I see several Sarawak-related pages claiming that no one, including the mainstream media, cares or has given coverage to the flood situation in Sarawak.
Comparing the response both the government and non-governmental organisations gave to the floods on Kelantan and Pahang to the ones now in Sarawak, the Sarawak-related pages say that there is very little that is being done by the Federal Government.
All Federal Government agencies in Sarawak have been put on flood watch standby as early as December 2017. This includes, but not limited to, the Army 1st Division, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), and the Fire and Rescue Services Department (FRSD).
The FRSD has been evacuating people from flooded areas, and in one particular instance, evacuated Suriah Bakar, 35, of Kampung Parong, Kota Marudu, who was in labour.
Prime Minister Najib Razak himself is constantly monitoring the flood situation in Sarawak and has promised to ensure that relief reaches all flood victims.
As at noon today (Thursday 8 Feb 2018), only five areas in three divisions in Sarawak have recorded water level above the Alert level. They are in the Miri, Bintulu and Kapit districts.
Only the Bintulu-Belaga road in Bintulu, and Long Jegan and Long Panai in Miri have water levels that are above the Danger level, while Ng Merurung in Kapit and Kuala Binyo in Bintulu have water levels that are above the Alert level.
The areas that are affected by the floods are Samarahan. Sarikei, Sibu, Serian, Bintulu, Mukah and Limbang.
While the Borneo Post has been actively updating the flood situations in Sarawak, Sarawakians complain that the Peninsular-based media, especially the electronic media, have not been giving ample coverage.
This is absolutely not true. Just yesterday I pointed to a Sarawakian friend URLs of mainstream media reports on the flood situations there, including the ones by NST, Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia.
BERNAMA and RTM have been airing the plight of Sarawak flood victims. Even the station most hated by the Opposition, TV3, has been consistently reporting on the flood situations in Sarawak, covering flood relief centers as well as the latest evacuation operation this morning by the Civil Defence Force (APM) involving a woman in labour at Klinik Entabai, in Julau, Sarikei.
Social Media and Floods Fever
As far as social media is concerned, there is very little that the ordinary Semenanjung folks can do. While we can start collection centers here, sending stuff over there would not be economical at all.
Whilst there have been many flooding in the Peninsular, I made myself available for three – the Johor floods of 2006-2007, the Pahang floods of 2013, and the Kelantan floods of 2014. Those were the flood disasters that Peninsular people got together and helped government agencies to provide assistance to flood victims.
In Johor, I provided assistance between Parit Botak and Rengit. In Pahang, I assisted Her Highness the Tengku Puan Pahang in the Kuantan and Pekan areas. In Kelantan, my former classmates and I brought supplies from Putrajaya to the hospitals in Gua Musang, Kuala Krai and Jeli.
In Johor back in 2006-2007, two waves of floods hit the state. In the first wave, 90,000 people were evacuated. Just when they thought it was safe to return home, a second wave struck and caused 109,831 people to evacuate.
In 2013 Pahang, 40,819 people were evacuated.
In 2014 Kelantan, more than 170,000 had to be evacuated. The scale of destruction that I saw with my own eyes in Gua Musang, Manek Urai and Kuala Krai was just beyond comprehension. Even Kuala Muda in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami did not look as bad. Yes, I was there too in 2004 with a Malaysia Airlines aircraft captain friend (he now flies for Air Asia).
I took the above photo at Kampung Bukit Tebuk near Chiku while on the way from Kuala Krai to Gua Musang on 31 December 2014 because I saw this man at the Manek Urai relief center queuing for food for his family earlier in the morning. At this point he had walked 14 kilometres to get home.
Pulau Pinang in November 2017 saw 71,294 people evacuated. This was when Lim Guan Eng was seen crying for help…literally.
In comparison, the total number of evacuees in Sarawak as of last night was 4,859 people. It is a number that is still very manageable by the state government and its NGOs.
I have not seen any NGO in Sarawak running a donation campaign to collect cash and kind for flood victims there. If there is such a fund I am sure people in Malaya (a term fondly used by Sarawakians for Peninsular people which isn’t a nice term) would be glad to chip in. After all, I have relatives in Samarahan, Kuching, Miri, and friends working on the Pan Borneo Highway project that are affected by the floods.
Nor do I see throngs of 4X4 vehicles (which happens to be in abundance in Sarawak) carrying relief items to affected areas like it was done in the Peninsular.
How can anyone start anything if the Sarawakians themselves don’t do anything for fellow Sarawakians? I promise not to ask how many Sarawakians actually donated to flood victims and relief missions in Kelantan, Pulau Pinang, Johor and Pahang. To where should we Malayans send our donations to?
So, the feverish pace you saw in the Peninsular was because of the magnitude of the floods and the destruction they caused. The absence of any social media hype by socmed practitioners in Sarawak on the flood situation says all that.
