Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Snippets - Tioman

Posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at on July 9, 2008 3:43 PM

1. I visited Pulau Tioman recently to see the new marina which was approved during my time.

2. It is beautiful. Unfortunately it is too small. The authorities were afraid that coral would be destroyed if a larger marina is built.

3. I am as much an environmentalist as anyone else. But if we are going to develop we have to accept prudent sacrifices.

4. The coral at the site was not the beautiful coral with multi-coloured fish darting in between that we often see in picture books or on television. Mostly the coral is in the form of shapeless rocks, damaged by boats dropping their anchors there. Samples of these rocks were dragged up and displayed in front of the administrative building. They are not attractive at all.

5. The locals had protested against the construction and obstructed the work claiming it was going to hurt their business. But now everyone is happy. Evenings and nights see the locals enjoying the jetty and the wharf. They use it to take on board their ex-fishing boats the tourists hopping to the other island. They earn RM200 for ferrying the tourists. I think they get more than they did using their boats for fishing. The marina has accommodation for shops and restaurants, which should give the locals some opportunities for doing business.

6. Unfortunately their standard of living although higher now than before development is not as high as in Langkawi. Certain people are determined to keep these Tiomanese poor by preventing the proper development of these beautiful islands.

7. I feel sad seeing the ramshackle huts which the villages used to rent to tourists for RM 5 a night. There is no proper toilet and no bathroom.

8. They are not doing well now and many have collapsed. Yet Tioman water is very clear and tourists like to swim and snorkel there.

9. The old landing strip has not been extended while the proposed new runway approved before I stepped down has not been built as the contract was given to a contractor quoting a ridiculously low price.

10. Maybe we should preserve the islands and the people in their pristine condition.