Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Last week Kuala Lumpur welcomes its new Datuk Bandar, Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail who is the ninth top public servant to administer the wellbeing of our metropolitan federal capital.

A career administrative and diplomatic service officer or PTD, Ahmad has seen a 35-year service with the government including a seven-year stint as president of the Subang Jaya Municipality, perhaps his nearest and only experience similar to the present job.

While I am not as frantically hopeful with my wishlist as the others with the injection of new blood in Kuala Lumpur City Hall, I hope Ahmad will not go down as another statistic in as far as Kuala Lumpur Mayor is concerned.

I am being practical and fair to our Datuk Bandar who had just stepped into the hot seat rather than landsliding with all kind of requests including to overcome the daily traffic woes, the parking problem and improve the public transport system in Kuala Lumpur for its too much for him to comprehend in a short time.

You see, the only well-known Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur was Tan Sri Elyas Omar and he is one of the two famous persons in the job with New York’s Rudolph William Louis Giuliani or better known as Mayor Rudy Giuliani being the other.

Many will agree that Elyas was instrumental with the development and the goings-on in the city during his 11-year stewardship and the same could be described of Giuliani who presided over the Big Apple while the September 11 Incident (better known as 9/11) took place at the tail-end of his illustrious career.

After all, does anybody remembers Tan Sri Lokman Yusof, the first Datuk Bandar (who was initially appointed as Kuala Lumpur Commissioner on April 1, 1961 when it was incepted as a sole corporation before the mayor designation came into effect) when Kuala Lumpur was accorded its city status on February 1, 1972?

What about our second Datuk Bandar Tan Sri Yaakob Latiff? Fourth Datuk Bandar Datuk Dr Mazlan Ahmad? Tan Sri Kamaruzzaman Shariff? Datuk Mohamad Shaid Mohd Taufek? Datuk Ruslin Hasan and the eighth and previous Datuk AB Hakim bin Borhan?

They were hardly remembered after leaving the job, probably due to the impactless service or personality that did not leave any undelienable mark to the city but remains as statistics on City Hall’s website.

As a long-time city folk I like to see our Datuk Bandar a little more people-friendly and service-oriented with hands-on approach as well as being reachable 24/7 to the residents in time of need as was Elyas.

Then there was no luxury of the present day communication but yet the Datuk Bandar was always on calls by the residents and among the firsts to be on the scene of any eventualities.

I yearn to have our Datuk Bandar being omnipresent in the city rather than drowning himself with endless paperwork and meetings in his high-rise office since he has the City Hall director-general, his three deputy director-generals and a host of directors and officers to assist him administratively.

On top of that, Kuala Lumpur City Hall is also governed indirectly by the Secretary-General of the Federal Territory Ministry who answers to the Federal Territory Minister.

That being the case, Ahmad is able to attend to the pressing and imperative issues overwhelming the city and goes down in history as among the two most remembered mayors of Kuala Lumpur.

Otherwise, he will be another Datuk Bandar statistic.

Zukri Valenteno lives in Kuala Lumpur for the better part of his life and was in a school nearby during the hostage crisis perpetrated the Japanese Red Army at the US Consulate and the Swedish charges d’affaires at the AIA Building in April, 1975.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I was away for quite sometime. Away from all things and beings.

I had done some thinking -- thinking aloud, thinking silently (as if there is another other way?) and most of the times in deep thoughts over a few things.

One of the things that really got me baffled (but somehow finally saw the light) was the fact that the Malaysian Opposition parties really has a good time doing what they are doing both inside and outside the Parliament.

The opposition members had their work cut out for them. This is so when our Government was giving them all the ammo to shoot low, shoot high and shoot straight.

Either way it was mission accomplished. It was bull’s eye all the way.

The proposed (and now deferred) takeover by the Sime Darby Group of Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) is one of the cases in example. The other was the 5 Billion loan to ValueCap Sdn Bhd.

With the Kuala Terengganu Parliamentary by-election around the corner, its seems that the Saudara-led opposition bandwagon will have an easier task of convincing the people that the current parti memerintah is anything but competent, rakyat-friendly, prudent or the people’s government as they sought out to be.

Losing the important by-election is a further boost to the pembangkang after Permatang Pauh and it shall trigger more morale-diminishing episodes for Barisan Nasional.

The Umno-led Barisan Nasional must win this test, failing which it will lead to a situation in which my Kuala Kedah folks will always say:"the weather (pronounced wear-da) today not very klear lah!"

My hope is that Kuala Terengganu will remain with Umno and at least put a halt to the slowly but surely decline in support to the empire.

The picture? That was where I did the thinking…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Money is the root of all evil.

Money is also the root of the debauchery in today’s Umno.

The lame crusade against money politics in Umno or the lack of it was by far a reflection of the willingness on the part of the leadership to address the mother of all evil.

Are they serious? Are they sincere?

Yes and No.

Yes when the Disciplinary Board reported of more than 900 cases of money politics in the recently-concluded party’s annual branch meetings and divisional delegates’ conference, an indicator that the menace was far from being eradicated.

No because the same board was not as swift and judicious enough to set examples that Umno is not one to tolerate money politics, political money, political corruption and anything that falls in the same bracket.

What about the party’s Supreme Council?

When justice was delayed, justice was almost denied.

This is so true to members who stucked their necks out to report occurrences of money politics. They risked everything to play the good Umno man to bring forth reports of unscrupulous members including that of seniors but are their efforts duly compensated?

And what happens after that? Any applaudable reciprocating measures?

As if money politics was not enough to threaten Umno’s future, the party was also beset by wannabes with dubious and blackened background vis-à-vis money politics and other morally disapproved history making their forays into big-time senior positions nothing less!

They spoke with disdain of money politics and other evils but those were the same horrendous traits they were suspected to have been involved in the past that got them into the very present position and situation they were now.

And now these same so-called leaders are spewing gospels in as far as money politics are concerned, Ameen.

I mean how much more wayang can we Umno members stomach?

As a card-carrying member, I am terribly disturbed, sick and tired with this attitude, this charade and this deception as if Umno members at large were only born yesterday and devoid of the hypocrisy of yesteryears.

Enough have been said of the perils of money politics in Umno and the projected trajectory of the party in 5 years to come and that of 10 years in future, if Umno’s future was not already at stake.

Everyone seemed to be fully aware of the direction of the party in future if money politics were immensely tolerated without any compunction but does the same everyone was willing to accept the fate of Umno then?

They all knew that Umno was not just for them now and that Umno is also for the next generation and their generation thenafter but dejectedly the occurring now speaks no volume et al, wither Umno’s future then?

Oftenly Umno members were blamed for asking handouts for everything politics.

Remember that they would not be asking for anything had they not been given, fed and choked with the luxuries of being members by leaders who saw money as the capital for elevation, floatation, maintenance and eminence.

Umno is Melayu and Melayu is Umno in the same breath.

Notice that Melayu is spelled with a capital M.

Money is also spelled with a capital M.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Sebagai Orang Melayu saya amat bersetuju dengan saranan calon Timbalan Presiden Umno Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin bahawa Gerakan hendaklah bertanggungjawab dengan mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap ketua wanitanya di atas kenyataan boleh mengugat hubungan parti-parti komponen Barisan Nasional serta mewujudkan suasana tegang antara kaum.

