Development: Save our green lungs

 Ordinary people who want to enjoy   morning walks continue to  suffer as we keep on losing more of our green lungs are lost to development.

Ordinary people who want to enjoy morning walks continue to suffer as we keep on losing more of our green lungs are lost to development.

2011/10/28 MEGAT SHAH RIZAL NOOR IKHSAN, Kuala Lumpur letters@nst.com.my

THE problem with Malaysia is that there seems to be no shared and collective responsibility. Many matters fall squarely on the shoulders of the government, be it local, state or federal.

The large corporations do nothing much except to rake in huge profits and their occasional CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects, are just for photo opportunity and publicity.

Every month, we keep on losing more and more of our green lungs to so-called development. The Melawati Hills is all but gone, Damansara Heights is also going, Bukit Gasing is the next victim and even football fields and playgrounds are not spared.

I am still waiting for that benevolent person to buy land just for people to enjoy the greenery, much like Central Park in New York or the age-old royal family in Munich, Germany that bestowed kilometres of gardens and park to the people of Munich.

Alas, we in Malaysia are not as lucky because those that are able and with means are out to make more profit while the ordinary people who want to enjoy a morning walk continue to suffer.

The profits made by our corporate citizens are getting more and more ridiculous, many now go into the billions. Of course, they will say that they contribute in the form of taxes, but since many employ expensive tax consultants, how much tax do they actually pay?

Ordinary people like me also pay our share of taxes and often without the aid of a tax consultant.

I get agitated and disturbed as we lose more of our green lungs. What next, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, Lake Gardens? Where will it end? How many luxury apartments does Klang Valley need? How many malls do we still require? How many more exclusive bungalows are needed?

Sometimes I believe that the local authorities make decisions with impunity and without regard to the well-being of the ordinary people who want to enjoy their morning walks among the greens.

I wish corporate citizens and the authorities would work together to give something back to the people, such as buying land and bestowing it to the people. Put a restriction that no form of development is allowed on these lands.

I know I am dreaming. But if it were to come true, what a truly great nation we will be as the well-being of the ordinary people is collectively taken care of by the corporate citizens as well as the authorities.

We should not wait for the government to make the call. Ordinary people will continue to be hurt when they see old trees that provided beauty and shade making way for serviced apartments and bungalows in the name of development and progress.

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