Malaysians are not happy about the upcoming theme park in Cameron Highlands, so much so that they have started a petition asking for it to be canceled.
More than 5,000 people have signed an online petition against the Escape theme park development since last night after news of the project came out earlier in the day. The petition was started by a woman named Hana Azman, who pleaded with the Pahang state government to put a stop to the development, which will occupy at least 60 acres, citing Malaysia’s record of natural disasters.
“Recent years, there has been a lot of deforestation happening throughout Cameron Highlands which caused massive land clearing, landslides, rising in temperature and loss of natural habitat for animals and plants species,” she said, adding that “his development would require massive forest clearance which impacts our natural ecosystems in Cameron Highlands.”
Escape Cameron Highlands is an upcoming adventure park that will be built into the natural hilly landscape of the popular holiday spot in Pahang. The theme park is expected to open progressively starting the first half of 2023. It will feature an outdoor ski attraction, the first of its kind in the region.
On the petition page, Cameron Highlands residents called for the area to be preserved and its ecosystem protected. The petition caught the attention of other Malaysians online who slammed the project for being detrimental to the environment, with one saying: “[What] [the] [heck]?? Other countries are trying to save the forest with different initiatives and these people are destroying it,” while another said: “Another unnecessary project. Till when gonna keep doing projects like this?”
“We DONT NEED ANOTHER NATURAL DISASTER. Kerajaan Negeri Pahang: PUT A STOP TO ESCAPE THEMED PARK CAMERON HIGHLANDS PROJECT!! – Sign the Petition! http://chng.it/tpDtXxMZ via @Change,” another named Muhd Dinesh said.
The theme park’s CEO Sim Choo Kheng insisted that the project will adopt a “minimalist approach” to construction with “minimal disturbance” to nature, and will also incorporate “lots of recycling initiatives.”
“We will rely 100% on renewable energy which will come mainly from our photovoltaic facility, some from wind turbines and mini-hydropower,” he said in a statement peppered with environmental science jargon, before going on to say that Cameron Highlands had an “untapped” money-making potential of becoming “a world-class family-friendly destination.”
“Cameron Highlands is definitely more than just nice weather, vegetables, and strawberries,” he said. He owns two other theme parks in Penang and Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Other than skiing in a tropical country, the park promises a ski lift, and a 1.2km dry ski track. The theme park will be themed after European villages, such as those in the United Kingdom, the Balkans, and Nordic countries.
This article, 5,000 Malaysians don’t want a theme park in Cameron Highlands, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.