Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Looking back - the story of Malaya - the election triumph

(Tunku Abdul Rahman campaigning during the first Federal elections. He led Alliance, consisting of UMNO, the MCA and the MIC to great win - 51 of 52 seats and was appointed Chief Minister)

Elections were held throughout the country for the Federal legislature in July, 1955, and were a great success. According to the Federation Annual Report, the eagerness with which the people went to the polls "was very much in evidence in the rural areas, where it was not an uncommon sight to see long queues of people waiting to vote shortly after the opening of the polling stations."

The efforts of those who had planned the elections, those who had put the plans into action, and not least the political parties, were fully vindicated by the fact that in the first Federal general election over one million registered electors voted, the report added.

The citizenship law, the most difficult political issue in post-war Malaya, had been liberalised in 1952, but the electorate at this 1955 election was still mainly Malay. Of those on the register, according to the report, 84.2 per cent were Malays, 11.2 per cent were Chinese, and the remaining 4.6 per cent were mostly Indians.

The election resulted in an overwhelming victory for the Alliance party of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC). Alliance candidates won 51 of the 52 elected seats in the Federal Legislative Council.

Accordingly Tunku Abdul Rahman, leader of the Alliance and president of UMNO, was appointed Chief Minister and formed a Government in which five of his Ministers were Malays, three were Chinese and one was Indian.

Malaya's first Cabinet: Tunku Abdul Rahman (Chief Minister), Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman (Lands & Mines), Dato Abdul Razak Hussein (Education), Col. H.S. Lee (Transpoirt), Abdul Aziz Ishak (Agriculture), Sulaiman Abdul Rahman (Local Government & Housing), V.T. Sambanthan (Labour), Sardon Haji Jubir (Works), Leong Yew Koh (Health), Ong Yoke Lin (Posts) and five British members - C.T. Thomas (Finance), D.C. Watherston (Chief Secretary), M.J. Hogan (Attorney-General), O. Spencer (Economic) and A.H.P. Humprey (Defence).

There were still non-elected members in the new Federal Legislative Council - three British ex-officio members (the Chief Secretary, the Attorney-General and the Financial secretary), the nine Mentris Besar, one representative of each of the Settlements of Penang and Melaka, and 32 members appointed by the High Commissioner to represent various commercial and minority interests.

The first elections were also held for State and Settlement legislatures in 1955.

In the month after the national elections the Secretary of State came out to Kuala Lumpur from London to hold discussions with the Malay Rulers and the new Alliance Ministers on further progress towards self-government. It was then agreed that a constitutional conference should be held in London early 1956, and that after it a commission should be appointed to draw up a new constitution. Shortly afterwards, the Federation passed a milestone on the road to Merdeka (independence) when Britain made a momentous pronouncement. The directive issued to General Sir Gerald Templer on his appointment as High Commissioner in 1952 had stated:

"The British Government will not lay aside their reponsibilities in Malaya until they are satisfied that Communist terrorism has been defeated." That was taken, both by the Federation Government and the people, to mean that Merdeka would have to be postponed until the Emergency was over.
(Dato Sir Onn bin Ja'afar, founding president of UMNO)

But on November 30, 1955, Sir Gerald Templer's successor, Sir Donald MacGillivray, told the Federal Legislative Council that the British Government had agreed that the Emergency was no longer an obstacle to self-government for the Federation. Thereafter it was clear that the only major snag in the path of the London conference had been removed. Tunku Abdul Rahman led his mission, representative of the Malay Rulers and the Federation Government, to London at the beginning of 1956. It was then agreed that full self-government and independence within the Commonwealth for the Federation of Malaya would be proclaimed.

The next step was the appointment in March, 1956, of an independent commission to draw up a constitution for a fully self-governing and independent Malaya. The chairman of this body was Lord Reid, a distinguished British judge. The Reid Commission produced its report in February, 1957. It recommended "a federal form of constitution for the whole country as a single, self-governing unit within the Commonwealth based on parliamentary democracy."

