Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh No, Not Another 'Lawatan Sambil Belajar'!

No. Not too see belly-dancing this time. Maybe to see the dodo in Mauritius. From The Sun:

PETALING JAYA: Although the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) recorded a deficit budget, 14 councillors and 10 department heads have left for a 10-day sojourn to Mauritius and South Africa. The cost: RM240,000.

Sources told theSun that while contractors have not been paid, MPS had paid in advance for councillors and department heads for the working trip to the Indian Ocean island, as well as Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The group, led by MPS president Zainal Abidin Azim left on Jan 31 and will return on Wednesday.

"The trip costs RM10,000 per head," said the source last night. It includes five-star accommodation and leisure activities such as golf and fishing.

However, the source said the fare will be deducted from the RM500 month allowance of councillors and heads of department.

One contractor who spoke on condition of anonymity said MPS has not paid him for services rendered.

"They say the reason is lack of funds, but it looks like they have funds to go on holiday," he said, adding that other contractors are also affected.


Kohilan said while in Mauritius from Jan 31 to Feb 2, they will meet officials, including councillors from Port Louis City Hall. In South Africa, they will look at investment opportunities.

They will also meet Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality officials and study incinerators in Johannesburg. "Five years ago, I went to Singapore to learn about incinerators. Now there is a new system in Johannesburg, so we want to see what this is all about," he said.


Oh, yes. Indeed there were some incinerators being proposed in South Africa, 4 years ago. Check it out here.

Environmentalists were not too happy with those proposals and pressured state-level environmental officials, and South African President Thabo Mbeki received many international appeals to stop the project.

But what I got from the internet was that in Jan/Feb 2004, the incinerator proposals were cancelled. From here:

After 18 months of organized opposition, the local municipality rejected the scheme. Actual decision-making authority lay with the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, which decided to follow the wishes of the municipality and cancel the project.

"The decision by a local municipality to veto a proposal and the acceptance of this decision by the provincial government is the first of its kind in South Africa as we understand it," says Bobby Peek of groundWork, a national environmental justice organization that worked closely with community groups to stop the incinerator.

"The halting of this proposal is significant because it should give development agencies a clear understanding that we are not going to allow such dirty development to take place in the South," says Peek.

Er, excuse me, correct me if I'm wrong, if the incinerators were cancelled, why are still going there to study them?

Apologies. I got the facts wrong. The incinerator proposal cancelled was only for the Peacock Bay Environmental Services in Sasolburg, South Africa. Not sure about others.

*shake head* *shake head*

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