Friday, January 05, 2007

50 Posts to Merdeka

50 Posts to Merdeka
Article No 36
By Ahirudin Attan

[note: Please click on the link above to follow the blogathon trail created by Nizam Bashir. I am tagging Marina Mahathir for No 35 and thanking Jeff Ooi for tagging me].

I am writing this from the porch of my home deep in the heart of Puchong, closer to Putrajaya than to Kuala Lumpur. The night is still, which is why I am outdoors, chasing a deadline on a Merdeka blogathon. In this part of enchanting Malaysia, a wind is undesirable because it would carry with it the great pong from a landfill a few miles away.
I have never visited the landfill and none of the neighbours I spoke to, or the couple I know at nearby Equine Park, or those kids who work at the new Jusco shopping mall opposite the Pasar Borong Sri Kembangan have seen it, either.
But we don't need to see the landfill to know it's there because we can all smell it.
The smell is most nauseating after the rain. If you have been to the men's in a pub at the end of a night after a beer-drinking contest that started around tea time, then you'd get a whiff of what I mean by nauseating. I was in one two years ago. The entire toilet floor and some parts of the wall were filled with vomit. I almost threw up myself.
The stench has taught a valuable lesson about house-buying. Whenever someone asks for my advice on buying a house, I would say: "Use your nose."
But it has also taught me about the positive spirit of my fellow Malaysians. The other day, at the parking lot of the local MacDonalds, my kids and I were greeted by one of the worst nasal attacks we've ever had since we moved here. My three-year old, nose wrinkled, utttered "kuat!". A guy with his two kids, nose pegged in between thumb and index finger, smiled at us. "Ello, feetty bad, uh." We are now feety good friends.
This afternoon, at the gym in Bangsar, Raymond Hon, who retired from the music industry some years back, said hello to me. "You are the writer, right? You live in Puchong".
We talked about the environment, the killing of the hills and the trees, crooked property developers, and the great stench from landfills.
In short, about the declining quality of life in this beautiful country of ours.
Raymond dreams of establishing a movement, a non-governmental organisation driven by teens, that will defend the environment for the future of these kids. "Why do I want to involve school kids? Because nobody seems to want to listen to us adults anymore. Maybe the government and those developers will listen to the kids. "
Most of us are still sleeping while our environment is dying around us. Or we close an eye. We no longer listen, as Raymond says. We have forgotten to wake up and smell the flower because we have forgotten what a flower is.
Like me, thousands of people who now live in my part of Puchong had not smelled anything fishy when the developers sold us our houses. I am not sure if there'll ever be a recourse for us but if there was one, I am sure it will take too long before we see any kind of compensation.
You may say I'm being pessimistic but the fact is we did drag our developer to the Tribunal in 2005 to demand compensation for various defects to the house structure, and we have lived to regret that action. The Tribunal awarded us a small amount (but still three times what the developers had offered to pay us initially) but we have not been paid a single sen.
The last time we called to ask for the payment, we were told: "You should have accepted our offer, not take us to the Tribunal."
In this country, nearly 50 years after Merdeka, stench does not come just from landfills. To me it means we have a long way to go.


  1. Anonymous2:03 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Anonymous2:03 am


    Correct me if I am wrong, but the huge township between Kinrara Highway and South Klang Valley Expressway must be the biggest property development south of KL, excluding Putrajaya of course.

    What was once forest reserve land and rolling hills are now completely flattened. You see condos, apartments, houses coming up faster than you can say PROJEK KERAJAAN BARISAN NASIONAL. However infrastructure-wise only Equine Park can be of worthy mention, as you've said yourself, they have Jusco and McDonald's up and running.

    But the same cannot be said of the other, numerous property developers within the area, with half-built roads, each with its own two-lane carriageway. Or potholes that can sink a Kancil!

    You're right about the stench. It's a killer right after a rainy day. Sometimes I wondered whether it came from the landfill or from the Pasar Borong just next door. Why did the Selangor Government years ago allowed the construction and delivery of thousands of homes within smelling distance of an active landfill is a mystery worthy of (the old) Malay Mail expose.

    I smell (no pun intended! ha ha!) a rat. However, we can only watch and wonder what else could go wrong in this beautiful country of ours.

