Currently, both Penang and Selangor, states led by Pakatan Harapan are forerunners of overdevelopment. Consider examples such as the degazettement of Hutan Simpan Kuala Langat Utara (HSKLU), the Selangor PJ Link Highway, and Penang South Reclamation (PSR).
Selangor had also launched a 1,000ha Agro-Park near the North Selangor Peat Forest. Pakatan was a fierce critic of Independent Power Producers (IPP) but the State of Selangor is the owner of the planned IPP in Pulau Indah.
Before the 12th General Election (GE-12), these kinds of environmentally destructive greenfield megaprojects were only mooted by Barisan and were unimaginable under Pakatan leadership.
Prior to GE-12, Pakatan leaders had minimal baggage and did not have a close relationship with big business and capitalists.
After 13 years, Pakatan-led Selangor and Penang are now the becoming torchbearers of environmentally destructive greenfield megaprojects because Pakatan state leaders had become so entrenched into the political-business nexus without any check and balance.
It might seem easy to blame Putrajaya for lack of funding to states and corruption of certain elected “wakil rakyat” but that was never the root cause of approving these projects.
The political-business nexus had turned Pakatan state leadership into ‘spokespersons’ for these environmentally destructive greenfield megaprojects in exchange for corporate donations.
Pakatan self-branded itself as the reformists against Barisan hegemony but both Penang and Selangor are now against the dilution of the absolute powers of the Chief Minister in land and forestry affairs.
The impact of the political-capitalist nexus will continue to frustrate and disappoint people as long as the rakyat does not exercise their political power.
The struggle to protect our natural environment by resident associations, environmentalists and NGOs will have to continue unless the political-capitalist nexus is dismantled.
Bureau for Environment & Climate Crisis
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)