(The secretary of State for the Colonies, Alan Lennox-Boyd, signs agreement reached in Merdeka Mission talks in London as the Tunku looks on. On his return to Malaya, the Tunku went to Melaka. Raising ceremonial kris, he told the mass gathering that Malaya would get self-government and independence in 1957)

A great achievement during the hearings of the Reid Commission had been the presentation of a joint memorandum by the Alliance. This reconciliation of the different, and to some extent conflicting, views of UMNO, the MCA and the MIC, would have been impossible in the political climate of Malaya only a few years before. It was a gesture of Malayan unity before a Malayan nation had been born.

(Next: Malaya - the new nation)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Looking back - the story of Malaya (Malaysia) - Part 1

(The Pangkor Treaty, 1874, was start of the Residential system. In this group photo from left are: Dr. Anderson, Capt. Innes, Lieut. McCallum, Governor Sir Andrew Clarke, J.W.W. Birch, first Resident, Perak, and Frank A. Swettenham)

World War II was the end of an era in British Malaya. The tremendous shock and catastrophe of the Japanese invasion and occupation lasting three and half years and the sudden collapse of the old regime - these were experiences that could not but cause profound internal reactions.

But externally, too, World War II changed the whole environment of Malaya. Before the war all South-East Asia, except Thailand (Siam), was under European colonialism in one form or another. After the war, there was ferment throughout the region, and indeed all over Asia. India, Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) gained independence. in peaceful and amicable negotiations with Britain. The Dutch East Indies of pre-war days became the independent Republic of Indonesia, but only after bitter fighting. In French Indo-China the Vietnamese were in revolt, too. Outside colonial Asia, the whole of China went Communist.

Only Malaya began in 1945.

But, in addition to all these upheavels in the outside world to which a liberated Malaya had to adjust itself after the world War II, the British came with plans for a complete internal reorganisation. There was to be a new national state called the Malayan Union, in which the nine Malay States would be joined with two old colonial Settlements of Penang and Melaka (Malacca). Singapore was to be a separate colony.

The proposal for Malayan unification was good: it was indeed the genesis of the Federation of Malaya. But the Malayan Union plan went much further than that. Its architects proposed to introduce a common citizenship, which was premature, to say the least: the special position of the Malays, protected for so many years by tradition and treaty, would have been swept away; the autonomy of the individual States would have disappeared; and the position of the Malay Rulers would have been reduced to a merely religious status.

The whole Malay people, from north to south and east to west, rose in protest, in the first united political movement of their history, under the leadership of Dato Onn bin Ja'affar, then Mentri Besar (Chief Minister) the state of Johor. That was how the United Malays National Organisation - the Malay nationalist party known ever since as UMNO - began. The blunder was quickly realised and corrected. The controversial features of the Malayan Union were shelved at once, and a working party was set up to work to hammer out a new plan in the light of the Malay nationalist objections.

On February 1, 1948, the Federation of Malaya came into being. It was only a transitional plan, for the British High Commissioner was to retain his reserve powers; all the key positions in the Federal Government were to be filled by British officers; and all members of the central legislature; State councils and the municipal and town boards were to be nominated, as before the war. But pledges were given of self-government as the recognised goal and of the introduction of elections at all levels as soon as possible. In the meantime, a significant advance was made immediately by making the Menteri Besar the executive head of the government in each state capital. The old title of British Resident had not been revived after the war, and in all states the British Advisers were now advisers and nothing more.

Before the war there was a Mentri Besar in each Malay State, but under the Residential system the functions of the Mentri Besar in Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang became limited to purely Malay affairs with the general State administration. In the Unfederated Malay States of Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor and Perlis however, this was never so. Another step forward was taken in 1951, when, following in the footsteps of pre-war Ceylon, the "Member" system was adopted in the Federal legislature. Nine Asian members took over ministerial portfolios, having the same relationship to the High Commissioner as Ministers in other countries.

In the meantime, however, the new Federation had been faced with a mortal challenge, only five months after its foundation. The Malayan Communist Party (MCP) went underground in June, 1948, with the objective of setting up a Communist republic, and began an armed revolt. This was at first called the Emergency, and that name has stuck.

In 1947 and early 1948 there had been several political parties such as the Malay Nationalist Party and a Left-wing multi-racial federation of political parties and groups, pressing for political advance, but the Emergency brought all such agitation to an abrupt halt. During its first four or five years the Federation Government while continuing to follow progressive social and economic policies, was necessarily preoccupied with the drastic measures required to fight Communist terrorism. But once the back of the Emergency was broken, the advance towards self-government was resumed.

