Categorised | Columns

The Bovine Conspiracy!

THIS seemingly unrelated report is presented here as an interesting example of synchronicity, especially given the number of animals involved. I suspect the KLI (Kuala Lumpur Investigator) itself would have made the connection, if it wasn’t such a tabloid.

I also question the veracity of the facts in this report. The Toyota Dyna could not possibly carry cattle — just look at it! While something definitely happened on Friday, it’s probably best not to take this story at face value.

(Dominik Damaziak / Dreamstime)
KG KEMBANG: Finally, an explanation for the grisly and unexpected mishap that shocked the country last Friday.

The herd of cattle that rampaged down the Federal Highway late last week was intended for use in a “mammoth kenduri” to fete local politicians.

“We bought the cows to be slaughtered for the enjoyment of the community, and to welcome our leaders,” Kg Kembang Residents Association chair[person] Azman Mohd told the KLI reporting team.

He added that the village had planned its massive feast for Sunday, 22 Feb, with Pantai Tinggi Member of Parliament (MP) Liew Ming Onn as guest of honour.

“The cows got slaughtered anyway, but we didn’t get to enjoy them,” Azman quipped sadly.

Grisly mishap

Last Friday, 46 cows were being transported from Shah Alam to Kg Kembang in a dozen-lorry convoy.

As the convoy neared the Jalan 222 turnoff on the Federal Highway at around 3pm, the lead truck lost control and smashed into the highway’s off-ramp divider.

It toppled over and freed its load of cattle.

The creatures, disoriented, ran amok on the busy thoroughfare, causing the crash of five other cattle trucks, a 20-car pile-up, and a massive jam that lasted well after midnight.

Amazingly, no human lives were lost.

As word spread, the situation wasn’t helped by curious Malaysians who drove on the Federal Highway to see the calamity for themselves.

Such individuals were greeted by the sight of blood, crumpled cars, and severed cattle limbs.

By Saturday, as clean-up operations began, the guts on the road had begun to stink. Residents and office workers close to the highway complained about the stench. Brown stains on the road are still visible today.

It is learnt that more than half of the total number of cattle perished in their frenzied minutes of freedom.

The rest have been impounded by the police to assist in investigations.

Foul play?

Allegations of corporate sabotage started flying following the accident.

“I wasn’t speeding or anything. My brakes just stopped working, and I lost control,” said Selva Jegaraj, who had been driving the lead lorry in the convoy.

Selva is an employee of Alam Shah Agriculture Bhd, which was supplying the cattle.

(Pic by tm-tm; source: flickr)

The trucker, visibly shaken but otherwise unhurt, told KLI that there was no reason for the brakes to malfunction. He said his Toyota Dyna had in fact just returned from the workshop that Friday morning.

Preliminary forensic examinations at the scene concluded that the brakes of the truck had been tampered with.

When contacted for comment, Alam Shah Agriculture chief executive officer Datuk Khairy Ismail said that the accident and its mysterious circumstances clearly indicated foul play.

“In retrospect, of course we are a target. Someone is jealous of our success,” Khairy said, at a press conference on Saturday morning.

Alam Shah Agriculture, which owns cattle farms and palm oil plantations in Selangor and Perak, rose to prominence in Malaysian business circles for its climbing profits, despite the general economic slowdown.

During Khairy’s 10-month tenure, the company has opened 11 new plantations and created thousands of new jobs in both states.

The company has also been notable for taking strong steps to promote environmentally-friendly practices. Since May, it has been systematically upgrading its cattle farms to produce less waste.

According to Khairy, the company would not be suspending any of the drivers involved in the crash, as “they are clearly innocent.”

Police investigations are continuing.

Blame game

Meanwhile, Azman told KLI that his village had spent the bulk of their RM15,000 kenduri budget on the unfortunate beasts.

The beleaguered community leader added that the people from his community were “shocked and angry” at the loss, and were laying the blame at his feet.

“It is not fair that people are blaming me. I did it for the good of the village,” Azman said.

He added that the event would be an opportunity for the village’s population of more than 1,500 to raise issues and air grouses with their Parliament representative.

Mizan Omar, a committee member in the Kg Kembang Residents Association, insisted on the chairperson’s guilt. Calling the 46-cow kenduri “excessive”, he revealed that the majority of the community was not consulted in the move.

No kenduri for Kg Kembang (Pic by floodllama; source: Flickr)

“The committee did not take a vote. They just spent our money,” Mizan said.

“I opposed the decision in our committee meetings, but no one listened to me,” he added.

According to Mizan, the decision to hold such a big party for a visiting MP was “a gross misuse of money and power”.

“How do you expect the people to finish so much food?” Mizan asked.

“I like rendang, but you can only eat so much before you get jelak (sick of it).

“Why are we celebrating [these politicians] anyway? What have they ever done for us?” he added.

When contacted, Pantai Tinggi MP Liew said that he had not been aware of Kg Kembang’s big welcome.

“Maybe they wanted to give us a surprise,” the politician ventured. He refused to comment on the propriety of the slated celebration’s scale.

Zedeck Siew apologises to theatre playwright Nam Ron, for stealing the premise of his one-actor play Lembu, about a runaway cow at a kenduri.

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