Batu Gajah A thriving agricultural town

PCCCI, Batu Gajah Branch
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Batu Gajah is one the major freshwater fish production areas in the country.
Batu Gajah is one the major freshwater fish production areas in the country.

The district of Batu Gajah covers a land area of about 40,000 hectares with a population of almost 120,000. Among the towns in the district are Batu Gajah, Pusing, Tualang and Papan Lama as well as Chinese new villages such as Kampung Bali, Kampung Nalla, Bemban, Chenderong, Papan Baru and Kampung Timah.

The seat of district administration is in Batu Gajah town which has a population of more than 30,000. It is the administrative and economic hub of the district with its own hospital, police stations, court and all kinds of shops and hotels mainly run by the Chinese. Besides, there are also departmental stores as well as renowned international fast food franchises and local Chinese restaurants. There are five banks in the town, one major post office. The town boasts a very active commercial scene.

KTMB moved the train maintenance center from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Gajah several years ago, and the area around the new facility has now been developed into a prosperous housing estate. In the meantime, China’s Southern Railway Group will also be investing RM400 million here to construct train locomotives and cabins (including electric trains) while providing maintenance services as well.

The district boasts a very comprehensive road network and is not far from the North-South Expressway exit. Traveling here by train is also very convenient and the town is under one hour from the Lumut jetty in Manjung district.

There are a large number of disused tin mines in the district and many have been developed into freshwater fish ponds. Batu Gajah is today one of the major freshwater fish production areas in the country. Meanwhile, some of the ponds are used for duck rearing with investment money from Singapore.

Swiftlet farming has become an emerging industry in the district in recent years. Some of the abandoned shophouses in the town as well as suburban areas have been converted to swift houses.

Bordering Kinta district, Batu Gajah is a mere half hour drive from the state capital Ipoh. The prosperous development of Ipoh is beginning to spill over to Batu Gajah while near the town of Tronoh is Bandar Baru Seri Iskandar in Manjung district with the Petronas University. All this has contributed to the rapid development of Batu Gajah in real estate as well as agriculture.

The town of Tualang in Batu Gajah district is known for its freshwater prawn. A tiny town slightly bigger than a football field, Tualang nevertheless boasts a total of 14 seafood restaurants.

Pusing is another thriving town with a predominantly Hakka Chinese population. The local pastry is very popular among the local residents as well as visitors while the famous Ming Feong Restaurant is well known for its duck noodle. The newer Kok Thai Restaurant serves as a perfect venue for large dinner feasts.

Batu Gajah also boasts an international class golf course outside the town called Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort which houses a hotel and several restaurants.

The district is also known for a century-old European castle that has since become a favorite sightseeing destination for many local and foreign visitors. The only tin mining dredge open for tourists to visit is located along 5th Mile of Tuarang Road, an important relic from the country’s tin-mining legacy.

 

Staying united

The Batu Gajah branch of Perak Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PCCCI) was established in 2007 along the Main Road of Pusing town. It is the second branch formed under the encouragement of PCCCI in the state. The first president was Chong Tong Sing.

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Tualang is known for its freshwater prawn,boasts a total of 14 seafood restaurants.
Tualang is known for its freshwater prawn,boasts a total of 14 seafood restaurants.

Chong is involved in a diverse range of businesses. Other than chicken slaughterhouse, he also runs several fish farms, swift houses, plantation and land transaction, among others. Later due to his busy workload, he had to give up the chairmanship in favor of Chong Yan Own who won in two subsequent elections to become the helmsman of the Batu Gajah branch of PCCCI. Today, the branch boast almost a hundred members.

Chong says the PCCCI branch successfully raised RM280,000 for eight Chinese primary schools in the district during the Pusing Carnival in 2010.

In February 2013, it organized a Chinese New Year Carnival in collaboration with the Batu Gajah district council. The carnival featured some merchandise stalls, cultural shows and fireworks display, among others.

The PCCCI branch hosted a GST seminar in 2014 to familiarize the local businesses with the imminent GST implementation. Response from the public was overwhelming, and this showed the local businesses were very much concerned about the impact of GST.

Chong also says the PCCCI branch donated tables, chairs and other equipment to the Batu Gajah center for disabled children as a way to show its concern for the underprivileged group in the society.

The branch provides updated business information for its member while offering full support for the parent organization’s activities and events. It also maintains a cordial working relationship with the district government and to pool together the resources of the members to preserve their common interests.