KAMPAR, Aug 24, 2014:

Tourists have vandalised Gua Tempurung, Peninsular Malaysia’s largest and oldest limestone cave, an act which has reportedly been going on for a while.

These irresponsible actions have angered cave rangers, who sadly cannot do anything about it even when the vandals, majority of whom are university and college students, were caught red-handed on many occasions.

“The culprits will complain to the local council and twist the story when we fine them. They also make allegations that we were rude to them.

“The authorities have subsequently told us not to issue fines to tourists. So it is quite difficult for us to prevent further vandalism,” APT Consortium Sdn Bhd manager Sharifah Azlina Syed Omar toldThe Rakyat Post.

APT Consortium Sdn Bhd is an Ipoh-based company appointed by the state government to manage and maintain Gua Tempurung.

Prior to issuing fines, Sharifah Azlina said, they had erected signboards advising people not to write on the cave walls, but to no avail.

A site visit byThe Rakyat Postrevealed not only graffiti on the interior walls of the cave, including “I love you” and names, but also rubbish consisting mostly of mineral water bottles found piled up in parts of the cave, spoiling its natural beauty.

Sharifah Azlina lamented that her company had to bear additional cost to hire cave rangers to clean the walls and collect rubbish in the cave on a weekly basis.

She also complained that tourists had also ignored advice not to bring food into the cave, which had worsened the garbage problem.

Sharifah Azlina said the management was mulling the practice on Mount Everest, where each member of an expedition must bring back at least eight kilogrammes of garbage

“We will be meeting the state councillor on tourism for a solution to this problem.

“In the meantime, we would like to appeal to the public not to deface the cave walls and dump rubbish indiscriminately.”

Located in Kampar, Gua Tempurung, rated four out of five by Tripadvisor, is known for its spectacular stalagmite, stalactite and other mineral formations created over 400 million years.

It received more than 90,000 visitors last year.

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