BUSINESSES HIT HARD
The foul smell is driving away tourists, say chalet and homestay operators
ALOR GAJAH email@example.com
CHALET operators in Pengkalan Balak here are fuming over their lost earnings as potential customers cancel their room bookings due to pollution from the nearby pig farms here.
D’ Nelayan Beach Resort Pengkalan Balak general manager Ab Rahman Yusof said between 30 and 40 per cent of his customers had cancelled their bookings after learning about the pollution.
He said pig farming activities had polluted Sungai Tuang which flowed into the sea.
“My clients are from Kuala Lumpur and have read the news on the pollution.
“Until when must we hide the issue? Each time a potential guest learns of the problem, he will cancel his booking and demand his deposit back,” he said.
Rahman, who is also the Bumiputera Chalet Resort Homestay executive secretary, yesterday showed proof of a customer cancelling his room reservation.
He said the client had planned for a family holiday on Dec 15 and Dec 17, with accommodation costing RM13,892.
“We are trying to convince him to keep his booking as our beach resort is 1km from the farms in Sungai Mengkuang.
“We have informed him that we won’t refund his deposit of RM1,500,” he said.
He said there were customers who did not pay deposits but had also cancelled their bookings.
Rahman, who spoke on behalf of 110 chalet and 35 homestay operators, said they could generate a combined revenue of RM450,900 a day if all 1,503 rooms along the Pengkalan Balak beach were fully booked on weekends.
“That works out to RM3.6 million in revenue a month,” he said.
Rahman said the authorities should clear up the pollution, instead of calling for meetings or giving licences to pig farmers.
“People come to Pengkalan Balak as it is a popular tourist attraction,” he said.
Food trader Mardiana Mat Saaud, 39, said: “It is embarrassing to tell visitors that the stench was due to effluents from the pig farms.
“Visitors are disturbed to learn this and would quickly finish their meal and leave the stall.”
Mardiana’s stall is close to Sungai Tuang, where animal waste flows into the sea.
“If I had known, I would not have set up business here,” she said, lamenting her poor sale of laksa and rice.
Fisherman Sudirman Kamal, 38, said the sea pollution had badly affected his income.
“Before the pollution, I could earn between RM100 and RM200 daily. Now, it is only RM50.
“You look at the sea water. It is black in colour. We have to go four nautical miles away to enjoy better catch,” said Sudirman, who is from Telok Gong.
The contaminated beach in Pengkalan Balak in Alor Gajah. (Inset, clockwise) Ab Rahman Yusof and a seaside chalet.