The Malays had never ceased to voice the demand for Merdeka, especially after Indonesia attained its independence. That event greatly influenced Malay opinion on the other side of the Straits of Malacca.

"What about Indonesia?" was a question asked with increasing insistence at meetings in the villages (kampungs) at which Government spokesmen and party leaders sought to explain the gradual approach to self-government to Malay audiences. But in fact there was no wish or intention to delay this advance. A representative committee was appointed in July, 1953, to consider the introduction of elections in the Federation; it reported in 1954; and the decision was then taken to hold the first national elections in 1955.

(Part 2 The election triumph)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The story of Penang's Gurney Drive

The idea of a promenade along the north beach has long been in the minds of the people of George Town. In 1930, plans were completed for what was described as the "New Coast Road" between North Beach and Cantonment Road Ghaut (now Jalan Pemenang).

The then Commissioners of the Municipality gave considerable time to persuading land owners to give up land for the construction of the Coast Road and in 1934 it was possible to construct 510 yards of coast road. The first section was opened and named "North Beach" on the 10th October the same year. It proved to be most popular and the new "Osira" lamps with which the street was lit marked the first step for improved street lighting in Penang. By the end of 1935 the length open for public use was 1970 feet and in February 1936 the construction of North Beach to form a connection with Northam Road (now Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah) was completed.

In 1940 the Commissioners decided to extend the North Beach sea wall from Birch Road to Bagan Jermal but, in view of war conditions, not to proceed with the construction of the coast road which at that time had a length of 2,380 feet between the end opposite Pangkor Road and Birch Road. After considerable difficulty, due to the shortage of steel which necessitated amendments in the design, contracts were arranged for the construction of 3,918 feet of reinforced concrete wall with main drain outlets, and 1,785 feet of open concrete drain on the compound side of the future road. Progress was slow, due to war conditions and the shortage of skilled labour. As erosion of the foreshore was still taking place at the Bagan Jermal end, groynes had been constructed and other protective works carried out by direct labour.

In 1952, there was a suggestion that the name of Burma(h) Road be changed to Gurney Road to perpetuate the memory of the late Sir Henry Lovell Goldsworthy Gurney, the High Commissioner for the Federation of Malaya, 1948 to 1951, who was murdered in Selangor on 6th October 1951. Some Commissioners thought that the name of Burma Road should be left untouched and that the New Coast Road be named Gurney Drive instead.

On the 29th August 1952, the New Coast Road was named Gurney Drive. As a matter of interest, there was some talk as to why the road should be called a drive (which meant - 'a road for driving in, especially a private carriageway to a house') and that it should be called instead a Parade, a Promenade or Esplanade. However, no change was made.

The development of national forces in the country and the political revolution of the fifties manifested itself in a small way, when one Municipal Commissioner suggested in 1956 that Gurney Drive should be named Pantai Merdeka. This matter was taken up in Council and it was decided on 21st August 1956 that, with effect from 31st August 1957, the road would be known as Merdeka Drive and that the circus at the end of Pangkor Road be named Gurney Circus. A bust or statue of the late Sir Henry was to be constructed. The then Settlement Secretary refused to write to Lady Gurney regarding this and so the Municipal Commissioners wrote direct to Lady Gurney. She took the change very bravely and even offered to help with regard to the statue or bust. There were negotiations with a sculptor in London, David McFall, who agreed to do the job for 500 guineas or $4,500.

However, when the recommendation for the provision of $6,000 for bust came up before the Finance Committee, it was decided not only to defer the provision of a bust but also that the Drive should continue be called Gurney Drive. This matter was to be reconsidered after Merdeka Day.

The name problem reared its head again indirectly when in 1962 a Councillor suggested, while on the topic of beautifying Penang through tree planting, that the double rows of Casuarina trees be planted at Gurney Drive and that the Council could consider at some future date the renaming of Gurney Drive. A suggestion was made that the name "Casuarina Drive" and "Casuarina Beach" be kept in view. In February 1963 the Public Works Committee decided to name Gurney Drive "Casuarina Drive" and that the name "Gurney" be used for a shorter road.

