Penang may never have had the best beaches in the region, but what had been there is being lost, and not only because of overpopulation, overdevelopment, the global economic crisis or climate change. The peace and tranquillity that visitors seek seem a thing of the past now. Although the story is a complicated one, Malaysia’s general vagueness in jurisdiction and weakness in law enforcement seem to be the major culprits.
“YOU CANNOT SIT HERE, I just realised that,” Juergen Bosch says, looking at our surroundings as if for the first time, though we’ve been talking for most of an hour. The otherwise white sand is filthy, covered with dirt, detritus and the occasional plastic bottle and cigarette butt.
We’re standing on a beach in the afternoon, in front of Golden Sands Resort in Batu Ferringhi, Penang. It’s the haze season, the sky is an ugly, unhealthy looking shade of grey, and the winds are especially strong.
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