Thursday, June 30, 2005

Another Kelantan Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down

Bridge of Death Claims another life

For umpteen years, residents of Pengkalan Pasir Village, 6km from Kota Baru, Kelantan had been appealing to the authorities for the repair of this bridge. On February 14, 2005, this bridge claimed its second victim. 5-year-old Noralili Mohd Yusof fell into the canal through a gap between the rotten planks. Last year alone, one villager was killed and two others broke their arms and legs. Perhaps, now the authorities may act.

When Norlili Mohd Yusof drowned after falling through a wooden bridge in February, the authorities swore such an accident would not happen again.

But four months after the five-year-old’s death at Kampung Kok Pasir, a similar accident has claimed another life.

Last Monday, Khatijah Rahmatullah, 65, died after part of a wooden bridge in Kampung Dendang, Ketereh gave way on Monday. The widow’s body was found floating in the canal at 2.30pm yesterday. Khatijah’s son, Mohd Kamal Mohamad, said his mother was returning to a relative’s house after visiting him when the incident occurred at about 8.30pm.

"She comes to my house every night to see my children and then spends the night at a relative’s place," he said.

The incident has once again highlighted the problem of old and rickety wooden bridges over irrigation canals in the State. But an added complication has emerged in the wake of Monday’s incident.

It appears that some bridges were maintained by the State Drainage and Irrigation Department and others by the Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (Kada).

State Public Works Department director Lim Chow Hock said efforts were being made to repair all bridges maintained by the department. He said while the bridge at Kampung Kok Pasir had been repaired, that at Kampung Dendang came under Kada’s jurisdiction.

When our Prime Minister was addressing the recent civil servants at Kuantan recently, he mention that Malaysia had first class infrastructure and third class mentality. It seem only a half-truth; for we have good infrastructure in the cities but not the kampung; and we have fourth world mentality ........

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