Muhyiddin telah dilaporkan oleh akhbar Berita Harian semalam sebagai berkata bahawa kenyataan Tan Lian Hoe boleh menyinggung perasaan orang Melayu dan mungkin boleh mencetuskan masalah baru.

“Sebelum ini pada mesyuarat Dewan Tertinggi BN, semua parti komponen sudah dinasihatkan supaya mengelakkan kenyataan polemik yang boleh menjejaskan keharmonian BN atau yang menyentuh sensitiviti kaum, tetapi nampaknya ada yang tidak mahu mendengar nasihat itu," katanya.

Sebelum ini juga Majlis Tertinggi Umno telah bertindak tegas terhadap Ketua Umno Bahagian Bukit Bendera Ahmad Ismail yang dikatakan telah membuat kenyataan mempertikaikan status penduduk bukan Melayu semasa kempen Pilihanraya Kecil Permatang Pauh dan Tan adalah antara mereka yang begitu bersemangat mengesa agar dikenakan tindakan tegas terhadap Ahmad. Umno yang dikatakan akur akan gesaan Gerakan telah bertindak mengantung keahlian ketua Umno bahagian itu selama tiga tahun.

Kini Tan pula dilaporkan membuat kenyataan yang antara lainnya, mempertikaikan (baca:mengungkit) status penduduk asal negara ini dengan mendakwa bahawa kaum Melayu juga pendatang seperti Cina dan India, manakala penduduk asal negara ini hanya Orang Asli.

Bunyi kenyataan itu hampir sama dengan kenyataan yang pernah dibuat oleh seorang bekas Timbalan Presiden MCA seketika dahulu yang turut mempersoalkan status masyarakat Melayu di Malaysia.

Tan yang juga Timbalan Menteri Penerangan telah dilaporkan berucap pada satu majlis secara terbuka yang mengajak ahli parti itu keluar daripada bayangan Umno sambil mendakwa selama ini mereka hanya mengikut telunjuk Umno, diherdik serta dipijak pucuk pimpinan parti tunjang pemerintahan BN itu.

Sementara itu, Utusan Malaysia melaporkan bahawa beberapa pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) hari ini membidas kenyataan pedas Tan yang mendakwa asal-usul setiap kaum di negara ini adalah sama.

Sambil meluahkan rasa kesal mereka, rata-rata NGO ketika dihubungi akhbar berkenaan menyifatkan kenyataan Tan itu tidak masuk akal dan buta sejarah, selain menyentuh sensitiviti kaum di negara ini yang dikhuatiri boleh menjejaskan keharmonian yang terjalin

Untuk rekod, Tan ialah Ahli Parlimen Gerik yang majoriti pengundinya ialah Melayu sebanyak 73.49 peratus, Cina 17.87 peratus, India 7.46 peratus dan lain-lain sebanyak 1.18 peratus.

Jumlah pengundi di P54 Gerik ialah seramai 26, 227 dan Tan menang dengan majoriti 5,573 setelah memperolehi 12, 526 undi menewaskan calon PAS yang mendapat 6,953 undi.

Sebelum Pilihanraya Umum ke-12, Tan ialah Ahli Parlimen Bukit Gantang yang majoriti pengundinya juga ialah Melayu, atau sebanyak 63.48 peratus daripada jumlah pengundi 55,471 orang.

Saya ingin bertanya apakah pendirian Gerakan dalam hal ini, khususnya Koh Tsu Koon? Apakah akan ada sebarang tindakan ekoran keputusan mesyuarat Dewan Tertinggi BN seperti yang dinyatakan oleh Muhyiddin.

Bagaimana pula dengan Majlis Tertinggi Umno? Apakah akan ada tindakan terhadap mereka yang masih mengungkit status Melayu di negara ini? Ataupun perkara ini akan hanya dibiarkan senyap dan berlalu begitu sahaja lantaran sikap "tolak ansur" (baca:depa dok tolak, kita dok ansoq pi) yang agak terkenal di dalam Umno?

Apakah pula reaksi para panglima Umno? Mereka sedang bergelut dan menanti pencalonan untuk jawatan Majlis Tertinggi. Apakah bagi mereka perkara ini enteng sahaja?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Buried at almost the end of the New Straits Times’ page one story was this quote of the out-going Prime Minister Abdullah Haji Ahmad : "I am the last of the Tun Razak generation (referring to the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the second prime minister).

“After this there will be no more. Razak's son will lead the new government."

So, bearing any last minute hiccup or unforeseen circumstances, it is already out of harm's way to say that Mohd Najib Abdul Razak will be the next and sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

With his ascension, the so-called RAHMAN theory will definitely come full circle and for a closure. Many believe that there is a certain theory but others saw it as a mere coincidence.

For years politicians have been saying about RAHMAN -- a particular supposition that represented the first alphabet of Malaysian prime ministers beginning from Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj which is R. Abdul Razak Hussein is A while H is Hussien Onn and M is conspicuously Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The letter A, the say was originally meant for a particular Umno politician who fell from grace but was replaced by another whose name’s first alphabet is also A, which is Abdullah.

And N, they say is unambiguously Najib.

A few months ago, some Umno politicians were contemplating that the theorem was actually RAHMAT or blessing instead of RAHMAN. If RAHMAT is to be considered then a certain senior politician in Umno whose first alphabet in his name will be in a striking distance to the throne.

However, as the curtains were lowered yesterday at the 39th Floor of Menara Dato’ Onn of the Putra World Trade Center, RAHMAN seemed to be the right theory after all, for now.

p.s. Does anyone know who owns a certain Negri Sembilan vehicle registration number NAJ 18?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Perjuangan Sudah Selesai...Perjuangan Sudah Berakhir...Perjuangan Sudah Tammat ... Oktober 2003 - Mac 2009

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO Dr Rais Yatim dilaporkan telah tertawa besar apabila Ketua Umno Bahagian Pulai NurJazlan Mohamed menawarkan diri untuk bertanding jawatan Timbalan Presiden pada pemilihan jawatan Disember ini.

Sambil melahirkan rasa terkejut dengan minat mendadak ahli-ahli parti terhadap jawatan nombor dua itu, Ketua Umno Bahagian Jelebu itu menambah: “Mereka seharusnya tahu mengukur baju di badan sendiri”.

Sehingga ini kenyataan Rais adalah yang paling rasional dan sesuai untuk mententeramkan keadaan dalam parti yang disifatkan beliau sebagai sudah kelam-kabut dan mencemaskan UMNO kerana mereka yang kelak terpilih sebagai Timbalan Presiden adalah bakal Perdana Menteri.

“Seharusnya mereka ini sudah masak pengalaman serta terlatih sebagai pemimpin parti dan negara,” katanya yang dipetik oleh Utusan Malaysia hari ini, 7 Oktober 2008.

Saya tidak salahkan beliau yang tertawa dengan perkembangan ini, malahan ramai juga orang parti yang tersengih, tersenyum sumbing dan bersikap sinikal akan tawaran NurJazlan, 42, yang juga Ahli Parlimen Pulai, Johor.

