Many years ago, an Italian Professor told me a joke about bridges in Sicily, some of which were leading to nowhere (read: not that useful). Some were even unfinished. There were also jokes in several other countries, saying that some of those projects were purposely left unfinished so that there’ll be additional works for others. That’s ashamed isn’t it?
Earlier this week, I flew to Alor Star from Johor Bahru with a transit in Subang, on Malindo Air. Well that was my first flight on Malindo Air, riding the ATR72 aircraft. Quite nice. The crews were friendly and the service was all right. Unlike the Airbus of Air Asia, we didn’t have to climb many steps to get into the ATR of Malindo. The seat was comfortable and the ride was smooth. I was served with water and biscuit. Not bad for a budget airline.
As we went past Gunung Jerai, I captured an interesting sight – a long bridge connecting the peninsular to a small island full of greeneries. I thought the island must be sparsely populated, if any. So, it must be a resort island of some sort, but I couldn’t spot any building from the air. I like the view, though.
Later when I reached the hotel where I was to have a day-long meeting, I asked the secretariat about the matter. The two girls and a guy sitting at the registration desk didn’t have a clue, and things became more interesting. Was I dreaming or hallucinating? Even the local government officers seemed not to know. So, I googled my phone and got the answer. Yes the Yan-Pulau Bunting Bridge does exist. It was a long bridge of around 2 km, supposed to spur developments in Pulau Bunting, a failed project in the early or middle 2000’s.
The information that I got was also confusing. Some said that it was a JKR project, others said that it was a project by private sector. Perhaps the bridge was a JKR project and the island development was a private venture. Perhaps… but that’s not the point, and at this point, I’m not even interested with the details. I’ll find that out later. The thing that triggers me to write during my coffee break today is something about planning.
Why do we have such a situation: a bridge that is not utilized, or a scenic crooked bridge that is unfinished? This brings me to what people joked about in the communities. Well, any development begins with an idea. Then the idea got accepted, and converted to I-Dia (read: I and him/her), what’s in it for me and what’s for him/her. So long as I and Dia is in close partnership, the projects are well taken care of. The moment I and Dia are somehow no longer supporting each other, then the deal might be off, leaving the project incomplete.
Sometimes, it is perhaps due to poor planning in the first place with a mistaken risk assessment. Or perhaps it was the victim of political differences – between pacts within a party or between opposing political parties that overtook the power. These are things that may happen when the interest of a score of the powerful people supersede the interest of the population at large. A victim of a situation when I and Dia consider only their own interests.
This is one of the challenges that we need to overcome in moving into a developed nation. The corporate class should somehow be reminded that it is the public that are supposed to be the final beneficiaries. Yes they can make money, but with clear conscience. Perhaps it is the policy maker or the one that decide that’s needing re-education… In the end every existence must have a purpose, just the way you and I were created with purposes to fulfill…