HUTAN MELINTANG: This small fishing town has come under the spotlight following two criminal cases which made national headlines.
For the past few days, the sleepy town has been abuzz with the presence of policemen, firemen, marine officers and hordes of pressmen.
“My men from the Hutan Melintang police station have been working round-the-clock since the boat tragedy,” said Hilir Perak OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain, referring to Sept 3 when they first found out about the boat which capsized with 70 Indonesians onboard.
He said the jetty at Hutan Melintang was the most suitable for the search and rescue operations, thus his men were roped in for the mission.
Although the boat incident happened in Sabak Bernam, unfortunately the first few bodies were found here, he said.
“On the day we got to know about the tragedy, we had planned to carry out another operation but it had to be called off the moment we were alerted about the boat,” he said.
A total of 62 bodies were fished out. The victims were said to have crammed into a small boat which left Kuala Sungai Bernam for Tanjung Balai in Sumatra in the early hours of Wednesday.
Before the dust could settle, there was the discovery of a burnt car on Saturday, believed to be linked to the missing Deputy Public Prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais.
ACP Mohd Shuhaily said just as the SAR operations were ongoing for the boat victims, the case of the burnt car in an oil palm plantation in Kampung Sungai Samak had his officers on their toes once again.
“However, the probe team sent to the oil palm plantation was from the district police headquarters,” he said, adding that investigations were still ongoing.
Hutan Melintang Fire and Rescue Department station chief Tuan Soh Tuan Lah said the case of the capsized boat was probably the biggest tragedy to hit the town.
Hutan Melintang, which is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Ipoh, is a place where reasonably good seafood is available.
It is best known for its boat-building industry, as a well as a convenient transportation route from Port Klang to Lumut.
In the 1980s, part of the area was a coconut plantation but today, giant oil palm estates have taken up much of the space.