Barangkali komen Rais begitu tepat pada masanya kerana sekiranya tidak dikejutkan daripada angan-angan mereka mungkin ramai lagi ahli Umno akan menawarkan diri untuk jawatan parti tanpa mengambilkira kemampuan diri atau sepertimana dikatakan beliau sebagai “tidak mengukur baju di badan sendiri”.

Beliau adalah antara orang lama dalam Umno dan politik Malaysia, antara menteri besar paling muda pernah diketengahkan oleh parti, antara orang politik yang berprinsip, antara menteri yang berpendidikan tinggi dan antara mereka yang terbabit dalam Pertembungan Besar 1987, kemudiannya berpolitik sebagai Timbalan Presiden Parti Melayu Semangat 46 dan kini lebih sedekad kembali berjuang bersama Umno kerana masih Orang Umno.

Saya bersetuju dengan Rais mengenai ukuran kemampuan diri dan ingin menambah “janganlah cuba pakai baju orang lain” dalam soal kepimpinan Umno dan negara.

Disebabkan telah menjangka akan berlakunya perkembangan ini maka saya telah dalam posting sebelum ini menyarankan agar kouta pertandingan sebagai syarat utama ke pemilihan jawatan tinggi dalam Umno dikekalkan untuk memelihara parti.

Sekiranya tidak ada kouta, sesiapa sahaja yang merasakan beliau layak bertanding akan menawarkan diri (dengan hanya dua pencalonan) dan ini dibenarkan dalam Perlembagaan Umno. Sudahpun ada seorang ketua cawangan Umno yang menawarkan diri untuk jawatan Naib Presiden!

Daripada sudut Perlembagaan Umno, NurJazlan, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Mohd Ali Rustam dan sesiapa sahaja layak bertanding akan namun apakah tawaran-tawaran itu bersesuaian dengan selera perwakilan bahagian yang akan mula membuat pencalonan apabila persidangan mereka bermula minggu ini?

Sekiranya tidak ada lagi kouta maka akan berlakulah cacamarba dalam Umno apabila sesiapa sahaja yang merasakan layak akan menawarkan diri tanpa mengambilkira kriteria-kriteria lain sebagai seorang pemimpin tertinggi parti.

Disebabkan pintu banjir (floodgate) telah dibuka lantaran ingin menyegarkan demokrasi dalam Umno maka akan ramai lagi akan menawarkan diri untuk jawatan-jawatan Ketua Pemuda, Ketua Wanita, Ketua Puteri, Ahli Majlis Tertinggi (25 orang), Naib Presiden (3 orang), Timbalan Presiden dan Presiden Umno.

Seperti kata negarawan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad: “sistem demokrasi tidaklah sempurna akan tetapi ia adalah yang paling baik untuk ketika ini”.

Namun apakah demokrasi juga menghalalkan kita memakai baju orang lain yang tidak padan dan langsung tidak muat untuk kita?

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Balik kampong for Aidilfitri is a time-honored custom and in the words of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad it is a great tradition.

“It helps renew our ties and relationship with other members of our parent's family and relatives. And if we really come from the kampongs, it would remind us of our past, our bucolic antecedents and the simple life that we lead,” the statesman said in his blog, www.chedet.com.my/.

Many of us have taken this (balik kampong) journey before and many will during festive seasons and this custom which was at times only confined to the Malay-Muslim folks was now being emulated by our Malaysian Chinese and Indians. Thesedays Chinese and Hindus balik kampong for The Chinese New Year and Deepavali respectively.

For us northerners it used to be a very long balik kampong to Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Pinang. We were used to a grueling 10-hour drive or more those days through the old trunk road including along the notorious bends and dangerous stretches. The balik kampong of the old days was like annual pilgrimages with various stops for rest, eating home-made food and prayers.

Now with a stable highway, we could reach Alor Setar in a matter of 5 hours of driving, plus a half hour to an hour’s extra time should the number of vehicles multipy. The stops at the rest and recreation areas are more comfortable with all the basic amenities available.

There was a time when I had to take more than one type of ride to from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar for Aidilfitri. It was a bus ride from my college in Sungei Besi to Puduraya and then another bus to Kuala Lumpur’s main railway station and then a long train ride to Butterworth. Subsequently I was among those in a crowded bus from Butterworth to Alor Setar and finally a private taxi to my kampong in Anakbukit, some 5 km from the state capital. The ride was easily more than 12 hours.

However, did we really have a balik kampong like we used to? Or our custom has changed tremendously over the years due to the rapid development taking place around us? Is it still the same balik kampong?

I cannot answer for all but for me my balik kampong is no longer like it used to be, especially in the 1970s.

Firstly, the kampong I used to grow up in is no longer around. In its place is the new Kedah State Government Administrative Center, a smaller version of Putrajaya in the north of Alor Setar. It used to be the National Padi Board or LPN’s headquarters and its rice mills located just besides our paddy-planting kampong.

In front of the kampong is the Darulaman Highway linking Alor Setar and Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzzam Shah Airport. Just a km away from my kampong is the ever-famous Pondok Maharizan, the Alor Setar's home of Dr Mahathir.

The real kampong I was born in had for many years taken over by a large Buddhist temple complete with its complex next to the Teluk Wanjah roundabout in downtown Alor Setar. So my origins were, in a way written-off. I was born here and grew up in Anakbukit and then our family migrated to Kuala Lumpur while my present residence is in Mergong and my family house is in Taman Sri Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.

Secondly, the old kampong folks were not there anymore, deceased. And thirdly, we brought back all our daily lives in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere to our kampongs just to make sure that the kampong environment did not deprive us of all our pleasures in life and one of these is the satellite television!

In a way it is not really a balik kampong of sort, we just bring back our lives to our kampongs.

With us will be our handphones, Blackberry, iPads, laptops and whatnots. In some which appeared to be extreme cases, we bring back our stand fan since “Tokwan’s house is a little bit warm for our kids, bla bla bla”, our liquid soap and other effects simply to make our lives in the kampongs bearable.

We have forgotten that we did grew up there under different circumstances (read:with a little hardship) but since we are well-to-do now we now could not tolerate anything less than what we have back in Kuala Lumpur.

I knew of a kampong mate whose family had to stay in air-conditioned hotel room in the state capital while being back in Alor Setar for Aidilfitri! It was his wife and the kids who could not adapt to the kampong’s live, being a daugther of a rich family. Others will be busy looking for a wireless hotspots just to be connected (and not wanting to miss the latest news) forgetting that our balik kampong tradition was to actually get away from our busy lives in Kuala Lumpur.

Or did we?

But our biggest sin is bringing back the famous Kuala Lumpur traffic snarls to our kampongs. The traffic congestion was transferred from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar, Kangar and Ipoh during these festive occasions.

There was even a queue getting out from the mesjid after performing the Aidilfitri prayers and again another congestion along Jalan Ibrahim on our way to the famous Pekan Rabu for last minute Raya shopping. It was a problem finding a parking space outside.

In a nutshell, the good old Alor Setar my kampong is not the same anymore, taken over by Alor Setar the city.