I am not saying that the flood situation in Sarawak is not bad. Any flood is bad. But it doesn’t do justice when people sit and complain about it on social media expecting to be spoon fed. Just start something instead of whining. There are many here on this side of the South China Sea who would want to help.
When the development of Forest City commenced, it came under fire by many including the surrounding communities. This is because of the concerns regarding the impact to the environment as well as the negative publicities fed on how livelihoods would be affected. But my recent article has put that to rest.
Despite having only 245 registered fishermen in a community of 11,000 Country Garden Pacificview (CGPV) finds it of utmost importance that the fishermen would be able to continue conducting sustainable fishing in the waters off Forest City and its surroundings.
Kelab Alami, an NGO concerned with environment conservation, was born out of these concerns in 2008. CGPV works hand-in-hand with Kelab Alami by funding its awareness and research activities.
For 2018, Kelab Alami have lined up a series of activities including the spreading of wider awareness pupils in Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Kupang and Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Adang, both in Gelang Patah.
Kelab Alami founder Shalan Jum’at, 30, said plans for 2018 also include mussel farming, habitat documentation and monitoring of various marine species found in the surrounding area of Kampung Pendas and the other nearby villages.
“With development such as Forest City, which is near to Kg Pendas, it is a boom in eco-tourism. The project have presented challenges as well as the potential of the natural wonders in the sea and rivers that lie just at our doorstep,” said Shalan Jum’at.
“Development has changed the face of Tanjung Kupang for the better and spurred the birth of Kelab Alami, which provided opportunities for the local fishermen to diversify their skills as well as given the children a chance to become citizen researchers as well as act as eco-tour guides to tourists and visitors to the villages here,” he said.
Muhamad Sofi Juhari, 19, who joined the club when it was first set up, said he would have been a youth without any goal in life if not for the club.
“I currently work at a motorcycle repair workshop, which is managed by Anak Alami Enterprise. Shalan showed me the ropes in acquiring entrepreneurial skills. Business is good at the motorcycle repair shop with about 300 customers a day,” Muhamad Sofi said.
“Kelab Alami not only helps me to gain self-confidence and knowledge about the natural wonders of the surrounding environment, I also get to hone my entrepreneurial skills and am able to earn an income that I can contribute to my family,” he added.
Another club member, Mohammad Irfan Yazid, 19, who joined Kelab Alami when he was 7 years old, has a different passion. He operates a ikan bakar (grilled fish) and burger food stalls near Muhamad Sofi’s workshop.
“I can sell about 100 burgers and about 10 grilled fishes per day. With more people coming to work in Forest City, my food business is also improving by the day,” said Mohammad Irfan.
“Forest City has also funded Kelab Alami which has organised activities such as youth ranger training and entrepreneurship seed funding as well as fishermen’s seed funding, among others,” he added.
Another member Muhd Arif Aiman Fazail, 17, who joined Kelab Alami at age 11, said he has forged friendship with the other neighbourhood children through club activities.
“I have learnt to appreciate the different species of snakes, lobsters and other creatures of the sea since becoming a club member. Former club members who have left the village in pursuit of higher education come back to see us whenever they can to share their experiences and knowledge with us,” Muhd Arif said.
Meanwhile, Datuk Md Othman Yusof, executive director of CGPV, who visited Kelab Alami in Kampung Pendas Laut recently, applauded the efforts and achievements of Kelab Alami.
“Kelab Alami can also organise community workshops which offer skills to make handicrafts or build items such as wooden chairs and tables. We can emulate Thailand by manufacturing souvenirs in a local cottage industry to present as gifts to visitors. This would generate income for the village where the profit can be enjoyed by the local community,” Md Othman said.
Md Othman, who was at the clubhouse to hand over a cheque of RM194,450 to the non- governmental organisation, also spent some time to chat with the kids of Kelab Alami.
Md Othman, impressed by the knowledge of these youths and confidence exuded by them, was encouraging them to keep up their good work and continue to strive for a brighter future.
Meanwhile, 90 students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Simpang Arang who come from low-income families, were treated to to a ‘Back to School’ shopping spree at Giant Hypermarket in Tampoi, courtesy of CGPV.
CGPV corporate communications director Aeron Munajat said the Back to School programme is intended to alleviate their families’ financial burden as they prepare for the new school term.
“We do not want the local folk to feel left out due to the development around their village,” she said.
Aeron added that it was an eye-opening experience for some volunteers who were employees from China.
The programme also allows volunteers to interact with the local community, giving them exposure to the lives of the indigenous people.
Chen Hao, 27, who is an assistant legal advisor at Country Garden Pacificview’s legal department, was among the volunteers who overcame the language barrier to communicate with the Orang Asli children.
“We did not speak the same language, but the children and I found ways to communicate through body or sign language. The children would point at something they wanted to buy for school, (for instance). It is my first time meeting Orang Asli children, and I find that they are as bright and bubbly as any other child I know,” said Chen, who has been working at Forest City in Johor for the past two years.
