer be used due to erosion,” he said, adding that there should also be more toilets near the beach.
However, Hanum said Pulau Kapas never failed to impress him, especially in terms of its natural environment compared to Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian.
Resort centre operator Hawa Abdul Rahman, 58, said his clients, including foreigners, preferred to look at Pulau Kapas as their second home due to the island’s enduring charm.
“It is time the state government improved facilities, especially the toilets and surau, to boost tourism,” he said, adding that he hoped to more efforts would be made to promote Pulau Kapas.
Marang district officer Tun Ahmad Faisal Tun Abdul Razak admitted that the problems and challenges should be resolved soon.
“The jetty needs to be repaired urgently and more rubbish bins added,” he said.
He added that there should also be a solar power system and better drainage in the resort.
Tun Ahmad said there would be a meeting with chalet operators on the island and the state government soon to address outstanding issues. — Bernama