This article was submitted by Rotary eClub One member Josie Henson from Angeles City, Philippines. It is a companion piece to the program "Rotary Dignitaries Gather for the SELANGOR ZONE INSTITUTE."
Malaysia: From Tin Mine to Resort
Tin mining is one of the oldest industries in the former Malaya. The tin mining started since 1820 in Malaysia after the arrival of Chinese immigrants. The Chinese immigrants settled in Perak and started tin mines. Their leader was the famous Chung Ah Qwee. Their arrival contributed to the needed labor and hence the growth of the tin mining industry. Tin was the major pillar of the Malaysian economy. Tin occurs chiefly as alluvial deposits in the foothills of the Peninsular on the western side. The most important area is the Kinta Valley, which includes the towns of Ipoh, Gopeng, Kampar and Batu Gajah in the State of Perak. In fact, alluvial tin is mined in a belt of country stretching from Kedah into the Kinta Valley and along the foothills of Perak, Selangor and Johore. This part of the tin belt includes the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, which is the centre of another rich tin-mining area.
By 1872, there were about 40,000 miners in Malaysia, mostly Cantonese and Hakka. In Selangor, tin mining started in 1824. There were about 10,000 Chinese in the state. The majority of them were Hakka. These hardworking miners similarly developed Kuala Lumpur, like Selangor.
The tin mining industry was once a major contributor to the Malaysian economy. Indeed, Kuala Lumpur has its origin in tin mining. In 1979, Malaysia was producing almost 63,000 tons, accounting for 31 percent of world output. It was the world's leading producer and employed more than 41,000 people.
Malaysia was the world's largest tin producer and supplied more than half of the world's tin until the mid-1980 when prices dropped and more than 300 tin mines stopped their operations.
By 1994, the country's production had fallen to 6,500 tons, with only 3,000 people employed in the industry. While Malaysia's production fell by 90 percent over the last 15 years, global output fell by only 20 percent.
Today, the country hardly exports tin as production is used mostly for the domestic electronic and tinplating industries. The collapse of the tin industry is due to exhaustion of tin deposits, the low tin prices and the high operating costs. But perhaps too much was done to protect it rather than to obsolete the industry.
The Mines Resort City, also located in Selangor was once the world's largest called Hon Fatt Mines. Now, it is a tourist destination boasting a 5-star hotel, a man-made beach and a 246-acre golf course-a far cry from the barren land it once was.The long years of mining activity in Malaysia left its lands with large numbers of ponds, sinkholes, and tin tailings or waste rock from mining operations. Tin tailings make lands unsuitable for agricultural purposes. Ex-mining lands were controlled and developed by the government and utilized the area for housing developments. In Kuala Lumpur suburbs, low cost houses were built.
To complement these, other aspects of the rehabilitation program were thrown in, such as commercial centers, factories, schools, and universities. Then the private sector stepped in and investments brought in by different businesses led to transformation of ex-mining lands into recreational areas and theme parks.
Developed by Dr. Jeffrey Cheah and located 35 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) & 25 minutes from the city centre, Sunway Lagoon Resort is an opulent, 441 room hotel facility incorporated into the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park whose posh and upscale ambiance is legendary. With five restaurants and outlets to cater to every craving imaginable and easy access to Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall and Sunway Lagoon, theme rooms make a stay there a magical experience. With 10 fantastic hotel pools, Malaysia's first "international standard" theme park, Sunway Lagoon Resort has been a major hit with a whopping 80 acres comprising an abundance of water- based activities and attractions! Giant waterslides, a cool river, lagoon express, a waterfall garden and twin speed slides make the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park one of the most exciting family destinations in Malaysia. There is a shopping mall called the Pyramid located inside the theme park.
17 villas along with beautiful resort suites, The Duplex and the Pyramid Tower together house more than 1,200 rooms, studios and suites suiting a variety of budgets inside this Sunway Lagoon hotels building. The entire complex makes up one of the best and most bustling dining, shopping and entertainment centers in all of South East Asia. Six different restaurants offer a myriad of choices in cuisine including American, Japanese and surf and turf. Sunway Lagoon Malaysia comprises three distinct and exciting themes including Wild Wild West, Waters of Africa and World of Adventure each with their own boatload of attractions. Hit the "high-speed racer" waterslide at the Congo Challenge, make a splash at Cameron Climb with a double tube inverted ascent, get spun and soaked in raging rapids on the Grand Canyon River Rapids or experience stomach-launching twists and turns on the Tomahawk ride as you're swung 360-degrees through the air.
With a host of other exciting rides at the Theme Park, both children and adults would enjoy, I think, Sunway Lagoon Resort is one of Malaysia's best kept secrets, waiting to be discovered by everyone in Asia and beyond...
[Read more about Josie's visit to Malaysia in the article "Rotary Dignitaries Gather for the SELANGOR ZONE INSTITUTE."]
Photos below show a typical tin mine and the present-day resort.