When the decision came up for confirmation, there was a great deal of discussion. There were Councillors who strongly opposed the change; there were others who during their cynical moments, suggested that it be called "Avenue of the Unknown Soldiers", "Half-Casuarina Drive" (because casuarina trees were only planted half way to the road) and "Durian Drive". The matter was referred back to the Committee and was never brought up again.

Today, Gurney Drive or Persiaran Gurney is one of the most popular "resorts" in Penang and is a tribute to the foresight of those who planned that Penang may remain a truly brilliant place under a brilliant sky.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cerita panas di Bernama.... apa dah jadi?

Dua tiga orang pelawat ke blog ini bertanya kenapa saya tidak "melaporkan" mengenai cerita panas di Bernama dan ada juga yang bertanya tidakkah saya "terhidu" kepanasan cerita tersebut.

Sebenarnya, saya mendapat tahu beberapa hari selepas insiden yang amat memalukan itu tersebar dan kebetulan saya berada di luar Selangor atas urusan peribadi. Lazimnya apabila saya berbuat demikian, saya tidak akan melayari internet.

Apa yang berlaku di Bernama, iaitu seorang pegawai kanan yang "berpangkat" telah "ditangkap berkhalwat" dengan seorang kakitangan wanita yang juga isteri seorang petugas di agensi itu oleh suami wanita itu sendiri.

Kejadian itu berlaku pada hari Jumaat, semasa rakan-rakan Muslim yang lain pergi ke masjid untuk menunaikan solat Jumaat, sungguh memalukan dan amat dikesali.

Sebenarnya, skandal seperti ini bukanlah yang pertama kali berlaaku di Bernama. sebelum inipun ada tetapi mungkin ramai yang tidak mengetahuinya dan "ditutup" oleh pihak atasan. Tetapi, lain pula ceritanya kali ini kerana ia dilakukan dalam premis dan perbuatan itu dikesan oleh suami wanita berkenaan sendiri.

Saya mendapat tahu bahawa jawatan tinggi yang disandang oleh pegawai berkenaan telah "digantung" dan dia akan ditukarkan ke pejabat di Putrajaya, satu tempat yang tidak asing baginya, sementara wanita berkenaan juga "digantung" jawatan. Satu siasatan rasmi akan dijalankan. Itu yang saya tahu.

Perkara ini membabitkan keaiban bukan sahaja kepada Bernama tetapi kepada individu yang terbabit. Oleh kerana itu, saya tidak akan menyiarkan nama mereka yang terbabit. Sama-samalah kita tunggu siasatan rasmi dan keputusannya.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Helikopter Nuri dah melewati hayatnya

Berapa ramai lagi nyawa anggota Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia, khasnya, dan anggota Angkatan Tentera Malaysia yang lain, amnya, perlu dikorbankan sebelum kerajaan membuat keputusan untuk menamatkan khidmat helikopter yang sudah berusia 40 tahun itu?

Setiap kali berlaku nahas udara membabitkan helikopter Sikhorsky buatan Amerika Syarikat itu berlaku, maka pemimpin kerajaan, terutama menteri pertahanan akan berkata penggunaan helikopter itu masih selamat dan masih boleh digunakan.

Sebanyak 17 buah helikopter Nuri telah menjadi korban dan entah berapa puluh atau ratus nyawa yang terkorban.

Saya ingin bertanya menteri pertahanan Datuk Seri Mohamad Najib jika benar helikopter Nuri masih selamat digunakan, kenapa Datuk Seri tak naik helikopter itu semasa menjalankan tugas rasmi dan tidak rasmi? Kenapa Datuk Seri menaiki sebuah helikopter eksekutif untuk VIP, kalau tak silap saya jenis Super Puma, yang jauh lebih moden dan baru berbanding dengan helikopter Nuri?

Nampaknya kerajaan lebih mengutamakan pembangunan fizikal yang jauh lebih mahal tetapi tidak begitu penting dan diperlukan oleh majoriti rakyat seperti keretapi laju antara KL dan Singapura atau kabel bawah tanah untuk mengalir kuasa elektrik dari Bakun ke Semenanjung daripada menggantikan helikopter tua dengan yang lebih moden dan maju untuk membantu menjaga dan mempertahankan keselamatan negara. Jelas sekali kerajaan memberi atau akan memberi keutamaan kepada perkara yang tidak betul.