During Aidilfitri we are supposed to visits relatives around our kampong but these days the various television programmes, the must-see shows had taken over our routine. So, we are stuck in front of the black box for hours until its time for bath and meal.

I cannot be saying that Alor Setar is my kampong anymore because this is where I am staying now for the dictum balik kampong is traveling from one’s house to the family’s house for the festive occasion. Technically, I am right here in my kampong. My family’s house is in Meru Heights, Ipoh which at anytime did not resemble at all any kampong surroundings but that is where we come back to for Aidilfitri and others.

The only kampong that I have now is my wife’s kampong in Kampung Kubang, Nilai, Negri Sembilan which is about a 45 minutes’ drive from our house in Kuala Lumpur. It is still a kampong with all its values and virtues but traveling under an hour to reach our kampong is hardly a balik kampong journey, perhaps maybe to my Kuala Lumpur-bred boys as the only kampong they knew is that of my wife’s.

This is were they will find durian trees (but no longer growing fruits) as well as other trees behind the good old house and there is a stream a few metres from the house to really make up the original kampong environment.

But elsewhere around Nilai development is really taking shape and is poised to turn this once sleeping hollow into a major growth center in Negri Sembilan. In less than half hour we could reach the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and lesser than that, the Low Cost Carrier Terminal.

It is just a 20 minutes drive to the Sepang International Circuit, home of our F1.

On the other side of the town is the famous Nilai 3, the new fabric center among our Malaysian housewives while there are a few hotels around this town should the kampong life is a little bit unbearable. Nilai also boasts of having among the most strategically planned and organized housing complexes around the country with the ubiquitous presence of a hypermarket to serve all and sundry in this part of the country.

So, is this the kampong we are talking about?

Part of this article appeared in Metro section, The Star newspaper today, Oct 6, 2008.



1.Brunch at Nasi Kandar Yaseen - Status:Done

2.Lunch at Nasi Kandar Yaseen - second round (in the works, maybe tomorrow)

3.Eat Mee Rebus Penang at Taman Selera Melawati (kedai Mail Mee Rebus yang ada cawangan di Bandar Baru Sentul, tak pun kedai Hamid Mee Rebus). Status:Coming Soon

4.Pasembor or Pasemboq at Jalan Ampang Hilir. Status:Coming Soon

5.Nasi Beriani at Restoran Bismillah, Jalan Semarak. The joint is located right in front of Wisma Tanah and very near to the entrance of a Telekom Malaysia College. Status:Must Do

6.Hari Raya visits to friends and relatives in Kuala Lumpur...Status:Post-Aidilfitri tradition...


Things are really hotting up in the run-up to the December party polls...with a few surprises, what more with supreme council member Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's announcement to offer himself as a deputy presidential candidate. Ali Rustam followed suit and Muhammad Muhd Taib is expected to be the next.

At this point of time, these party leaders can only offer themselves as a candidate because it is the divisions which will decide whom they want to nominate for the positions. The leaders will have to wait until October 10 when the divisions began their meetings.

With these announcements, premature ones included, it would safely means that it is the beginning of the end of the party president Abdullah Haji Ahmad. Otherwise the other leaders will not have the guts to openly state their intentions towards the higher post (the deputy president in particular due to the expected vacancy).

On the other hand, words got around the open houses that a list of a so-called "Dream Team" has emerged. Those listed in the team are:

1.President: Najib Razak
2.Deputy President: Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin

1.Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
2.Mohd Shafie Apdal
3.Hishamuddin Hussein

Youth Chief: Mukhriz Mahathir
Wanita Chief: Shahrizat Abdul Jalil while the prefered candidate for the Puteri's chief has yet to be decided.

And since Zahid has decided to break from the ranks, they said, the list has now been altered with another name. The new list for the Vice-Presidents is:

1.Mohd Shafie Apdal
2.Hishamuddin Hussein
3.Dr Rais Yatim


It is a time-honoured tradition and my family was part of the exodus from Kuala Lumpur. However our balik kampung ride was only around 45 minutes or so since my wife's kampung is in Nilai, just after the Selangor-Negri Sembilan border. My kampung in Alor Setar is set for Aidiladha.

My wife's Kampung Kubang in Nilai was very much a kampung with all its values and virtues intact even after all these while and even with the agressive developments taking shape around this satellite township. Nilai is poised to be major growth center in Negri Sembilan.

However, we didn't actually balik kampung per say, we just transfered our lives to the kampung, hence not a really balik kampung's balik kampung. It was so because we brought back our handphones, Blackberry and laptops and most evil of all -- we brought the traffic snarls from Kuala Lumpur to our kampungs! There was even a congestion while going out of the mesjid after the Aildilfitri prayers and again when waiting for roti canai breakfast on the second day of Raya.


Sunday, September 28, 2008


Coincidentally it’s all about Old and New stories...


The Ministry of Defence’s decision to replace its ageing fleet of Sikorsky S61-A4 Sea Kings or Nuri with Eurocopter's EC725 Cougar helicopters has been hailed as a most appropriate decision.

Eurocopter already had a strong presence in the commercial market in Malaysia and this would the first time that the ministry would be procuring the marque for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Eurocopter is also the supplier of the Fennec helicopter to the police and navy. The decision was announced by the new (old actually since he was there between 1986-1987) Defence Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on his first day at Mindef.

Ageing Nuri (read:Old) to be decommissioned, state-of-the-art (read:New) Cougar flying in…


Blogger Ashraf Abdullah in his Jejak Pujangga said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who has once again reiterated to contest the Umno presidency March next year has already passed his era.

According to Ashraf time has eluded the former Umno Vice-President and he has almost lost touch with the party’s grassroots especially the younger members. Besides, there were among the youngsters who don’t even know Ku Li.

The grassroots are more receptive to Mohd Najib Razak whom the blogger feels was more capable.

Again, the Old and New perspective…


As expected US presidential candidate Barrack Hussein Obama has unofficially won the first round of the three scheduled debates with less than six weeks remaining until Election Day. The two vice-presidential candidates will meet next week for their only debate.

Obama and John McCain stood behind identical wooden lecterns on stage at the performing arts centre at the University of Mississippi for the televised debate. The 47-year-old Obama is seeking to become the nation's first black president while McCain, 72, is hoping to become the oldest first-term chief executive in history — and he made a few jokes at his own expense.

Clearly this is an Old and New issue…


Elsewhere in Malaysia, Malay-Muslim housewives and their helpers are busy replacing old curtains/drapes with new ones, old furniture with brand new products from the stores, older paint on the front façade of the house (including the gate) with newer coat and sometimes old washing machines with new washer to clean up new Aidilfitri clothes dirtied with old-styled rendang during the occasion.

The rest of the crowd are also busy -- getting new sampins, chapals (sandal), tudungs and kain pelikat (some called it kain pulicat) among the older folks -- all in the name of Aidilfitri while some of us take out the old shoes for a new polish, make up older car with newer stereo or sports rims to make it look new.

However, there are also some unfortunate among us who will get out our year-old, two-year old or not-so-old clothes to be washed and worn during the new day, the 1st of Syawal.

