Sunday, July 20, 2008
Sungai Ampang Disaster?
Aurelius and I has made plan to make a 2 man trip to Sungai Ampang Falls earlier and Saturday was the day we choose to execute our plan, left early for Setapak and had our breakfast by the road on the way to the entrance of the trail to the waterfall.
At the guardhouse near the entrance we got in to our gears, not knowing that this time there are people in our way. Usually we need to sign our names and details at the guardhouse before we can proceed, but this time it's not as simple as that. The guard asked us to call a phone number written on a signboard and inform the person that we are going to the falls. We couldn't make the call so we leave it to the guard to do it because some tel co thinks that it is important to have coverage in the jungle for some reason. After the call the guard asked us to wait for a while as somebody is coming to meet us.
Within 15 minutes a Malay man riding on a motorcycle came, he introduced himself (but I didn't want to remember his name) and before he can say anything else I asked him what is going on here?
He explains that he's is from the village near by and the village chief has made it a point for visitors to pay to enter the waterfall saying that it is needed for the trail up keeping cost. He explains that the villagers had took up the responsibility to remove any waste, fallen trees and clear the path so that the visitors will have easier access. I actually think that it's fair so I asked how much are they charging but I got the shock of my life when he asked for RM35 per person. Aurelius and I complained that it is too much however the guy told us that a guide is provided for the price.
"We don't need a guide! We've done this trek before and we have everything we need." I said
"Without guide we charge RM15." He replied
"Still you have no document that states that you can collect money from visitors and this is no private property" Aurelius argued.
"We are waiting for approval for that, it's up to you, if you want to pay a lower price you can go see our village chief." The guy said to us.
At that point, Aurelius and I were already pretty weird out by the situation, having to pay for a waterfall trekking trip is unheard of and the last time we visit the place, the trail don't have much plants to clear and I prefer that they just leave the fallen trees alone.
After a long talk with the fella, Aurelius and I decided not to go because it makes no sense for us to pay for something like that. So instead of trekking, we go hunting for the chief of the village to get more details on this and give him our feedback.
Along the way we asked some of the villagers opinion about the fee that is imposed to go to the waterfall and we found out that only the village committee members knows about the fees while most of the villagers know nothing about it.
"Mahal tu! Mana boleh macam ini?" One of the villager said.
Have a Great Day