Ministry begins legitimising campsites nationwide

Ministry begins legitimising campsites nationwide

Operators get two years to comply with guidelines, Nga Kor Ming says.

THE Local Government Development Ministry has begun the process of registering and legitimising campsites across the country from today. Minister Nga Kor Ming said the process is to ensure all campsite operators comply with the operating conditions outlined in the Campsite Planning Guidelines.

Campsite operators are given leeway for two years to meet the conditions set in the guidelines, which are not punitive, he said. The guidelines are to help those who are genuinely seeking to operate the camping activity in line with safety standards and the government’s requirements.

“In the feedback we received from campsite operators, they said they did not know what guidelines to follow. So with the Campsite Planning Guidelines launched today, they can use the guidelines given.

“We are giving a two-year period for the ‘whitening’ process to enable entrepreneurs to provide safe camping sites,” he told a press conference after officiating at the GPP Campsite Launch at Taman Dr Seenivasagam in Ipoh today.

The “whitening” refers to making legal businesses that have been operating without permits and without due compliance with standards set by the authorities.

Also present were Perak Tourism, Industry, Investment and Corridor Development Committee chairman Loh Sze Yee; Town and Country Planning Department (PLANMalaysia) director-general Dr Alias ​​Rameli, and Ipoh mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin.

According to Nga, the preparation of the guidelines started after the landslide tragedy at the campsite in Batang Kali, Selangor on December 16 last year, which claimed 31 lives.

He said PLANMalaysia took four months to complete the guidelines by going through various engagement sessions and expert input-sharing involving various government agencies as well as 150 campsite operators.

“Starting next year, all campsites must comply with the six principles outlined by the guidelines, namely safety, comfort, sustainability, social continuity, economic prosperity and legal compliance.

“These six principles are very important to be used to provide comfort to visitors in addition to guaranteeing their safety,” he said.

Following the disaster in Batang Kali, Nga had said the affected campsite at the Father’s Organic Farm was operating without a licence from the Hulu Selangor District Council.

The earthfall, measuring nearly 300m in length and 70m in height, had hit the campsite located in a canyon below the mountainous Batang-Gohtong Jaya road at around 2.42am on December 16, 2022.

It later came to light that Selangor’s local authorities did not have any specific conditions for camping activities run by resort or hotel owners. Nga had then also clarified that Father’s Organic Farm did not possess a business licence to conduct any trading activities at the site. Frankie Tan, the operator of the campsite had said he could not apply for a campsite licence because such a permit does not exist.

– The Vibes, December 2, 2023

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