The treats were not limited to Giant Hypermarket, as the Orang Asli children were also treated to lunch after their shopping excursion.
Country Garden Pacificview plans to adopt SK Kampung Simpang Arang next year, making it an addition to the five primary schools it has adopted since 2015.
The five primary schools are SK Morni Pok, SK Tanjung Adang, SK Tiram Duku, SK Tanjung Kupang and SK Pendas Laut.
Besides youth development and education, Forest City focuses on two other pillars, namely societal development and environmental awareness.
His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, the Sultan of Selangor from my observation is a calm and very private person. He rarely makes any statement or gives interviews to the media except during his birthday celebration. Only once in a blue moon would Sultan Sharafuddin voice out his concern, especially during the Kajang Move, because it was affecting the efficiency of His Royal Highness’s state government. The Sultan had also expressed his concern over the rudeness of the Opposition and its supporters towards the late Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak during the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009.
The latest episode involves the adverse reaction by DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim to the Sultan’s statement on Mahathir’s remark on the Bugis people. The statement was made as part of an interview with The Star for this year’s celebration of the Sultan’s birthday. In his Twitter postings, Zaid said that when some Rulers play politics, they must know the consequences. Do not think there is no price for partisanship.
What earned Zaid the wrath of many was when he also Tweeted a warning to Sultan Sharafuddin saying the Sultan should be careful with his words (as) no one is immune when (the) country burns.
That is typical of Zaid, when he displays the usual non compos mentis character. Often displaying his republican attitude, Zaid suits well in the DAP – a party known historically for its rash behaviour when it comes to respecting the Rulers Institution. It is also well that he is a Malay, from Kelantan, as it would appeal to the fence-sitting Malays in Kelantan who are politically torn after the departure of PAS from Pakatan Rakyat effectively ending the coalition.
The late Karpal Singh once petitioned to sue Sultan Sharafuddin’s late father, Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj, in 1987 over a speech by Sultan Salahuddin to the Selangor branch of the Ex-Servicemen’s Association saying that he would not pardon drug traffickers in Selangor. The petition was rejected on the grounds that there was no lis. In 2009, Karpal Singh had intended to sue Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak for appointing Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new Menteri Besar, replacing DAP’s choice Nizar Jamaluddin. Karpal was found guilty of sedition in 2014.
Since gaining some grounds after the 2008 general elections, the DAP has time and again displayed its disrespect to the Rulers Institution by not abiding by the dress code at state assembly openings. One good example is of DAP’s Gwee Tong Hiang who was the Johor state assemblyman for Bentayan who did not wear a songkok at the state assembly opening. The late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Ismail was not amused.
“Two days ago someone here tried to be a hero by refusing to dress accordingly. If he wants (to differ), then get out of here now!” the late Sultan chastised. Tong Hiang, unfortunately, was not present then.
The DAP had wised up since then. Seen as a Chinese chauvinist party, such rude behaviour turned them into punching bags of the Malays, especially those from UMNO who had a feast turning the DAP into cheap meals. The DAP quickly recruited liberal Malays into its fold, including Zaid, to do their dirty jobs for them. This keeps the heat off the Chinese in DAP, but pit Malays against Malays.
What the authorities should realise is that such behaviour displayed most recently by Zaid Ibrahim sends the wrong signal that it is alright to reject Malay traditions including respect for the elders and the Rulers to the younger Malaysian who, at their age, would be mostly anti-establishment by nature. If this goes unchecked, it would certainly give birth to more Zaid Ibrahims.
The authorities should take cue from Sultan Sharafuddin.
“I am aware that Zaid had long been making false and incorrect accusations against me. He is a politician and a former minister whom I understand is against the royal institution. My advice to Zaid is simple, do not forget where you come from,” the Sultan said.
Forest City was under a considerable amount of pressure when it first started due to the knee-jerk reactions of some environmentalists and half-baked as well as over-ripe politicians seeking quick publicity to remain relevant. While the environmental concerns have been addressed and continues to be addressed as the project progresses, it is notable that the political concerns seem to originate only from the Malay politicians. It seems that the Chinese politicians realise the potential this development brings.
In the meantime, Forest City continues to develop and progress, in very notable ways.
A UN Global Model
On the 31st October 2017, Forest City won the Global Model of Green Building Industrial Park for the second consecutive year. The award was part of the Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Award (SCAHSA) ceremony held in New York.
The SCAHSA award established by the Global Forum on Human Settlement (GFHS), a non-profit organisation with Special Consultative Status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is a trend setter for urban construction everywhere that respects sustainable development.
Forest City, China’s Wuyi County and Indonesia’s Surabaya City were among the winning entries submitted from 23 countries and regions worldwide. Forest City won the SCAHSA Global Human Settlements Award on Planning and Design at the 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS – XI).
