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Azmin, why don’t you listen?

 | April 23, 2016

Come election time, Selangorians will remember the rape of their forests and the broken promise about tolled highways.

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When Selangor MB Azmin Ali took power after a protracted struggle with his predecessor, Khalid Ibrahim, he promised he would get down to brass tacks and work for the public’s benefit.

He gave out his number so that people could inform him of unsightly garbage dumps and promised that the people would be heard over the Kidex issue.

He was young, energetic, the right hand man of Anwar Ibrahim himself, and much was expected of him by the people of Selangor who, by the way, had voted in Khalid’s administration, not Azmin’s.

And yet, Selangor’s forest reserves keep getting degazetted to make way for more and more highways in defiance of the public’s deep resentment.

Selangorians have long objected to the destruction of our forests for the benefit of state coffers. And now the Bukit Cherakah and Bukit Sungei Puteh reserves have been identified for degazetting to make way for the Damansara-Shah Alam and the Sungei Besi-Ulu Kelang highways. This is despite Pakatan’s and Azmin’s noises about “no more highways”.

Despite years of widespread and vocal opposition to new highways, Selangor is criss-crossed with them and residents are beginning to get irritated with Azmin.

Many parts of Selangor are undergoing rapid physical development as the government races to realise its Greater Klang Valley vision.

Perhaps many of us share the vision, but cannot understand why it can’t be realised without raping our forests. Our forest reserves should be regarded as sacred, especially when there is so little left.

The Lanjan reserve, for instance, is little more than a strip these days.

There is indeed a great appreciation for greenery among Selangorians, perhaps because development encroaches upon our lives ever more aggressively every day. It is not uncommon to hear Selangorians in coffee shops bemoaning council decisions to cut down tall, shady trees by the side of the road, or to click their tongues in irritation at the plethora of condos currently being built in Section 13, Petaling Jaya.

Each instance of physical development on the landscape reminds Selangorians that we cannot escape the inexorable march of modernisation despite our wish to retain close contact with nature.

One could also point out that Selangor has the most tolled highways of any state, which explains our somewhat less-than-welcoming position on the idea of yet more of the same.

Azmin has not been performing satisfactorily as our Menteri Besar for quite some time now. After a great start, he went back to business as usual. He had better be careful if he wants to continue sitting in his cushy chair.

Selangorians are the most informed of Malaysians. We are also the most demanding.

When we don’t want something to happen, we are not afraid to let you know. Azmin’s affiliation to PKR cannot help him if he is judged as wanting by the people of Selangor.

We’ll give him the boot if we have too.

Khir Toyo received laughs instead of sympathy when he pleaded with the people for mercy, and the same can happen to Azmin if he refuses to listen and then come crawling back in two years’ time to ask for our votes.

Engage us, Azmin, and find a way to work with us or face the possibility of losing your seat come GE14.


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