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Dec 19, 2016

3/12/16 CAMEROON HIGHLAND .....diamond that is left sinking into the mud (draft)

Within this year, I have been three times to Cameroon Highland. My latest was yesterday. My interest of visiting Cameroon Highland, is a little bit different from many. I love Cameroon Highland, for its gives me some inspirations to practice my farming and gardening skills. Many times, when I visited Cameroon Highland, I would be back to my Kampung with some new fruits or plants for me to nurture. In this trips, I collected the four commercial varieties of sweet potatoes. It's hard for me to get the stem cutting, but I would believe I could propagate the plant through the tubers. The four varieties that I managed to collect are egg york yellowish, the white to yellow, purple sweet and deep purple Cameroon. All these, adding to the Keladi Jembut which my grand mom used to plant and feed our family in those hard days of the 1960s. I found this Keladi Jembut at the roadside stall at Seberang Jaya, Penang the day before. I hope I could nurture them successfully and spread their planting materials for others to benefit, In Shaa Allah.

(2) In this writing, I'm not going to talk on those botanical matters of the sweet potatoes. My concern is to present how being neglected is Cameroon Highland. I have no statistic to backup the significant role of Cameroon Highland to the least Malayan economies if not Malaysia. From my numerous observations, probably Cameroon Highland is suffering equally negligence as Kundasang of Mt Kinabalu. Indeed economically, both are having similar socio-economic contribution to the National economies ie Agro-eco-tourism.

(3) Today, Malaysia is well connected to the world. Malaysia for its own strengths, is becoming one of the key global middle class tourism destination. Cameroon Highland (and Kundasang) is blessed with the cool evergreen environs that not only attract the locals but the foreigners as well. Green landscape and cool climate definitely something that the Arabs would appreciate much. These are something that most of them couldn't have at home. Their numbers coming to Cameroon Highland, I observed is increasing. Tropical ever green and cool climate, is what those from the West and Far East appreciate much. They love this tropical cool but sunny places. The Westerners had been to Cameroon ever since. The influx of the Chinese tourists is something that Cameroon Highland could be expecting more and more. Definitely the mountainous cool and colorful flora are what the Malaysians would enjoy most. Cameroon Highland is a place of family-based outing for the Malaysians. As such, as in its origin, Cameroon Highland indeed was the splendid seclusive for both the Western and Eastern Plantation management personnel to rest and rejuvenate in those colonial days. Today, such role had widen to cover all walks of Malaysian lives as well as the coming tourists. Accordingly, Cameroon Highland (and Lojing in Kelantan) supplies most of the demanded Vegetables, Cut Flowers and Fruits for both Malaya and Singapore. While agro-industry is the main specialty of Cameroon Highland, but tourism had made the place known to the whole Nation and the world. Lately, my observation, properties development is making a steady growth in Cameroon Highland.

(4) I can't exactly recall when was my first visit to the Cameroon Highland. But I believe, it must be around 1983 which being compulsory as final year botanist students then, we were required to submit at least 25 species of new plants to the Univeristi Kebangsaan Malaysia Herbararium. Cameroon Highland is one of the prime area for botanical specimens collection due to its high potential for botanical degradation. From that 1983 to today, in term of properties and business development, Cameroon Highland had changed alot. But what really concern me is the haphazard development of the whole system in Cameroon Highland to sustain the Place to be a major Malaysian tourism destination. Definitely, yesterday was a public holiday. And worst it is the school holiday. Malaysians are flocking to Cameroon Highland like ants queing back to their hive. The road was jammed upward and downward. The Brincang Saturday and Sunday Market sort of creating havoc to the whole system and it has been as such year-in-year out all through. The same with Tanah Rata. Definitely, the best excuse is peak period. Secondly, definitely the narrow winding roading system. Traffic control I would say almost nil. The Mr Policemen were only seen at time of the worst rather being there to manage traffic order from the very beginning. But my observation, the key major contribution of traffic chaotic in Cameroon Highland (and even Kundasang) is due to the lack of parking space. Indeed there is hardly enough parking space in Cameroon Highland to fit into the flocking tourists as well as to meet the local business transportation demand.