Monday, July 16, 2007

9/11 - The Untold Truth

What actually brought down the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001? A couple of crashing jet airliners hijacked by Arab/Muslim terrorists?

Think again! You haven't heard the full story yet.

You're unlikely to hear it on the CNN, CNBC, BBC or any other Western media. Only the last person to walk out of the WTC before it collapsed would be able to tell you what actually transpired on that fateful day.

9/11 - The Untold Truth - a public exposure by William Rodriguez (www.911keymaster.com)
will be held on Friday, 20 July @ 8.00pm at Seminar Room 1, Caring Society Complex (Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang), Jalan Utama (Western Road), Penang.

You will be astonished by what Mr Rodriguez is to reveal.

Quality books and DVDs will be on sale. Free entrance and parking. ALL ARE WELCOME.

Talkin untuk PKR dan FAM

Dua perkara penting telah dan sedang berlaku di tanah air yang serba boleh ini. Kedua-dua perkembangan itu menarik minat ramai orang. Bilangan yang suka cukup banyak dan melebihi bilangan yang tidak suka.

Bagi saya, kedua-dua perkembangan itu tidak ubah seperti tibanya saat-saat akhir yang memerlukan perubahan mendadak. Jika manusia meninggal dunia, talkin akan dibaca (bagi yang beragama Islam) atau "last rites" untuk Nasrani.

Dalam arena politik, bacaan talkin atau "last rites" sudahpun disediakan untuk Parti KeAdilan Rakyat (PKR) pimpinan YB Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail secara "proksi" untuk suaminya Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. PKR akan menerima nasib yang jauh lebih buruk daripada Parti Melayu Semangat 46, satu lagi parti serpihan UMNO yang gagal menembusi benteng sokongan orang Melayu walaupun ia dipimpin oleh tokoh-tokoh hebat seperti Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Rais Yatim, Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, Zainal Abidin Zin dan Kader Sheikh Fadzir.

"Kematian" PKR sememangnya dijangka apabila beberapa orang kuat Anwar mula meninggalkan parti itu. Mereka adalah orang yang taat dan setia kepada Anwar sejak zaman Angkatan Belia Islam dan kemudian UMNO. Jadi, apabila mereka sanggup berpisah perjuangan dengan Anwar, ia merupakan satu "malapetaka" bagi PKR.

Orang kuat Anwar yang terpaksa "bercerai gelanggang" adalah hebat-hebat belaka. Kepemergian nama-nama besar seperti Mohamad Anuar Tahir, Saifudin Nasution, Mohamad Ezam, Abdul Rahman Ahmad dan Datuk Nala memberi kesan cukup mendalam kepada PKR. PKR menjadi lemah dan terus lemah. Ramai pemimpin peringkat bahagian turut keluar parti dan tidak kurang pula jumlah bahagian dan cawangan yang terbubar selepas itu.

Mungkin bekas ulama di Pulau Pinang yang turut menjadi orang kanan Anwar boleh memulakan bacaan talkin untuk PKR. Jika Pak Sheikh Azmi keberatan, panggil saja sahabat karib Anwar, mantan profesor UKM dan ahli perubatan alternatif, Datuk Harun Din membaca talkin.

Dengan terkuburnya PKR, orang Melayu/Islam mempunyai dua pilihan, iaitu sama ada menyokong parti sekular bumiputera bernama UMNO atau menyokong Parti Islam Se-Malaysia atau PAS. Terpulanglah kepada kebijaksanaan masing-masing untuk membuat pilihan.

Talkin harus dibaca untuk FAM (Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia)

Sahabat baik saya, Sdr Zukri Valenteno Mohamad Ali adalah seorang yang lebih arif berkaitan arena bolasepak tanah air. Jadi, ulasan saya mengenai perkara ini mungkin tidak setepat dan sehalus beliau. Tetapi, saya yakin beliau akan bersetuju, sedikit sebanyak, dengan apa yang akan saya perkatakan.

Ketandusan mutu bolasepak Malaysia amat ketara. Ramai orang yang mempersalahkan jurulatih, tak kurang yang marahkan pemain dan segelintir tidak bersetuju dengan pentadbiran persatuan. Semuanya ada kebenarannya.

