Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Koleksi penulisan mengenai Anwar Ibrahim. Bahagian 1.

I want to reproduce some articles I read throughout the years which can shed some light on the political character of YB Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. I would like to start with this article. Enjoy reading. Note: If you come across interesting article about YB Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's political life especially during his hey day as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of BN government, and would like to publish here in my blog, send the link to mpkotabelud@yahoo.com. Muchas Gracias! 


This article is taken from blogsite of a prominent blogger named "Jebat Must Die". The article is part of the THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ANWAR CHRONICLE written by JMD.


There’s something about Anwar Ibrahim

We shall start off with this pantun;

“Angkut angkut terbang ke langit, 
sampai di langit dimakan merbah, 
biar bertangkup bumi dan langit, 
setia hamba tidak berubah.”


Those were the words of an Umno Deputy President during an Umno General Assembly in the not too distant past. During the good old days some would havereckoned. Datuk Seri Anwar IbrahimPublish Post verbalized his undivided loyalty towards his mentor, Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad by reciting this pantun at the end of the Umno General Assembly in 1996. The affection being shown at that time by the PM towards his successor was for all to see. Only the most clairvoyant among us can predict what could have been unfold in the next two years after the pantun was recited and immortalized in the annals of Umno history.

“The prodigal son and the father figure”

This fiery pantun, which embodied an absolute and undying loyalty of a man towards his President no matter what may come, had been truly forgotten by Anwar Ibrahim as he became the fiercest critic to the very same person he held in very high regard several years ago.

In 1996, Anwar was seen as Umno’s heir apparent to Dr Mahathir. Now, in 2008, Anwar is still perceived as heir apparent and prime minister in waiting to the current PM albeit from another political party. Who is Anwar Ibrahim? How did he came about to be what he is today? A political reformer? The people’s saviour? An opportunist? A power hungry extremist?

In order to know a person, we need to know his character, his current idealogy, his belief system, his principles or as some may say it, his ‘centre of being’. We study this, and then we reflect on all his actions through the years we’ve known him during the height of his power, and only then we can gauge what kind of a man he is. As what Abraham Lincoln once said – “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”.

Read the above pantun again. Has the earth and the sky flipped over each other?

From his May 2007 interview in BBC’s Hardtalk, we delve into the man which some touted as the next best thing in Malaysia...

To read more, click the topic above. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nik Nazmi's duty to defend and respect Sabahans - Where is the beef?

Recently a Twitter follower asked me to read an article about Sabah in The Malaysian Insider titled "The special position of Sabah and Sarawak", written by my learned friend YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, the Selangor state assemblyman for Seri Setia and Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Communications Director. I was more than happy to oblige. Original article is here. I appreciate his pleasant comments on his recent visits to Sabah. As the native Bajaus always say to their visitors, I greet him with "Pesorong Kam (Welcome)!".
I am also elated to note his personal acknowledgement of the special position of Sabah and Sarawak in the context of greater Malaysia. Certainly it is a very refreshing view considering many "Orang Malayas" (no disrespect meant), are unaware of this special position provided for under the federal constitution.

What really got me going is when my friend YB Nik Nazmi proudly declares

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The demise of PAS’ resoluteness by JEBAT MUST DIE

A must read by one of my favourite bloggers, JEBAT MUST DIE. He wrote an interestng piece about the hypocrisy of PAS when it dropped it's Islamic state policy. He wrote:

Every Sunday, I will always grab a copy of News Straits Times just to read Shamsul Akmar’s column. In my opinion, his column delivers accurate analysis on current political issues that are plaguing the nation.
Last Sunday, he produced a great piece chastising Karpal Singh, Nik Aziz and the whole gamut of political hypocrisy institutionalised in a loose term we call ‘Pakatan Rakyat’. All in one simple and brief use of facts.

Please click here for full article.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pembinaan bangunan baru pasar tamu Kota Belud

Insyaallah tahun ini Kota Belud akan mendapat struktur bangunan baru yang moden untuk pasar tamunya. Kosnya lebih kurang RM4juta.

Ianya lebih selesa dan lebih ceria dan lebih bersih. Ia akan mempunyai kemudahan asas serta satu pentas persembahan yang jauh lebih baik dari yang sedia ada.

Saya jangkakan projek ini akan bermula tahun ini juga.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kit Siang, Kota Belud MP in 2-week dam debate

By Shannon Teoh (The Malaysian Insider)
June 10, 2011KUALA LUMPUR.

Although Parliament resumes on Monday, Lim Kit Siang and Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan have not ceased a two-week Twitter argument over the construction of a dam in the senior Umno backbencher’s constituency.

The two have been at it hammer and tongs over the RM450 million dam in Kampung Tambatuon, Kota Belud, with increasingly poisonous responses attracting widespread attention from other users of the micro-blogging service.

“Baru landing di KK. Buka phone, timeline dan DM saya flooded wt tweets abt @limkitsiang’s visit to my beloved Kota Belud. Ish..,” the Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers’ club vice president posted on May 29 after Lim had made a visit to Sabah.

Villagers of Tambatuon have protested against the project which will flood at least four villages in the area. However, the state government has said that the project is not confirmed.

Lim, DAP’s parliamentary leader, accused the Kota Belud MP of not meeting Tambatuon residents since being elected and being unaware of their “virtual unanimous opposition” to the dam.

The Ipoh Timur MP Lim (picture) yesterday mocked Abdul Rahmad for bowing to“Twitter Power! My info- u r finally 2visit KgT tmr. Classic case:power of “social media” 2force changes even recalcitrant MPs.”

But Abdul Rahman said he had already met locals months before and insisted that the dam would provide irrigation for paddy fields in a state that imports over two-thirds of its rice.

“Sabah imports 70% of its rice. No wonder you want Sabahans belajar makan tapioca. Balik zaman Jepun. Great!” he had posted earlier today.

Abdul Rahman also compiled a ten-point rebuttal against Lim which focussed on calling the DAP veteran a hypocrite for supporting a new dam in Penang but not the one in Sabah.

“What’s so special abt ur son’s state tht u don’t mind water from Beris dam? Penangites more special? Apasal diam?” he said today, referring to Guan Eng, who is Penang chief minister.