Forest City, by taking full advantage of its technical resources, is creating a 1.7-square-kilometer construction-focused industrial park, to promote the development of a green building industry and improve building precision and quality, said Dr. Wang Jiying, vice general manager for overseas business at Country Garden.
Forest City will include several support facilities and a powerful water transportation system, all of which are expected to be operational in 2019, with the aim of creating a truly industrialised manufacturing base for the construction industry over the next three to five years.
Creating Potential Future Workforce
A month and a half ago when I was at Forest City, I was brought to visit one of five schools adopted by Forest City where children are given free Mandarin lessons for three months. This is one of the ways by Forest City to ensure that the local community, especially those in the Tanjung Kupang area, have roles to play in the development.
The result is excellent:
The student above is from the first batch of students who started their Mandarin language course in August 2017 and has graduated. Forest City is not stopping there. Forest City’s master developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), aims to give back to the community by offering three-month basic Mandarin language courses to some 100 school children there.
CGPV plans to continue to offer the Mandarin courses in the future as part of its corporate social responsibility effort for the community here.
“The second intake will be conducted from January until March next year,” Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd corporate communications head Aeron Munajat told reporters when met at SK Tanjong Adang here today where she handed over certificates to the participants.
Aeron said that apart from learning Mandarin as a third language, the three-month language course will also help the students develop self-confidence which will further enhance their competitiveness in the job market in the future.
She said the course involved students and teachers from five schools, namely SK Morni Pok, SK Tanjong Adang, SK Tiram Duku, SK Tanjung Kupang and SK Pendas Laut.
“The classes are conducted every Friday and Saturday from 10am to 12 noon, at the community centre in Kampung Pok,” she added.
Forest City Does Not Pawn Johor Land
The continued but futile attacks on Forest City by Malaysia’s Mugabe and his followers have again earned the ire of His Majesty The Sultan of Johor.
“Has Johor ever pawned its land? What is the meaning of pawning? With Forest City, the state of Johor has increased in size. It is not about seizing land to be pawned. In Johor, there are international lots and Malay reserve land. Anyone can buy at the international zone, be it the Mat Salleh from England or people from India, Japan, China. All of them can purchase it. They can buy (property), but it does not mean they purchase the land to bring it back to their respective home country,” chided the Sultan.
“In Johor, we have an international zone, which means that foreigners could buy. It has international status. In Forest City, we do not sell the land, we sell the strata (titles) and these strata (titles) are for permanent ownership in Johor,” he remarked.
The Sultan added that 40 percent of the investors in Forest City are Malaysians and that even the government has shares in the project, and that the project gave a lot of revenue for the state government, including quit rent and assessment, which the state of Johor benefits.
“How much revenue will the Johor government get? When Forest City is completed, the assessment, quit rent will go to who? Who will get the jobs? There are transportation (initiatives), businesses and job opportunities. Don’t be narrow minded about this,” said the Sultan.
The Sultan also said that the most visible benefit of the Forest City project was the boost it has given to the value of real estate in its surrounding areas, particularly in Pontian district, which is now developing at a rapid pace.
He gave an example of how in the past, the people of Pontian were only picking buah duku (lanzones), but now people in Pontian own Mercedes Benz cars.
“It means that Pontian has become a district that will see rapid development,” the Sultan stressed. “In the past, an acre (0.4 hectares) of land used to cost RM100,000, but now, it is valued up to RM3 million.”
It is no doubt that Forest City will boost the Iskandar region’s marketability. With consumer prices 100 percent higher than in Malaysia, rent prices 500 percent higher than in Malaysia, many companies in Singapore were driven to relocate to Iskandar, while Johor Bahru’s shopping malls, food outlets and amusement parks have become a favourite for Singaporeans. Bangkok’s recent wish for Malaysia to extend its High Speed Rail into Thailand will soon make the Iskandar Econmic Region attractive to the millionaires and billionaires of Indochina. And the green, affordable buildings of Forest City will definitely be a hit.
While they all win, the real winners will be the people of Johor and Malaysia.
The development of Forest City, one of Johor’s iconic development on the western half of the southern coast of the state, is proceeding well and is on time. When completed, the southern-most man-made island of the project will be just two kilometers away from Singapore’s Tuas.
A little over two years ago, the project area was under three meters deep of sea water. Now, a hotel stands completed as do a commercial block as well as an office block, with a beach fronting Tuas. Aptly named “Hotel Phoenix”, the 280-room four-star hotel has already begun to receive guests, and is now one of the favourite venues in southern Johor for international conferences and events. Even Jack Ma’s Alibaba had an event here in late September 2017.
This 20-year development is already into its second year, but has been the subject of several controversies, depending on which side of the fence you are viewing the issue from.