Some might complain that the new clothes are not up to the standard but hey, while some lament they ain't got no new shoes for Hari Raya please think of those without their feet, literally and figuratively speaking!

By the way, have you seen any mesjid, madrasah or surau folks put a coat over the old colour of the premises?

Salam Aidilfitri from Utarawan@ Zukri Valenteno, Rohana Mustaffa, Muhammad Zahir Zukri, Muhammad Zaim Zukri and Muhammad Zafir Zukri -- Maaf Dzahir and Bathin from us at Suasana Tenang, Kuala Lumpur.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Caption: Maghrib prayers at Perdana Leadership Foundation, Sept 17, 2008. The writer is on the Doctor's left... pix by Jinggo

The first time I met him was some 40 years ago when he was a forty-something medical doctor running a charity like clinic in Pekan Cina, Alor Setar.

Me, the sickly five-year-old was brought to see him due to a slight fever and stomach upset which according to the doctor was just a simple case of “kembung perut, makan ubat ni sat lagi lega la..”. The story was later told to me by my late Tok Tam, my father’s mother. Accompanying us was my late mother, Rafeah Abbas (May ALLAH bless their souls).

After the consultation, we stopped for a meal at the famous Kedai Nasi Lemak Ali then located at Jalan Ibrahim which was a 15 minutes’ walk from Maha Clinic, a famous healing place for the poor.

The good doctor was Mahathir bin Mohamad, a stlylishly thick side-burned gentleman whose house -- Pondok Maharizan was about a kilometer away from our kampong in AnakBukit, some 5 km from the state capital. It was very rare to see the dashing young doctor driving his big light blue colored-car (he later admitted that it was a Pontiaq) around Alor Setar. Rare and in awe because firstly we sometimes could not figure out either to be amazed by the sight of the car or the driver and secondly the doctor was most of the times very fast behind the wheels!

Although our lives were almost a world’s apart, the nearest contact I had with the doctor’s family was that we kampong boys shared the same Quran teacher with his four children. After the late Mak Guru had completed her daily lesson with us she will be motorcycle-chauffeured by her husband Abang Pie to the pondok.

While growing up blissfully in Alor Setar, Dr Mahathir’s was among the two names frequently told to us kampong boys (to a point of being an irritation, sometimes) to emulate, something like “hangpa kena belajaq rajin-rajin la, besaq nanti jadi Dr Mahathir, dak pun Loyar Zahir.” Loyar Zahir is the late Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail, the former Dewan Rakyat Speaker who was a famous lawyer in Alor Setar before he entered politics.

They were our towering Kedahans – Che Det and Ed, which is short for Zahir or Zahed to us Kedah folks.

We grew up knowing only these two names. However, none of us became doctors or lawyers. Most of us opted for the uniformed jobs such as the military, customs, immigration and the police force while two of us were neither – I became a journalist while my distanced and older cousin preferred politics.

The second time I met the good doctor in person was when granted an appointment to see him at his high-rise office in the Petronas Twin Towers two months ago.

It was in that 30-minute meeting I related to him the peculiar nursery rhyme of Che Det and Ed to put us young kampong boys to sleep or when we were caught loitering aimlessly around the paddy-planting kampong. I also told him a story of how the kampong folks described that he had the coldest hand around, so cold that it could instantly healed some feverish patient with just one touch!

They were saying: "hang jumpa dia, takdan apa-apa lagi dia pegang dada kita pun dah lega, demam pun kebah dah...tangan dia sejuk sangat..." It was actually the stethoscope exposed to the coldness in the air-conditioned room and smartly concealed underneath the doctor's palm while checking the patient's heartbeat, hence the coldest hand story. He just smiled.

Then after I studied at Sekolah Rendah Iskandar which is behind the famed Sultan Abdul Hamid College. I was there up to Standard Two until our family moved to Kuala Lumpur in the early 1970s. The primary school was named after Dr Mahathir’s late father who was well-known as Master Mohamad Iskandar.

It was at the meeting that I had the opportunity to finally present to Dr Mahathir a copy of “Seribu Wajah Dr Mahathir”, a coffee table-size compilation of unpublished pictures of the former premier through the lenses of the newspapers’ photographers. The book was actually the culmination of a three-month long photo exhibition of the same name to honor the statesman during his final days as the prime minister. I was the coordinator of the exhibition and the book projects in 2003 which were the brainchild of Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob, the Information Minister.

The third time I met Dr Mahathir in person in which I managed to steal some casual chat in between prayers when was invited to his buka puasa function at the Perdana Leadership Foundation on Thursday, September 17.

I was sitting crossed-leg in the front row while waiting for the congregation to perform the Maghrib prayers when the doctor trickled in and sat beside me. I greeted him and reminded him that I had a one-to-one meeting with him two months ago.

He vaguely remembered however, saying “saya jumpa ramai orang hari hari.”

But he instantly recalled our discussion on Malaysian politics and a particular political navigation that contributed in a small way for an opposition party to successfully capture a state government and a story of certain politician whose signature was helluva expensive back in 1997 when I told him my name, precisely my second name …

I had also related to him that as a chief reporter with TheSUN newspaper I had covered him extensively including the hectic 14-day campaign trail of the 1995 General Election. That assignment took me and pixman Raj Kumar King to almost every nook and cranny of the country such as Kuala Klawang (in Jelebu parliamentary constituency), Kuala Selangor, Gua Musang and Baling in Kedah. We were quite lost while looking for town called Jelebu when there was none. Jelebu is the name of a district and the town is Kuala Klawang. Similarly there was no town called Kubang Pasu for its a district while the town is Jitra.

After the prayers the guests proceeded to the main dining hall for a delicious Kelantan set dinner and some 30 minutes later we were back onto the mat for Isyak prayers and subsequently the terawikh.

Again, the good doctor performed his prayers beside me at the almost similar spot we had previously, only this time the famous blogger Datuk A. Kadir Jasin or TheScribe was on my left.

I was again in the doctor’s face with another small talk before we adjourned for moreh, the after terawikh prayers’ meal.

Upon my departure from the premises I had once again met Dr Mahathir the gracious host to extend my gratitude for the kind invitation. I was later told by Sufi Yusof, the doctor’s special assistant that the real host was Berita Publishing.

The doctor replied: “Valenteno…kita jumpa lagi lepaih raya na…”. Sure, I hope to meet my doctor again...

Friday, September 19, 2008


It was one long night for a politician, it could have been the longest in his entire career.

How he wished he was not there, and how he wished that they were not discussing about him, his political future or precisely his possible political demise.

Their verdict: Either you retire or risked being retired, period.

The last time Umno Supreme Council meeting had such a super-charged session behind tightly-closed door was (coincidentally in the same month) September 3rd, 1998 when they had a lengthy deliberation on alleged misconduct against a former deputy president. Then, the gloves were off and it was a no holds barred all night long bashing and counter-bashing against one of their kind.

Three were for his rescue but the rest, we were told, simply hacked, whacked and racked him into pieces. Everybody around the oval table had their say and one who was not present had his written in advance and was dutifully read by the secretary-general.

In the end the council revoked the deputy president’s party membership and thenafter all positions the deputy president had held in the party went south.

