I don't live in Bangsar. I live in Bukit Antarabangsa. And I wish we had some proactive members of the MPAJ to deal with our problem of landslides in the area. You know or have read about the recent tragic event which killed 5 people and displaced thousands more in Bukit Antarabangsa. All the speeches have been made and the photos taken so things have slowed down a lot prior to being totally forgotten. Already some YB has made the announcement that hillslope developements will be allowed to continue after no less than the Prime Minister and his Deputy promised that they will be STOPPED.
Last Tuesday I attended a meeting, supposedly initiated by the Menteri Besar of Selangor, between the residents of Bukit Antarabangsa and MPAJ and other relevant parties including the developer of the area. I knew it wasn't going to be a good meeting almost right from the start when the emcee announced that the YB big-shot from MPAJ who was supposed to chair the meeting could not attend because of something or another. His deputy chaired instead. Anway, the meeting started with the mandatory speech. Which was thankfully very short. Thank you, Mr. Deputy/Timbalan whatever from MPAJ. But from the speech I should have deduced that things weren't going to be smooth sailing that afternoon. The YBhg. chap announced that the meeting had been called by the Menteri Besar to 'get the views' of the people of Bukit Antarabangsa so that further actions can be taken. What the F***!!! Almost 3 months after a landslide that killed 5 innocent people you are asking us for our views? Well, to be fair I did give them mine. I told them I was PISSED OFF. That's my view.
Next the emcee announced that there would be a presentation by the engineer from MPAJ. Hopes in the audience rose. "Ah now we are getting somewhere. An engineer! Surely he will be able to tell us things we need to know. Not least of all if it is safe to live here."
The engineer came forward and presented....
A slide show listing chronologically the events that had taken place!!! Things that every single person in that room already knew. And really didn't need to be reminded of. Graphically. On this date the landslide happened at this time. The damage done was this. So many people were killed. So many were trapped. Diversionary roads were cut. A bridge was built. This is how the area looked when the landslide happened. This is how it looks now. Oh, and here is a satellite photo of the area.
Well thank you all over the place!
After the jurutera (engineer)'s presentation the emcee opened the floor to questions. And then pandemonium started. Well to be fair it began quite politely with a gentleman from the floor requesting to speak in English for the benefit of the sizeable population of non-BM literate residents and owners present. After all, the place isn't named Bukit Antarabangsa (International Hill) for nothing you know. The panel didn't disagree and so the meeting continued bi-lingual-ly.
And the panel seated at a long table in front of the 200+ strong audience became the shooting targets. Defence-less targets. Targets because they came to the meeting totally unprepared. The people wanted to know the actions that are being taken or initiated to solve their problems. Dates, departments/persons responsible, phone numbers, deadlines...you know, the stuff that will put one's mind at ease that something positive is being done. The panel came instead to repeat what's been general knowledge the last 3 months. As I expected the questions from the floor became heated, emotional, personal and generally un-productive ones. Not that any were actually answered by the panel la. Who sat there wishing they were somewhere else.
And so not wanting to waste any more time with people who had more initials in front of their names than answers that made sense, I left with the thought that meetings in Malaysia are actually mostly conducted like that. Well at least quite a few that I have attended were. VIP's are announced with great fanfare. Speeches are made. Questions are asked. Answers are given that don't make sense nor are relevant to what's going on. Then diabetes-inducing tea/coffee and the usual assortment of Malay kueh are brought out. Backs are slapped. Balls are licked. Then everyone goes home. Happy. Well that afternoon in Bukit Antarabangsa people didn't leave happy. They just left with nothing. Same as when they arrived.
Sigh. Sometimes I wish I lived in Bangsar. There is rising crime there. Purportedly. But at least they have Nurul who promises to work WITH the people to solve the problem. All we have is a Menteri Besar who initiates useless meetings and forums to piss us off even more.
The Works Minister has today announced that RM70million will be spent to stabilise the landslide affected areas of Bukit Antarabangsa.