IT used to be one of the most visited destinations in Perlis, but poor upkeep has taken a toll on Gua Kelam.
Visitors to the limestone cave (Cave of Dark ness) were lef t bemused by the poor state of care and hoped the relevant authorities would take swift action in addressing the matter.
Checks by ACTIONLINE at the 370m-long limestone cave show that the place was in dire need of better maintenance, especially the facilities.
NORHAYATI ARIP, 45, from Ijok, Selangor, notices a few holes on the wooden suspension bridge inside the cave, which require immediate attention.
The mother of six points out that the management should also pay extra attention to other attractions available at the recreational park, such as the deer park.
She says there is a dilapidated signboard and the path leading to the deer park near the cave is unkempt, preventing them from entering the park.
“I could not see any deer from the cave, but I did not dare walk towards the park as the path is covered with bushes.
“Apart from that, there are few other side attractions at the cave areas that are not well managed.
“In my opinion, the park could draw visitors, especially foreign tourists, if the facilities are upgraded and well maintained,” she said.
Another visitor from Langkawi, ARIYANA HAMID, 35, urges the authorities to restore Gua Kelam’s status as a must-visit destination by improving cleanliness at its facilities, especially at the stream outside the cave, where many of the visitors take a dip.
The Perlis government acknowledges issues concerning poor management and maintenance of several tourist attractions in the state, especially those located in forest reserves like Gua Kelam, which fall under the state Forestry Department’s responsibility.
MenteriBesarDatukSeriAzlan Man, however, does not blame the department as it has no expertise or allocation to maintain and upgrade the facilities.
Azlan says even if the department is given financial allocation to manage such facilities, he doubts it could deliver a topnotch job as tourism is not its core business.
As such, he says the state government is studying solutions to revive the state tourism products, including engaging the expertise of the private sector.
He adds that the state government is in the process of evaluating several proposals from private companies interested in taking over the tourism facilities management.