Friday March 8, 2013
Alor Gajah is slowly progressing but more needs to be done, constituents say
By R.S.N. MURALI
ALOR GAJAH: Alor Gajah, once famous for its Naning warrior, Datuk Dol Said who waged war against the British during the Naning War in 1832, was a forest believed to be the route for wild elephants.
It was part of Negri Sembilan until it borders was delineated by the British and its administration handed over to the Malacca Government.
Nestled between bustling Tampin town in Negri Sembilan and the tourist city of Heritage Malacca, Alor Gajah is gradually shedding its reputation as sleepy hollow to a booming industrial district.
Alor Gajah district consists of three large towns and 15 smaller towns, and the parliamentary constituency spans over 66,302 hectares.
Today, Alor Gajah district has a population of about 135,000 and is connected to Malacca City through the Alor Gajah-Malacca-Jasin highway. Malacca City is also accessible through the North-South Expressway.
Over the years the district had witnessed high-profile investments with the most notable being the joint venture between Sun Power Corporation - an USA manufacturer of residential and commercial solarsystems - and, AU Optronics (AUO) - a Taiwanese producer of thin-film liquid-crystal displays.
The companies’ joint enterprise, AUO Sun Power, operates a 108,000-sq metre solar cell fabrication facility at the Rembia Technology Park.
The company which deals with power conversion efficiency since opening in October 2010, is expected to reach its full production capacity by the end of this year.
In the automotiveworld, Alor Gajah has long provided a home for Honda. Malaysia is the major location for its plant - the Japanese car giant’s largest market for hybrid cars in South-East Asia.
In 2012, Honda announced it would double the capacity of its Pegoh plant to 100,000 vehicles by the end of 2013 and invest a total of RM350mil for a second production line.
The carmaker’s total funding for its facility is expected reach RM1bil within three years.
The company also plans to hire an additional 700 employees to develop and manufacture compact and hybrid vehicles.
Honda Malaysia Jazz Hybrid model produced here is marketed for the Asian Oceania segment. The Pegoh plant, is the third to produce hybrid vehicles after Japan and United States.
The success of the Honda plant here even elicited the remark of its President and CEO of Asian Honda Motor Co Ltd, Hiroshi Kobayashi who commented: “Honda’s growth in Malaysia should also be attributed to the strong support we received from the state Government and Alor Gajah populace that enabled us to be the pioneers in bringing hybrid technology to this country.”
But the tremendous industrial growth of Alor Gajah has not impressed certain section of its constituents.
Alor Gajah Umno veteran Jaafar Nee Mat, 69, felt that the district needed more development projects to lure its young to live there.
“I have been living here since my birth in 1944, although the district has grown by leaps and bound but it had failed to attract the younger generation to live and buy properties here,” he said.
Jaafar also said that Alor Gajah needed to change its facet where more projects should be designed to attract the younger generation to make the district their home.
“If you look around, there are not many entertainment outlets in Alor Gajah, we are overshadowed by flourishing Tampin town in Negri Sembilan and Malacca city,” he said.
Jafaar described Alor Gajah town placid and not being able to compete with its neighbour Tampin.
“Tampin has beaten Alor Gajah in various aspects, I guess the success of Tampin should be attributed to the hardworking assemblymen in that parliamentary constituency,” he said.
Voter Jafizan Mohd Pilus, 39, felt that the ideas and suggestions put forward by the youths should be mustered in devising a comprehensive development for Alor Gajah.
“There is lack of youth-centric projects in Alor Gajah. Assemblymen should sit and garner the ideas of the youths and implement projects to transform Alor Gajah as a town for youngsters,” he said.
He also said that there must be more colleges and universities in Alor Gajah that would subsequently attract more developers to the district.
One more scope that Jafizan hoped the state government should give priority, is to spearhead more affordable housing projects.
Houses here are very higly priced, blue-collar employees cannot afford owning homes in Alor Gajah, he said.
Jafizan said stakeholders in Alor Gajah administration should also emphasise in instilling moral and religious values to the teenagers in Alor Gajah.
“There is a lack of such institutions that provides moral uplifting or religious studies that the state government should look into the establishing here,” he said.
Another electorate, Abdul Malex Hamzah, 43, sang praises to current MP for Alor Gajah, Tan Sri Fong Chan Onn describing him as a very modest and caring leader.
“Tan Sri (Fong) is an old guard that the new assemblymen should emulate and not being aloft.
“Unfortunately I am living in Rembia and don’t see my representative organising any events or mingling with the people,” he said.
He said for the last two decades, Alor Gajah has not seen a proper futsal arena being built.
“We are talking about a district close to popular tourist destination but our infrastructure is neglected, who do we blame, Abdul Malex said adding that even the nearest religious school in Rembia has been disregarded by the representative for the constituency.
Soh Geok Ching, 41, a businesswoman from the district urged the state government to encourage more pasar malam to set-up in the districts.
She said Rembia had been ignored by petty traders as there was no avenue for them to set-up stalls and this eventually caused the business community in the district to record low volume sales.
She also hoped that the authorities address the rampant petty thefts in Rembia.
“There must be more CCTVs here and police patrols to thwart such crimes that are affecting our businesses,” she added.
P. Machap, 61, a long-time voter from Batang Melaka urged the state government to look into addressing the woes of the rural folks without being bias.
“We get heartache each time we deal with the government agencies in our area. The rookie civil beh-aves high and mighty servants treat us as if we are uneducated,” he said.