Monday, 17 July 2017

(The Star) ‘New villages are not sidelined’

YONG PENG: The Government will continue to help promote 20 selected new villages nationwide as tourism destinations.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the Government has never sidelined new villages as shown in its initiative to promote their products as tourism attractions.

“Each new village has its own uniqueness, something that is worth promoting as a tourism pro­duct,” said Dr Wee whose portfolio also covers new villages.

He said this during the New Village – Your Tourism Destination programme here which was launched by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz on Saturday.

Nationwide, there are 613 new villages, both in the rural and urban areas.

The selected new villages are in Johor, Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembi­lan, Kedah and Selangor.

Dr Wee who is Air Hitam MP, earlier played tour guide, showing Nazri around Yong Peng, a town that is also known as “little Fuzhou” due to its large Fuzhou clan population.

Tourism attraction: Nazri (in white) with Dr Wee and other officials entering the largest dragon tunnel in the country at the Che Ann Khor Temple in Yong Peng, Johor.

They visited five places – the 106.9m long dragon tunnel at Che Ann Khor Yong Peng Association, Tian Pao Kong temple to see a 21m-tall Ji Gong statue, tried some birds nest soup at a swiflet breeding centre, witnessed the process of making traditional Fuzhou noodles and finally taking a stroll at the Black Dragon Cave.

Nazri also announced an allocation of RM20,000 to each of the five places they visited, to aid their development and tourism promotion.

In Malacca, Dr Wee said young couples in urban areas are having fewer children, as they want to ensure their children will get the best in everything.

He said, urban parents are concerned with providing excellent education, healthcare and other opportunities for their children.

“This trend is apparent among all ethnic Malaysians living in cities and towns, but is more pronounced among the Chinese community.

“We cannot force them to have more babies in order to increase the population,” he said after witnessing the oath-taking ceremony of committee members of the Malaysian Motorcycle and Scooter Dealers’ Assocation yesterday.

Dr Wee was asked to comment on a Department of Statistics’ report which showed the proportion of the ethnic Chinese community in the local population has dropped by 0.2 percentage point to 23.2% for this year.

The report stated the bumiputra community’s population proportion experienced an increase of 0.2 percentage points to 68.8%, while Indians and others remained at 7.0% and 1.0% respectively.