TONTON ASTRO AWANI

PENGUNJUNG SETIA

18 April 2013

GE13: AT THE FOOT OF MOUNT OPHIR

Story and photos by HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH 
metrose@thestar.com.my

LEDANG: Tangkak in Ledang district is popular with its shops selling textiles and many shoppers from outside the district come in bus loads to shop here.
Another attraction here is the legendary Gunung Ledang or Mount Ophir and locals believe that the immortal Puteri Gunung Ledang is living somewhere in the mountain.
While nobody have come across the beautiful princess in flesh said to originate from Java, picnickers at Gunung Ledang are enjoying the cool waterfalls gushing from the mountain peak.
A resort at the foot of the mountain is also a popular place for government agencies and private companies to hold jungle hiking and mountain trekking expeditions for their employees.
Rescue department: A new fire station in Gambir to cater to the growing population in the area. Rescue department: A new fire station in Gambir to cater to the growing population in the area.
 
Ledang was declared a district by the late Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail on June 9, 2008, after years of being a sub-district under Muar.

Businessman Datuk Rahim Talib, 50, lauded the plan to build the new administrative centre in the district to house all government departments and agencies under one roof.

“This is good as those dealing with the departments or the agencies will find it convenient instead of having to go to different places,’’ he said.

Rahim said new roads connecting the centre to Serom, Tangkak and Muar would also improve connectivity and accessibility in the area.

Villager at Bukit Gambir Mohd Zan Abu Bakar, 48, said the district had developed in the past 15 years including the setting up of several colleges and Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi MARA.

Bright and colourful: The new development including the construction of more shop houses to cater for the expanding town area in Gambir. Bright and colourful: The new development including the construction of more shop houses to cater for the expanding town area in Gambir.
 
However, he said the district still lacked facilities for residents in Bukit Gambir, Sengkang, Sungai Mati, Sagil and Kesang.

Mohd Zan said Bukit Gambir township was growing rapidly but there were not many facilities to cater to the needs of the locals.

“The township needs a new market as the present market is located near the residential and commercial areas and no longer suitable,’’ he said.

Mohd Zan said the district also needed a public polyclinic to cater to the increasing number of residents while youths wanted a district stadium to hold sporting events.

He said presently, locals seeking non-emergency medical treatment have to go either to Tangkak Hospital or Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar.

Mohd Zan said the Government had already announced the construction of road from Sengkang to Sagil but as of to date, no work on the project has started.

Laidback lifestyle: People relaxing and having their daily chats with friends over a cup of coffee in Mati in Ledang. Gambir. Laidback lifestyle: People relaxing and having their daily chats with friends over a cup of coffee in Sg Mati in Ledang. Gambir.
 
“Bukit Gambir also needs a new secondary school as the existing SMK Kampung Simpang Lima is overcrowded with over 2,000 students,’’ he said.

Teacher S. Thanavanathan, 45, said the Indians needed a temple in the area and hoped that the state Government would allocate a plot of land for the building.

Apart from the Hindu temple, the Bukit Gambir school teacher said there was a need for a Tamil school as well, a health clinic in Sagil.

“Locals also want banks to set up automated teller machines at the shop houses as there is not a single bank in Sagil to serve them,’’ he said.  

According to Lilly, 39, textile and fabrics in Tangkak was still popular among housewives who came from northern peninsula, Johor Baru and even Singapore.

She said there were more than 30 textile and fabric shops in the town and many had branches in Nilai Tiga, Nilai Square and some had branches in Malacca.

Shoppers’ haven: People looking for clothes at Gambir town. Shoppers’ haven: People looking for clothes at Gambir town.
 
She said the town would be congested with shoppers on weekends, public holidays and school holidays, adding that, many also came in buses.

She said since most of the shops were located along the Tangkak — Segamat road, the local authority had set up parking bays for vehicles away from the main road.

She also added that vehicles, especially the buses, now had special parking spots near the Tangkak bus and taxi terminal behind the rows of textile shops.

Meanwhile, trader Lee Cheng Hua, 33, said the Government should speed up the work on the new Tangkak–Semagat road which would by-pass the town.

He said the road project, to begin from the new Ledang administrative centre planned near Serom, would ease congestion in the town when completed.

He said although the Chinese community in Tangkak had almost everything they needed, the town still needed a football field or a mini-stadium for sport activities.

He said the Chinese schools in the area had sufficient sport facilities but they were meant for the students of the schools, not for the public.

“It will be good if the Government can build a mini-stadium here for the residents to organise games, especially football,” he said.

Lee, who runs his family’s Seng Huat Textile Company, said the town also needed a bigger hospital and hoped the Government would upgrade the present one.

He said the town and its surrounding areas were fast growing with new housing and commercial zones while new industrial parks were being planned not far from the Tangkak Toll Plaza.

He said the town could be small but the textile trade and nearby Gunung Ledang had made it a popular visiting destination for the tourists.

“However, the town only has three budget hotels and we hope more hotels would be built to cater to the increasing number of visitors to Tangkak,” he said.

This GE13 both Barisan Nasional and the Opposition will be trying hard to woo the 69,453 voters in the constituency.

SOURCE: THE STAR, APRIL 18, 2013.

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