GEORGE TOWN, September 15 – A significant transformation is set to unfold in the picturesque hills of Paya Terubong, Penang, as a 164-hectare hill valley land near the region is slated for development into an agro-tourism project over the next five years. Overlooking the impressive Bukit Kukus Bypass bridge, this groundbreaking project will seamlessly combine the allure of a nature resort with the thrill of flying fox lines. It aspires not only to bolster food security but also to offer a mesmerizing escape into the heart of Penang’s natural beauty.

This state-owned land, under the stewardship of the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), has been leased for a span of 40 years to Kat Resources Sdn Bhd (KRSB), entrusted with the responsibility of developing it at an estimated cost of RM40 million, to be realized over three distinct phases. The project enjoys the keen support of Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who also serves as PDC Chairman. He shed light on the fact that a quarter of the land had previously been subjected to unauthorized clearing for vegetable farming.

The new project, however, aspires to integrate existing farmers into a systematic and organized development, carefully overseen by the State Agricultural Department. Chow Kon Yeow expressed his enthusiasm for the project, highlighting the immense potential of the land for farming and its awe-inspiring hilltop views. This development aims to bring order and planning to what was once an unregulated farming activity, ensuring the sustainability of agriculture in the area. PDC CEO Aziz Bakar shared that the hill site currently accommodates approximately 150 vegetable farmers involved in the cultivation of a variety of produce, ranging from spinach to potatoes.

In the spirit of this transformative project, these existing farmers will be seamlessly assimilated, each receiving their designated plots of land to continue farming under a land lease agreement. Aziz Bakar noted that PDC stands to gain RM24 million through the 40-year land lease signed with KRSB. This capital injection is expected to be channeled back into the development of Penang. KRSB CEO Teoh Kok Aun, on his part, announced that the company has allocated RM20 million for early-stage infrastructure works, which are anticipated to span five years.

A further RM20 million is earmarked for the creation of tourism products. This ambitious venture is expected to generate around 400 job opportunities. The heart of the project lies in large orchards that will feature the cultivation of prized fruit crops such as Musang King durians, black thorn, and cempedak king variety durians. The estimated annual revenue from these crops is projected to reach RM3 million. Additionally, tourism-related activities are forecasted to bring in another RM5 million annually.

The project also envisions the installation of a thrilling flying fox line that spans the valley between the two hills, offering breathtaking views of the terrain. Hiking trails, glamping experiences, and various other outdoor activities have been proposed as part of the project’s offerings. However, Teoh Kok Aun mentioned that they anticipate a wait of approximately one year before the project can commence, as it awaits the necessary approvals from the Penang Island City Council and other relevant agencies.

In conclusion, this ambitious agro-tourism project promises to breathe new life into the serene hills of Paya Terubong while enhancing food security and boosting tourism in the region. As the project takes flight, it’s poised to become a shining example of sustainable development, celebrating the natural beauty of Penang while providing economic opportunities for the local community.

Pocket News