Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Investigate the Whistleblower, of course!

This is how I ended my post of 5 September:

I'm half expecting a visit from the Special Twig any moment now. Indeed, they might even assign an entire Branch to this case.

Prophetic words! Tuesday afternoon, 15 September, three Special Branch officers paid me a surprise visit. Somebody had lodged a police report against me, alleging that I was conspiring with environmental activists to block Umno's illegal roadworks project in Kg Pertak. Foreign interference, no less - since the police report stated that three "Mat Sallehs" had been harassing the excavator and tractor operators, demanding to see their permit.

Déjà vu. When loggers encroached in 1996 the same sort of shit had happened. The loggers, working through the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA) had persuaded the batin (headman) to put his signature to a petition for my eviction from Kg Pertak as I was deemed "a security threat." As a result the matter was raised at the Selangor state exco level and the Special Branch were instructed to investigate.

Fortunately, the SB in KKB appear to be fairly exemplary in that they dealt courteously and very reasonably with the situation. After interviewing me for about 20 minutes, the SB chief decided I was perfectly in my right to continue living in Kg Pertak. I remember him as an urbane, intelligent man who didn't resemble a cop at all.

Well, the three officers who dropped in on me were pleasant and attentive as I explained why those who love this area do not favor "the road to nowhere" (as ecowarrior Mary Maguire calls it). The most positive outcome of this incident was that I felt a certain rapport with these SB officers - they were entirely human and likeable. In fact, one of them had recently been transferred to KKB and he revealed that he occasionally plays guitar in a band.

If only the rest of the PDRM was as polite and professional as these three...

That was the good news. The bad news is that work started in earnest again early Monday morning. When I heard the heavy equipment going down the road I had assumed it was a JKR crew assigned to clear the fallen tree and reinforce the collapsed slope. It wasn't till the afternoon that I found out it was Mr Tan Mok Seng's workers again, eager to finish what they started and collect the balance of payment from YB Wong Koon Mun. As I suspected, some Umno members were behind the whole scheme to gain access to the goodies while justifying the environmentally ruinous project as "bringing development to the Orang Asli."

The Selangor state government, in effect, had been completely bypassed in the initiation of this ad hoc project, which threatens to seriously mar the peace and tranquility of this recovering forest - once regarded as sacred (hutan keramat) to the Temuan tribe since it lies within easy reach of Gunung Raja, the Temuan's pusat negri (spiritual umbilicus).

I guess old habits die hard. Read all about it here!

This morning (16 Sept) district councillor Chua Yee Ling showed up with Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor enforcement officers and instructed the workers to stop work until they obtain a KM (Kebenaran Merancangan or Project Approval). Obviously, the federal government is channeling unknown amounts of money through its agents on the ground, facilitating all sorts of spurious "development projects" to maintain the corrupt status quo and show their utter contempt for the Pakatan Rakyat state government. After so many years under Mahathir and Khir Toyo, unaccountability and squandering of public funds to enrich cronies is the only modus operandi they understand.