He was there, given adequate and ample opportunity to defend himself and it was to no avail as, according to the former president, the evidence which compounded the allegations was overwhelming and condemning.

Peculiarly, the former deputy president had a rare privilege of having been given two rounds of opportunity to answer against the charges but the tone of his political defense deferred from the first to the second, apparently after he had miscalculated his support among his peers.

Umno could not strip any member of his or her elected position as it was decided by the delegates of the general assembly but the party is at will to revoke the membership of a member whose case whatsoever brought before the council.

It was a déjà vu of sort last night at the 39th Floor, Menara Dato Onn of the Umno Headquarters.

If only the walls of the conference room could speak…and relate to us a blow by blow account of the meeting which had some politicians sweating in the fully and heavily air-conditioned room, some in cold sweat while a few had their temperatures up…


"SENDIRI MAU PIKIAQ LA...". Gambar hiasan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad semasa mengulung perbahasan pada Perhimpunan Agung UMNO 2002 di Dewan Merdeka, Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra.

Saya memahami perasaan seseorang yang sedang menghadapi hari-hari terakhirnya.

Gundah gulana, sering termenung menjauh, lebih selesa menjauhkan diri daripada mereka yang sentiasa dekat dengannya dan sering bersendirian serta sukar untuk dibawa berbual walaupun topik yang ringan yang mungkin boleh menceriakan hati. Seringkali muka masam mencuka.

Mungkin beliau berfikir apa dah jadi atau apa akan jadi, mungkin mengimbas kembali dan mungkin memandang ke hadapan. Semua serba mungkin akan tetapi yang tidak lagi mungkin adalah esok atau lusa adalah hari-hari terakhirnya.

Itu yang pasti.

Situasi ini pernah saya saksikan sendiri akan seorang anggota Jemaah Menteri pada hari-hari terakhirnya seketika dahulu. Setelah hari itu sampai maka beliau pun mengadakan sidang berita (bukan sidang media atau sidang akhbar seperti yang selalu disalah sebut oleh pemberita dan wartawan cetak dan elektronik setiap hari) untuk menyatakan kepada umum bahawa beliau telah dengan sukarela meletak jawatan eksekutifnya. Bosnya tidaklah berkata demikian.

Siapa yang betul atau tidak dalam hal itu tidak lagi menjadi soal akan tetapi yang pasti anggota Jemaah Menteri itu tidak lagi berada di kerusi empuknya.

Apakah hari ini kita sedang menyaksikan hari-hari terakhirnya seseorang, laksana "The Last Days Of Pompei?"

pix by Jediraj...

Monday, September 15, 2008


As usual the last few days of the Muslim month of Syaaban will always be a busy time for me and my family.

As Ramadhan is approaching around the corner, there will be three must-do things (for me as my wife will be busy with other chores) and one of them is what I have always considered to be the most important – brunch at Restoran Yaseen Nasi Kandar Penang -- my favourite joint along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

One of the other two is to get to the tailor at Wisma Yakin at Jalan Mesjid India to make my Baju Melayu in time for Aidilfitri.

Like I said, the nasi kandar brunch or lunch, depending on how fast I could get to the restaurant is the most important agenda because if I missed the deadline then I will have to wait until after Hari Raya to enjoy “the-feast-of-my-life”.

As I see it, nasi kandar is a day meal and having them at night is simply a no-no for me although the restaurant operates 24-7. Unlike some people who include my close friends, having a nasi kandar meal to me is a serious business, meaning really serious! and as far as I am concerned nothing beats Yaseen.

With only two days before the fasting month I have to be extra fast to get to the joint failing which I will have to stand in line with between 20 to 25 eager customers leading to the food counter.

They were there for the same reason as well – to beat the pre-Ramadhan queue for brunch or lunch and you are able to see this as you drive along the busy and usually congested road which was formerly known as Batu Road. In a way this is also a testimony of how good the nasi kandar is at Yaseen.

If I am lucky and arrived early at around 9 am to 9.30 am then I will be able to feast myself to the first batch of nasi kandar which is off-white in colour and the aroma of which really wets the mouth while choosing the “lauk”. There will later be many more batches of rice replenished but the first pot is always the best! Not only that the nasi kandar is still hot from the stove, the lauks are also sizzling…

In my humble opinion this is by far this is the most authentic nasi kandar. This is the real deal in as far as nasi kandar is concerned and you can always take my word for this!

For the uninitiated, Restoran Yaseen Nasi Kandar Penang is located just a few doors away from a Honda outlet and almost opposite of a Sony boutique, and a stone’s throw from the now famous Tune Hotel which is located at the Jalan Sultan Ismail-Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman traffic lights junction near Maju Junction.

Should you missed or unsure of the landmarks, I am quite sure you will notice a long queue leading to a particular restaurant around 12 noon to 1.30 pm which is usually the lunch hour crowd. The façade of the restaurant is partly hidden by a bus stop but the green-yellow signboard above the joint is hardly invisible!

As I have travelled the length and breadth of our country, Yaseen’s nasi kandar is still the best and totally resembles the nasi kandar used to be hawked by Indian Muslim peddlars along the famous Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling in Penang and the ones served at Restoran Kassim Nasi Kandar or the Restoran Craven A near Komtar until they upgraded the trade into the comfortable restaurants as we see them today.

Those days the Indian Muslims in Penang or Mamak as we fondly called them ply their trade on foot with a five foot long piece of wood (or sometimes rattan) to carry two wooden food containers, mostly hardened and large-sized brown-coloured round basket.

The Malay word to describe the act of carrying them containers is mengandar or simply to kandar hence the name Nasi Kandar. It is also a description for a balancing act of the containers. The piece of wood which is supposed to stabilize the load is placed across the shoulder by the Mamak with the rice in the front container and its condiments in the back, or sometimes the other way around.

It should be a quick business transaction whenever a hungry customer flags the Mamak down to have a meal. Most of times the sight of one customer having his nasi kandar meal (while squatting or sometimes sitting on a small and short wooden stool) will attract other customers for a bite as well.

Drinks to go? Only plain water is served.

However, since the load is quite a problem, the peddlar could only afford to carry a certain amount of food products to cater to only a small number of customers during his rounds for the day. He could be back later after replenishment but that hardly takes place on regular basis. So you must catch him in the earnest.

But not to be despair for there were large number of nasi kandar mamaks making their daily rounds then along the busy streets and roads in Penang, aptly known as the Nasi Kandar Mecca of Malaysia.

I was told that nasi kandar was most probably the first downstream product of the booming spice trade which made Penang famous back then. Nasi Briani came into the picture much later.

My late grandfather from my late mother’s side (May Allah bless their souls) who was a Jelutong-born in Penang related to me about the earlier days of nasi kandar business on the island. Being a Customs officer he used to do his beat along the streets and stand witness to the trade which was conspicuous and one that turned out to be the most famous product of the island, even until today.

However, these days mobile nasi kandar are no longer around for the business is now more organised with uniformed waiters and cultured shops since the trade has been upgraded and commercialised to a more comfortable environment and in a better establishment in Penang.

Nasi kandar business has also spread its wings to the rest of the country and the world, even to Down Under and Chennai in India! These days, it’s common to see a nasi kandar restaurant around the corner in our vicinity and they could even be one near your house.

