SINCE Pakatan Harapan took over the administration of our country, Malaysians have been hoping to see change for the better.
Sadly, I am seeing that while we can change our top decision makers, we cannot do much with the government servants who have been brought up with the mentality that they are not servants but masters of the public.
Let me share an example. Generations of health conscious people have been trekking up the hill at the Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest, Johor every morning for free. They start at 5am and, like me, are back home at 8.30am to prepare for work at 9.30am.
One day, we found the gate to the park locked and we had to climb around it to get in. The gate is usually opened by 5.30am.
There are also notices signed by the director of the Johor State Forestry Department informing visitors that they have to get a permit costing RM150 to climb Gunung Pulai.
I have been trekking up this hill for 40 years and I’ve never had to pay a fee. I am sure His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar is not aware of this development as he would not approve of it since he is interested in activities that promote good health in Johor.
There are many people living at the base of the hill who have set up stalls to sell fresh coconuts, tea and nasi lima to the park visitors. I guess they have been losing income since the charges were imposed on people visiting the park.
At the entrance gate, a booth has been set up to collect RM3 per car for parking. I wonder if the operators have a permit to collect the parking fees. A coupon is issued, which is then put in a box. For each coupon, the operator receives RM2 and the rest of the money is taken by the collector. I hope the director is aware of this.
All the Johor public want is to be allowed to climb Gunung Pulai in peace. They therefore deserve an explanation for the imposition of the permit fee.
DR K. N. SINGH