Durian makes for black, thorny politics

News from Malaysia has been diabolical recently and so it shouldn’t have surprised me to see this latest news from the Penang assembly.

Essentially, these backbenchers (perhaps the same everywhere) are lobbying any idea around to raise extra funding for their district or constituency without considering if it really would bring extra income over a longer term. The initial spend from the government would line the pockets of local contractors to construct ostentatious structures and allow the parcelling off of land for purposes dubious at best. Thereafter, projects are often abandoned or poorly maintained, becoming a national embarrassment. 

The backbencher identified a rice museum (an independent review of it here) and a pineapple museum (see a review of it here) as a justification for launching a durian museum. They would be best advised to conduct their research on the number of annual visitors and what their feedback is. Better yet, put the vote online and see what people think public funds should be spent on. The rice museum’s main attraction is a painting panorama by North Korean artists (what?!) and the pineapple cultivation equipment looks like something any gardening amateur could have at home.

If a durian museum was indeed needed and profitable (pineapple museum charge is RM 2, the rice museum is RM 3), Balik Pulau’s private durian industry would’ve gathered together to launch one. That clearly is not what durian lovers are looking for. 

Balik Pulau organizes durian carnivals and exports durian all over the world. They provide farm tours and have websites that feature all the hybrids. 

We don’t need a building full of fake fruit. We just want the real thing, grown well, less expensively if possible, and a decent place to eat it. Anything else and especially if government run is just a stupid idea. 

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