“New dam in Penang... are u gonna lie on the ground and block this. Dont be hypocrite,” he added, referring to the Mengkuang dam that will be built at the cost of RM1.2 billion.

But Lim simply called the Umno man’s claims an “embarrassing bout of hysteria.”

The matter looks set to spill over into the Dewan Rakyat sitting beginning next week, as Abdul Rahman has already issued a challenge to him that “come parliament next week, u better dont hide!”.

Antara Blog Kelapa Mawar, kesesakan pekan KB dan kekecewaan

Saya merujuk kepada artikel yang telah ditulis oleh blogger Kelapa Mawar mengenai kesesakan lalulintas di Pekan Kota Belud. Beliau menulis antara lainnya.

"Jalan raya bypass yang diwar-warkan kononnya untuk mengelakkan kesesakan teruk di pekan ini nyata adalah mainan politik dan retorik pembangunan yang berselindung atas kepentingan rakyat. Masalah kesesakan di pekan ini terus menjadi 'hantu bangkit' dikalangan masyarakatnya termasuk masyarakat luar yang datang berkunjung di pekan yang terkenal dengan tamu mingguannya ini.


Masalah kesesakan ini berlaku di segenap pelusuk memasuki pekan ini. Dari kedamaian, dari Tempasuk dan dari Usukan terutama sekitar pukul 8.00 pagi hingga tengah hari setiap hari. Para pemimpin di dan wakil rakyat seperti mati akal untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini. Bila keadaan ini akan berakhir? bila PRU 13 muncul nanti, ikutilah kempen0-kempen pemimpin yang bertanding, pasti akan kedengaran dodoian si kaduk yang mahu menjadi hero menyelesaikan kesesakkan ini. selepas PRU, dodoian itu akan samar menjadi janji basi dan busuk. Wahai rakyat Kota Belud! bukalah minda! bukalah mata! kapan kamu menjadi kunang-kunang menerangi si pemimpin yang semakin buta matanya?"


Pada awal saya menjadi ahli parlimen Kota Belud, isu kesesakan trafik lalulintas di Pekan Kota Belud menjadi salah satu isu yang paling awal dibawa keperhatian saya. Memang benar keadaan kesesakan lalulintas di Pekan Kota Belud sudah sampai ketahap yang agak kronik.

Sebab itu pada penghujung tahun lepas, pihak kerajaan telah memberi peruntukan sebanyak RM2.8juta untuk membina jalan penyuraian/lintas dari kawasan kedai Telak Bana ke Menunggui dan ke simpang jalan JKR. Ini akan memberi jalan masuk dan keluar baru pekan Kota Belud dan seterusnya mengurangkan kesesakan lalulintas di dalam pekan.

Malangnya setelah bertungkus lumus mendapatkan peruntukan itu, kerajaan tidak dapat membina jalan tersebut kerana dibantah oleh beberapa pihak tuan punya tanah di mana jalan itu terpaksa lalui.

Perundingan demi perundingan telah dilakukan tetapi tuan-tuan punya tanah memberi berbagai-bagai alasan yang tidak dapat di terima oleh kerajaan. Kelewatan ini berpanjangan sehinggakan tempoh untuk membelanjakan duit itu semakin luput. Oleh kerana tidak mahu peruntukan itu ditarik balik oleh kerajaan, maka akhirnya, projek itu terpaksa ditangguh dan bajet untuk jalan penyuraian/lintas itu telah dipindahkan kepada pembinaan jalan Sumbulingan Pituru Laut.

Ringkasnya, janji telah ditepati tetapi oleh kerana ada pihak yang tidak bersetuju maka projek itu tidak dapat dibuat. Inilah realiti masalah pembangunan di Kota Belud sekarang ini. Hakikatnya, banyak projek-projek kerajaan menemui jalan buntu atau mengalami kelewatan yang amat ketara kerana proses perundingan pengambilalihan tapak tanah dengan pemilik gagal atau tidak berganjak.

Sampai bila fenomena yang mengecewakan ini berlanjutan, hanya rakyat Kota Belud yang boleh menentukannya. Tepuk dada tanya selera.



Pilihan raya umum ke 13, PAS lawan PKR di Sabah | Free Malaysia Today

Pilihan raya umum ke 13, PAS lawan PKR di Sabah Free Malaysia Today

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Madrasah Vs American School



Kalaulah anak-anak kita boleh menguasai bahasa inggeris seperti ini, dunia akan menjadi milik kita!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Second rebuttal to Lim Kit Siang over DAM issue. Will he ever understand?