(5) At peak period, visitors will have to spend relatively more time on the road in the cars rather appreciating the true diversity and beauties of Cameroon Highland.  All these definitely will accumulate into uneasiness, emotional disturbance and definitely bad driving attitude and poor alertness for visitors. Going to Cameroon Highland at peak period is nothing but to enjoy the very bad traffic management. 

(6) I wonder, where are the local authorities, the Ministry of Transport (MoT), Ministry of Public Work (MoW), definitely the Ministry of Tourism (MoTo) etc to look at Cameroon Highland from a larger National economic perspective. Accordingly, from the few Christmas Greeting Posters hanging around, I would believe, politically Cameroon Highland is represented by Indian MP and ADUN. If such is true, that adds to my wonder where are the relevant authorities to make Cameroon Highland a better employment, living and rejuvenating place? No body seem to care much about this Cameroon Highland; the city of Cameroon Highland. Cameroon Highland is drifting to the course of capitalist greed. The local political representative, I would say either incapable and or complacent wrt Cameroon Highland development management. They are incapable in the sense, they can't do much to make thing better. Accordingly, they may be complacent for the fact that their voters are well taken care, despite the worsening situation of the overall Cameroon Highland. Thus I would say, politically Cameroon Highland is in the situation of the economically minor is having the majority political power. As such, Cameroon Highland is suffering from the under people-business power representation. My such presumption is based on a very simple logic. If one sees around, the Chinese and even Malays are much prominent in their presence in Brinchang and Tanah Rata. But how come, say they voted for Indian representatives. By norms it should be either the Chinese or Malays would represent Cameroon Highland in Parliament or DUN. And my best guess is there are much more Indians hidden among the tea plantation as compared to the Chinese-Malays in the Agro-tourism business. Those seem to be the Malays, are the TKIs. The Bangladeshi and Nepalese are making up their significant presence there as well. As such, I would say, the Chinese and the Malays are not making up to the numbers for any political change or even political power in Cameroon Highland. Therefore, as far as politic is concern, the Chinese and the Malays of Cameroon Highland are insignificant and things are politically determined by the majority Indian voters among the tea plantation system. Things at the tea plantations are improving well, the Indian communities and voters I would presume are happy about those, thus politically the present political representatives at the Parliament and DUN are rather complacent, but the urban living of Cameroon Highland on the other hand is suffering an under political representation issues. Therefore, the political will to change and make Cameroon Highland a better place is less emphasized.  That indeed I would believe the bottom line of the Cameroon Highland development management problem as of way far back and into the long future.

(7) The normal issues when Cameroon Highland came into the National limelight is all about the greed of those agro-tourism related industry. Nothing really come through to get all the authorities concern to act in such that Cameroon Highland indeed is the National diamond that should be crafted and polished to the best value. All seem love to look for scapegoat and let things die by their own course. Indeed when I talked to some of the business people there, a climate of frustration and hopelessness is high in the air. As such, seem to be normal in the Malaysian lives, when frustration and hopelessness are clouding their heads, the best attitude they would take is to be very indifferent. Therefore, Cameroon Highland is now facing a very high indifferent syndrome. People are just interested to care for their individual greed. This indifferent attitude would sink Cameroon Highland to be flat red mud into the future.

(8) Is it really difficult to manage Cameroon Highland (and Kundasang)? I don't think so. Thus I would believe then, such is not the correct querries of this Cameroon Highland development management issues. The most appropriate question probably "Has and is there being a serious effort by both the related State and Federal Government to really redress the present problem faced by Cameroon Highland? That again the answer is just the same, no, I would believe. Thus Cameroon Highland (and Kundasang) will be forever a disaster to enjoy and a much disastrous in the making.

(9) Well it is not really something that is easy say then done to turn Cameroon Highland into a best agro-eco-tourism places. Kuala Lumpur in the past had the same issues. So was Penang. I mention those, for they are much geo-demographically complicated and yet could be managed well. What needed in Cameroon Highland is the merging of public and private creativities inline with today market demand. What I could see in Cameroon Highland is the divergent course of public and private sectors thought and actions...... to be continued. In Shaa Allah. 

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