Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Voices Up North: Slippery When Wet…and Dry

Kedah is a land of contrasts...that might sound nice if it were an advertisement for Tourism Malaysia, but considering how jam packed it was at the Juru (Penang) Toll Plaza, Penang Bridge Toll Plaza and the (yawn) close to smattering of vehicles coming out from the highway to the Alor Setar Selatan Toll Plaza, it actually shows how popular Alor Setar itself. The disturbing banner of Mr. Bean...no, not that Mr. Bean, this is the useless but accidentally funny Mahfuz after the toll plaza is really not helping Alor Setar as a tourist destination. 
Somehow there are some people who seems to link that banner and the reason of why cars passing by seems to move even faster to Bukit Kayu Hitam, but never mind.

Don't get me wrong, mahfuz is the type of guy who does not know the meaning of the word "Fear." We did try giving him a Thesaurus, but he doesn't know the meaning of that either.

Historically, Kedah has been long established as the rice bowl of Malaysia. Yes, Mahfuz too, but he's more of a swinging bowl (mangkuk hayun) of Pas...hey, not my call! You really should go to pas members' kenduris, that where they always make fun of mahfuz. Anyway, back to the history lesson, Kedah padi season recognizes the hot dry spells of draught and rainy season at the end of the year. After Malaysia's Independence in 1957, the Federal government and Kedah state embarked on a beneficial project known as Pedu Dam in Padang Terap. The completion of this project spawned Muda Dam and Muda Irrigation Program or Rancangan Pengairan Muda. This project has ensured that no padi fields in their program suffer the destruction of their crops by drought ever again. That reminded me of last year's news where padi farmers complained of their crops destroyed by drought, and how MB's secretary replied that it was caused by draught. As those farmers were in the Muda Program, and since water levels at Pedu and Muda didn't even budge, his remarks were met with riotous laughter at restaurants and coffee-shops in Kedah. Sensing that, he gave another remark of how the past government is at fault. Maybe Azizan should try hiring an actual Kedahan as his secretary.

Kedah has been naturally rich in water and despite what we see on TV, mahfuz' "Mr-Bean" condition has no bearing whatsoever with the waters of Kedah. Kedah supplies Perlis and Penang with raw water, and both states enjoyed it free of charge. Perlis is a small state and its consumption is quite average. Kedah's water to Penang, on the other hand, supports Penang's industrial, tourism and so many aspects in the development of the island.

It's quite strange how Pihak Bekalan Air (PBA) once claimed that there is no such thing as water coming from Kedah. Their claim is Sungai Muda is in no-man's land (borderline) of Kedah-Penang and the water is free to be claimed. That's a nice take on it, but if they actually learn how to read the map at Pejabat Tanah, they will notice that the border of the land they call Butterworth/Penang starts right on the riverbank on their side, minus the river. The river and the riverbank on the other side belong to Kedah. But, as a friend of mine from Penang says, "The epitome of Penangites: What's mine is mine, what's yours is mine." Hopefully, one day, Kedah might reroute the river to cover other padi fields within the state that is not covered by the Muda Program.

Since 2008, people of Kedah experienced a new government which they elected out of anger, and sadly the replacement could never bring the state any notches up at all. Despite boasting that they cut down costs deemed excessive for the development and up keeping the water storage and treatment plants, water pressure dropped tremendously, causing many areas without water. This, in a state that has been naturally blessed with water. Certain places in Sik, Jeniang, Pendang and even several villages in Pedu endured months and years waking up early in the morning just to get water for the household. It is not a secret but pas and pakatan pro-bloggers did try to suppress this issue, and when it popped up right on their noses, they placed the blame on the previous state government. That usually serves as a good cover-up from getting their asses kicked.

It was bad enough with having many parts of Kedah celebrating Eid-ul-Fitri last year and this year without the necessary supply of water, the Menteri Besar, Azizan took another step forward (depending on which side you look from) by increasing the water tariff between 22 - 45%. Of course, we will have twerps like Det Khalid calling foul, but was brushed off by Azizan stating that it is not his fault but Federal's. If Det Khalid actually looks into a microscope of that issue, he could've rephrased into another way of blaming the state government, such as "how did it come up to this resolution?", "why and who requested Federal aid?", "why did the Federal require structuring of debt?"...but no, well, I guess he didn’t want to ask about how that debt gets there in the first place either. But ultimately, the state government has the absolute jurisdiction on whether to increase the water rates or not. Say, Azizan, did you try taxing Penang and Perlis for the consumption of Kedah's water first? Even Kulim Hi-Tech Park never had a supply of quality water compared to what Penang is getting.

Since early this year, we saw Lim Guan Eng trying to raise the water rates in Penang under the pretense of "avoiding wastage of water." What was that all about? Your water is free, and free-flowing, unlike Kedah, Penang doesn't have to do a huge maintenance of a few dams and one huge dam whereby a mini-submarine is needed. Anyway, we're not talking about Emperor 
Lim and his singaporized Penang. The quality of water is also in question. In many areas, people still long for clear fresh water instead of water corroded with muck and rust. I remember a friend of mine complaining that he now has to change his water filter every one to two months. This might be good to regenerate economy of the state with increase in demand for water filters, but why not find something that doesn't actually force people into doing it?

Pakatan supporters did try to attack this truth. They claim that they have been enjoying high quality and abundance of water supply in their house. On one hand, that is good for them, but nobody is talking about them. What about those people who are not getting water?

The water problem caused a lot of problems whereby it affected religious ceremonies, kenduris and so much more.

Wait a minute...where are the Umno Kedah warlords? Yes, so Det Khalid did open his empty mouth but that's about it, then it's all quiet on the northern front. Where's the over-talking Tajuddin Kentucky? Or the regal Tajul Urus? I think I saw Ajis Rempit doing maximum impact out of here...

Kedahans are getting fed-up with the state government while pro-pakatan bloggers are still busy pulling fairy tales out of their asses for people to see. The gutless Umno Kedah and their toothless UMB team are like the quality of water Kedahans are getting: slow and rusty. 
Perhaps it is time to change, Kedahans must dare to change. With so many problems with the state, it's no surprise to see that whenever pas representatives drop by any kampung area to indirectly force people to attend their ceramah, children usually run to the kitchen and tell their mum this, which is equivalent to what European children shouted when Nazi supporters come around: Mutter, der Mann mit großen Lügen hier, translation? Here's a nice PG13 translation:

Mak, tukang karut dah mai.

Hey. that's a nice PG13 translation, it could've been worse. Yes, they could've said, "Mak, Mahfuz mai" which might just cause pandemonium and riot...and the circus might have to leave town and look elsewhere to make some money.

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