    After 50 years of Merdeka, some trivial things still remain wishful thinking.

    At least I don't have to pay toll to go to work anymore. Thank god for Jalan B-15 Dengkil Bypass!

  3. Anonymous11:53 am

    Mosterball, I beg to differ. Have you ever been to kampungs in Pahang where the majority of the populations are Malays? There are still kampung with no proper road and inadequate fixed telephone lines. No flower trees by the road, no decorations as you claimed. After almost 50 years of independant we still hear this kind of racist comment from the same people who claimed they are not rascist.

  4. Anonymous12:07 pm


    just wanna add tg rambutan in the list... should see how housing areas are coming up around the landfill in this small town once famously known for hospital bahagia (it is still there and beleive me one feels more bahagia inside there then when outside).

    and the majlis bandaraya ipoh could not even find and alternative dumpsite to the one in tg rambutan in the last ten years since search a new spot began. and to think that ipoh's jurisdiction area was increased a 100% three years ago compared to 1988 when ipoh was declared city - 600 square km of it now.

    meanwhile, the entire garbage of the expanded ipoh is now mounting in tg rambutan. whose fault eh? local council, vocal residents in other parts of ipoh who do not want new dumpsite near them or tg rambutan folks who don't even mind the evening and nightly pong from the site.

    ah! ha!

  5. Bro,
    Back in the early 90's Jinjang Utara was the 'pongtown' especially when a cool breeze blows after the rain, and it still is ! After piling rubbish that looks like a mountain, they hardly give time for the damn crap to settle in and along comes a 'crony' contractor and engineer and builds houses with a 'majestic view' of the surroundings because these houses are built on a mountain of rubbish !

    Before that, was what is now known as Taman Dato Harun near Sunway Pyramid.Prime housing area, then it was in Ampang area near the chinese temple and old folks home !

    Me thinks you better book a plot now where this dump is cos tomorrow it will be prime property, and you can make a 'killing' as an investment return !
    Cheerssmmffpaaagghhh !!

  6. Anonymous6:20 pm

    Rocky, I may sound naive but don't the Tribunal have powers to see that the developer honours what it has decided upon as appropriate compensation? Is the rubbish dump you are talking about situated adjacent to Sri Kembangan? Pleae enlighten.

  7. The Outsider,
    i assume the Tribunal has that powers but i doubt it monitors to ensure that its decisions are carried out. i assume that we, the house buyers, are expected to go back to the Tribunal in the event that the developers do not implement what the Tribunal has asked them to implement.

    the landfill? I don't know where it is exactly but on real bad days i'd swear the landfill's just next door!

  8. This government is always on the side of capitalist. We small citizens can never win, no matter how legitimate our rights are. We are fleeced left right and centre by Highway Concessionaires, Astra. Maxis, Tm Net, the banks, local councils, etc etc.

  9. Anonymous12:14 pm


    I am sending you this email as I am not an expert on blogging and just keep forgetting how to log in and passwords etc.

    Before I continue, I must let you know that we have met at the press club when I hosted a couple of functions with some journalist. So to me you are a real person and a cool one too.

    Your blog is one of my must read daily blogs simply because I trust what you are writing.

    Anyway the purpose of sending you this email is because you story of the landfill pong strikes a deep chord with me.

    For the residents of Sierramas, Valencia, Kampung Desa Aman, the brand new hospital sungai buloh and the developments in the vicinity of this part of sungai buloh, we live at the mercy of the aluminum factory that emits on a daily basis acrid smelling emissions into the air. DOE has slapped them with fines, stop work orders etc and yet they continue to operate. DOE has also told me that every time they have gone after the owners, MITI (from the very top) has stepped in and DOE has had to back off. As housing is being developed, people are not being told of the exisitng health hazards. I am told by the JKKK (Jawatan kuasa Ketua Kampung) for desa aman that this has been going on for more than 10 years.

    There are 2 ministers staying in sierramas but that is of no help.

    Believe it or not, the area is predominantly Chinese and Kampung Desa Aman to seems to be one of the kampung baru resettlement areas for the chinese .

