Earlier, Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming said that the company operating a campsite at Batang Kali were operating without licenses and the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council only granted permission to operate as an organic farm.
Nga said that offenders are liable to a penalty of not more than RM50,000 and imprisonment of not more than three years under Act 133 of the Street, Drainage, and Buildings Act 1974.
However, state Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Indigenous Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian has a different view regarding the legality of the campsite operators.
Speaking to China Press, Hee said that there are currently no regulations to control campsites.
This is because campsites are not permanent structures and thus, there is no need to apply for additional licenses to set up campsites.
In addition, he said that the location where the crisis occurred is private land that has obtained a development permit (KM) from the local council.
Natural disaster has nothing to do with licensing
Meanwhile, there was a mixed opinion from netizens, with some urging Hee to take responsibility as he is the Exco in charge of tourism activities.
“Should @heeloysian Selangor State Exco for Tourism, Environment, Green Technology & Orang Asli Affairs resign over the Batang Kali tragedy?” a netizen asked.
On the other hand, some netizens said people should not put the blame entirely on campsite operator as there is lack of guidelines on this matter.
YB @NgaKorMing adakah anda pasti bahawa terdapat lesen perniagaan kategori campsite yang boleh dipohon?— Peter Chong (@PeterCh99405769) December 16, 2022
“Since when does camping need licenses? It’s hard if everything needs a license and we can’t even enjoy nature. This thing happened due to fate don’t blame it on other things,” one netizen said.
“How do you apply for a license for camping? Does the ministry has a guideline on how to apply for such a license? Also, who would evaluate the safety of the campsite? Is it the bomba?” another netizen asked.
At the time of writing, the death toll stood at 21, with a total of 61 people having been rescued while the search is ongoing for 12 others.