Bagi saya barisan kepimpinan FAM bertanggungjawab secara langsung. Presiden, timbalan presiden, naib-naib presiden, setiausaha agung dan ahli majlis bertanggungjawab.

Sejak awal-awal lagi saya tidak setuju seorang raja menjadi presiden mana-mana persatuan. Kehadiran raja selaku presiden menimbulkan banyak masalah. Ya, mereka yang duduk dalam majlis FAM tidak akan bersetuju dengan pendapat ini kerana fakta "ampun tuanku". Siapa yang berani bertikam lidah dengan seorang sultan yang juga presiden sebuah persatuan sukan? Sultan tetap sultan. Soal sembah-menyembah tetap berlaku. Beranikah Datuk Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad, ahli politik Pulau Pinang yang gagal dan kecundang dalam gelanggang menegur dan membantah "titah perintah" presiden FAM? Beranikah sahabat saya YB Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar membantah? Inilah persoalannya.

Sultan, Yang Dipertuan Besar atau Raja tidak seharusnya mengetuai mana-mana badan sukan atau persatuan. Mereka tidak seharusnya menurunkan lagi taraf kedudukan mereka ke setara dengan presiden persatuan sukan lain seperti kavadi, sepak takraw, ping pong, bola keranjang, renang atau bola jaring. Semuanya presiden persatuan sukan dan semuanya sama taraf. Sultan atau Raja mesti berada di atas iaitu selaku penasihat atau penaung dan bukan selaku presiden. Jika Sultan atau Raja melihat sesuatu tidak kena dengan persatuan tertentu, baginda boleh memberi nasihat atau membuat terguran untuk memperbetulkannya. Tetapi, jika baginda sendiri menjadi presiden, siapa yang nak berbuat demikian? Menteri Belia dan Sukan?

Perletakan jawatan timbalan presiden FAM yang juga Tengku Mahkota Pahang sepatutnya dah lama dibuat. Tetapi, biar lambat asal letak jawatan kerana itu adalah satu keputusan yang tepat. Kita sedang menunggu perletakan jawatan presiden FAM dan seluruh ahli majlis FAM terutama Ibrahim Saad.

FAM memerlukan tenaga dan kjhidmat bakti orang yang benar-benar dekat dengan sukan bolasepak. Salah seorang ialah Datuk Ahmad Basri Akil dari Kedah. Apa kurangnya Sdr Zukri Valenteno Mohamad Ali?

Dalam pada itu, marilah kita baca talkin untuk FAM.

Kenapa blog ini tidak dikemaskini...

Terima kasih kepada kawan-kawan yang bertanya khabar kenapa blog ini tidak dikemaskini begitu lama. Kali akhir ia dikemaskini ialah pada 4 Julai dan hari ini dah 16 Julai. Agak lama.

Sebenarnya saya ke Pulau Pinang atas urusan peribadi dan keluarga. Saya kesuntukan masa untuk melayari internet dan apatah pula untuk mengemaskini laman blog ini.

Dalam tempoh itu, banyak perkara yang berlaku yang boleh diberi ulasan tetapi saya tidak berkesempatan untuk berbuat demikian.

Harap maaf.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Insiden di Batu Kawan, siapa yang harus dipersalahkan?

Ia tidak pernah berlaku dalam sejarah tanah air, apatah pula sejarah bolasepak. Kesesakan lalulintas mungkin perkara biasa tetapi apa yang berlaku di Batu Kawan, Seberang Perai, Pulau Pinang pada malam 30 Jun amat memalukan.

Belum pernah terjadi seorang ketua negeri yang juga timbalan ketua negara, DYMM Sultan Kedah, Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, yang merupakan jemputan khas Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia (FAM) ke perlawanan akhir Piala FA di Stadium Negeri Pulau Pinang di Batu Kawan, terpaksa berjalan sejauh dua kilometer untuk ke stadium.

Sultan yang amat dihormati dan disanjungi oleh bukan saja rakyat Kedah malahan rakyat Malaysia, yang akan menjangkau usia 80 tahun, kini sedang menerima rawatan di sebuah hospital di Alor Star. Baginda dilaporkan gering kerana flu dan keletihan. Kita tidak boleh menolak punca kegeringan baginda, terutama keletihan, adalah kerana peristiwa Batu Kawan.

