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Cameron Highlands facing chronic traffic jam during holiday Local government should implement vehicle restrictions

The 4-day holiday has resulted in chronic traffic jam in Cameron Highlands. From morning till night, tourists flock to the famous tourist attraction by cars from Ringlet to Blue Valley, making Cameron Highlands’s traffic completely paralysed. A short distance of 2 to 3km would require 3 to 4 hours to reach the destination.

In order to solve traffic woes in Cameron Highlands, it is imperative to find the crux of the problem. Cameron Highlands is a popular hill resort and tourist attraction in Malaysia, but is also recently being troubled by heavy traffic jams due to the three main reasons:

  1. Three (3) extra main roads connecting Cameron Highlands have been built in 20 years, namely Jalan Ringlet-Sungai Koyan that connects Raub, Ringlet and Sungai Koyan, Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands and Jalan Gua Musang-Cameron Highlands. These roads have made it very convenient for tourists to come to Cameron Highlands from the West Coast, East Coast and Pahang, hence the substantial increase of number of tourists throughout the 20 years which is evident by the statistics in 2017 that has recorded 750 thousand tourists in 2017.
  2. Based on traffic reports by many traffic apps, an average of more than ten thousand cars coming to Cameron Highlands is recorded every day during long holidays. Although there are four (4) roads connecting each entrance of Cameron Highlands that receive tourists around the country, only one main road is available inside Cameron Highlands area. Besides that, this district does not have enough parking lots and thus is unable to afford ten thousand cars.
  3. The unplanned and disorganised development by the Local and State government, have created several traffic bottlenecks in Cameron Highlands. Therefore, the influx of tourists’ vehicles will further paralyse the traffic. Furthermore, the local government that rarely enforces the law against vendors and tourists who park their cars at the roadsides has also contributed to the problem.

Although many parties have given suggestions such as increase of parking lots, lane widening, taking actions against vendors and car owners who go against the law, reviewing the town planning for businesses as well as building outer ring road, traffic woe in Cameron Highlands is actually a mix of many problems. Choosing any of the abovementioned options instead of implementing comprehensive solutions together can never resolve the matter once and for all. Not only that the problem cannot be fixed, public discontent may also arise, as evident by the one-way traffic rule in Brinchang.

Traffic jam in Cameron Highlands can be classified into two categories based on its severity: Partial traffic jam in Kea Farm, Brinchang and Tanah Rata during normal weekends, as well as complete traffic congestion during school holidays and long weekends. In order to resolve the matter for good and all, the local government must start studying public transport policy, enforce traffic laws and restrict the influx of vehicles during holidays.

Restricting influx if vehicles into tourist attractions is a common traffic control measure in many countries. Many tourist attractions in China have started to implement traffic categories classification and feeder service to lead tourists’ vehicles to their connected parking spots. This will help control the traffic that was chaotic, greatly reduce the disturbance to local residents, protect the natural tourist attractions and ultimately provide satisfying user experience to tourists.

Cameron Highlands District Council can utilise the entrances at Blue Valley and Ringlet, and can even cooperate with the Perak state government to build parking lots at Tapah and Simpang Pulai which are at foothills in order to implement vehicle restrictions and provide feeder services such as providing small buses that bring tourists to Cameron Highlands.

Vehicle Restrictions might temporarily affect the tourist sector, but leaving the traffic problem unresolved will only further increase public discontent and tarnish the image of Cameron Highlands as a popular tourist attraction.

Cameron Highlands is, after all, different from other tourist attractions as there are a lot of local residents living in the area. We should not sit back and only hastily look for solutions when an untoward incident happens such as delayed emergency assistance happens due to traffic woes.

We have to look at the traffic woes in Cameron Highlands in a rational and objective way. As the local State Assemblyman, I promise to be the “bridge” between the Federal Government and the State Government, and will work proactively with every relevant agency in order to look for a better and more comprehensive traffic solution that will ultimately resolve the matter of traffic woes in Cameron Highlands once and for all.

Chiong Yoke Kong
DAPSY National Political Education Director & SA for Tanah Rata
Media statement by Chiong Yoke Kong in Cameron Highlands on Tuesday, 11th September 2018