Selandar - Economy


The economic drive for the local community includes rubber tapping, palm-oil planting, cattle and goat rearing and farming. Most of the villagers are the elderly, whereas the younger ones left the village to work in the industrial areas or as a government servants in Melaka City, about 35 kilometres (22 mi) away. Efforts to increase the number of the population in KBS were hindered due to the lack of industries nearby and the unpopular agricultural job to the youngsters. The village also lost a generation of population in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, when the Federal Development Authority (Felda) opened many new land schemes in the nearby states. Land was offered in Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Johor besides in Melaka itself such as Felda Kemendor, Hutan Percha, Felda Bukit Senggeh and Felda Air Kangkung. At that time, each new family (newly married couples in their 20s and early 30s) were given about 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land consisting of 8 acres (32,000 m2) of rubber plantation and 2 acres (8,100 m2) for the housing and the remaining to be planted with cash crops. Most of the new families who formed KBS moved out to make a settlement in these Felda schemes. These are the generations that shall drive the KBS's current economy and make up the populations should they were not settled in the Felda schemes.

Another minus point is due to its road system, which is in a circular pattern where there is only one access road, and it is considered as the end point. A suggestion to construct a road linking to the Felda Bukit Senggeh was turned down by the older people in the late 1960s, as they feared that their small piece of land would be taken for the construction of the new road. Meanwhile, others feared that the existing narrow road would be widened and affect their nearby pieces of land containing fruit trees of their houses. The current village leaders shall take initiative to request the state government to construct new link road from Jus junction to Kg. Ayer Lanjut-Chembong-Rejang (can lead to Bukit Batu Lebah)-Air Keroh-Lembah Selandar and connecting to the existing Jalan Simpang Bekoh. An access road to Felda Bukit Senggeh has also been considered as it takes less than 2 kilometres to cut across a valley between Bukit Batu Lebah and Bukit Batu Tiga, where the TNB power transmission grid takes a route. Other ideas to set up the higher-learning institute and to have the public-housing scheme were mooted in the mid-1990s, but they were never materialized due to some political differences between the leaders and due to individual land-title issues. Better road connectivity will at least make KBS more noticeable and will appreciate the land value of this traditional village.

There is a primary school named Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Senggeh, upon entry to KBS, with a total student of about 150 pupils ranging from Pre-school, Primary (Year) 1 until Primary (Year) 6. The numbers of students are dwindling year by year, as it failed to attract or to keep the productive age population to reside nearby KBS.

Environmental wise, the activity of sand dredging at several locations of KBS are slowly degrading the water catchment quality for the Chin-Chin water treatment plant, located about 30 km (20 mi) downstream near Jasin. Logging activities and the construction of the TNB power transmission grid line slowly caused soil erosion to some parts of Bukit Batu Lebah and Bukit Batu Tiga, near the Orang Asli (aborigin people) Settlement. In years to come, probably the huge pond created as a result of sand dredging can be turned into a sports recreational area. Avid anglers already turned the disused dredging pools into a fishing spot in Chembong. Mud flooding is a concern during the rainy season, as the mud retention pond may give way and flood the homes of the villagers. It has happened several times in recent years, and it was highlighted in the local media. However, the sand-dredging activities continue with immunity. There was also an effort to set up a large chicken farm, several years back, but due to the resistance from local community and with the help of the media addressing the environmental impact to the surroundings and negative health effect to the community, the project was called off in 2006. However, during the recent development in 2010 shows that there is still an effort by the developer to construct the chicken farm by site levelling job. The current activity on-site is to dredge the hilly area and to recover the sand to be sent to the construction site away from KBS. A huge retention pond was constructed, and it is suspected to be used later as a waste water treatment pond when the chicken farm is in operation.

