KUALA LUMPUR, June 11:
Chua Peng Sian, 49, has walked for more than 500km over 11 days from Pengerang in Johor to Kuala Lumpur to oppose the relocation of a non-Muslim cemetery in his area.
He said the journey was not easy, but he got constant support along the way.
“Supporters of my cause everywhere I went constantly sent me food and drinks. I always had mineral water and 100Plus given to me.
“People gave me all this free of charge because they shared in my beliefs,” he toldThe Rakyat Postduring one of his short pit stops to catch his breath and stretch his muscles.
Chua, who is a farmer in Pengerang, said his journey involved mainly trunk roads.
“I used kampung (village) roads all the way except when I reached Cheras because here you there’s no alternative way.
“There were no hindrances, even from the police, as I had already told them I’m not against the government, but am just fighting for justice.”
He said throughout his journey, morning always was the best weather to walk, and afternoons, including yesterday and today, were the hottest.
“There were a few days we ran into some bad luck and got wet in the rain. Even our rain coats were completely drenched.
“That is how I developed the cough I have today,” he said.
Chua, who is acting chairman of the Save Pengerang NGO Alliance, said he felt clam as he neared his destination.
“There is calm in my heart because I’m near. This is a Malaysian issue that really needs to be addressed.
“I hope to engage some residential groups about this issue. We want the whole of Malaysia to be aware.”
‘Don’t destroy culture and heritage’
He described what had happened to the cemetery as “unfair”.
“We cannot accept how one side makes a decision that is unfair to the public.
“They use development as an excuse to destroy culture and heritage, which is very unfair.
“If the government values heritage and development, they must make sure both are protected and not one give way for the other.
“We must protect our heritage.”
Chua was accompanied on his journey by family and friends. They carried purple flags which carried an image of the Petronas Twin Towers as well as a lone man wearing a conical hat and holding a walking stick.
They call the walk “Kembara Ke KL”.
Chua is expected to walk to Parliament tomorrow before making his way to the Petronas headquarters in the heart of the city.
It was reported yesterday that the relocation of graves at five non-Muslim cemeteries in Pengerang was proceeding smoothly with the appointed contractor having exhumed 436 bodies up till Monday, according to Kota Tinggi district officer Mohd Noorazam Osman.
The contractor, Pengerang Memorial Sdn Bhd (PMSB), resumed work on June 6 and the work is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.
The contractor had earlier suspended work due to some confusion over a suit brought to the Johor Baru High Court on May 26, which purportedly resulted in an interim order to stop work.
The relocation of the graves has been carried out to make way for multi-billion ringgit projects on an area covering some 8,000ha in Pengerang.
The projects include the construction of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex, which will house storage facilities, oil refineries, petrochemical plants and a LNG Regasification Facility.
It has been touted to be a world-class oil and gas hub development, similar to Rotterdam/Amsterdam and Jurong Island.