700,000 New Citizens
One of the issues raised by the Opposition is the prospect of 700,000 mainland Chinese obtaining Malaysian citizenship after staying at Forest City for several years. Opposition fear-mongers have been selling this idea to the worried locals who fear that their voice would be drowned by these prospective new citizens.
I threw this idea to an English friend of mine who is married to a Malay woman and have four children, to see if the fear is real.
“Bo****ks!” he exclaimed, scoffing at the idea. “I’ve been married and staying here in Malaysia for 22 years now and I still haven’t got my citizenship. If they think it’s that easy, I will gladly pay the person who could give me my Malaysian identity card.”
But will there actually be 700,000 Chinese from China residing at Forest City? Apparently not. Buyers include people from the Middle East, Thailand, India and Singapore. Forest City was already attracting these buyers even before China tightened the outflow of its currency. Buyers from China have snapped up 70 percent of the early-sale properties there before the measure by China came into effect.
“The number of withdrawals caused by the cashflow controls is about 60, compared with the 15,000-unit sales by the end of 2016, the bulk of which were sold to Chinese buyers. We have to look at the issue in perspective. If we are not confident about Forest City, we will not be investing some RM470 million to build a factory to manufacture ready-to-assemble concrete structures like staircases, beams and columns,” said Dr Yu Runze, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Country Garden Pacific View Sdn Bhd., the developer of the project.
Carving Out Malaysia’s Land To Make It China’s
As a state, Johor has jurisdiction of its land including the foreshore according to the National Land Code, 1965 and its territorial sea jutting out 3 nautical miles according to Section 3(3) of the Territorial Sea Act, 2012.
While Section 76 of the National Land Code includes a proviso that does not allow the foreshore and part of the sea bed to be disposed by the state authority for a period exceeding ninety-nine years, Forest City’s reclamation starts beyond the low-water mark of ordinary spring tides. Unlike the reclamations off Pulau Pinang, a bridge connects the man-made island to the mainland rendering it possible for the Johor state government to allow the developer to obtain a freehold status for the reclaimed portion, anything within the three-nautical mile limit.
Therefore, no part of the mainland was ever carved to become part of Forest City, nor was there a major displacement of people to make way for the apartment buildings and hotels of the development. A freehold land does not mean that it belongs to another country. As mentioned, anything that is within 3 nautical miles including the seabed comes under the state authority while from that point up until 12 nautical miles comes under the Federal authority. The state has the power to acquire the land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1960. hence the sovereignty of the nation is not compromised in any manner.
Forest City Is A China Project And Employs Only Chinese Citizens
The project is being developed by Country Garden Pacific View Sdn Bhd (CGPV), a Johor-China joint-venture company where the China partner has 60 percent equity in the JV, while the Malaysian partners hold 40.
CGPV executive director Datuk Md Othman Yusof said that as at end of September 2017, 859 out of 1397, or 61.4 percent of its workers are Malaysians. This includes the staff at the CGPV Industrial Building System plant in Tanjung Kupang.
Datuk Othman said that it was a decree by His Majesty the Sultan of Johor himself that there should be at least 70 percent staff that are Malaysians. “After only two years we already have 61.4 percent,” he added. “The only difficult part is getting Malaysians who could work as well under intense pressure on the construction side. Many joined but left as they could not match the discipline of the Chinese workers.”
Dr Yu added that of its RM4.7 billion (S$1.5 billion) capital expenditure (capex) spent between early 2015 and December 2016, about RM2 billion, or 42.55 per cent, was spent on the services provided by local consultancy firms and construction materials.
“Cement, sand and other materials were bought locally. We did not import them from China. We also use consultancies such as law firms, planners and architects, to name some. So, it is untrue to say that Forest City has not benefited Malaysia or its people,” he remarked.
Forest City Is The Cause Of Pollution?
To blame the pollution of the Tebrau Strait solely on Forest City alone is not fair. There was already pollution in that area because of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), and 60-odd projects taking place along the Sungai Danga and Sungai Pulai which too affect the Tebrau Strait.
According to Dr Serina Rahman of Kelab Alami, an environmental NGO based in Tanjung Kupang, intially the reclamation works for the Forest City project was worrisome as the waters off Tanjung Kupang is rich with marine life including sea grass.
“The sea grass has spread to the left of the development where there is more water movement. The seahorses are still there, the dugongs are still there, it’s just that they don’t come near the sand barges as they are noisy. There are other patches of sea grass closer to the port (PTP) so the dugongs are there,” she said in an interview.
“The waters off this area isn’t deep. Where Forest City is now was a place for the prawn fishermen to fish for prawns. When the reclamation started, their catch was affected,” she added. “However, the number of prawns have increased tremendously in this area and if you ask any of the fishermen, they will tell you that they are getting more prawns nowadays. Somehow, the sand that is being used to reclaim the area has brought more prawn species here. They may be invasive but I don’t think the fishermen are complaining.”