Selandar itself is an expanding township where new housing is fast expanding its population, such as in Jus Permai, Jus Perdana, Taman Pelangi, Selandar Public Housing scheme, Felcra Bukit Sedanan, and Taman Ayer Pasir. High-end orchard turned into residential area (Lembah Selandar) is available for sale. A bungalow-plot housing was constructed at Bukit Gedabu overlooking Selandar Town. Higher-learning institutes such as Selandar Community College (opened in 2004) and the Industrial Training Institute (2004) were established by the government to spur the growth of the human capital. Boarding Religious School is managed by the state Religious Affair Department, located just about 500 metres (1,640 ft) from the town center and just in front of it, is a Selandar Secondary School (SMK Selandar, established in 1981). An integrated school for secondary education was set up in Batang Melaka, about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) away from Selandar Town.

In terms of infrastructure, there is a complete link connecting Selandar to the nearby district townships, such as Jasin (20 km or 12 mi away via Felda Tun Ghafar access road), Durian Tunggal (18 km away), Alor Gajah (22 km away). There is a major road upgrading works currently in progress between Selandar and Machap and scheduled to be completed in 2008), to Batang Melaka and further away to Gemencheh about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northwest of it. Access to Simpang Bekoh is easier with the completion of the new state road back in 2003. Now it takes less than 30 minutes to reach Tangkak, a 'fabric town' located at the northern part of Johor. In other words, Selandar is well-connected with the road network, as it is located right in the middle of the inner road system between Masjid Tanah and Nyalas and between Batang Melaka, to the south in Merlimau. Already in the planning stage, there is a new road linking linking Technical University in Durian Tunggal to Selandar and also a new road to Batang Melaka. Selandar will be turned into a new district soon separating from the Jasin district with its own support facility and district council. Jasin District itself will be upgraded into Jasin Town Municipal, due to its infrastructure improvement, economic activities expansion, and growth in population.

The nearest railway station is at Batang Melaka, located north of Selandar. Only the mail train has made stops at this station thrice a day. A bigger station is located further at Tampin, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) away north-west of Selandar. With the ongoing railway, the double-tracking job was targeted for completion in 2011. Batang Melaka station will also get some spillage of the benefit, when more trains will make a stop to cater for the Batang Melaka-Gemencheh-Selandar folks. Economic benefit to the Batang Melaka town, Gemencheh and Selandar will be felt in the long run.

The Selandar Community Clinic building is the newly upgraded facility, and it is able to cater for an emergency cases. In the planning stage is the new mosque building and Fire Brigade building for the benefit of the local community. There is a fixed line telephone exchange, and many mobile-phone communication towers are located strategically around Selandar to cover it with latest 3G, wifi and broadband facilities. The electricity supply covers almost all areas, including Orang Asli Settlement in Jus, Bukit Seraya, and Bukit Batu Tiga. The same goes for the piped treated water which is managed by the State Water Authority.

The absence of big industrial areas and industries around Selandar is mainly because Selandar is gazetted as a water-catchment area for Melaka. Jus Dam is about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) away, while Durian Tunggal Dam is about 18 km (11 mi) away, and the third one is the Chin-Chin water intake located about 25 km (16 mi) away. State Government shall think of the another approach to develop Selandar if the industries cannot be allowed to mushroom here. Eco-tourism, education centers or relocating of major government offices to Selandar is the other way to develop it. For the past 10 years, there was very slow progress when compared to the other small town such as Merlimau, Sungai Udang or Masjid Tanah, in terms of development. Large estate owned by the individuals and corporations really hindered the development in Selandar, as the cost for the land acquisition skyrocketed once the idea of acquisition was mooted by the government.

Selandar was also identified as a major fruits producer by the state government, when more than 1,000 acres (0 km2) of forest land was gazetted as the agricultural land and named Melaka Tropical Fruit Farm. Currently the park has been producing the mango variety of Malacca Delight, rambutans, durians, star fruit and other tropical fruits meant for the local and export market. Dragon fruit was also cultivated along the road leading to Alor Gajah.

Selandar is gaining its popularity with its successful schools, namely SMK Selandar and SBPI Selandar, which are among the better schools in Malaysia. There are 2 well-known colleges in Selandar, named as Community College and Industrial Training Institute, which will train those students who cannot enter higher institutions for certain kinds of technical training, such as automobile repair or air conditioning maintenance.

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