GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has urged locals to appreciate Penang Hill, saying they should visit the park which boasts of a virgin rainforest that dates back to 130 million years.
“Penang Hill has its natural, historical and heritage values which we often feel are not important.
“Penang Hill is important for Penang, and I hope all Penangites will always come to Penang Hill to appreciate the natural beauty here,” Chow said at the launch of the inaugural Penang Hill Festival, which will run until July 29.
He said the forest on the hill, over 800m above sea level, was something unique.
“The jungle is 130 million years old, and where can you find it? Just 10 minutes away from the city centre of George Town. And yet, we as Penangites do not appreciate this,” he said, adding that the festival would be a good start to encourage Penangites to visit the hill.
Chow also praised the Penang Hill Corporation which he chairs, for its efforts to restore the hills after the devastating rainfall and floods last year.
Some 300 landslips occurred on Penang Hill, forcing it to be closed to the public for two months, before reopening in late December last year.
“They worked so hard to bring things back to normal on the hill, and now we can open up the doors for visitors to enjoy the beauty, history and the heritage on Penang Hill,” said Chow.
According to PHC general manager Cheok Lay Leng, Penang Hill receives between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors, with the number lower on weekdays.
“On peak weekends, it goes up to between 5,000 and 6,000, and on super peak weekends it goes up even higher to 8,000 and above, up to 10,000. At one point, we even hit 13,000 visitors,” he said.