Saya bersetuju dengan tindakan Menteri Besar Kedah Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid yang membidas FAM kerana kelemahan yang begitu ketara dalam beberapa aspek penganjuran termasuk soal keselamatan dan kawalan lalulintas.

Selain FAM, Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang dan Persatuan Bolasepak Pulau Pinang (FAP) selaku tuan rumah dan Polis Diraja Malaysia Kontinjen Pulau Pinang turut sama bertanggungjawab.

Mungkin keterlibatan FAP dan Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang tidak begitu ketara berbanding dengan pihak polis tetapi peristiwa ini melibatkan Timbalan Yang Dipertuan Agong, iaitu timbalan ketua negara dan dari segi protokol, kerajaan negeri bertanggungjawab.

Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang melalui ketua menteri Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon telahpun memohon ma'af kepada Sultan Kedah dan Raja Muda Perlis. Begitu juga dengan FAM melalui naib presidennya Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin bin Raja Omar yang turut hadir di stadium.

Bagi saya, pihak polis telah gagal sama sekali untuk mengawal keadaan apabila menyedari kesesakan serius mula berlaku pada pukul 4.30 petang, iaitu kira-kira empat jam sebelum perlawanan akhir dimulakan. Jika pihak polis dapat mengawal lalulintas dan mengambil tindakan sewajarnya, saya percaya Sultan Kedah dan Raja Muda Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizzudin Jamalullail tidak akan mengalami apa yang mereka lalui.

Bagi saya, FAM telah gagal dan kegagalan itu telah mengakibatkan Sultan Kedah dan Raja Muda Perlis melalui sesuatu yang sama sekali tidak dijangkakan.

Laluan ke Stadium Batu Kawan dari utara (Kedah dan Perlis) hanya satu dan jalan masuk ke stadium juga satu. Jalan yang sama digunakan untuk masuk dan keluar. Bayangkan jumlah kenderaan yang menggunakan laluan itu pada hari perlawanan akhir.

Kenapa FAM tidak mencontohi penganjur perlumbaan F1 di Sepang? Setiap kali perlumbaan diadakan, hanya kereta yang mempunyai pelekat khas di benar masuk, penganjur juga menyediakan tempat letak kereta yang jauh dari litar lumba dan menyediakan bas transit untuk membawa penonton ke litar.

Sekiranya FAM dengan kerjasama Kerajaan Negeri, penguasa tempatan dan polis menyediakan tempat khas untuk meletak kereta dan mengadakan perkhidmatan bas percuma untuk membawa penonton ke stadium, masalah kesesakan lalulintas boleh diatasi dan ditangani.

FAM dan pihak polis telah gagal dari segi pengurusan trafik. Kelemahan inilah yang mengakibatkan kesesakan serius berlaku dan lalulintas menjadi kucar-kacir dan tidak bergerak.

Setiausaha Agung FAM Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, orang yang mencadangkan perlawanan akhir diadakan di Stadium Negeri Batu Kawan juga merupakan orang kuat UMNO Bahagian Batu Kawan. Saya belum dengar atau terbaca dalam media permohonan ma'af daripada Ibrahim Saad.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Tahniah Datuk Seri Utama Jeanne Danker Abdullah

Seperti yang ramai menjangkakannya, isteri perdana menteri mula menerima anugerah tinggi peringkat negeri seperti yang lazimnya dilalui oleh semua isteri mantan perdana menteri. Oleh itu, sekalung tahniah kepada Y.A.Bhg. Datuk Seri Utama Jeanne Danker binti Abdullah.

Sebenarnya, saya memang menjangka bahawa negeri Melaka akan mendahului siri penganugerahan ini dan jangkaan itu tepat sekali. Kerajaan Negeri Melaka yang diketuai oleh Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Rustam memang bijak dan pintar. Dia mendahului para menteri besar dan ketua menteri yang tidak kurang pintarnya seperti Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim dan Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Anugerah bintang kebesaran yang diberikan kepada isteri perdana menteri, "Darjah Utama Negeri Melaka" (DUNM) merupakan darjah tertinggi negeri itu. Anugerah DUNM adalah terhad dan diberikan kepada orang tertentu sahaja.

