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PORR versus common sense

© by Pipit

.....“Why are you, our elected representatives, selling away our future?”....

So PORR is finally off the ground. All the objections, protests and resistance seem not to have the least impact, rather like water off a duck’s back, adding insult to injury, etc, etc. Big money talks big, no money no voice. That’s democracy whether here or in the land of freedom and democracy, New Orleans USA. Fact of life and all that.

But perhaps it is our own fault after all. We did not exercise common sense in the matter. Ours was a gut reaction, pure and simple. Not only did we not target the weak spots, we had some contradictions and weaknesses of our own. We AGREED with the politicians that Penang has a serious traffic problem, therefore whether PORR or a better public transport system, it is just a matter of difference of opinion when it comes done to the solution. Well, since the politicians are our elected representatives, by right, they should have the initiative since we have already elected them to govern us, so PORR it is.

What we should have targeted is the PORR contract. Did our elected representatives work in our best interests when negotiating the contract? Were there subsidies and guarantees built into the contract to protect the contractor? Shouldn’t it have been a purely commercial contract? Are our elected representatives working on our behalf or on the behalf of big money? Shouldn’t we have said, “We WANT PORR, but not at the cost of burdening not only ourselves, but our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren with a mountain of debt.” “Why are you, our elected representatives, selling away our future?”

I know this argument may not sit well with some people, especially those whose houses and property are affected. Again fact of life. All I can say is that by being a little more strategic, perhaps we could have stopped PORR after all. I could be wrong. Anyway, it is a done deal. The bureaucrats won. By being obstinate, protective of their turf and singularly thinking only of their own best interests, they have blocked all efforts to solve the traffic problems in Penang except the one of waving about billions of ringgit to attract the vultures. Maybe this is not just a bureaucrat’s problem. Maybe it is a Malaysian problem.

Ed. comment

PORR is the acronym for Penang Outer Ring Road. It is a project to build a highway across Penang’s urban area. It has been a controversial issue before the election. When the election came, the issue was kept aside. Now, these politicians were elected – so to hell with the citizens. This has always been the case but we never learn.

We are a selfish lot. We only take care of our interest. If the project does not encroach on us, who cares! Those not affected will not be bothered.

I remember reading an American’s quote. It goes something like this:

First we do not bother about our neighbor's problem because we are not involved. We do not bother about the protest because we are not involved. We do not bother about the socialists because we are not socialists. But when the communists came, we were too late!! Too late to speak up! Too late to do anything!


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