By WINNIE YEOH
PENANG is the only state in the country that does not have a scout campsite, Scouts Association of Malaysia Penang state commissioner Zulkafli Kamaruddin said.
He said this was a predicament the state association was facing as its previous campsite at Coronation Camp had been turned into a Japanese Garden.
“Our activities are limited now without a proper campsite,” he said.
Zulkafli said the association acquired a piece of land in Teluk Bahang 10 years ago for a campsite but the place had been gazetted as part of the Penang National Park which resulted in the Scouts having difficulty carrying out their activities there.
“Only limited people are allowed to enter the area and we have to obtain permission from the National Park authority to camp on our own land,” he said when attending the 100th National Scouts Day celebration at SMK Haji Zainul Abidin at Hamilton Road in Penang on Sunday.
The Malaysia Scouts Day gathering was held in conjunction with the celebration with participation from about 500 students from 13 schools in Kedah, Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan.
Zulkafli said that since most scout activities in Penang were carried out on school grounds now, he hoped the state government would provide a proper campsite for them soon.
Association publicity officer Neoh Dian Bin said parents should encourage their children to take part in more healthy outdoor activities rather than keeping them indoors.
“Parents are more concerned about their children’s studies and safety nowadays that they have neglected the importance of outdoor activities.
“Outdoor activities such as scouting and other uniformed activities can promote a healthy lifestyle and help build better interaction among their peers,” he said.
SK Bukit Gelugor students Muhamed Nur Aiman, 12, and Syabil Ahmad Munahir, Muhamed Zulfahmi Mohamed Daud and Muhamed Ariff Akmal Rosmin, all aged 10, said they liked scouting as they could play with friends and enjoy activities they do not get to do at home.
Activities carried out at the two-day event over the weekend were backwoodsman cooking, football matches, photography competition, radio scouting by the Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitters’ Society (MARTS) and an exhibition.