    Can you tell me how can i progress this issues and try to get some media coverage? Do you know how can I get in touch with Karam Singh Walia?

    Rocky, any help I can get will be most appreciated.

  10. i know how bad the smell is..
    My sister live in that area too.

  11. Anonymous4:40 am

    Dear Rocky,

    Sorry for the delay in replying but I got caught up with some work. That aside, please accept for my thanks for creeping in with your contribution just after the deadline. Okay, okay, you made the deadline. ;)

    By the way, I noticed your Tribunal issues and just wished to point out that from the flow chart available from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, you do seem to have options. (

    Basically, you can enforce the award by complaining to the tribunal or alternatively, via the courts. Hope that helps.

    While we are the topic of deadlines someone one mentioned the 3Qs of deadlines:

    (a) 20s+ - Wah! Bila nak deliver?
    (b) 40s+ - Fuu! Kerja lagi ke? Bila nak pencen?
    (c) 60s+ - Woi! Hidup lagi ke? Bila nak mati?

    Take care my dear sir. I will refrain from using the 'Smell you later' pun. Must not be funny by now. :)

  12. Hey Rocky,
    Didn't know that you have to endure the same stink that is affecting my bro (Soon)! They are moving to Puchong, probably by the end of month, and just the other day while cleaning up, we got the beautiful whiff of what Klang Valley residents have been giving to Puchong residents!
    I hope Raymond gets to see his plans in action.(How nice to know we have the same friends..Raymond was a guest at my wedding some 9 years ago).
    Just ask ourselves this question, how many of us practise recycling in our homes? Even if we do, our good friends at ALam Flora (thanks to some crony contract) don't give a shit and lump all the waste into the same compacter....and then leave a wonderful smelling trail of waste liquid all over our front before proceeding down the street!
    The point is there is no hope for us if we continue to ignore all this signs!
    The warmest winter in Europe so far...and Presto! Snow in hopefully, our Environment Gurus of our bodoh land can WAKE UP!

  13. Rocky,

    Never thought that u actually staying in Puchong, which is just nearby my home and also experience the same as mine smelling awful stench from the landfill at Tmn Equine.

    u r right when mentioning that it smell terrible right after the rain, especially when air is humid.

    My heart ache so much when I move in here on 2005, there was no big mosque for friday prayer. Instead of building a mosque, 'they' build Jusco first, well, nvmind la. people had to go a bit farther for friday prayer to serdang's mosque.

    As what i know, people in flat-i-forgot-the-name proposed to build bigger surau cum mosque and it was approved. the mosque is currently under construction but still managed to operate friday prayer. I hope u can go and pray over there for once to get the smell of landfill behind it and see whether u 'khusyuk' or not during prayer.

    sadly, we must bear the smell.
    I hope they could build another comfortable mosque somewhere opposite jusco.

  14. Al-Fatihah to our men and lady in uniform that perished in the Nuri. And where was our beloved PM all this while? Perhaps our brave men and ladies should reconsider their postal ballot as to oust the leader who abandons and shows no concern for them. We too should consider our ballot to have a PM who hoorays in office and shows no love for our men in uniform.

    Ill equipped the Nuris are destined to fall and not be found soon, if at all. Our beloved PM should have used the funds for his new "leased" aircraft for making the Nuris airworthy with adequate avionics instead. Better, our PM and his cabinet should fly in the Nuris "as is" for all official functions especially from KL to Kuantan. Imagine if the Nuri is not adequately equipped with basic emergency transponder, it is up to us to imagine the standard of the avionics and maintenance parts.

    FOr the MOD to say Nuri is ok to fly is like saying it is ok driving a car with no working lights in the dark of the night. FLy in one each time you go back to Pekan I dare you.

    Dear PM why do you let our brave young ones die in vain? Would you have joined the search and cancelled your horay down under if it were to be your own in the Nuri? Obviously you do not equate our brave ones on par. Yes we remembered where you weren't during the Johor floods.We will remember where you weren't when the Nuri was downed and found.

    This is something for history to record onthe eve of our nation's 50th birthday. When the fireworks light over Petronas twin towers, let us celebrate how the PM's office has fallen from grace over 50 years to its present despicable level..