IPOH, April 12 ― After reports that Pulau Sembilan would be reopened last December, the Perak state government has now decided to keep it closed for an indefinite period of time.
State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Tan Kar Hing said this was to allow the completion of studies on the cluster of islands by experts.
“The researchers are studying the blue tears, sea horses and corals around the islands and also the islands themselves,” he said.
(The blue tears refer to rare plankton that emits a blue glow in the dark along the islands' shorelines.)
Speaking to reporters after visiting Sungai Kinta here today, Tan said pending the completion of the studies, the islands would remain closed to outsiders.
“Comprehensive studies need to be carried out to allow the islands to be better protected,” he said, noting that previously, no such studies had been conducted.
He was commenting on a story by Malay Mail that Pulau Sembilan, that had been due for reopening last December, might stay indefinitely closed after Perak authorities found tour operators and tourists trespassing there.
On the trespassing, Tan said there were no activities on the islands but there were attempts to island hop by tourists.
“Our six rangers managed to advise the tourists to stay away,” he added.
The islands were closed in April 2017 after authorities saw the damage tourists did to the local flora and fauna.