According to Dr Yu, Forest City was planned as a single 20-square kilometer island. “However, after doing the Environmental Impact Assessment we found that there is a huge patch of sea grass in the middle of where the island should be and decided to preserve it. So, we made Forest City into a four-island development instead – just for the sea grass,” he explained.
“We strive to protect the environment, knowing how important it is for the ecosystem to be able to flourish,” he said. “And because of what we are doing for the sea grass, our neighbour the PTP is also taking measures to protect the aquatic environment.”
I was happy to be shown photos of marine life off the Forest City project that include the Hippocampus kuda seahorses and the Jorunna funebris nudibranch.
Investing In Future Employees
‘Prosper Thy Neighbour’ is something that the management at CGPV holds on to. To increase the chances of employability, Forest City has embarked on several initiatives including providing free Mandarin and English language classes for the fishermen of Tanjung Kupang.
According to Shalan Jum’at, co-founder of Kelab Alami, Forest City has given funds to assist the local fishing community to buy nets and tools to repair them, and have set up a net-service centre at the Kelab Alami clubhouse. The fishermen would gather there to learn English and Mandarin from tutors provided by Forest City. This prepares the fishermen for the possibility of providing eco-tourism services for foreign tourists and future residents of Forest City.
Five local schools have also been adopted by Forest City where the children are being given Mandarin language classes financed by Forest City. Schools such as SK Tiram Duku in Tanjung Kupang are being prepared as future employees and service providers for the foreigners residing at Forest City.
“We would like to be inclusive and ask the Orang Asli in the surrounding areas to provide guides for eco-tourists but it is so difficult to change their mindset.” explained Dr Yu when asked about the involvement of the local Orang Asli at Forest City.
This was confirmed by Encik Noore bin Kasi, the Tok Batin or village headman of Kampung Orang Asli Simpang Arang.
“We would like to get involved in eco-tourism but it is difficult because the Orang Asli have difficulty to change their way of life,” he said of the difficulty faced. “They think that this (Forest City) project does not benefit them. They are wrong! Eco-tourism will definitely benefit them. Development comes at a very fast pace but the mindset of the Orang Asli is too slow to catch up.”
He stressed that the situation is made worse by the presence of outsiders, in particular NGOs that are anti-government that have been coming in and out of the village to spread negative views about the project and the government to the Orang Asli community. He is afraid that the opportunity to benefit from the project will get lesser as time go by, and if the Orang Asli are being bombarded with lies continuously, they will lose out.
How would Forest City help the locals? According to Datuk Md Othman, Forest City is aimed at foreign buyers, not Malaysians. This is to ensure that foreigners take up only what is being sold at Forest City, leaving the development on mainland Johor up for grabs by the locals.
“This is how Johor ensures that the local market is not spoilt,” he added.
Whether or not there is cashflow controls imposed by China, the rich Chinese who already have investments worldwide would still come to Forest City to buy properties.
Dr Yu is equally optimistic. “Forest City is within the One Belt, One Road initiative area. The High Speed Rail ensures connectivity between Forest City and the rest of Asia especially Thailand, and India. People with investments here from the Middle East or China can fly into Senai airport direct and not have to transit at KLIA. I am certain the cashflow control is just a temporary measure to make sure that they know where are the money being invested, and Forest City being a China-involved development project will surely see a surge in investors from China once everything has been consolidated.”
With more sales offices being opened in the Middle East and in Indonesia, Forest City will definitely achieve its target.
Dr Yu said, unlike Langkawi, Tioman or nearby Stulang, the island was not duty-free, but has a portion that is designated as a duty-free area. Within this duty-free area is a township, so that its population will be able to enjoy a lower cost of living because the retail goods and consumables will cost a lot less.
“Many things in Forest City will be “unprecedented”, so in that sense, the project will be exciting,” Yu said.
And for as long as Forest City exists, it will surely continue give good life to the people of southern Johor.
Via his Facebook account, Hew, who is widely known as the “DAP superman”, wrote this in Chinese:
“污桶聽好，如果華人真的 balik cina，馬來西亞奧運吃蕉啦！” (Listen properly Umno. If Chinese really go back to China then Malaysia will eat banana in the Olympics)
Ironically, on the second paragraph of Hew’s posting, the former DAP Teluk Intan chief who despite his resignation is still known to be actively involved with DAP, wrote this:
“Sini tanah Malaysia, bumi Malaysia! Kita semua anak Malaysia, no more racism.” (This is Malaysian soil, the land of Malaysia! We are all Malaysianz, no more racism.)
Hew claims to have left the DAP, has never been condemned by the DAP for making racist remarks. He said he resigned all party posts and from the party after he was criticised for making a brief Facebook remark in Mandarin in July, where he asserted that the South China Sea belongs to China and said China should not be opposed merely because one is anti-communist.
