Thursday, 12 April 2012

A lonely solo drive

I'm planning to go on a drive.

It's a good route with many stories to tell along the way. I had send my very old car for service as it is going to be quite a long drive.

I'm going to start from down town JB along the Skudai road. The recently completed Coastal highway is nice with scenic view of the Tebrau Straits. The several new interchanges make the drive smooth. Not bad compared to a few years back when the stretch was always jammed. Much thanks to the Iskandar Malaysia project which had enabled the development of the road.


I will exit the Skudai road at the Perling interchange and head towards Pasir Gudang. This is all part of the Pulai parliamentary area. It's MP is that Javanese Teow Chew handsome chubby boy Nur Jazlan Mohamed, a possible future MB of Johor. Honestly, I prefer him to be at the Federal level as he could do well to help PM DS Najib Razak in pushing his moderate policies and 1Malaysia initiatives. Here, he would probably be butchered to death by all those Umno warlords. Anyway,  Jazlan should be good working under Najib's wing. He can manage a bit of Mandarin which should go down well with the Chinese community. He succeeded in doing just that in his constituency. He, however need to cool off a bit his relations with former Pak Lah's people. It's one of those baggage he is still carrying,

Onwards, I never really like driving along the Pasir Gudang Highway. It's always jammed with heavy vehicles coming and going from the ports of Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat. Najib, however had recently announced a huge allocation to widen the highway, which is equivalent to the Federal Highway of the Klang Valley. That will be a really good thing for those living and working along the stretch.

I will exit the Pasir Gudang Highway and join the Jalan Tebrau heading towards Kota Tinggi. At this point, I will be in Tebrau. It's MP is Teng Boon Soon of MCA. Tebrau is one of the Johor DAP targets in the coming general election. I heard DAP had "transferred" several thousands of its supporters to the constituency. MCA there are back paddling, but I am sure Tiram assemblyman Maulizan Bujang and Puteri Wangsa assemblyman Halim Sulaiman would do their best to help Teng. Maulizan and Halim are known not to be the best of friends, but typical of Johor Umno people, when their areas are under threat, they will get together to fight a common enemy.

Jalan Tebrau is now a much better road after several upgrades over the past years. It is wider and has proper interchanges. At one point, I may exit to the new Senai-Desaru Highway which cut down traveling time to the Desaru resort area by more than an hour. It would also take one to the most exciting development area of Pengerang where a mammoth petroleum hub will be build. The Pakatan people are trying to make an issue out of the project but I think the people of Pengerang will not buy it. They would want their area to be developed and that south eastern tip of Johor be transformed from its backwater image.

As I approached the township of Ulu Tiram, the traffic should be smooth as the new flyover across the town had solved what used to be a major traffic congestion at the old junction in the middle of the town. Ulu Tiram is now a rapidly developing township complete with a huge shopping complex and hypermarkets.

On towards Kota Tinggi, the recently upgraded four-lane road should be smooth, almost as good as any proper highway. I guess the JKR people who were responsible for the upgrade have caught on with the good works of their counterparts in Iskandar Malaysia.



I will bypass the Kota Tinggi town as the main trunk road do not pass through it. Kota Tinggi has Syed Hamid Albar as its MP. Personally, I think the guy should be replaced as he has been there for too long and he had made some bad bo bo when he was a minister. However, Syed Hamid is a good Umno division leader. He take cares of things and make sure his people do not make too much of a mess out of things. So, to tell him to go, one need to be diplomatic lah. I think he would want to go out in a good way too. Oh, by the way, there is nothing to worry about Pakatan people in Kota Tinggi and Pengerang. Support for BN is more or less very solid there.

My drive will proceed to Mersing. Here, the road will become the trunk road of yesteryear. Winding and rather lonely. Not much traffic. I always avoid driving at night from Kota Tinggi northward. The road cuts through several patches of jungle. So at night it will be very dark. I'm always scared that I may ran into a wild boar or other such wildlife. There is also that worry of something going wrong with my old car. There are also of course some ghost stories about the stretch....hehehehe....I don't really believe in ghosts, but still, scary leh.