I normally respond to comments about my articles posted on this blog in the comments' section. But this time I am making an exception. I am going to answer one comment which I think worthy front page in my blog.
Why? Since this particular comment was posted by Lim Kit Siang on his blog, I consider he subscribes to the points raised by this comentator. Thus it is my duty to write my second rebuttal of Lim Kit Siang's understanding about the proposed dam in Kota Belud, which was superficially gathered only from his half a day visit to my constituency.
A commentator called HABIB RAK wrote (for better understanding of the issue, read my earlier article and incessant tweets by Lim Kit Siang on the subject matter):
"Based on the above report, Yield (ton/hectare) for Australia is 8.7, Japan 6.4, China 6.3, Vietnam 4.7 and Indonesia 4.6. For Malaysia it is 3.3 only. The report also indicates that for our self sufficiency, our yield needs to be improved to 5.0. So, is there another way to meet the key objective? The answer is a resounding YES. All we need to do to our existing acreage is to improve the Yield factor from 3.3 to 5.0 tons per hectare. If Australia, Japan and China can do it, so can we. Even Vietnam and Indonesia is closer to 5.0. Further, it is reported that some areas in Malaysia can even get up to 10ton per hectare!... We are already producing about 65% of our need now. Thus the requirement is how to get the remaining 35% without being dependant on external parties (other countries)... The key objective can be met by simply improving the yield factor by 51.4% from 3.3 to 5.0. This alone will more than cover the 35% shortfall."
I can sum up what HABIB RAK is trying to say this way, that in order to have self sufficiency in rice, just simply increase production yields in existing paddy areas. No need dams. Simply? I wish it was that simple. Here is the reason.
It is true that yield (ton/hectare) for Australia is 8.7, Japan 6.4, China 6.3, Vietnam 4.7, Indonesia 4.6 and Malaysia 3.3, based on FAO report.  This information is based on the average yield for the whole country. For Malaysia, the production yield between planting areas differ from one another.
Major granary areas like like Muda Agricultural Development Area (MADA)  and Lembaga Kemajuan Pertanian Kemubu (KADA) have already achieving 5 ton/hectare to 6 ton/hectare which is comparable to Japan's and China's. Besides that, in Projek Barat Laut Selangor (PBLS), the yield is reaching 10 ton/hectare. However, our national paddy production yield average has been dragged down by low yield areas namely in Sabah and Sarawak!
So how much more can we squeeze out from MADA and KADA? 
Currently under the Economic Transfromation Program (ETP), the government has further targeted to increase the paddy production yield in MADA and KADA from 6 ton/hectare to 8 ton/hectare which is about the same as Australia's. With the land factor remains the same if not decreasing, it is unlikely for the yield to go beyond 8 ton/hectare in those areas. The more input/investment we put in, after certain point,  it will it will not give higher output ( I am sure HABIB RAK and Lim Kit Siang know the meaning of “law of diminishing returns”). Thus, future increases in production yield in MADA and KADA will not be able to replace the quantity imported by Malaysia.  Whether we like it or not, other existing granary areas like Kota Belud in Sabah and Batang Lupar in Sarawak have to pick up the remaining slack.
Another point to consider is Malaysia's increasing population. Malaysia needs to open up new lands for paddy cultivation. MADA and KADA have reached almost saturated point in terms of rice production yield and land areas and they cannot forever supply the increasing needs of Malaysians in the future.
That is why, for Kota Belud, the government must increase its unproductive rice production yield from approximately 2 tons per hectare to at least 4 tons per hectare as a start, targeting 10 tons per hectare (or 4 tons per acre) in the future once all infrastructures are up. Only  3,929 hectares of the total paddy area in Kota Belud have good irrigation and drainage infrastructure. That is the reason for the urgent need to upgrade the infrasructure and find new sources of water ie the planned dam. 
So far, government has spent RM150mil starting in 2009. That amount is for new drainage system, farm roads, bridges, upgrades of irrigation system etc. Some of the projects are still on-going, spanning many phases over several years. I am sure if he visited Kota Belud, HABIB RAK will be pleasantly surprised to see the hectic activities in Kota Belud's paddy fields. My only advice is dont spend only half a day and talk to a handful of people like someone we know. Your judgement may be clouded.
Oh yes, before I forget. The other main objective of the dam is to boost the income of the poor farmers in Kota Belud. With the current low production yield of majority of the farmers in Kota Belud, it is very difficult for them to sustain in the industry. So, how in the world by putting in more resources to increase yields in MADA and KADA would actually help to increase Kota Belud's farmers?
I really hope Lim Kit Siang will put this second rebuttal on his blog. Will he dare to tell the truth about the proposed dam in Kota Belud? Is it wishful thinking on my part? We will see.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Empangan yang mengepung pemikiran Lim Kit Siang (terjemahan blog awal saya)

Cadangan pembinaan empangan di Kota Belud telah mengundang pelbagai maklum balas. Terbaru yang bersuara ialah pemimpin pembangkang iaitu Ahli Parlimen DAP, YB Lim Kit Siang, yang melawat Kota Belud selama beberapa jam untuk meraikan sambutan Kaamatan beberapa hari lalu.

Seperti biasa, tanpa membuang masa, Lim Kit Siang melancarkan serangan politiknya, mengkritik segala dasar kerajaan BN dan menghentam wakil rakyat tempatan termasuk saya (saya adalah Ahli Parlimen Kota Belud). Kit Siang bersungguh-sungguh mahu meyakinkan rakyat betapa kejam dan tidak berperikemanusiannya kerajaan BN. Beliau mendakwa kerajaan BN cuba menghapuskan Kampung Tambatuon dari peta Sabah tanpa sebarang sebab. Saya sedia menerima kritikan, tapi dalam soal ini saya meluat terhadap kedangkalan pengetahuan Lim Kit Siang terhadap isu yang diperkatakan. 

Untuk memahami rasional di sebalik cadangan kerajaan membina empangan di Kota Belud, kita mesti mengimbau sektor pertanian Malaysia sekitar tahun 60-an dan 70-an, serta krisis makanan yang dialami pada 2007/2008.

Pada tahun 60-an dan 70-an, Malaysia berupaya menghasilkan sehingga 90% keperluan berasnya. Ketika itu, harga dan bekalan beras secara relatifnya adalah stabil. Melainkan sekali dua kes terpencil, tiada kita dengar berlaku krisis makanan yang membawa kepada pembelian besar-besaran dan penyusutan bekalan. 
Bagaimanapun, pada era 80-an ke atas, Malaysia (dan seluruh dunia) membangun dengan pantas. Ekonomi bertambah baik, kilang-kilang dibina di sana sini manakala penduduk dunia pula semakin sihat dan mewah. Dalam ertikata lain, proses industrilisasi negara bergerak dengan rancak.

Memasuki alaf baru, permintaan terhadap makanan termasuk beras mula meningkat dengan mendadak, sejajar pertambahan populasi dan kekayaan masyarakat. Pada masa sama, lebih banyak kawasan yang sepatutnya boleh digunakan untuk penanaman padi, diasingkan untuk dibangun sebagai kawasan industri (yang menyediakan peluang pekerjaan) dan kawasan perumahan. Malah, lebih banyak kawasan yang dibuka bagi perladangan kelapa sawit dan getah berbanding padi.

Pada 2007 dan 2008, Malaysia dan seluruh dunia berdepan fenomena kekurangan bekalan makanan dan ini ditambah dengan kenaikan harga beras. Ini disebabkan beberapa perkara. Negara pengeksport beras ke Malaysia seperti Thailand dan Vietnam secara tiba-tiba menghadkan pengeksportan beras bagi memastikan permintaan dalaman di negara tersebut dapat dipenuhi. Isu cuaca melampau yang mengakibatkan banjir dan kemarau turut menjejaskan jumlah penghasilan beras, di samping masalah serangan serangga tanaman di negara yang memiliki bilangan penduduk ramai seperti China dan Bangladesh. Keadaan ini memaksa mereka memperolehi bekalan daripada pasaran dunia, sekali gus mewujudkan tekanan lebih besar terhadap harga beras.

Memerhatikan perkembangan itu dengan teliti (dan penuh kebimbangan), banyak negara tambah memburukkan keadaan kekurangan bekalan beras di seluruh dunia dengan meningkatkan jumlah stok penimbal (Malaysia meningkatkan stok penimbalnya dari 92,000 tan kepada 292,000 tan). Keadaan ini dengan sendirinya melonjakkan harga beras ke paras lebih membimbangkan.

Harga beras melonjak hampir tiga kali ganda daripada AS$362 satu tan pada Disember 2007 kepada hampir AS$1,000 satu tan menjelang April 2008 berikutan stok jatuh ke paras terendah dalam 30 tahun susulan peningkatan permintaan global (maklumat Institut Kajian Beras Antarabangsa). Berlaku peningkatan harga sebanyak 30% di Bangkok dalam sehari manakala rusuhan turut berlaku di Ho Chi Minh City pada satu hujung minggu kerana berebut bekalan beras. Mesir, Filipina, Haiti, Cameroon dan beberapa negara pengeluar lain turut bergelut dalam menangani krisis kekurangan bekalan beras. Secara tiba-tiba, krisis makanan seolah-olah menjadi ancaman besar terhadap keselamatan negara!

Walaupun harga beras kembali stabil menjelang 2009 (masih agak tinggi berbanding harga sebelum krisisi), trauma krisis makanan meninggalkan kesan mendalam di jiwa rakyat Malaysia. Apakah Malaysia bakal berdepan dengan satu lagi krisis makanan? Apakah akan berlaku pembelian panik dan penyorokan bekalan? Mungkinkah harga beras melambung tinggi? Apakah Malaysia akan kembali melutut mengharapkan bekalan dari negara pengeksport? Apakah rakyat Malaysia akan kehabisan bekalan jika krisis itu berulang pada masa akan datang?

Kerajaan bertindak pantas dalam mengekang kebimbangan rakyat. Perancangan segera dibuat bagi meningkatkan keupayaan negara dalam mengeluarkan beras. Matlamat ini diterjemah sebagai komitmen padu kerajaan menerusi Rancangan Malaysia Ke-10 (RMK-10) yang mana dokumennya menyebut: "Perhatian serius akan diambil secara strategik berhubung aspek keselamatan makanan”. Lebih banyak dana disediakan bagi sektor pengeluaran beras, selain mengenal pasti lebih banyak kawasan yang boleh ditanam padi.

Apabila kerajaan mencari kawasan untuk menanam padi, sudah tentu perhatian terarah ke Sabah dan Sarawak yang masih mempunyai banyak kawasan lapang. Segala pandangn bertumpu ke kawasan padi seluas 25,000 ekar di Kota Belud yang tidak produktif. Kota Belud dipilih antara satu daripada kawasan yang akan dibangunkan bagi membantu Sabah (dengan kebergantungan sendiri di tahap 30%) dan negara (kebergantungan sendiri 70%) sebagai langkah menangani krisis bekalan beras pada masa depan.

Seterusnya, kerajaan mengarahkan pelaksanaan penyediaan infrastruktur secara besar-besaran bagi mengubah wajah Kota Belud sebagai jelapang padi baru negara. Kerajaan mahu kawasan 25,000 ekar (10,000 hektar) tanah subur di Kota Belud menghasilkan 4 tan padi seekar (ketika ini antara 1 hingga 1.8 tan seekar).

Dalam usaha mencapai hasrat menggunung itu, kerajaan ingin menaik taraf sistem pengairan, pengurusan, teknologi dan jentera di Kota Belud dengan segera. Pada tahun pertama pelaksanaannya (2009/2010), kerajaan membelanjakan RM150 juta tetapi itu cuma permulaan dan tidak mencukupi. Untuk memastikan perancangan itu berjaya, perlu ada sumber bekalan air baru dan memadai bagi mengairi 25,000 ekar kawasan penanaman. Justeru, timbullah cadangan membina empangan berkenaan.

Tanpa empangan tersebut, tiada jalan untuk lain mengairi kawasan padi seluas itu. Beberapa NGO mendakwa pengairan boleh dilakukan tanpa membina empangan. Sehingga hari ini, saya belum melihat sebarang bukti menyokong dakwaan itu. Apa yang pasti, isipadu aliran sungai pada musim kemarau tidak mencukupi untuk menampung keperluan kawasan seluas 25,000 ekar. Sebuah empangan diperlukan bagi menyimpan jumlah air yang tinggi untuk dilepaskan pada musim kemarau.

Satu daripada objektif utama apabila jelapang padi dan empangan berkenaan menjadi kenyataan ialah ribuan petani miskin di Kota Belud mampu menghasilkan 4 tan padi seeker atau 200,000 tan bagi dua musim menuai setiap tahun. Jika harga padi kekal sekitar RM1,000 setiap tan, ini bermakna jelapang padi Kota Belud berupaya menyumbang pendapatan kasar berjumlah RM200 juta setiap tahun! Sebahagian daripada wang itu akan berada dalam genggaman peniaga tempatan, sekali gus menjana ekonomi setempat menerusi kesan berganda, membuka lebih banyak peluang pekerjaan dan masa depan lebih cerah bagi generasi muda. Peningkatan dari segi pendapatan tahunan itu akhirnya akan mengikis label Kota Belud sebagai “antara daerah termiskin di Malaysia.”

Selain memastikan air mencukupi untuk dialir ke sawah, empangan berkenaan turut memiliki manfaat lain. Pertamanya, ia dapat mengawal banjir melanda Kota Belud dengan mengawal aliran sungai ketika musim hujan. Masalah banjir yang berulang banyak memusnahkan harta benda dan tanaman penduduk di Kota Belud setiap tahun. 
Kedua, sejak merdeka, Kota Belud mengalami kekurangan bekalan elektrik sejajar pembangunan dan pembukaan kawasan perumahan baru. Empangan ini boleh digunakan untuk menjana kuasa hidro pada masa depan. Ketiga, dengan jumlah air yang banyak di takungan empangan itu, sebahagiannya boleh digunakan untuk menyediakan bekalan air terawat bagi kegunaan penduduk. Keempat, empangan berkenaan boleh menjadi tarikan pelancong dan dengan sendirinya membantu sektor pelancongan Kota Belud. Tasik buatan itu akan menarik kunjungan pengunjung dan membolehkan aktiviti seperti memancing serta perkhemahan dijalankan.

Apabila rancangan untuk menukar Kota Belud menjadi Jelapang Padi dikemukakan oleh kerajaan, Pegawai Daerah, agensi berkenaan dan wakil rakyat tempatan termasuk saya, mengadakan banyak mesyuarat bagi membincangkan rancangan itu secara terperinci. Kami mengundang perunding untuk member taklimat khusus mengenai cadangan kerajaan membina empangan tersebut. (Saya masih ingat Ketua Kampung Tambatuon dan Pengerusi JKKK turut menghadiri mesyuarat tersebut).

Pihak perunding menunjukkan kepada kami peta udara berkaitan beberapa lokasi berpotensi dan sesuai bagi empangan itu.Sebenarnya ada beberapa kawasan dinyatakan. Setiap lokasi dibincang dengan mendalam bagi tujuan mengenal pasti satu lokasi yang mempunyai kesan negative paling minimum terhadap alam sekitar dan penduduk kampung terbabit. Perunding memaklumkan ada antara lokasi berkenaan akan menyebabkan banjir merebak ke kawasan lebih besar dan menjejaskan beberapa kampung. Sesetengah lokasi pula memerlukan pembinaan dinding empangan lebih tinggi yang menelan belanja besar dan tidak stabil dari segi strukturnya.

Selepas berbincang panjang, pihak perunding menamakan Kampung Tambatuon sebagai lokasi dengan kesan kemusnahan paling minimum terhadap alam sekitar dan penduduk setempat. Walaupun pihak perunding membuat kesimpulan itu berdasarkan pemerhatian teknikal, wakil rakyat setempat melahirkan kebimbangan terhadap kesannya kepada penduduk dan alam sekitar. Kami meminta kajian mendalam dilakukan bagi menentukan sama ada Kampung Tambatuon benar-benar sesuai atau sebaliknya.Kajian ini memerlukan pihak perunding turun padang ke Kampung Tambatuon. 

Di sinilah punca segala-galanya tergendala buat masa ini. Walaupun sudah diberi jaminan kerajaan hanya akan meneruskan pembinaan jika kesan alam sekitar dan kajian kependudukan menunjukkan hasil positif, penduduk kampung tetap enggan membenarkan kumpulan perunding masuk ke kampung mereka menjalankan kajian!

Kerajaan sudah berulang kali menegaskan projek itu masih di peringkat awal dan Kampung Tambatuon hanya akan dipilih jika Kajian Penilaian Kesan Alam Sekitar (EIA) dan kajian kependudukan menghasilkan keputusan positif. Malangnya, penduduk terlalu cepat membuat kesimpulan.

Lucu rasanya bila membaca kenyataan pemimpin pembangkang dan Suhakam mengenai isu ini. Semuanya mendesak kerajaan meneliti bagaimana empangan itu akan menjejaskan kehidupan penduduk dan meminta prosedur EIA dilakukan sebelum meneruskan hasrat membina empangan itu. Saya bersetuju sepenuhnya. Tapi bagaimana kita dapat melakukannya? Bukankah itu memerlukan perunding melawat ke tapak dicadangkan dan menemui penduduk bagi melakukan ujian serta kajian? Dari satu sudut,  mereka mahu kajian dilakukan tetapi pada masa yang sama mereka menghasut penduduk supaya menghalang pihak perunding daripada melawat ke kampung tersebut. Saya benar-benar tidak faham apa yang dimahukan oleh mereka.

Lim Kit Siang mempersoalkan dengan bertalu-talu mengapa tiada perbincangan dilakukan dengan penduduk kampung. Semua wakil rakyat tempatan sudah menemui Jawatankuasa Bertindak yang dibentuk khusus oleh penduduk kampung itu sendiri bagi mewakili suara hati mereka. Malah, Ketua Kampung dan Pengerusi JKKK sudah diberi taklimat oleh Pegawai Daerah. Tidak syak lagi, segala kebimbangan penduduk kampung sudah didengar dengan jelas. Saya yakin memorandum yang diberi oleh Jawatankuasa Bertindak kepada semua YB dan Ketua Menteri sudah mengambil kira segala asas dan kebenaran bantahan mereka.

Mengambil kira isu ini sudah dipolitikkan (gara-gara retorik politik pembangkang), kami berpendapat adalah lebih baik untuk menunggu laporan EIA dan syarat pampasan yang dicadangkan kerajaan sebelum menemui penduduk kampung terbabit. Sekurang-kurangnya apabila laporan EIA dan syarat pampasan sudah diketahui, penduduk kampung boleh membuat pertimbangan dan semua pihak boleh menggunakannya sebagai asas dalam mengadakan perbincangan yang lebih produktif. Tanpa laporan EIA dan butiran pampasan, besar kemungkinan mesyuarat bersama penduduk kampung hanya akan mengulangi perkara yang sudah diluahkan pemimpin kampung dan Jawatankuasa Bertindak sebelum ini.

Tiada YB yang bersifat bertanggungjawab, mahu melihat sebuah kampung di kawasannya dimusnahkan atau penduduknya dipindahkan. Bagaimanapun, dqlam sejarah Malaysia penempatan semula masyarakat pernah dilakukan. Daripada mengelak pengaruh komunis menular sebelum kemerdekaan Malaysia ( contohnya kampung baru) kepada perkembangan semasa  (apabila pembinaan lebuhraya dan MRT dilaksanakan di bandar), penduduk yang terjejas dengan projek pembangunan kerajaan perlu berpindah. Ini bukan kali pertama ia dilakukan dan pastinya bukan yang terakhir. Saya cabar DAP untuk memasukkan dalam manifesto pilihan rayanya iaitu jika mereka membentuk kerajaan, tiada penduduk akan dipindahkan bagi memberi laluan kepada pembangunan dan pembinaan infrastruktur awam yang penting. Malah, tidak juga untuk yang membabitkan keselamatan negara!

Sampai sekarang, saya tidak faham mengapa Lim Kit Siang enggan mengakui kepentingan memiliki jaminan keselamatan makanan untuk negara.Apakah beliau mahu rakyat Malaysia mengharungi panik krisis beras yang berlaku pada 2008 apabila bekalan beras Malaysia terjejas berikutan sekatan eksport? Apakah beliau mahu rakyat Malaysia melalui satu lagi krisis yang mana bekalan stok negara hanya mampu bertahan untuk dua minggu? Apakah beliau peduli sama ada rakyat Malaysia mempunyai beras atau tidak pada masa akan datang? Sanggupkan beliau bertanggungjawab sepenuhnya jika rakyat Malaysia berdepan kekurangan bekalan beras meruncing dan harga melambung? Ini adala persoalan yang perlu dijawab oleh “pemimpin” dan bukannya “ahli politik”.  Malangnya, dalam hal ini Lim Kit Siang bertindak lebih sebagai ahli politik dari seorang pemimpin.

Ingin saya tegaskan sekali lagi bahawa TIADA kampung yang dikenal pasti sebagai lokasi muktamad empangan itu. Lebih banyak kajian perlu dilakukan sebelum sebarang lokasi dipilih, termasuk Kampung Tambatuon. Bagaimanapun, saya percaya rakyat keseluruhannya memahami bahawa kemajuan dan pembasmian kemiskinan tidak akan berlaku jika tiada pembangunan yang ada kalanya memerlukan perpindahan, penempatan semula dan penyusunan semula masyarakat. Sebagai wakil rakyat yang bertanggungjawab, sudah tentu kami akan memastikan kerajaan memberi pampasan berpatutan dan adil kepada penduduk kampung manakala kebajikan mereka tidak diabaikan. Kerajaan mesti menyedari bahawa penduduk terbabit bakal mengorbankan kampung mereka demi masa depan yang lebih baik buat negara.

Mungkin penduduk kampung terbabit boleh memohon mendapatkan rumah yang lebih baik dan infrastruktur sistematik yang dilengkapi pelbagai kemudahan asas. Mungkin mereka boleh meminta dibina sekolah baru, rumah kedai, balai polis dan klinik desa sebahagi sebahagian daripada penyelesaiannya. Apa yang ingin saya katakan ialah bawa berbincang dengan kerajaan. Tambahan pula, jika mereka menunggu pembangunan pada kadar biasa, mereka mungkin perlu menanti bertahun-tahun lamanya sebelum kerajaan dapat menyalurkan pembangunan dihajatkan. Apa sekalipun keadaannya, wakil rakyat tempatan akan memastikan penduduk kampung terbabit tidak akan mengorbankan tanah mereka dengan sia-sia.

Secara ringkasnya, matlamat Jelapang Padi dan pembinaan empangan boleh disimpulkan begini. Dalam sekali harung, kerajaan berharap pembinaan empangan dan kejayaan Jelapang Padi akan membantu membasmi kemiskinan di Kota Belud, membawa pembangunan dan kemakmuran, menyelesaikan masalah bekalan air kepada masyarakat di Kota Belud, menyelesaikan masalah kekurangan bekalan elektrik, menyelesaikan ancaman jaminan keselamatan makanan negara dan memberi pekerjaan kepada penduduk setempat. Tiada apa yang mencurigakan mengenai motif kerajaan (seperti didakwa Lim Kit Siang).


Malangnya, Lim Kit Siang tidak ragu-ragu untuk terus membiarkan penduduk luar bandar di Kota Belud tenggelam dalam kemiskinan.Beliau enggan melihat limpahan manfaat dari empangan dan Jelapang Padi. Beliau akan terus bermain politik walaupun ia bermakna mengetepikan rakyat miskin dan keselamatan makanan negara. Saya ingat bagaimana beliau kerap mendabik dada dan berbangga sebagai `Malaysian First’ atau rakyat Malaysia mendahului segala-galanya. Tapi kini, semua orang boleh melihat beliau sebenarnya adalah `ahli politik dahulu, rakyat Malaysia jauh di tempat kedua’ (Politician First, Malaysian A Distant Second).

Lim Kit Siang bercakap benar apabila menyatakan wakil rakyat perlu memperjuangkan hak rakyat yang diwakili mengatasi segala-galanya. Namun demikian dalam kes seperti ini, mana-mana YB sekalipun akan mendapati dirinya terhimpit di antara kepentingan penduduk kampung (kira-kira 550 orang) dengan kepentingan lebih besar mewakili ribuan petani miskin di Kota Belud, di samping masa depan jutaan rakyat Malaysia. Bagaimana kita mencari keseimbangan dalam menangani persoalan moral serba sensitive ini? Wajarkah kita mengorbankan kebajikan segolongan kecil (tetapi memastikan pampasan adil dan berpadanan) demi kepentingan kelompok lebih besar dan masa depan negara? Atau apakah kita terus bermain politik dan memperjudikan masa depan negara?

Saya tidak salahkan Lim Kit Siang jika beliau gagal menjawab soalan moral ini. Lagipun, selama menjadi YB, beliau mewakili kawasan bandar dan tidak pernah memegang jawatan dalam kerajaan yang ada kalanya memerlukan beliau membuat keputusan sukar seperti ini.

-Tamat-


Nota: terima kasih kepada sahabat yang membantu menterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Malaysia artikel awal yang ditulis dalam bahasa inggeris. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

To Dam or To Be Damned? A question to Lim Kit Siang

The proposed construction of a dam in Kota Belud has drawn so many responses. The latest is from DAP parliamentary leader, YB Lim Kit Siang who visited Kota Belud for a few hours to celebrate Kaamatan festival several days ago.
As usual, without wasting any time, Lim Kit Siang launched into a political tirade, delivering  vicious broadside on the BN government and tongue lashing the local YBs including yours truly ( I am the MP for Kota Belud). He took great pains to convince the public of the purported cruelty and heartlessness of the wicked BN government. He accused the government of trying to obliterate Kampung Tambatuon from the map of Sabah for no apparent reason at all.
While I like to consider myself as a person who could handle barrage of criticism, I find myself feeling disgusted at Lim Kit Siang’s sheer ignorance and lack of understanding of the issue.
To understand why the government mooted the idea of having a dam in Kota Belud, one needs to revisit agriculture Malaysia circa the 60s and 70s and the recent food crisis experience of year 2007/2008.
In the 60s and 70s Malaysia had been able to produce up to 90% of its rice requirement. The world prices and supply of rice were relatively stable. There were no major food crisis which resembled panic buying and depleting stockpiles except for a one or two brief occasions.
But by the 80s onwards, Malaysia (and the rest of the world for that matter) had been developing quite rapidly. The economy was booming, factories were humming and people by and large were more healthier and wealthier. Without doubt, industrialization of the nation was in full swing.
By the turn of the millineum, demand for food including rice started to rise exponentially in conjuction with increasing population and wealthier citizens. At the same time, more and more lands which could have been used to plant rice, were alienated to be industrial areas (which provide jobs) and housing estates. Infact, more lands were opened for palm oil and rubber plantation than for rice cultivation. 
In 2007 and 2008, Malaysia and the world had experienced critical food shortage phenomenon, coupled with steep hikes in rice prices. There were several reasons for this. Rice exporting countries to Malaysia like Thailand and Vietnam suddenly curtailed their rice exports to ensure local demands in those countries were met. Severe weather related flooding and dry spells also resulted in massive crop failure and crop infestation problem in world’s populous countries like China and Bangladesh. This in turn forced them to procure more rice from the international market and thus putting more upward pressure on rice prices.



Observing this phenomenon closely (and nervously), many countries inadvertently exarcebated the acute supply of rice worldwide when they decided to increase the quantity of their rice stockpile (Malaysia raised its national rice stockpile from 92,000 tons to 292,000 tons). This extraordinary demand pushed world’s rice price to ever more dizzying heights.
Rice prices nearly tripled from USD362 a tonne in December 2007 to almost USD1,000 in April 2008 as stocks fell to 30-year lows amid surging global demand (according to International Rice Research Institute). There was a 30% jump in prices in Bangkok in a single day, and rice riots in Ho Chi Minh over a weekend. Egypt, the Philiphines, Haiti, Camerron and a host of other countries were struggling in handling the rice crisis. Almost suddenly, the world food crisis was a real threat to national security!
Although by 2009 the international prices of rice had somewhat stabilized (eventhough they were still higher compared to pre-crisis time), the trauma of the food crisis had left its mark in the psyche of Malaysians. Will Malaysia have another round of food supply crisis? Will there be panic buying and hoarding? Will the prices of rice skyrocketed so severly? Will Malaysia be again placed at the mercy of rice exporting foreign countries? Will Malaysians run out of rice if the crisis resurfaces in the future? 
The government moved in quickly to allay fears of Malaysians. It initiated  immediate plans to increase the national capacity to produce rice. This target was made into a firm commitment by the government in 10th Malaysia Plan when it said in the document, " Food security will be strategically addressed!”. More funds were made available to the rice production sector as well as indentifying more lands to be cultivated with rice.
When the government was looking for more lands to plant paddy, it naturally turned to Sabah and Sarawak which still have ample lands. All eyes were on Kota Belud's vast but unproductive 25,000 acres of paddy fields.  Kota Belud was chosen as one of the areas to be further developed to help Sabah (30% self sufficiency) and the nation (70% self-sufficiency) avert future rice supply crisis.







The government had then ordered massive infrastructure undertaking to transform Kota Belud into the nation's newest ricebowl (jelapang padi). The government wanted the 25,000 acres ( approximately 10,000 hectares) of fertile lands in Kota Belud to produce up to 4 tons of rice per acre (currently about 1 to 1.8 tons per acre).

In order to achieve such ambitious plan, the government wanted to quickly upgrade Kota Belud's irrigation, management, technology and machinery. In the first year of implementation (2009/2010), the government spent approximately RM150 million. But that was just the beginning and it was not enough. For the plan to succeed, there must be new and adequate sources of water supply to irrigate those 25,000 acres of lands. Hence, the idea of the dam was mooted.
Without this dam, there is no other way to adequately irrigate the massive area of paddy fields. Some NGOS claim the irrigation can be done without building any dams. As of today, I am yet to see any proofs to back up their claim. But one thing for sure the volume of river flows in time of draught is not sufficient to cater for the water needs of 25,000 acres. A dam is needed to store up huge volume of water to be released in time of dryspells.

One of the most important objectives when the jelapang padi and the dam become reality, is that the thousands of Kota Belud poor paddy farmers will now be able to produce 4 tons of paddy per acre or 200,000 tons in two seasons every year. If the rice price maintains around RM1,000 per ton, this means every year the Kota Belud's rice bowl will be able to contribute RM200 million into the local gross income! Some of this money will end up in the hands of local traders, further reinvigorating the local economy with multiplier effect, providing more jobs and bright future for the younger generation. Soon such huge annual income will eventually shed Kota Belud’s unflattering title as “One of the poorest districts in Malaysia”. 

