Tourist attraction still in operation despite halt order, say Taman Saikat residents

A drone photo taken by the residents showing part of the clearing works at the green area behind Taman Saikat.

IPOH: Although road and cafe construction works have stopped at the limestone hills area of Taman Saikat, the operations of the Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village is still ongoing, say residents.

Its Residents Association committee member D. Balakumaran said a meeting was held on July 31 between the residents, the Ipoh City Council representatives, Gopeng MP Tan Kar Hing, and Simpang Pulai assemblyman Wong Chai Yi.

He said during the meeting, it was decided that ongoing works, as well as the operations at the cultural village would stop.

"The construction, and the cafe works have so far stopped, but the tourism activities are still ongoing," he told reporters here on Sunday (Aug 6).

On July 23, residents protested against the construction of any tourism and commercial activities at the foot of the limestone hills just behind their houses.

Its Residents Association chairman Surindar Singh had said that the Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village was built near the limestone hills in 2015, and caused traffic congestion and safety issues for the residents due to the large number of visitors it attracted.

He had said with these issues yet to be resolved, new access roads leading to the area, a cafe and an eco-park were in the pipeline.

Balakumaran said the areas where the works were being carried out included the green, and forest zone areas.

"We do not want the foothill areas to be tampered with. That is the buffer zone.

"Residents here want the serenity and our peaceful environment to be maintained.

"It was also concluded in the meeting that the tourism part of the activities at the cultural village will be stopped, but until now that is still ongoing," he added.

Another committee member V. Arvindhan said the residents were not against the religious activities at the cultural village, which has a temple inside as well.

"It is the activities targetted at tourists that cause an influx of visitors that causes traffic congestion at our residential area that we are against.

"Also the planned commercial activities at the foothill is our concern, as the jungle behind our houses are homes to several endangered species.

"We have the agile gibbon, dusky green leaf monkey, and hornbills that have made their homes there.

"With development, these endangered species will have no place to call home," he added.

On July 23, Cheng Swee Kiat, the managing director of KF Realty Management Sdn Bhd, which manages Qing Xin Ling, claimed he was not aware of a cafe or any other plans at the foothill.

He said during the Jan 11, 2023, meeting, the mayor had announced the construction of the access road and the cost would be shared by the council as well as KF Realty Management.

"Once the road is constructed, vehicles will use that road and will no longer need to pass through Taman Saikat," he added.

When contacted Tan (Gopeng MP) said that during the meeting it was decided for all works, as well as the tourism activities at the cultural village to stop.

He said the matter had been brought up at the state executive council meeting.

"We will wait for the minutes from the state exco meeting this Wednesday (Aug 9), and an announcement will be made.

"It is just not about Taman Saikat or the cultural village, my concern is about the state policy on the protection, and safety concerns regarding the overall limestone hills," he added.

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