Nonetheless, I think I will enjoy the rather adventurous drive with funny corners and undulating topography. I would like to take a detour to Pulau Sibu along the way. Never been to that resort island not far off the coast. But that will take too much time.

So, on to Mersing. Will pass the sleepy settlement of Jemaluang. I always wonder how the mostly Chinese residents there survive the boredom of living in such a quiet place.


As I reach Mersing, the traffic will be quite hectic again. The town have not developed by very much. Ok lah, there are some new buildings and shop-houses, but the atmosphere is still the same. The big writing of Mersing on top of the hill near the main round-about which look a bit like the Hollywood one has been there for ages.


I remember it the way it was when my late father took me to the town when I was a kid. I remember him holding my hand as we walk from the bus station to some government buildings at the edge of the town. Yes, the small town atmosphere is still the same.

Things will however change for the town once the RM22 billion Mersing Laguna resort project kicked off. They said the whole thing will transform Mersing into something like Bali. I guess the people of Mersing should be very excited about it. Well, I'm excited. Maybe I can get a job there....as a traditional dancer probably. :-)

I would like to pause in Mersing for awhile and look across the sea from there. I miss the beautiful Pulau Rawa so much. I haven't fulfilled my promise to return there. I will return there, really.. Hopefully those coins are still there between the cracks of wood at the jetty....


Oh, I think the winding road to Mersing would most likely be straightened and upgraded to accommodate the expected influx of tourists in the years to come. So, no more me pretending to be an F1 driver when driving along the winding road.

Mersing MP Dr Latiff, another potential Johor MB must be very happy with all these development. Anyway, Mersing is another constituency where the Pakatan people do not stand a ghost of a chance to penetrate. Mersing Umno, despite some internal squabbles is still too strong there. Ok, there are some Kelantanese residing in nearby Endau who were said to be Pas supporters, but I don't see them giving much trouble to Latiff.

Onward up north from the Mersing town, I will pass through the beach of Air Papan.


 It's the first beach I have been to when I was a kid. My big brother, just came back from his studies in Australia at that time. I remember that he rented a Mitsubishi Gallant and took us brothers and sisters for a two hour drive from our home to the beach. I can still remember the fresh smell of sea on that day. My siblings and me went around collecting seashells and had a little picnic there. Really miss those days when we were young and life being less complicated.

The road to the Endau town is as winding as the one between Kota Tinggi and Mersing. It is mostly jungle by the road side all the way there. I will stop just before crossing the bridge over Sungai Endau in the middle of the small town. That's the Pahang border.


 If I have my way, I would want to drive across the bridge and go on northward and never turn back. But my works here in Johor apparently have not yet been completed. Just a short while more, I guess. Need to be patient for a while more. Soon....I will tell myself. With that I will have to turn and head back to JB.

21 comments:

  1. such beautiful heartfelt writing.... a profound and witty post..... love u BigCat. You are a good person. Have a safe & pleasant journey.

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  2. I read the whole story, like you are writing my story for me, very nice and if it is a book I would read it till the end in a jiffy!

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    1. Thanks, coming from you, it's an honour.

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  3. Kota , Mersing, Pengerang...places yg letak Songkok lawan Org PAs pun Insyallah UMNO menang.

    Aku mmg anti Ghani, tapi ada benda baik kena puji...akhir akhir dia nak blah ni...projek penambahbaikan jalan2 raya di Johor Bahru, Kota dan Ulu Tiram mmg memberi manfaat kpd rakyat..

    So ...mcmmana aku anti Ghani Zapin pun....bila aku drive ke area area begini...aku berterima kasih lah dgn abg ghani...at least ada something good yg aku akan ingat about ghani...ler..selain mengzapin dan menjadi stooges kpd pemimpin luar yg banyak menyapu projek2 iskandar Malaysia.

