Naturalist questions land clearing near Langkawi’s Tg Rhu

Published on 17 Apr 2023 8:00AM
By Ian McIntyre

Exposed area home to mangrove trees, part of Sg Kilim ecology, says Irshad Mobarak.

LANGKAWI – A naturalist working on the island here has raised questions about unexplained land clearing near Tg Rhu, home to some of the island’s best beaches and mangrove forests.

Irshad Mobarak told The Vibes that he had come across land-clearing activity near the luxurious Four Seasons resort in the area, and shared photographs showing felled trees and exposed earth.

“What is disturbing is that there are no notices explaining why the land is being cleared,” Irshad said.

The area is famed for its mangrove forests and is part of the ecology of Sg Kilim, where popular mangrove tours are held, and is one of the sites under the Langkawi Development Authority’s geopark division.

Langkawi has geological formations dating back to the Palaeozoic period and was accorded Unesco geopark status in 2007.

Irshad said he was informed that a possible condominium project is in the works for the area.

“We know that the mangrove is home to an exotic list of creatures and primates. There is a need to conserve rather than develop. We should be advocating a change in strategy as there is a perceived glut in terms of accommodation here.”

Meanwhile, Irshad said the land-clearing activities and felled mangrove trees are not linked to the Four Seasons resort, nor is the management involved in such activities.

The Vibes is reaching out to the Tourism City of Langkawi Municipal Council for comment.

The resort island is expecting an influx of visitors when the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2023 (Lima’23) is held next month.

Meanwhile, veteran tourism player Ahmad Pishol Ishak said nature should not be compromised in the push to attract more tourists.

“In all frankness, the reason why tourists come is our nature. They want to see what they have lost back home.

“We cannot be giving them things which they will see in their own countries. There is then nothing exceptional about us as a destination,” he told The Vibes.

He added that the local authorities and state government should focus on what really matters in tourism.

“We are living in an age of conservation and preservation in view of climate change and the fact that we have just emerged from a pandemic. We need to be grateful and not replicate past mistakes,” said Pishol. – The Vibes, April 17, 2023