Selepas ini, kita akan pasti dihidangkan berita mengenai penganugerahan oleh negeri-negeri lain terutama Perlis dan Pulau Pinang. Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Khoon mungkin terkilan kerana Melaka telah mendahuluinya dalam penganugerahan darjah kebesaran kepada isteri perdana menteri.

Dalam hubungan ini, Datuk Seri Utama Jeanne tidak boleh dipersalahkan kerana dia telah ditakdirkan menjadi isteri perdana menteri dan "budaya kebangsawanan" yang diwarisi dan diamalkan di negara ini membuatkan para pemimpin negeri berlumba-lumba untuk menganugerahkan bintang dan darjah kebesaran kepadanya. Saya percaya pejabat Perdana Menteri, khususnya pejabat Ketua Setiausaha Sulitnya, sudahpun menerima cadangan dari negeri-negeri tertentu untuk memberi anugerah kebesaran kepada isteri perdana menteri. Mereka hanya menunggu persetujuan perdana menteri untuk berbuat demikian.

Sebenarnya, Malaysia adalah satu-satunya negara di dunia yang masih mengamalkan budaya kebangsawanan yang menjadi salah satu tunggak sistem feudal zaman silam. Malaysia mengatasi negara-negara lain yang mengamalkan sistem beraja termasuk United Kingdom, Thailand, Jepun, Jordan, Arab Saudi dan Maghribi.

Saban tahun, beratus malah beribu orang akan menerima bintang dan anugerah kebesaran dari ketua-ketua negeri termasuk gabenor dan ketua negara sehingga nama gelaran juga semakin bertambah dan "berlambak" mengakibatkan ianya menjadi satu rebutan dan kemestian bagi golongan tertentu mendapatkannya.

Mereka yang ingin bergelar datuk dan ke atas seperti datuk seri utama, datuk paduka, datuk wira, datuk seri panglima, datuk patinggi dan sebagainya akan "berusaha sedaya upaya" untuk mendapatkannya. Inilah budaya kebangsawanan yang diwarisi dan menjadi satu kebanggaan.

Pada zaman awal kemerdekaan, bukan senang bagi seseorang itu untuk mendapat gelaran datuk dan bilangan yang menerimanya boleh dikira dengan jari. Ketika itu, seseorang yang menerima gelaran datuk sememangnya wajar dan patut. Dia telah memberi sumbangan dan khidmat yang cemerlang kepada masyarakat dan negeri, dia adalah orang yang dihormati di kalangan masyarakat dan dia bersih daripada semua jenis jenayah terutama rasuah dan dia juga seorang yang cukup matang dari segi usia. Sebab itu, kita tidak menghadapi "lambakan" penerima datuk pada zaman itu.

Sekarang, seseorang itu mudah diberi anugerah dan kebesaran atas pertimbangan politik, perniagaan dan "sumbangan" mereka kepada pihak-pihak tertentu dan bukan atas dasar sumbangan khidmat bakti sukarela kepada masyarakat dan negeri.

Seseorang ketua bahagian Umno, umpamanya, yang tidak menabur khidmat bakti kepada sebuah negeri lain boleh menerima anugerah tertentu semata-mata kerana dia mencalonkan ketua menteri atau menteri besar negeri berkenaan untuk jawatan naib presiden parti. Begitu juga dengan mereka yang masih belum cukup matang dari segi usia, seperti ketua pemuda dan ketua puteri, yang belumpun memberi khidmat bakti sewajarnya kepada masyarakat, negeri ataupun negara, tetapi diberi anugerah bergelar datuk atas kepentingan politik.

Golongan ini cukup selesa dan senang dengan anugerah dan gelaran yang diterima kerana inilah budaya kebangsawanan yang menjadi "amalan" di kalangan masyarakat Malaysia. Mereka pentingkan nikmat duniawi! Mereka sebenarnya mudah lupa atau sengaja buat-buat lupa bahawa kekayaan, kemewahan serta pangkat dan darjah adalah milik sementara dan tidak lebih daripada satu pinjaman. Akhirnya kepapaan akan mengiringi mereka ke alam kubur apabila badan hanya diselimuti sebidang kain putih. Tiada beza antara seorang bangsawan dan seorang pengemis jalanan.