    Jazlan jadi MB Johor...dijauhkan Allah S.W.T....sokongan Melayu Johor akan merudum dlm 1-2 tahun shajaa kepimpinan beliau dgn dasar merafak sembah kpd Singapork.

    muo mari

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  4. Big Cat,

    I like cat very much compared to dog.

    You should try the new Highway, Eastern dispersal link.

    What is intersting is that, it is mere 8.1km but the toll however is Rm6.20. More or less about nearly the same with Penang Bridge. That is about 80 cents per km.

    Furthermore, what is more interesting is that, JB folks who goes to Singapore will have to pay the toll regardless if we use this highway or not since the toll booth is at the CIQ complex.

    The Singaporean of course cannot run away since they have to pay if they visit to JB regardless if they use the highway or use the alternative road. The Singapore governemnt I think will be happy with the move since their citizen will not go to JB for shopping so much. They of course will match the toll at their side. Thus the combine toll will increase from existing RM6 (both Malaysia and Singapore) to RM 30.

    JB folks are very lucky and blessed that the twisted bridge had been scrapped, otherwise the toll would have reached RM60 and Singaporean would go to KL via Air Asia rather then JB. In the long term, probably JB will become like Changlun at the northern border of Thailand.

    In the Enlish folklore, there is the story of Robin Hood where the Sherif of Notingham subjected to the people with the burden of tax and tolls to make life difficult for the people. The Sherif Notingham who live at the capital are infatuated with greed

    I wish the new MB of Johor will standup for the people like Robin Hood so that the people have better life and JB will flourished rather then bow down to Sherif of Notingham.

    Orang JB

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    1. I had previously posted something on the EDL. Najib while on his last visit to JB several weeks ago said the government is looking into the toll matter and promised to settle the problem. He made the statement in front of the mostly Chinese crowd at Sutera Mall. So far, I think Najib has been good with most of his promises.

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    2. concern johorean13 April 2012 at 13:11

      When the Malaysian gov imposed higher toll rates, you guys be it Malaysian or Singaporean complain. Heck, Singapore even charge SD20 per day for Malaysian cars and you happily pay to them. Kiasu!

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    3. Concern Johorean.

      You got your fact wrong. Its 10 days free and afterwords S20 dollars.

      We cound do this, match what Singapore is doing so that Singaporean will go less to JB.

      But.....economically, the buying power is from Singapore to JB, not the other way around.

      In the 70's and early 80's , the money is going from JB to Singapore thus Singapore government open their doors wide for Johorean. We are dumb if we are going to ignore the economic factor.

      There are negative sentiment at both side of the border but if the Singaporean want to spend money and Johor is just around the corner, a competent government should be able to capitalize on the econonomic factor for the benefit of Johorean.

      Orang JB

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    4. Big Cat,

      I am aware of that. PM said that he will give an answer within 2 weeks time. 2 Weeks had passed... and no answer.

      I do not understand why the federal government want to burden the people of Johor with this when Johorean have been faithfull to BN. Subjecting us with toll rate nearly as high as the Penang Bridge for a mere 8km highway even if we do not use the highway.

      What is the current MB doing?

      Orang JB

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    5. Orang JB,
      Please be patient. I'm sure Najib is trying very hard to find a solution to this problem. The MB is doing everything that he can despite the EDL being a totally Federal and private initiative. If they fail to give you what you want, then by all means, vote them out in the next general election. Please also bear in mind that there are others who are of the opposite idea and want the EDL to be toll free except for those travelling to and from Singapore.

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    6. I know that there are quarters that want the Singaporean to pay for it even though the Singaporean do not use the highway, but not only Singaporean crossover at the CIQ but thousand of Malaysian crossover everyday for work, business etc. This is the function of CIQ complex, both national crossover to either side.

      We have idiots, crazy people and some people from the capital who do not have any concern about the Johorean that come up with these crazy ideas. Some even have vested interest from the highway.

