Monday, March 11, 2013

The much awaited 'anak sulung'

*********************** In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ******************** Reflection*************** "Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80) ****************** ALMOST every morning, I drive along Jalan Bukit Katil in Melaka Tengah and during the journey I realize there are special bicycle lanes on both sides of the road from the Tehel-Kampung Tun Razak junction right up to the junction of Jalan Gapam-Jasin. ************************** The dedicated bicycle lanes are about two kilometers long but the irony of it is, I have not seen any cyclist using them. Judging from ‘the non existence’ of cyclists, I am afraid to say that the three-metre-wide lanes are among the many white elephants projects in Melaka which its leaders claimed had reached a fully developed status in 2010. ************************* During his campaign to promote the setting of the bicycle lanes, State Education, Youth and Sport Committee chairman Dato’ Gan Tian Loo said the projects were designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and boost the ‘Go Green’ campaign. In fact the state had the longest slogan in the country that is, ‘Melaka Maju Negeriku Sayang Negeri Bandar Teknologi Hijau’ (Melaka Progressive, My Beloved State, State and Town with Green Technology). *************************** Gan said the special lanes that were built in Melaka Tengah, Alor Gajah and Jasin would encourage more Melaka people to opt for cycling as a mode of transport. In Melaka Tengah, the stretches include Kampung Tun Razak in Bukit Katil to Kompleks Seri Negeri in Ayer Keroh, Malacca International Trade Centre to Kompleks Seri Negeri, Bukit Cina roundabout to Jalan Hang Tuah near Avillion Legacy Hotel, Taman Rempah to Stadhuys and Jalan Ong Kim Wee to Mahkota Parade (via the flyover). ************************ In Alor Gajah district, the stretches are from SK Lesung Batu to SMK Seri Pengkalan in Taman Pengkalan, SK Alor Gajah to SM Teknik Datuk Seri Mohd Zin and Alor Gajah Municipal Council to SJKC Alor Gajah. The stretch between Taman Maju and SJKC Yu Hsien in Jasin will also have the dedicated bicycle lanes. ************************ Based on the ‘almost non existence cyclists’ on the dedicated lanes at Jalan Bukit Katil, I am afraid to say the choice of that route was a mistake. When the lane was made, I had talked to several residents of Kampung Tun Razak who grew their crops on government lands along the road and these crops were being slashed down. They said that that project was only to quench the thirst of a few selected contractors. ************************** Driving along the empty stretch of the dedicated bicycle lanes in Jalan Bukit Katil, I could not help but have a thought about a few more big and glamorous projects undertaken by the municipality and the state government with public money. ********************** If we enter the state by exiting at the Ayer Keroh Tol Plaza, if we open our eyes and ‘heart’ we could see for ourselves those glamorous but wasteful projects using public funds. ************************** After exiting the toll plaza, if one is observant, on the left near the road junction to Durian Tunggal, there stands the Melaka Go-Cart circuit which was built at the cost of RM9.9 milllion. ************************** It is now in ‘a confusion state’, the company in charge was said failed to settle rent amounting to RM210,000 to ‘Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Melaka’ (Melaka State Development Corporation). ************************* If one is to take the Ayer Keroh-Melaka road at night, one will notice the road is decorated with bright coloured lights all the way. Even some big trees were full of lights. For some it is okay to spend public money in this way but at some areas and buildings such as the Kota Cemerlang building, it is too much. **************************** On the grounds of the municipality building (Graha Makmur), one would notice a giant clock decorated with flowers. The locals called it ‘jam bunga’. It was said to cost the municipality RM500,000 to build. ********************* Down the road, after passing the ‘flower clock’, one will come across the Bukit Sebukor man-made waterfall. It cost the public RM1.78 million to build this so-called ‘highest man-made’ waterfall in the country. The RM1.78 million does not stop there however, as the people would have to continually fund for its electricity and maintenance. ************************ Other than the Ayer Keroh-Bukit Sebukor-Melaka route, road users to the historic city too could use the Ayer Keroh-Batu Berendam-Melaka road. On this road, one would notice the gleaming Melaka International Airport. ************************* This old Lapangan Terbang Batu Berendam has undergone a RM131 million project to extend the runaway with a second extension and upgrading works carried out to enable it to cater to Boeing 737A and Airbus 320A. ************************* Covering 7,000 square meters, the airport’s new terminal has facilities for domestic and international flights and can handle 1.5 million passengers annually. All went smoothly, so what’s the problem? ************************ The Chief Minister was ambitious with this (or his) project, but local and international carriers including the low cost ones such as AirAsia and Lion Air were not keen in using the airport because it was not far away from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang. *********************** From the Ayer Keroh Toll Plaza to these airports, traveling time is only about an hour, so it feasible for carriers to invest money by operating in this airport. Millions of ringgit has been spent to upgrade the airport facilities, and now it seems that it will become another white elephant in the state. *************************** About 15 minutes drive from the airport one would reach Melaka Sentral. This centre sits on 46.6 acres of land in Peringgit, cost RM53 million to build, consists of three main components – the bus and taxi terminals, the central market and the bazaar. It was opened by then Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 14th May 2004. **************************** Not long ago ugly cracks could be seen along the bus boarding platforms at the bus terminal; tiles broken; their sharp edges posing danger to unsuspecting passengers. The uneven floor due to the sinking ground condition has made the condition worse. **************************** Some time ago the central market building too was declared unsafe and was closed to give way to repair works after cracks were found in the building. During that period traders had to do business in the market parking lot. ************************* Not far away from Melaka Sentral, the Sungai Melaka flows lazily downstream where rigorous, glamorous and big projects are already there or on going to be built or constructed. Among others were the beautifying and cleaning of the Melaka River with the first phase costing RM120 million and the second amounting to RM90 million. For the following phase, works are on going to clean the river from Pengkalan Rama Pantai to Melaka Sentral (near Pasaraya Maidin), a distance of about two kilometres. ************************** On the bank of Sungai Melaka at Kampung Morten, runs a monorail line of about one kilometer which cost the government some RM16.5 million to build. The joke that went around the state was that the tram broke down on its first day of service. It was of no benefit to the ordinary local commuters but to serve tourists who would pay a fare of RM10. ************************ Regarding the future of Muslims, several young Malay professionals interviewed said said Muslim must have Opposition representatives in the Melaka State Assembly to make sure that all matters regarding Islam are attended to. Matters involving ‘wakaf’ lands for example, must be dealt seriously and not handed over to anyone. ********************* Remember the mismanagement of properties (harta zakat) by Majlis Agama Islam (Melaka Islamic Religious Council, MAIM) as disclosed in the ‘Laporan Ketua Audit Negara’ (Auditor-General’s Report) for the Melaka state in 2009 resulting in the usage of ‘wang zakat’ (tithe money) amounting to RM13.8 million to complete Kompleks Perniagaan Al-Azim near the State Mosque (Masjid Al-Azim) in Bukit Palah? And what about the issues of MAIM properties being sold to third parties and the usage of another RM1.8 million tithe money for advance payment for the completion works of ‘Pejabat Agama Islam Melaka’ (Melaka Religious Department Office). ************************ Based on the ‘boros’ (lavish) attitude of the Umno-BN leaders in Melaka (the Auditor General’s Report 2011 notes that Malacca’s public debt has increased by RM12.87 million to RM865.94 million) , let us hope PAS Melaka would have an ‘anak sulung’ (first child) and it would be a bonus if it could captured at least nine out of 13 state seats which it would be contesting in the coming 13th general election, thus paving way for it to take helm of the historical state of Melaka with the help of its partners, PKR and DAP, 'insya-Allah' (God willing).

No comments: