The Smog & Indon Bashing
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Thread: The Smog & Indon Bashing

  1. #1
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    The Smog & Indon Bashing

    Originally posted in http://www.bobjots.org/archives/001546.php

    It looks like even we Malaysians have a limit to our patience. As the smog (yep .. I refuse to call it haze, makes it sound like an air freshener) worsens, tempers have been flaring and we are out looking for someone to blame. Conveniently we look at our neighbour across the Straits of Malacca and point our fingers, adding in a few choice expletives along the way.

    Does it not occur to many that there seems to be a manufactured aspect to the way the blame on Indonesia has evolved. I don't doubt for a fact that a large proportion of the forest fires contributing to the smog comes from Sumatra. It is also acknowledged that the various provincial governments in Sumatra are ill equiped both in terms of finances and equipment to effectively police and enforce the strict laws currently available in Indonesia.

    Nonetheless there ought to be more pro-active and sensible ways of dealing with this problem rather than some of the current knee jerk reactions that have surfaced so far (some of them obviously in jest/frustration). This is a cross border issue that requires a long term solution. We have been suffering this annual affair for almost 10 years and God knows what the impact on our long term health will be.

    In fact, the amount of smoke and pollutants that we breathe in as a result of the annual recurrence of smog makes me think that we ought to be using the money spent on the "Tak Nak" campaign on improving the sorry state of intra city public transportation in the Klang Valley. We'd probably benefit from the reduction of CO emission from private vehicles (and Mahathir would have to start blaming car pooling and an efficient mass transit system for the failures of Proton).

    The whole smokescreen (pardon the pun) that is the unofficial "Blame Indonesia" campaign seems to have had the effect of absolving our own authorities of their own failings in ensuring that we Malaysians get the quality of life that we deserve. Less we forget, this is the same administration apparatus that :
    • Drained the peat swamps in the Dengkil area and diverted water from our rivers to fill the beautiful and pristine artificial lakes in the Disneyland like Putrajaya - which incidentally happens to be first city in Malaysia to be governed by a corporation (head's up, Third Vote campaigners).

      Ever wondered why we've hardly heard of peat fires and water shortages in Selangor prior to 1997?
    • Insisted on building a health threatening and wasteful garbage disposal facility in the form of a mega incinerator in the nice quiet village of Broga.

      Not very sure about the issue? Come to CIJ in the first week of September and watch a FREE screening of Clean Sh*t, a critically acclaimed documentary of a small town girl’s fight against the construction of a ‘mega-incinerator in the village of Broga.

      Contact me for more details.

    • Might have a hand in deliberately allowing our public transportation system to rot as one of the protective measures apart from tariff protection and other more well known initiatives, to develop our nascent national car industry (one doesn't hear Perodua complaining about APs, do we?)

      This is probably speculation on my part but how else do I explain the fact that town buses (remember Sri Jaya buses?) in the Klang Valley used to be much more efficient and on time before the improvements (ie. LRT, consortiumed public transport companies, "efficient" taxi permits distribution system) came along.

      Do the maths; less mass transit = more private cars (preferably state sanctioned Protons) = more hydrocarbon fumes = more health problems.

    • Routinely overlooks local environmental desecrations such as the forest fires in Dengkil (it was raging for about a week before the press reported it) and Batang Berjuntai (no news about it in the press yet as far as I know) right now, the open burning today in Sunway in collusion with an acquiescent press.

      Did I forget to mention that they actually classified the Air Pollution Index (API) for the last eight years and made it an offence under the Official Secrets Act. Thankfully, the API has been declassified.

      Oh yeah, there's also the Bakun Dam. You know that artificial lake (a recurring theme it seems) the size of Singapore that made it necessary to relocate tens of thousands of indigenous people who have lived on the land for "yonks".

    Unfortunately, I'm not too much of an enthusiast in environmental issues, otherwise the list would have gone on and on.

    Here's my suggestion on what we could really do :
    • Enact legislation that prohibits Malaysian companies from engaging in corruption overseas. This should be more comprehensive than the US' Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and cover offences like environmental destruction too.

    • Investigate local corporations that are currently alleged to be either directly involved or condoning the use of such forest clearing methods that are in practice in Sumatra that is currently contributing to the smog. Prohibitive fines should be imposed if found guilty and the funds channelled towards a special ASEAN fund for capacity building in environmental law enforcement in jurisdictions that need it badly but lack such resources (such as the provincial governments of Sumatra).

      How's that for keeping within the Spirit of ASEAN?

    • Implement the comprehensive 290 page regional haze action plan proposed by experts funded by the Asian Development Bank way back in 1997 - ‘Fire, Smoke and Haze: The Asean Response and Strategy’ as a wholistic long term strategy to prevent such occurences in the future. (I have Tian Chua to thank for information regarding this resource)

    Once we get the Indonesians sorted out in a more pro-active and constructive manner, and the smog happens again, at least we can rest assured that it's just the fires in Dengkil. It sure beats being hoodwinked and used as pawns in this proxy blame game on behalf of some political fat cat that has his own "donkey" (see equus asinus in definition) to cover.
    Last edited by bobkee; 12-08-2005 at 02:03 AM.
    Bob Kee
    bobjots : redux
    "The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in moral crisis" - Dante


  2. #2
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    Now is not the correct time to point our fingers but to solve the problem as fast as possible.

  3. #3
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    Hence my ideas on how this problem can be resolved in the long run right at the bottom of the post
    Bob Kee
    bobjots : redux
    "The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in moral crisis" - Dante


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobkee
    Hence my ideas on how this problem can be resolved in the long run right at the bottom of the post
    Your suggestions are noble, practical and logical.

    Without trying to be critical or negative however, I cannot bring myself to believe that bolehland can do a 1st world enforcement with a 4th world country and notwithstanding Malaysia itself have a cliff to climb in their crusade against deep rooted cronyism. If indeed Malaysian mega companies are contributing to the annual health mayham from indo, we have to see to it that those found guilty are severely dealt with before we can ask the indo. to do the same. It is not so diffficult to believe that Malaysian companies are involved as giant Malaysian owned and run plantations have existed in Sumatra and Kalimantan for a long time. Having said that, we can and should wait for the investigations to unfold and see which dato or tan sri are involved and are charged...therein lies the tests of impartial serious governance or will bolehland retreat into it's cocoon.
    Quite unfortunately, many Malaysians and I believe the latter and hope to be proven wrong.
    I hope world bodies will not just stand by and watch us suffer again and again when corrupted gomens are just reacting with short term solutions year in and year out and not responding to a long a term solution.
    Only the international community's intervention and pressure can stop this annual evil.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs down

    The tawkey balak in Sumatra are Malaysians ? Those multinationals that operate the estates and huge plantations. 1st Boards companies in Bursa?

    The Indon.,? they are poor people, we are the ones who exploited the lands to the maximum and burn everything in our path to get to where we want. In fact, we should punish those big boys who are out there profiteering from the Sumatran natural resources!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by uchangeng
    The tawkey balak in Sumatra are Malaysians ? Those multinationals that operate the estates and huge plantations. 1st Boards companies in Bursa?

    The Indon.,? they are poor people, we are the ones who exploited the lands to the maximum and burn everything in our path to get to where we want. In fact, we should punish those big boys who are out there profiteering from the Sumatran natural resources!
    YES agree 110%. But Question: Who is going to punish the big boys who undoubtely are cronies to party U Must Not Oppose. SO, how do we tell Indo. what to do if they prove to bolehland that Malaysian companies are the one behind one million acres of fire and bolehland is powerless to act against these crony companies.
    Big opportunity for Pak Lah...He wants Malaysians to WORK WITH HIM, NOT FOR HIM...OK ACT NOW..Malaysians wants to work with YOU, Mr. Prime Minister.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by penangkia
    Your suggestions are noble, practical and logical ...
    Hehe .. never said it would happen, did I? At least not with the current system in place.

    Then again, the power to change is in our hands lor. You know the little exercise where we put the X in the box? At least it can get the ball rolling.
    Bob Kee
    bobjots : redux
    "The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in moral crisis" - Dante


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