Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Little Temple On The Hill

On weekends, it is a welcome escape from the busy life and stifling traffic of KL and PJ to walk in the green and shady paths of Bukit Gasing. Trees, greenery and wildlife teem here. One can sometimes see silver-backed monkeys leaping in the high branches, monitor lizards, all manner of insects and the occasional snake. It also serves as a critical green lung for local residents beleagured by the threat of overdevelopment. It took 50 years for Bukit Gasing to reach this state after being abandoned as a rubber plantation.

The only real threat to Bukit Gasing has been avaricious developers. And they have been succesful in reducing Bukit Gasing in size. Mostly this has been from the Kuala Lumpur side, aided and abetted by a criminally uncaring DBKL. If there are more sinister reasons why DBKL approved those developments, we have no proof of it.

Yet now Bukit Gasing's fragile ecosystem and shady pathways are under threat from an unexpected new assailant. Cynical politicians. Their 'cause' is a little temple on the hill that has peacefully coexisted with the residents and the environment for as long as we can remember.

The problem started with a Temple Committee that decided to do expansion works on the temple. In cavalier form, they went ahead without seeking the approval of the Public Works Department or the local authority, MPPJ. When their actions started causing lanslides, the authorities stepped in. Work was stopped and the temple closed for safety reasons untill rectification works could be done.

Then, far from the traquility of our little haven, PKR had an election. Some won and some lost and some whined. Thats democracy. Most of us who are not PKR members could care less about their internal quibbles. We are only concerned with the General Elections.

One grotesque fellow however, would not rest. Losing in the elections, passed over for an appointed position and casting about for issues with which to attack his own party leadership, he attempted to exploit the closure of the temple. Pounded with a barrage of proof that the closure was valid, he moved on to the next thing. Of which we are not concerned (and neither it seems, is the PKR leadership. They ignored him and his highly defamatory histrionics. Not even bothering to sue him, a testimony to his insignificance).

And there the matter should have rested.

But a couple of days ago, it flared up again. Mr. Uthayakumar and his associates visited the temple and astoundingly, unilaterally declared it 'open'.

They are not impressed by the reports of PWD engineers who, supported by comprehensive, scientific data, consider it unsafe to open the temple to the public. Nor by MPPJ which concurs. Nor even the Temple Commitee which agrees with the two authorities.

The poisonous nature of race-based politics is glaringly revealed here. The election is coming; they need the attention of their particular race-based constituencies; and they will do whatever it takes, right or wrong, justified or not, to get that attention. They seem uncorncerned that they are exploiting emotive issues. Or that Bukit Gasing is a threatened enviromentally sensitive enclave.Or that visiting unsafe areas in large numbers will endanger lives. There have been so many disasters in hilltop developments that they really should know better.

Let the temple open when rectification and construction works are completed. And it is certified safe by professionals.

Enough of these cynical, exploitative, publicity-seeking spectacles.

And keep all your toxic race-based politickings out of Bukit Gasing.

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