Friday, August 14, 2009

The Cost of a Flighty Ong Tee Keat

The costs of four flights made by Ong Tee Keat could buy you - at the very least - twenty-one trips around the world.

In The Malaysian Insider's article entitled KDSB calls Tee Keat a 'freeloader' with their jets:

"Asked about the costs to make a trip on a private jet, Faizal replied that it was between RM10,500 to RM17,500 per hour, excluding landing charges and crew allowances.

He estimated that the total cost for the four trips made by Ong amounted to between RM105,000 and RM140,000.

He also confirmed that there were other politicians, including from MCA, who had used Wijaya Baru jets but stressed that Ong was the only one who had not paid."

A round-trip flight to the United States - halfway around the world, and back - costs less than RM4,000 if you know how to book your tickets. Even at the higher estimate of RM5K - and not taking into account frequent flyer miles - and the lowest estimate of Ong's flight costs, that's 21 times around the globe. If he can afford that out of his own pocket, I'd ask how he got that wealthy. If he's (literally) passing the buck, well, I'd ask if the definition of Transport Minister means that he costs the most to transport.

Readers of this blog may have noticed that I've been rather critical of Penang's new chief minister Lim Guan Eng in issues of Kampung Buah Pala and Lee Kuan Yew... nonetheless, one can't help but draw a particular comparison...

...when one remembers he flys commercial, economy-class.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do You Know How to Squeeze a Little Buah Pala Juice?

Well, it does seem that some people know how to squeeze a watermelon out of a nutmeg.

Alright, let's get some misconceptions sorted out. These aren't exactly the hardcore poor we're talking about, no matter what their bullock-cart protests may imply. Anyone able to keep an official website isn't doing that badly, methinks.

And a quick look at their Facebook group has this as their description:

"The village is on the Penang Island and as a heritage village, it is almost 200 years old.

In mid-2008, George Town was awarded by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. But the irony is that developers Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd want to destroy Kampung Buah Pala, and rob the Island of its beautiful heritage and culture!"

A "heritage village"? What the heck? Did UNESCO come to tour Kampung Buah Pala? I can hear them going: we were just going to award Malacca, but when we saw Kampung Buah Pala we knew we had to add in Penang... the stunning architecture reminiscent of... um, well, the bullock! Oh yes, we like to award places which are really full of bull.

And did either the previous or current state governments list Kampung Buah Pala on the list of things tourists should visit? Are we taking sufficient steps by both the State Exco for Culture as well as Tourism Malaysia to make sure that everyone knows that a visit to Penang's cultural sites is never complete without a visit to Kampung Buah Pala? Hellllllllllo???

To imply that the developer wants to "rob the Island of its beautiful heritage and culture"... come on. It's a developer. Like all developers, it wants to make a profit, plain and simple.

Was there a land scam? Maybe yes, maybe no, and it's a valid question. But one which is by far unassociated to the fact these so-called victims never owned the land on which they resided, and should be grateful that they received free space for all the two hundred years they claim to have been there. As we near Merdeka Day, it is rather shameful that the ingenuity of Malaysians is showing how we turn a land scam into a bigger land scam.

The only squatters' rights, in this author's opinion, is the one you get when you go to the loo - two hundred years ago to today: a heritage squat, you might say.