JULY 13 — At the rate new projects are being developed and announced, you would think Malaysia was just one huge construction site.
The Kota Kinabalu International Airport that had only just been refurbished a little while back may be moved.
I love that airport due to its proximity to Kota Kinabalu and how, traffic allowing, it would take just about 20 minutes to reach my family home from there.
Some of my fondest memories would be the staff at immigration smiling on seeing I was local with a welcome I didn’t know I needed until I got it.
Now there are rumours that the Bukit Jalil stadium is also being moved, likely because it is on prime land and ripe for building another one of those hideous mixed developments popping up all around Klang Valley.
I saw too many of those under construction when I took a Grab to KLCC as the clear roads meant very reasonable Grab fares.
The fare was only around RM23 — which is the minimum fare to go to the Malay Mail office on weekdays from my place nowadays, ridiculous as it might seem as the distance to KLCC is around 20 or so kilometres but an office trip is half that.
Who are the people buying all these fancy condos with their attached mini malls? The prices, not to mention the loan tenures, should be a deterrent but from what I hear, developers like building these swanky properties because of higher profit margins.
As the population grows it does make sense that high density residential dwellings become the norm, much like in Singapore.
Yet the reality is there are plenty of vacant office and residential lots and some are often spoken about in hushed tones with various stories of shoddy construction and poor upkeep.
I get it — the entire construction industry business model hinges on new projects. Yet realistically it is unsustainable in the long run.
With climate change being an ever-present concern, how much longer can we keep destroying green lungs for yet another hideous overpriced block of condominiums?
There needs to be a clear separation of business concerns from the government because too many projects seem to be approved even without proper environmental impact assessments being done.
What developers and construction companies need to start doing is to consider a future where there is just no more space to build and reexamine their business practices.
It is already unacceptable that buyers need to pre-purchase or place deposits on yet-to-be-constructed units. This is not the practice in most countries and puts too much risk on the shoulders of consumers.
Malaysians need to remember that this country belongs to all of us and not just the builders of homes most of us cannot afford.
With the way things are going now, living in trees might seem like a luxurious experience compared to being stuck in constant traffic jams and paying through your nose for an ugly condo until the day you die.
However as our municipal councils and developers keep murdering trees, the last trees in the Klang Valley might soon end up being monetised as the last natural experience.
The future looks like we will be buying tickets for the last damn pigeons to crap on our heads from the last remaining tree in Selangor.
Perhaps it is time to contemplate spending my last remaining days with the orang utans before palm oil plantations make them all extinct. At least orang utans don’t have driving licenses or loan officers, which makes me wonder how we are called the smarter species.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.