The Malay Mail Online reported that Hew, who said he had joined DAP since the age of 19, recounted all the nurturing and opportunities afforded to him by the party and party veteran Lim Kit Siang, including the drawing of comics, writing statements and training to deliver speeches.
This is an admission and evidence that Lim Kit Siang nurtures a new generation of racists in the DAP, and uses Malays to ‘screw the Malays.’ But this is nothing new.
When the 3rd General Elections’ results came out for the state of Selangor on the 10th May 1969, the Alliance (UMNO, MCA and MIC) had won 14 state seats. The Opposition which comprised of the DAP, Gerakan and an Independent candidate, won nine, four and one seats respectively, making it a 50-50 win.
Supporters of both parties went wild immediately. For two days victory parades were held and racial slurs such as “Death to the Malays! Sakai go back to the jungle!“, “Kuala Lumpur belongs to the Chinese” and “What can the police do? We are the rulers! Throw out all the Malay policemen!“ were hurled at the Malays be they civilians or policemen.
Apparently today, it was reported that a young Chinese, probably attracted to the DAP’s brand of racist politics, displayed his uncivilised DAP-nurtured behaviour outside a mosque in Johor Bahru during Friday prayers. He blared his car’s horn non-stop while the Muslims were praying.
For his primitive behaviour, he received an equally primitive response:
I do not condone the mob rule that took place, but neither do I condone the rude behaviour displayed by the Chinese male. Whether that is the true story or otherwise is not immediately known but the video has gone viral on WhatsApp.
And because some groups have been actively telling people about “their rights” which could be wrong, more and more people are becoming rude and disrespectful towards the authorities. This guy does not sound Indian nor Malay.
Such behaviour is seen now, and was seen in the run-up to the 3rd General Elections that resulted in the 13th May tragedy.
This is not surprising because this is how lawmakers from the DAP behave towards the law of the land and towards the authrities, the famous one being of DAP’s Member of Parliament for Tanjung Ng Wei Aik who was rude towards the authorities when he refused to pay a RM10.00 parking fee!
Wei Aik was once charged for writing a seditious post in a Chinese daily. Although he was not found guilty, the fact that he skirts around the definition of sedition shows the true nature of the DAP.
This is how uncivilised the DAP and their supporters are. While many Malaysian Chinese prefer peace and prosperity for all, DAP and its supporters prefer tension to be created so that if racial clashes happen, they can cry foul and blame the Malays for being oppressive.
What we need is more people like the Singapore Land Transport Authority Officer when faced with a Chinese woman angry about how vehicles belonging to Muslims are being parked outside the mosque:
So remember, do not vote for the DAP if you continue to want unity, peace and prosperity.
What everyone fears most is for the Malays to unite. I wrote this a few months back. All the lawmakers know that the RUU355 amendments have no impact whatsoever to the non-Muslims, and even if all the Muslims MPs from both PAS and UMNO were to vote for the amendments, they will never attain the 2/3rd majority required to pass the bill for it to go to the next stage.
Which is why the Malays in the DAP, PAN, PKR and Pribumi are the tools for the DAP leadership to use, as in the words of Superman Hew, “to screw the Malays using the Malays.”
Objections are raised using mainly the Malay tools. The screen-capture of a Twitter conversation between a BERNAMA journalist and a PAN MP is the evidence to that.
In the run up to its tabling, the RUU355 has met with lots of resistance. I don’t believe that the lawmakers don’t know that it is the right of each religious group to manage and administer its own affairs. I also don’t believe that the lawmakers do not know that Islam is the religion of the Federation.
But the resistance towards it is mainly to avoid the provision of an opportunity for Muslims and Malays to unite just before the next general elections. They oppose just for the sake of opposing.
And then in comes the individuals who do not see or understand that in Islam, protecting the rights of a community supercedes the rights to protect an individual’s rights, nor understand the separation of jurisdiction between the civil law and Syariah law.
This dual system of law first existed in the Malay states in Perak in 1807 with the introduction of the Royal Charter of Justice of 1807 in Pulau Pinang. Prior to that, laws based on the Syariah has been the lex loci of this land.
Islam first came to this land in the ninth century A.D and flourished in the 13th century, 200 years before the kingdom of Melaka was founded. The first evidence of a coded Syariah law was from the Terengganu’s Batu Bersurat, written in 1303, a full century before Melaka.
The kingdom of Melaka produced two major legal digests, which formed the main source of written law in Melaka – the Hukum Kanun Melaka , and the Undang-Undang Laut Melaka . The Hukum Kanun consists of 44 chapters, which touched upon matters such as the duties and responsibilities of the Ruler, prohibitions amongst members of society and penalties for civil and criminal wrongs and family law. The Undang-Undang Laut consists of 25 chapters, which covered maritime matters, such as the duties and responsibilities of ships’ crew, laws pertaining to voyages and trade. The law contained in the above written codes are said to be based on Islamic law of the Shafie School, together with elements of local custom.