My question is, are these the real thing? I will get back on this later.

Back to Yaseen, which I have been so fond of having my meal since 1980 when I was still a college student in Sungei Besi. I was introduced to this shop by my Alor Setar-born father.

My standard meal these days – breakfast, brunch or lunch will be a full plate of nasi kandar, a piece of crispy fried pomfret (the front part), a piece of fried egg and all around kuah (gravy) from the other dishes with extra kuah itam besides the fish curry.

The best part is the a little bit of this kuah and a little bit of that kuah from the other dishes onto your serving that really pulls it off. Part of it is also due to the competency of the mamak in sprinkling your plate with the mostly table spoon-size kuahs.

On the side (or on smaller plate) is a medium-size chilli fried squid (with roe inside) to be cut into smaller pieces or sometimes medium-size chilli fried crab. Also on the side are a fresh (or sometimes not so fresh) long green jalapeno and a plate of three-piece appallam if you asked for it. You will also get pieces of sliced cucumber but I will always decline for between 4 to 5 pieces of lady’s fingers.

The best drink to go with the meal is a hot teh-o but I simply prefer a glass of warm water and later a glass of black local coffee to wash down the food, especially the after taste of fried fish head.

For this complete meal, between RM 8 to RM 12, depending on the size of the squid or crab, will change hands from mine to the cashier’s at the counter and with my utmost satisfaction.

Most of the times I will have my meal there alone while reading a newspaper in front of me to ward off any possible uninvited guest to share my table because I prefer to have my nasi kandar alone and in peace. And it will always be a quickie -- an eat and go affair with no time to spare then after, or perhaps a fag to top it.

I don’t mind travelling kilometres away and brave myself through the notorious traffic snarls from my Kuala Lumpur house in Taman Sri Gombak or elsewhere just to have my breakfast, brunch or lunch and leave immediately after its all done. And if I was on the way back from Alor Setar or elsewhere to Gombak, Yaseen Nasi Kandar will be the first item in Kuala Lumpur before hitting home.

So it’s all about the nasi kandar and nasi kandar only, hence the serious business I was talking about earlier! It’s really my passion and I am very passionate about nasi kandar so much so I am now a self-declared expert.

It is customary not to use soap while washing your hands after a nasi kandar meal because almost all kaki like to maintain the smell of the kuah taroh atas or gravy-on-top around their hand until late evening. It is advisable to wash your hands over your empty plate with warm water as most Malays and Indians do after their meal.

Nasi Kandar is not a set meal kind of thing. It is best served kuah-taroh-atas. Using fork and spoon only makes you look silly and in a way telling the others that you are not a kaki.

Why I had earlier vouched for Yaseen? After much travelling this blessed country and have tasted almost all nasi kandar everywhere and anywhere, the ones at Yaseen still fascinates me in terms of the rice and lauk.

While was in Bernama I was told of a story of a hardcore Yaseen kaki who was based in Jakarta as a correspondent who asked for a pack of nasi kandar upon hearing that a fellow journalist was about to make a trip there. The first thing he asked was “mana dia nasi kandar aku?” when the latter arrived at the airport and the kaki did not mind the 5-hour old package as long as the kuah itam is still intact!

Neighbouring nasi kandar joints along the same Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (up until The Coliseum) do not lived up to my expectation and taste as I was always rather disappointed after having a meal there. To date there are four other nasi kandar joints altogether beginning from the one before Yaseen if you are driving from Chow Kit (making head count from the Pizza Hut outlet) up to the one opposite what was formerly the Selangor Emporium, near The Coliseum.

One may argue that there are now many new nasi kandar eateries operating in prime areas such as Taipan in USJ, The Curve in Damansara, Bangsar and along Jalan Ampang where nasi kandar is being served in a bungalow!

Yes, these are nasi kandar to Kuala Lumpur folks but to me they are simply Designer Nasi Kandar.

These joints are simply too good, too clean and too neat to be described as the real thing and they do not make the kuah itam like they use to in Yaseen and back there in Penang. Even in Penang these designer outlets have been mushrooming all over the last 8 years or so and have been enjoying good business from whom I described as simple-minded and not-so-informed customers...

What I meant was the customers do not really know the real taste of nasi kandar if you have not been to Yaseen and since there is always one around the corner then to them that must be it, more so when these restaurants are in Pulau Pinang Darul Nasi Kandar!

Not quite right as if you happened to be in Penang and you want to get the real taste of nasi kandar then please drop by Restoran Kassim Nasi Kandar (among the pioneers) near Komtar, the under a tree Nasi Kandar Mesjid Kapitan Keling or the famous Line Clear Nasi Kandar near Chicago Tailor.

Still, Yaseen rates better.

Some may argue about my so-called expert opinion in nasi kandar but after 20 years of living with my Penang-born mother who served our family Mamak style curry (we called it gulai) day in and day out, I should be able to consider myself an authority in nasi kandar and everything nasi kandar. Besides most of my friends agree with me about Yaseen.

For example our family then will always have reheated curry with toasted bread or roti Bengali for breakfast, fish or chicken or beef or mutton curry and rice for lunch, again toasted bread with reheated curry for tea (unfortunately no tea but curry again!) and reheated curry with other items for dinner but curry will always be the main course. The so-called other items are rather negligible simply because it’s the curry that really make our day.

So, its curry, curry and again curry, well maybe sometimes dalca for a change. Curry and dalca are best served after at least two reheatings as my late father will always ask “mana kari semalam?”

For all those years of living with my Kedah-Penang parents I have never known any other dishes and only after I married a Negri Sembilan lady I discovered items such as masak lemak cili api, masak berlada and such. To my wife and the in-laws curry is not an essential item, unlike us then where curry is to die for!

There is a distinct difference between the real nasi kandar and nasi ayaq or normal white rice they have been serving at these designer nasi kandar restaurants that I have mentioned earlier. Just lift the lid of the pot to get a smell of the normal white rice at these designed nasi kandar restaurants and you will know what I am talking about.

It’s the aroma of the rice (off-white in colour and cooked with a piece of pandan leaf) and the lauks that stand out as the real deal. Otherwise they are simply normal rice or nasi ayaq (nasi air) being served and told to be nasi kandar. Most of the time these restaurants use too much oil in their dishes and gullible Kuala Lumpur folks are taken into believing that these oily items make the best of nasi kandar! Literally it must be nasi minyak then!

I have been arguing with my Penang folks that the best nasi kandar joint is NOT in Penang but in Kuala Lumpur. I had for a fact tasted almost all the joints on the island and the mainland and arrived at that conclusion confidently.

Whenever I am in Penang my must-eat items will always be the hawkers food at Gurney Drive especially Assam Laksa and Sotong Bakar or Sotong Kangkung and never nasi kandar or pasembor which Kuala Lumpur folks called rojak.

The only time I will have my nasi kandar in Penang thesedays is only after having bought some take-home and give-away items such as buah salak and nutmeg at the Chowrasta Market. Since parking is quite a problem along Penang Road, we will have to leave the car near a nasi kandar restaurant and on the way back to the car we will stop for a bite, which is rather out of convenience than passion for the food.

