Here is a little summary of the on-going saga between residents and resort operators, played out on Pantai Hills Orchard Resort. We hope that – you – visitors – tourists – authorities – friends – families – workers may benefit from this information – and make informed choices to help this beleaguered community.
Pantai Hill Orchard Resort – born in the early 1990’s, was originally a ‘Homestead’ concept for private home owners.
Here are some of Wiki’s definition of ‘Homestead’:
“A homestead is a dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station. Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs.”
“Modern homesteaders often use renewable energy options including solar electricity and wind power and some even invent DIY cars. Many also choose to plant and grow heirloom vegetables and to raise heritage livestock. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.”
Today, the developers of this project – Intermewah Development Sdn Bhd no longer performs its responsibilities and has conveniently and discreetly exited the scene. They are still selling remaining land on Pantai Hills via a connected entity called SK Brothers.
In their eagerness to sell their remaining land, they have turned a blind eye and contravened the very sale & purchase agreement and the accompanying schedules we all signed on – in good faith – when we purchased our ‘Homestead’ lots.
So now, far from being a ‘Homestead’ concept, Pantai Hills Orchard Resort has become a haven for – unregulated resort operations. Since 2011, five new private resort operators have mushroomed on the hill.
Initially the presence of resorts on the hill had little impact on the lives of private residents. We were friends with healthy neighbourly exchanges. As the popularity of the resorts grew – spurring expansions, it further taxed the shared resources and surrounding environment. This was when our neighbourly relationship began to change.
As communications broke down, naturally residents took to the law for action. We expected a slow process, but never anticipated a total indifference/blackout (even after receiving positive responses from their investigative teams who came to check the sites) by all the state agencies concerned. <<Check out the latest visit from authorities >>
Vandalism against residents have also increased in aggressiveness recently. All of our signages by the entrance gate were ripped out the very day it was installed. <<read about it here>> No words, no communication, just heavy handed bulldozing. What kind of civil society do we live in?
Here is a summary of issues currently driving a wedge between Pantai Hill residents and resort operators:
We collect spring water from a hill source, free for all to use. For 3-5 months in the year it is dry with little rain. Due to the gravity water system piping, resorts located at the top draws the already low volume of water, into their numerous water tanks during such periods of drought – depriving residents below of needed water. To further exacerbate the matter, several resorts have independently pulled their own private lines from the same spring source for themselves, depriving residents of this scarce resource. This ugly fight has become a free-for-all resource grabbing. Low water levels also promote higher bacteria presence in the water, being close to the sludge at the bottom of the main water tank, uncleaned for perhaps the last 15 years. A compromise for less visitors during this period was not negotiable (except **theDusun), no offered solutions, no communication and residents suffer at the expense of resort profit making. Despite this, resort expansion continues.
2. Noise & Big Groups
Several resorts have failed to control their noise emissions and have regularly affected their neighbours. Bookings of large groups to celebrate occasions have proven to be unsuitable for resorts operating from small land areas of 1 acre or with neighbours sharing a boundary. Parking spills over onto common roads, narrow roads become hazardous, narcotics and prostitution issues changes hill serenity. Unscrupulous resort operators continue their obnoxious and selfish behaviour. Meanwhile, resort expansion continues.
3. Wildlife & Environmental degradation
Rubbish – many bags strewn along the beautiful road leading up to the gates. Food wrappers and other accumulated construction material, thrashed everywhere by the entrance and road side. Toxic building materials dumped by the slopes of the river. Use of weed killers, food waste, noise and bright lights from over-lighting at night affects the surrounding natural habitat of wildlife, pollination and the earth we plant our food from. Meanwhile, resort expansion continues.
Open burning. Recent flash fires were a wakeup call. Still neighbours, construction workers and some resorts do not recognise this danger. Narrow roads leading up to the gates have increased in danger due to the heavier traffic created by resorts. Meanwhile, resort expansion continues.
The National land Code, the Sale & Purchase agreement on – non commercial use of agriculture land and size of structures have been contravened. The environmental act on noise, water & health have been compromised. State water and health department regulations broken. Unregulated resort operations and the careless degradation of our national forest reserves all add to drown this priceless venue. Meanwhile, resort expansion continues.
We have all seen this kind of business operations before. A popular tourist destination, destroyed by over eager businesses with selfish and short term visions. Eventually a beautiful venue and a national treasure, becomes over built, used and decimated – sucked dry with only a fraction of its wonder left to enjoy.
Residents have the right to protect – a comfortable and serene livelihood on Pantai Hills that is fair to all parties concerned. It is sad that we have to fight for it – tooth & nail in an environment of educated higher-middle class Malaysians. Scums, cheats, robbers, egos, profit and lack of empathy are stubborn and ugly traits some resort operators struggle with, in-fact we all do in our journey of life.
We have observed this phenomenon happen all over the world, in varying degrees. Not because its an inevitable human trait. But more so because of the system and the social & environmental influences we all grow up in. This heavily shapes our code of conduct and response to the outside world.
We respect the ambitions of resort operators. So, in the hope that we can perhaps flourish together, lets consider this.
As the saying goes: “In every crisis, there is an opportunity”. The opportunity may present itself as a chance for the Malaysian or Negeri Sembilan state tourism to :
1. Show that they are concerned about correcting old tourism business models that leave a trail of destruction & depletion of our country’s natural resources.
2. Show that they are progressive, by supporting ‘real’ sustainable tourism models – making Pantai Hills a pilot project for sustainable tourism in Negeri Sembilan and eventually Malaysia.
3. Show that they understand the new generation of tourists and how an experiential/caring/inclusive business model works out better in the long-term. One that enriches all Malaysians and not only businesses.
4. Become a leader in sustainable tourism models that can then be replicated throughout Malaysia.
Regulate resort operators on Pantai Hills and show Malaysians that the state of Negeri Sembilan proudly upholds state & national laws and runs a responsible & respectable administration for the benefit of civil society.
Operates on 13 acres of land. Maintains hill tranquility with small group bookings. Operates on sustainable principals respected by residents. Always willing to work with residents to solve shared infrastructure problems and community issues.