Apart from ensuring enough water to be diverted to the paddy fields, the dam will also have several other benefits. Firstly, it will be able to prevent perennial problems of floodings in greater area of Kota Belud by controlling the water flow of the river during rainy season. The recurring flood problem has done untold damages to properties and crops in Kota Belud every year. Secondly, since independence, Kota Belud has been experiencing electricity power shortages due to development and sprouting new housing areas. This dam could be used to generate hydro power in the future. Thirdly, with the anticipated huge amount of water in the dam’s reservoir, part of it can be used to provide treated water supply for human consumption. And fourthly, the dam will become a tourist attraction, giving boost to Kota Belud’s tourism. The man made lake will attract sightseers and activities like fishing and camping.
When the plan to turn Kota Belud into a productive Jelapang Padi was mooted by the government, the District Office, the relevant agencies and the local YBs including myself, discussed the plan extensively in many meetings. We called the consultant to give us a briefing especially on the government’s proposal to build the dam. (Infact, I remember seeing the Ketua Kampung Tambatuon and the Chairman of the JKKK attending the meetings as well).
The consultant showed us an aerial map of several potential and suitable locations for the dam. Actually there were a few of them. Each one of the locations was discussed at great length with the intention to single out the one that had the least negative impact to the environment and the affected villagers. The consultant told us some of the other locations would involve flooding even bigger area and affecting several kampungs. Some spots required construction of higher dam walls which would be costly and structurally unstable. 
After extensive discussions, the consultant zeroed in on Kampung Tambatuon as the spot with least destructive to nature and man. Even as the consultant based his findings on his technical observations, the YBs expressed concern about the well being of the affected villagers and the environmental impact. We asked for indepth studies to be conducted to determine whether Kampung Tambatuon was really suitable or not. This exercise would require the consultant to go on field trips to Kampung Tambatuon. 
This is where the whole thing has ground to a halt at the moment. The villagers, despite  assurances that the government will only proceed if the environmental and the societal study are positives, have refused to even allow the consultants to set foot in the kampung to do the studies!
The government has repeatedly said that the project is still in its infancy and that Kampung Tambatuon will only be chosen if the Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) and societal survey prove positively. The villagers have jumped the gun too early. Click here 
I am amuse reading statements coming from oppostion leaders and Suhakam over this issue. All of them demand the government to look into how the dam may affect the lives of the villagers and to do EIA study before proceeding with the dam (click here). I am absolutely in agreement with their call. But how do we do it? Doesnt this require the consultants to go to the ground and do test and survey both on the land and the community? On one hand they ask studies to be done, and on another hand they instigate the villagers to block the consultants from coming to the village. I am utterly baffled. 
Lim Kit Siang incessantly questioned why no discussions were held with the villagers themselves. All local YBs have met the “Jawatankuasa Bertindak” which was formed specifically by the villagers themselves to represent their interest. Infact, the Ketua Kampung and  JKKK Chairman have all been briefed by district office. There is no doubt that the concerns of the villagers have been heard loud and clear. I believe the memorandum that was given by the Jawatankuasa Bertindak to all YBs as well as to the Chief Minister have essentially captured the gist, essence and substance of their objections. 
Given the fact that it is now become highly politicised issue (thanks to opposition political rhetorics), we feel it is better to wait for the EIA report and the government proposed compensation terms before meeting the villagers. At least with the EIA and compensation terms made known, the villagers can consider them and all parties can use that as the basis to have productive meeting. Without the EIA and compensation terms, very likely any meeting with the villagers will only be repeating what has been  said by the village leaders and the Jawatankuasa Bertindak in the numerous meetings previously.
No YB worth his salt likes to see a village in his constituency destroyed or his constituents being resettled. But resettlement of communities have been done before. From preventing communist influence in pre-independence Malaysia (new villages) to current day building of highways and MRTs in urban areas, people affected by the government’s projects have to move and resettle elsewhere. This is not the first time and certainly wont be last. I dare DAP  to put in their election manifesto that if they form the government, no person will be resettled whatsoever to make way for development and construction of crucial public infrastructures. Not even for national security!
For the life of me, I cant understand why Lim Kit Siang refuses to acknowledge the necessity to have food security for the country. Does he want Malaysians to go through the rice crisis panic which happened in 2008 when supplies of rice to Malaysia were badly affected due to export restrictions? Does he want Malaysians to go through another crisis where the national rice stockpile could only lasted for two weeks? Does he even care whether Malaysians have rice for food or not in the future? Will he  take full responsibility if Malaysians are faced with acute shortage of rice supply and high prices? These are hard questions that need to be answered by “leaders” not “politicians”. Sadly Lim Kit Siang is more the later than the former. 
I like to reiterate once more that no kampung has been identified as the final location of the dam. More studies must be done before any location is chosen including Kampung Tambatuon. But I believe the people as a whole understand that there is no progress or eradication of poverty if there is no development, which at times require migration, resetllement and restructuring of communities. Of course as responsible YBs, we will ensure the government gives adequate and fair compensation the the villagers and that their welfare is not sidelined. Government must recognise that this people will be sacrificing their village for the greater good of the nation. Perhaps the villagers affected can demand for better houses and systematic infrastructure and amenities. Maybe villagers can insist new school, shoplots, balai polis and klinik desa  to be part of the deal. All I am saying is talk to the government. Afterall, if they wait for normal progress of development, they may need to wait for years before the government can bring this development to them. Whatever it is, on that note, the local YBs will ensure that the affected villagers are not sacrificing their land for pittance.
In short, the objectives of the jelapang padi and the construction of the dam can be summed up this way. In one fell swoop, the government hopes the construction of the dam and the success of the jelapang padi will help eradicate Kota Belud’s poverty, bring development and wealth, solve water supply to the people of Kota Belud, solve elctricity shortages, solve the country's food security threat and generate employment for the locals. Nothing sinister at all (as claimed by Lim Kit Siang) about the government’s motive.
Unfortunately Lim Kit Siang has no qualms to forever condemn the rural people of Kota Belud to perpetual poverty. He refuses to see the benefits of the dam and the Jelapang Padi. He will always play politics even at the expense of the poor people and the security of the nation. I remember how he always pride himself as being "Malaysian First". But now everyone can see he is actually "Politician First, Malaysian A Distant Second".
Lim Kit Siang rightly pointed the need for YBs to fight for the interest of the people he represent above everything else.  But in this case any YB will find himself sandwiched between the interest of the villagers ( about 550 of them ) and the greater interest of tens of thousands of poor farmers in Kota Belud as well as millions of Malaysians. How do you balance this delicate moral question? Do you compromise the welfare of the few (while ensuring they are adequately and fairly compensated) for the benefit of the larger population and the future of the nation or do you play politics and thus putting the nation at risk? I dont blame Lim Kit Siang if he is unable to answer this moral question. Afterall, he is always been an urban YB and never hold any government positions which at times requires him to make tough decisions such as this.

END
Notes:

Some readings on 2007/2008 rice crisis

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