Saturday, September 08, 2007

Pigs, politics, polemics, pollution, propaganda, profits

Friends who were initially delighted to read my Piggy politics and even A pig of a problem became less ecstatic with my A pig of a problem (2) with them expressing to me in private their great disappointment in A pig of a problem (3).

Oh kaytee, why aren't you supporting the pig farmers?

Well, kaytee did and still does - I support Malaysians including pig farmers and those residents who have to live next to pig farms. I won’t go at great length again into my thoughts as to solving the situation, except to summarise them as

(1) It’s easier to move the farms than housing estates - believe me, they can't co-exist side by side.

(2) The Malacca State government must provide compensation and a reasonable time for the pig farmers to move – and kaytee hopes ’completely’ out of Malacca – I believe Johore and Perak have better prospects for the farmers. Set them up in a zone that places a physical restriction to residential housing development so that such problems do not re-emerge in the future.

(3) I see the move as a case of ‘half glass full’ rather than a ‘half glass empty’ for the farmers who, hopefully with compensation (including some grants from government if the MCA can wing this) and investments from the private sector (if from Singapore, so what), will develop modern animal husbandry to avoid the old problems of intrusive stench and pollution of waterways.

In a malaysiakini report, DPM Najib urges peaceful solution to pig row. That's good but then what he said next wasn't quite spot on.

He averred the furore was not a racial issue, and that authorities in Malacca which ordered the mass slaughter were merely trying to curb environmental pollution.

Well, DPM, that would have been true in a more perfect world. You failed to fill in the missing pieces.

The fact has been a failed case of, to borrow a title off my blogging mate Darren Hsu’s last posting, A stitch in time saves nine.

Though Darren was discussing a separate matter, his idiom can apply equally to the saga of piggeries in Malacca.

If indeed the authorised max population of pigs were supposed to be 48,000 as the State authority claimed, why has the farming situation been allowed to run rampant unto 140,000 pigs?

Were the authorities totally incompetent, sleeping or had ‘closed one eye’?

'Close one eye'! - where after all one Malacca monkey had openly and defiantly claimed ownership to such an ideology!

Yes, bisa* diatur and semua beres pak has become bisa* odour and un-beres-ing pig!

* 1st bisa is in Indonesian language while 2nd is in Malaysian

Hardly surprising that when the ‘real people’ out there in the residential housing estates with ‘open eyes’ and alas for them, ‘open noses’, were moaning, nay, screaming blue murder about the awful stench (and mate, whether you’re Chinese or Muslims, the stench is non discriminatory and non racist, it’s terrible and it screws everyone up), the UMNO-led Malacca government panicked, especially with an election just around the corner.

So it did its Pontius Pilate act, and badmouthed the farmers as atrocious, avaricious, illegal and (of course for its UMNO constituency) the unstated but painfully obvious factor of a different ethnic group dabbling with al ‘haram’.

So, from there, unfortunate but predictable, the affair assumes a racial hue, euphemised as a pollution issue - both true but not, as the DPM had judiciously omitted, placed within the context of an incompetent, negligent and who-knows-what-else type of State government.

So what's new! Hey, there's always something new - yesterday there were accusations against tv3 for allegedly airing smelly stuff, that the pig farmers were throwing Molotov cocktails (petrol bombs) at enforcement officers.

The farmers were utterly stunned and outraged by the unfounded allegations. It stinks and it's not pig's waste.

They accused tv3 for alleged ‘misreporting and airing one-sided reports.’ There's no hiding their disgust and anger at tv3.

One farmer, Lim Oh Pah, said other television stations such as ntv7, 8tv and Bernama TV had allowed pig farmers to air their views but not tv3.

He demanded to know: “They (tv3) reported that the villagers used petrol bombs (during the standoff). I want to ask (tv3), where is the petrol bomb? Why wasn’t the footage shown?”

Cannot tell you - OSA mah!

Indeed, if any farmer had been stupid enough to recklessly chuck a Molotov cocktail at the enforcement troops, they would have been all bundled off to Tiong San by now, if not placed in Kem Kamunting!

Lim also showed examples of other tv3 reports which allegedly cherry picked on scenes to blacken the piggeries’ pollution record but without showing that numerous pig farms have upgraded their water filtration systems in accordance with government requirements.

OK, let's leave the poo flinging. The stench is just getting worse.

Being Malaysian is about learning how to cope with our multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic society, a complex rojak which can be made to taste yummy if the correct ingredients are carefull added and mixed.

There has to be some ‘give and take’. No, don’t tell me that the UMNO people* has been ‘taking’ all the while, so why the hell should the ‘nons’ continue to give.

* to be fair to some UMNO members such as JB MP, Shahrir Samad, or KB's Zaid Ibrahim and a few others, they are OK sort of people, dragged along by the insatiable beast they are members of but have limited voice in

For a start, UMNO is UMNO, and as Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Let them be as they will eventually run out of credibility, and let’s deal with the real Malay-Chinese-Indian relationship, not one manipulated by UMNO.

We need to foster and nurture and protect our good relationship which has been soured by incidents such as the pig farms of Malacca. The pig farm is only one of such incidents.

Once the polemics of ‘not giving in even one millimetre of way’ set in, habis lah (it’s finished, kaput) the prospects of reasoning or even talking, which is essential for mutually beneficial negotiations and hopefully amicable settlement. Once aggravation takes root, all those negotiations and talking would automatically be thrown out of the window.

Let’s break out of that debilitating cancerous box of racist politics! Let us, as one sweetie said on Australian SBS TV (words to the effect), not allow politicians to keep us divided for their (those politicians’) own interests.


Compromise also requires that everyone allows the farmers time to gather their stocks and effects and migrate to a new piggery zone set in another State which can accommodate them without the threat of future residential developments encroaching once again upon their farming.

An impossible deadline like 21 September is unreasonable, intimidating and oppressive, and symptomatic of a panicking, unaccountable, arrogant and biased administration, one which has been demonstrating aspects of warlord-ism rather than democratic due process.

On the other side, the farmers should take a potential multi-billion dollar industry to another State and develop it with modern technology and the latest agricultural know-how to be the great national earner it can be. Government grants and investments (even from Singapore) should be solicited, promoted and wisely managed.

Let the other States and the Federal government reap their taxes on the potential multi-billion (and hopefully, ultra modern) industry.

Let Malacca be the State with no pig farm but which continues to generate the most number of Datukship’s, the latest of which was of Boleh-Bodek-ish proportion.


  1. that may be a brilliant piece of extra detailed lengthy analytical dissection but still the fact that nobody gets punished or whatever clearly shows apa pun bolih !

    as we now proclaim :
    today in Malaysia do as you please until something happens never mind what ! ( means no law , just use a bulldozer if you can ! )

  2. Well said, there is just too many ironies, the farmers so happened to be rearing pigsand are chinese, the state government and the chief minister so happened to be muslims. An the issue will definately bring in the votes for the cheif minister in his bid to move up the UMNO ladder, and the MCA which steps in at the last minute may garner some votes as the party who becomes the savior

  3. KT,
    UMNO is proof that you can fool most of the people most of the time.