Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, July 25, 2005
During the recent UMNO General Assembly, my cousin paid me a visit. He wanted a jacket (or a coat as he called it.) He got one that fitted him perfectly. It was a jacket that I bought in a department store in Miri. I had to buy one because a jacket was de rigueur for ICU's head of sections meetings and I missed packing mine.
During lunch my cousin told me that a new multi-lane highway will be built in Merang in place of the present coastal road. They would probably widen the present road. My cousin told me that part of my mother's land, where her house is, will be acquired for the highway. I have heard of this before. When my mother was alive, they told her that part of her land would be acquired for a railway project. The railway never came. Yesterday, Sunday Star's Focus had an article about the National Physical Plan (to be launched today in Penang) where there will be a high-speed train network passing through Terengganu. I am not sure whether it will pass through Merang.
Merang (not to be confused with Marang) is a small village without a post office yet. I am sure there are villages like Merang all over our country. There was no industry in Merang to spur growth. There is always a small fishing community and there used to be a bauxite mine in Bidong Darat. A few administrations ago, Merang was designated part of the tourism belt. A stretch of beachfront property between The Petronas Training Center and Sutra Beach Resort was given to a company to be developed as tourism projects. The company put up a signboard and nothing came up ever since.
When Redang Island became popular, Merang became the jumping off point for the island-goers. The government then, against the opinion of the villagers, built a long concrete jetty at the most beautiful spot in Merang in the village's only bay down by the old rest house. In spite of hiring consultants from Holland, the jetty caused sand to build up. They tried to salvage the jetty by building walls in the water but the South China Sea just would not cooperate. More sand was deposited. What was once my favourite swimming beach is now sand with a shallow lagoon. The jetty did more harm to the bay than years and years of monsoon. No island-going boats used the jetty. Berjaya used the Chendering Port and the jetty in Kuala Terengganu's Kedai Payang.Millions of ringgit went to waste.
The present "terminal" (see pic) for tourists going to Perhentian, Lang Tengah and other islands is situated on private land. We used to call the place Seberang Pok Wa. If the government is serious about developing Merang, they should build a proper terminal where tourists can wait for their boat in comfort. There should be a petrol pump there for the boats to refuel. Of course there should also be shops for refreshment and souvenirs.
The present administration, I heard, thought of this. There are some members in the Setiu District Council who wanted the terminal to be somewhere else further north. They reasoned that the new terminal can be used for boats going to Pulau Perhentian as well. If they prevail, Merang once again will be a sleepy hollow village like it was 15 years ago.