Continuing from A pig of a problem and A pig of a problem (2) … based on a number of malaysiakini articles.
Politics is about perception. As always, where there are two sides in a standoff, there would be two main perceptions, plus a zillion minor ones.
Here, a note of explanation – ‘perception’ is not about logic or facts – that’s why it’s called ‘perception’.
One – the Muslims are damn pissed off with the unreasonable pig farmers who have subjected the unfortunate inhabitants living nearby to the farms to the horrible stench of piggy waste. And worst of all, it’s the stench of pigs – utterly outrageous to Muslims.
The issue of pollution to the waterways, though real, is merely additional ammo for the Muslims to fire at the pig farming. It's the terrible smell, sheer concentrated haram-ness, that tortures them!
Two - On the other side of the coin, the pig farmers and their supporters see the Malacca State government’s threat to forcefully cull their piggy assets as discrimination against Chinese.
Hey, maybe the Malays are jealous about their economic capability. Remember, it's 'perception'!
Before the Nipah virus wrecked havoc on the local pig industry, the pork business was understood to be worth RM2 billion per annum. With a noveau riche China, earnings from Malaysian pork exported to the world's biggest pork eating population could easily jump to a humongous US$2 billion, quite easily.
If only the government could invest in terms in modern pig farming, the problems raised against pig farming would disappear. But aiding pig farmers with government grants and training in animal husbandry may be just too impossible for the UMNO-led government to do - maybe PAS hopes for that to happen. But export earnings benefit everyone in the nation. US$2 billion isn't exactly ... er ... chicken feed, and that most certainly can continue to grow.
Then, the deadline of 21 September where nearly 100,000 pigs have to be moved inter-State, a massive logistic nightmare and perhaps an impossible target to achieve, is another indication of ethnic bias.
Behind all these ‘perceptions’, the more real issues of politics, incompetent town-urban planning, unsatisfactory inspections of all sorts (irrigation, agricultural, health, drainage, environmental, etc), corrupt (close one eye) officials, naughty farmers exceeding their quota of pig numbers (was there a limit in numbers?), avaricious Singapore investors (jolly good to have a convenient foreign element to blame), religious taboo, etc are factors that would be flung at the other party, to fortify one’s case against the other.
Hardly the sort of stuff and situation to support a Bangsa Malaysia!
One thing that kaytee has to say – and I don’t care whether you agree with me or not – I have been to some pig farms and I wouldn’t want to live near them, so on this I am with the affected people (whether Muslims or not) who have complained about the stench.
Pig farms and residential estates cannot exist happily together in close proximity, unless every resident there has a defective nose that can’t sense any odour.
The solution? Either the farms move or the housing estates move.
Commonsense will tell us which is the easiest. Who is right or who is wrong doesn’t matter anymore.
One must move and we all know it’ll be the pig farms because it’s the easier of the alternatives.
The mitigation to the removal of the piggery is the core factor, which up to now has been handled appallingly by the Malacca State government
It is incompetent, panicking and uncaring and in many ways, through its semi-samseng actions and callous pronouncements, has fortified the perception it’s biased.
Compensation, reasonable timeline, negotiations, consultations - rather than grandstanding threats and thuggish behaviour through the deployment of FRU, bulldozers and other paraphernalia of brutal enforcement that have become a standard expectation of UMNO-government sanctioned demolition actions - should be the correct government approach when handling tricky sensitive situations which involve religious sensitivity, different ethnicities, and people's livelihood..
Where there are illegal farmers, take legal action against them. Where there are legitimate farmers, respect their rights as citizens. Where those legitimate farmers have exceeded or violated the conditions of their permit, expose them with evidence and provide them with a reasonable timeline to conform.
These are the hallmarks of a lawful and accountable authority.
The trouble with UMNO politicians such as those heading the Malacca government is that very few people believe they are acting lawfully. Very few would trust them at all; most would prefer to side with the farmer, if not for the terrible stench and the haram-ness of pigs.
Related: Piggy politics