Melaka’s written codes were responsible for the growth of other written codes in other states of the Peninsula: Pahang Legal Digest 1595, the laws of Kedah 1605, the Laws of Johore 1789, and the 99 Laws of Perak, 1878.
Therefore, the question of the Syariah creeping into the lives of the Muslims of the land does not hold true. The reverse however is. The RUU355 is not about amending the offences but merely seeking the agreement to enhance the punishments to be meted out for the offences. And as explained in previous writings as per clickable links above, the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and therefore offences already covered in the Penal Code as well as in other civil laws made canoot be tried under the Syariah laws of Malaysia.
Furthermore, the separation of jurisdiction of the legal systems provided by the Constitution also ensures that the rights of non-Muslims are protected – only Muslims can be subjected to the Syariah law.
On the question of the Muslims being subjected to dual laws, this is not a problem. If a Muslim commits theft, he will not get his hand amputated in Malaysia. Theft is an offence under the Penal Code and therefore the Muslim offender gets punished according to what is provided for by the Penal Code. The punishments that the Syariah court can mete out cannot go beyond the Second List of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
DAP Emperor Lim Kit Siang was against the introduction of Section 298A of the Penal Code of Malaysia. In a Parliament debate on the 9th December 1982 on the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 1982 he said the following:
I was aware that the new Section 298A of the Penal Code has also been drafted in order to punish the non-Muslim partner in a khalwat offence until I read a Bernama write-up on the amendment the other day. The Bernama report exulted that now both the Muslim and non-Muslim parties to a khalwat offence would be punishable, the non-Muslim under the Penal Code amendment.
A Muslim found guilty of khalwat is usually fined $200 or $250 under the Muslim enactments of the various States. I have caused a check of the penalties for khalwat, offences in the various states, which vary from State to State but they all range from the lightest penalty of $100 or one month’s jail in Kelantan to the heaviest penalty of $1,000 or six months’ jail, as is to be found in Johore. However, the non-Muslim partner charged under the Penal Code Section 298A for khalwat activity which causes or attempts to cause or is likely to cause disharmony, disunity on feelings of ill-will would be exposed to an offence which is punishable with three years’ jail, or fine, or both.
This is most objectionable and unjust where for the same act, different persons are charged under different laws where one of them imposes much heavier penalties. Or is the Muslim partner in a khalwat charge going to be charged under the Penal Code in the Criminal courts? I am sure that the Shariah Courts in the various States would vehemently oppose this as a serious erosion of the jurisdiction and powers of the Shariah Courts.
So, in 1982 Lim Kit Siang opposed the introduction of Section 298A because a similar offence tried under the Syariah law would only provide for a much lesser sentence. Why is he complaining now about Hadi wanting to introduce higher punishments for the same? Wouldn’t it be fair for the non-Muslims?
As the purpose of the 2M government is to uphold the sanctity of Islam, defend true Islamic values and Muslim unity in the country so as to be able to deal with the problems of kafir mengafir, two imam issue, separate prayers and burials, in the Muslim community, the government should confine its legislative efforts to the Muslims only, and not draft a Bill with such far-reaching consequences in allowing for State interference in the practice, profession and propagation of non-Muslim faiths.
35 years later, he backtracks on the need for Muslims to make better its laws for the Muslims only. Which is why I say Lim Kit Siang is opposing for the sake of opposing so that the Muslims do not rally behind this bill months before the general election is due.
Even PKR’s Wong Chen acknowledged back on 29th Aril 2013, six days before the 13th General Elections that in order to gain support from the Malays, PAS, which was a partner in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, needed to play up the Hudhd issue and had the full support from the parties in the Pakatan Harapan.
Hannah Yeoh, who is the Speaker of the Selangor State Assembly even allowed the Hudud motion to be brought into the assembly. So why oppose the same motion when it is brought into Parliament? Why the double standard?
And why must Lim Guan Eng ask the BN components such as MCA, MIC and others to bear responsibility for the tabling of the RUU355? Why don’t he ask his party’s Anthony Loke and Hannah Yeoh instead? They both supported Hudud and the tabling of Hudud in the Selangor State Assembly (as in the case of Hannah Yeoh).
Anthony Loke even went to town with his support for Hudud telling his Chinese audience not to be aafraid of Hudud:
Yet, the RUU355 is not even about Hudud. So, what is unconstitutional about the RUU355?
Only the objections by the vapid non-Muslims against the RUU355 is unconstitutional, as it is a right given to all religious groups, not just the Muslims, to manage its own affairs. I don’t have to agree with the amendments proposed by the RUU355, but it is my religion and therefore it should be left to the Muslims to manage its own affairs – as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
And as for the atheists, just stay off my social media accounts. You don’t have the locus standi to participate in this debate.