A video showing the polluted seas of Langkawi had went viral on social media just a few days after the recent reopening of the Langkawi island to local tourists.
Responding to the matter, the Langkawi Tourism City Municipal Council (MPLBP) claimed that the illegal settlements in Bukit Malut and the neighbouring countries are responsible for the polluted waters in Langkawi.
The President of MPLBP, Radzuan Osman said the floating garbage seen in the video had been washed out to the ocean by high tides and the monsoon season.
He added that the ocean tires can reach villages in Bukit Malut and drag trash that was disposed by the residents into the seas.
At the same time, he said the garbage contains labels and branding from the neighbouring countries too.
Radzuan said the pollution could tarnish the island’s image, especially considering that it is Malaysia’s premier domestic ‘tourism bubble’ destination.
He said the MPLBP is currently working on cleaning the gross garbage patch.
To understand the entire situation, we need to understand that there is a village in Bukit Malut located some 20 kilometres away from the island’s capital of Kuah and it has been subject of national interest for quite some time.
It is believed that the village is houses a community of 8,000 to 10,000 residents. The area is also the site of Bukit Malut Mangrove Forest Reserve, which is an important national ecological landmark.
It is believed that the community has been there since the early 80s and is being referred as an illegal settlement.
The village were reported to be in deplorable condition and lacking in basic infrastructure and Berita Harian said the situation is comparable to the slums in Brazil and Mexico.
It is reported that the people of Bukit Malut are made up of mostly Malay-Myanmar residents, and lately, some undocumented refugees from the Rohingya who are holds the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card.
However, the Langkawi Member of Parliament (MP), Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad claims that the people living in Bukit Malut are not “new” residents, but they were the original residents of the island who had migrated to Thailand and Myanmar before returning to Langkawi.
Dr Mahatir also shared that 80% of the residents in Bukit Malut were fishermen and they had been supplying their catches to not only the island, but as far as Kelantan.
In the most recent development, the Kedah State Government has announced its plans to relocate Bukit Malut’s residents to other parts of the island within the next 5 years.
After the relocation, the area will be replaced with tourism projects, where the plans include building a racing circuit, fancy resorts and hotels as well as posh condos and villas in the area.
The Kedah Menteri Besar, Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said he envisions the island’s racing circuit to be the “Nurburgring of the East” and place Langkawi on Asia’s motorsports map.
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