      That is where the MB comes in. To protect the interest of Johorean. The MB can object any development by the federal government that contradict the interest of the Johorean. He is not doing that.

      I believe Najib is finding a solution to this problem but this problem should not arise in the first place. It is sheer madness to charge tolls to people who do not use the highway either Malaysian or Singaporean. This is a true manifestation of gross incompetence.

      Orang JB

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    7. Orang JB,
      you are right. The problem should not arise in the first place. But what to do, it already happened. The EDL was initiated during the premiership of someone who was, as you said, grossly incompetent. The MB was powerless at that time when the project and its mechanism was pushed through by the scheming Tingkat Empat boys. Remember, who is the boss of MRCB, the one who got the project? Najib is trying to solve the problem. I think we should give him a chance.

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  5. "I heard DAP had "transferred" several thousands of its supporters to the constituency."

    It's irresponsible people like you who make such speculative and unreal remarks that irk the Chinese. Don't think that the Chinese do not know that the reverse is actually true i.e. the collusion of BN with the EC to pad up the electoral rolls.

    Go sit in a corner, Kuching Besar, like the BN bigshot told you to.

    Godfather

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    1. If the government meddled with the EC, PR will never get a chance to win KEDAH,PENANG orSELANGOR. Just face it not everyone would vote PR not every chinese would vote PR. me will never vote PR, Selangor was cptured by PR because we would like see some changes but after almost 4 years.....the MB and gang hardly fulfill any promises, so enough is enough. all they ever boasted is the free water 9which the state actually never paid the syabas-but that is not the rakyat problem)which no actually covered all residents of selangor especilaly the flat's residents.

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  6. godfather...huhu DAP also put many "ghost" in Gelang Patah as well :).

    some says due to higher toll Sporean will deserted JB..haha...whatever the cost Sporean will frequent JB otherwise they will end up at woodbridge hospital.

    muo mari

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    1. You see there is a potential difference in buying power. Due to economic factor and currency difference, the inclination of buying power is from Singapore to JB. Not the other way around. For Singaporean, everything is half price in JB due to the currency difference.

      We could ignore this and follow retarded sentiment and close down the border altogether. Then JB will become Muor, the same fifty years ago and will be the same next fifty years.

      Its not personal its business. You should learn that.

      The ridiculous high Toll subjected to Singaporean do not go to the JB people nor to the government. Figure about this yourself.

      Orang JB

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  7. The usual argument put forth by UMNO cybertroopers in bad Engrish...if the EC is in cahoots, how could PR have won Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Perak.....precisely that the EC was impotent and caught napping in 2008 that BN has now learnt its lesson, and must pad up the electoral rolls to win back these states. BN doesn't have the money to pad up all states, so it has to pick and choose those marginal seats in Selangor, Perak, Johor, Negeri and Melaka.

    The joke of this posting by Kuching Besar declares from sources that DAP is padding up the voter base in Tebrau. Maybe Kuching need to go to the now empty Majidee Camp to check if DAP supporters are camped there. I think you will find plenty of homeless cats....

    Godfather

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  8. Last time, UMNO/EC was focused on locking-in Terengganu in 2008 that they didn't anticipate the tsunami results.

    I think Terengganu will fall back to PAS this GE13 time since UMNO/EC will be distracted to other key states.

    Then i hope the new incoming Terenagganu PR state government will void the illegal transfer of Petronas royalty money into that mega-crony 1MDB Fund.

    Must starve the beast that sucks the people dry...

    ~ Kluang girl

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  9. Excellent writing Bigcat. Continue your posting. We (rakyat Malaysia) always pray that this multiracial country will not be ruined by some racist and chauvinist groups.

    -Baraga-

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  10. interesting, i did the same 3 years back all the way from tebrau to kuantan, i didn't turn into kota tinggi but instead using the coastal road, beware of lembu that crossing the narrow kampung road, we r use to highway drive and didnt realise that anything and everything can come out nowhere.

    ps/ development around austin / sunway college is at fast pace, i first thought i am at boulevard puchong.

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