This is a strange encounter-seemingly so coincidental.
After I was deported from Sarawak 10 days ago I was waiting in a restaurant for a bus going to KL from Penang. As soon as I sat down a man in his 40-50, with short hair cut and office wear, invited himself to sit opposite me across a bench. He said that he saw me on the paper and that he knew that I was deported from Sarawak. News travel fast-but I did not know of any main stream media which publicised my case. Anyway he was quick to try to make an impression on me by introducing his illustrous family connections in Penang. Some members are not fit to be printed if you know who I mean. Anyway he said that even the police cannot touch him as he worked for Singaporean civil service before -thus he has `diplomatic immunity’! First time that I’d heard of this special power of a Singaporean civil servant-a police officer may be? But the point he try to impress me most was : he was a close friend to Taib Mahmud the Sarawak Chief Minister. But how close?
As though to prove his credential he said he had 2 personal phone numbers of Taib!
Anyway he tried to impress me that he knew my feelings about exposing the election hanky panky in Sarawak. He said he, as a Singaporean citizen now, is also fighting PAP in Singapore, whom he claim is worse than Malaysia in terms of corruption. After talking much about corruption then he said he was given 1000 hectares of land in Sri Aman for Lotus plantation -a joint venture with Taiwanese investors. I asked: did Taib ask for his percentage? He said: only 10%, apparently he felt like a great deal! He also claimed to have asked Taib to check the market potential of lotus plantation with the Economic Planning Unit, which return a positive feedback. I was just asking inside: what is he really trying to tell me about Taib being so generous to give away lands to people? Is he hinting at something for me?
I asked him to be careful as the land could be sitting on some natives’ land. He said that the land was already vacated many years ago when the Batang Ai dam was built. He tried to appear sympathetic to the natives by saying that often the compensation given by the government is not small-Rm100 000.00 at that time. However the officials in charge keep a major part of the compensation to themselves-so not very fair to the natives who received only a small fraction of what the government actually gave out. Sound reasonable-and cleverly excused the government who ignore to check if the natives received their due in re-settlement.
Then how come there could be such a great expense of land left from the Batang Ai resettlement if the land acquisition was only for building the dam? Too many questions to ask him.
Anyway he was very enthusiastic to speak to me and said he knew that I was involved in housing rights issue in Penang. I confirmed that and thought that he could have done some home work on me. Then he asked me about the bus that I would take to KL. I told him it was a 10.00am bus. He said his bus to KL is 10.30am, as though he was dissappointed that we could not travel together. When the time came I went to take my bus and he was left in the restaurant. We exchanged call cards before we parted. His card purport to suggest he was an investment consultant with offices in KL and Hong Kong, as he claimed.
After I sat down in the bus I immediately received an sms from him. I replied to him. Then he sms’ed again. I was wondering if he need this to show anyone in this world that he had actually met me in Penang?
The bus was slightly delayed to 10.15am, as usual.Then surprisingly he also came onto the bus and greeted me. The bus was full -so he was sitting at the back, probably on the last seat.
The bus stopped for toilet break once and I sensed that he passed by me and checked if I was going down as well. I closed my eyes to continue a nap.
When the bus arrived in KL Sentral around 4.30pm, he asked me how many days would I spend in KL. I said only 1-2 days. Then we went separate ways -though I can see he was looking my way as though still trying to speak to me more on his close relationship with Taib.