Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kenyir Lake a FTZ

The headline on Staronline (29 Sept 2010) quoted "Kenyir Lake, the largest man-made lake in South-east Asia, has been officially declared a Free Trade Zone (FTZ), Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said said".

OMG...a FTZ in an unpopulated wilderness? On a lake? Well, the first thing that came ringing in my head was the happy drinkers enjoying their boozes and getting drunk and perhaps drown too.

Suddenly the locals will have a new job - as smugglers. Many poor locals thriving to earn a living by becoming smugglers will perhaps be shot to death or put into prison. I am trying to recall many years ago when Penang was a FTZ. Being so near the mainland, smugglers had a good time smuggling dutyfree goods. Customs tightened their enforcement and many were shot in the smuggling attempts. Penang is an island and it was still not an easy task to enforce the rules. Imagine the situation in a lake like the largest lake in South East Asia, with so many many islands, so many many hiding coves and so many many trees to hide behind - do you think there won't be any smugglers? Then we have the increase in drinking and smoking habits because these items will be dammned cheap! Many bottles and cigerattes butts will be thrown into the lake. Boats and ferries will increase, bringing all the pollutions related with motor machines. I don't know about the effect on the fish but then these exploitations will surely damage the ecosystem slowly but surely.

In the name of making money from tourism, the greedy government couldn't care a hood about the environment, the locals and the culture. Development will be coming in leaps and bounds and as usual many cronies will be getting fat contracts. Business towkays will be happy with incoming tourists. Land prices will escalate. The poor will be forced to leave the kampungs. Everything will not be the same again. Bringing a sin city into a pristine culture of wilderness is surely not the right thing to do.

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