As expected these so-called hardcore nasi kandar kaki from Penang vehemently shoot me down on the argument of the best nasi kandar (yes, we fought hard about this and like I said earlier nasi kandar is a serious business to us!) until one day I took them for a hefty meal at Yaseen which cost me a bomb.

Since then they have never missed having a compulsory nasi kandar fix there whenever they are in Kuala Lumpur because in their own words “ni best in the world punya nasik kandaq, awat hang tak habaq mai awai-awai?”

My verdict – Nasi Kandar at Yaseen is simply first class!

This restaurant is flanked by both Khutu Mohamad Nasi Kandar Penang (underneath the Internasional Hotel) a few doors on the left and the Raja Alavddin Nasi Kandar Penang quite a few doors away to the right but please make no mistake about Yaseen which is right in the centre and the obvious queue outside the joint is a signature!

Should you have any doubt please get yourself down there for a meal and don’t forget to ask the mamak, “itu kuah itam kasi lebih!”.

p.s. This is NOT an advertortial...and the writer has no relations whatsoever with the owner of Yaseen (don't even know who the person is), simply a serious patron since 1980...

(Part of this article appeared on M10 (the Metro section), TheStar newspaper today, Sept 15 2008).

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Tahniah kepada Kerajaan Malaysia kerana bertindak tegas terhadap segelintir golongan minoriti yang kecil yang cenderung ke arah mengugat kestabilan negara ini.

Bertindaklah sebelum ia terlambat dan tindakan tegas dan keras semalam telah menghantar isyarat yang jelas bahawa "anda tidak boleh dan tidak berhak berbuat sesuka hati".

Kita berharap agar tindakan ini tidaklah bersifat "hangat-hangat tahi ayam" sahaja kerana ini bukanlah kali pertama munculnya golongan kurang ajar di negara ini dan pastinya bukan kali terakhir hatta tindakan tegas dan keras seperti yang diambil dalam masa 36 jam ini. Bertindaklah tegas terhadap sesiapa sahaja kerana mereka tidak mewakili golongan majoriti.

Sekurang-kurangnya keadaan agak reda sedikit sebanyak dan kita boleh kembali kepada kehidupan normal yang kita nikmati sebelum ini.

Disebabkan sikap keterbukaan kerajaan selama ini dan lantaran naiknya muka dan tercacaknya tocang segerombolan dua golongan minoriti yang mabuk kuasa sejak Pilihanraya Umum ke-12, maka kelihatan bahawa keadaan sudah dikucar-kacirkan – bangsa-bangsa asing di negara ini sudah celupar mempertikai dan mempersoalkan secara lantang kedudukan istimewa Orang Melayu dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan, Agama Islam telah saban kali dipersendakan termasuklah oleh mereka yang mengaku Islam, institusi-institusi yang dahulunya dihormati kini sudah dipandang enteng dan pelbagai lagi.

Keadaan semakin meruncing dengan segala macam suara kedengaran yang dahulunya tidak berbunyi sedikit pun dan hanya kerana mendapat kuasa yang sedikit maka keceluparan mereka menjadi ketara.

Namun ia hanya tindakan segelintir minoriti yang kecil. Sangat kecil dan mereka ini perlu diajar kerana kurang ajar!

Majoriti Rakyat Malaysia tidak bersetuju dengan golongan kurang ajar ini dan tidak menyokong tindakan-tindakan itu kerana masih sayangkan dan menghargai apa juga kontrak sosial, persefahaman dan semangat kerjasama yang dipersetujui selama ini.

Sehingga artikel ini ditulis, kita dimaklumkan bahawa tindakan tegas kerajaan semalam telah mencetuskan peluh dingin di kalangan mereka yang selama ini semakin lantang mempersoalkan apa sahaja termasuklah perkara-perkara yang tidak kena mengena dengan mereka langsung dan perkara-perkara yang mereka tidak mempunyai pengetahuan secukupnya untuk membuat ulasan dan komen – semuanya atas nama kebebasan bersuara di internet.

Dimaklumkan bahawa akan berlaku lagi tindakan tegas dan keras terhadap gerombolan ini.

Sejak enam bulan ini, kita telah melihat pelbagai opera, drama dan sandiwara yang bermacam-macam yang sudah memuakkan kita dengan perilaku dan tatalaku para pelakunya – terutamanya gerombolan tepi jalan yang telah diberikan mandat sebagai wakil-wakil yang dipilih samada di Dewan Undangan Negeri dan Dewan Rakyat yang termakan gula yang mereka taburkan.

Rakyat yang sayangkan keamanan, kestabilan dan keharmonian selama ini tidak terdaya untuk menentang golongan kurang ajar ini, hanya berharap sangat Kerajaan Malaysia melakukan sesuatu untuk mententeramkan keadaan. Alhamdulillah, keadaan sekarang sudah reda biarpun untuk seketika. Nampaknya golongan kurang ajar ini hanya bisa diajar sedemikian rupa dan tidak bisa mengunakan akal fikiran, kematangan dan rasionaliti dalam tindak tanduk mereka.

Diharapkan Malaysia kembali aman dan tenang dengan tindakan tegas dan keras ini.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Hanya disebabkan beberapa patah perkataan, seseorang itu boleh menjadi terkenal dalam sekelip mata.

Jika tidak kerana apa yang didakwa oleh seorang pemberita (bukan wartawan) Cina yang melaporkan untuk sebuah akhbar Cina mungkin tidak seorang pun di luar Pulau Pinang akan mengenali Ahmad Ismail, Ketua Umno Bahagian Bukit Bendera.

Kini beliau seumpama seorang selebriti. Tidak kiralah samada untuk sebab yang baik atau kurang baik nama Ahmad kini sudah dikenali – good publicity or bad publicity but publicity nevertheless.

Dalam keghairahan isu ini beberapa persoalan ditumbulkan...

(1) Benarkah Ahmad mengeluarkan kata-kata sepertimana yang didakwa oleh pemberita Cina itu? Mengapa tidak disiasat juga pemberita Cina itu?

(2) Tidakkah pemberita Cina itu mempunyai konflik kepentingan semasa mensensasikan berita berkenaan? Beliau masih baru dalam profesion ini dan berbangsa Cina, justru kecenderungannya mudah sangatlah dibaca...

(3) Sekiranya benar kata-kata Ahmad itu berbau perkauman, bagaimanapula dengan serangan balas oleh Gerakan yang juga berbau perkauman? Serangan mencelah oleh MCA dan DAP pula bagaimana? Tidakkah semua parti politik ini mempunyai kepentingan sama seperti konflik yang dialami oleh pemberita Cina itu?

(4) Kenapakah Polis tidak mengambil tindakan segera dan tegas sekiranya kata-kata Ahmad berupa hasutan atau menghina, sedangkan kita semua tahu bahawa polis sentiasa memantau setiap dan semua ceramah secara peribadi semasa sesuatu pilihanraya atau pilihanraya kecil?

(5) Mengapakah Gerakan sudah berani mengugut hendak meninggalkan Barisan Nasional hanya kerana isu ini? Sekiranya Gerakan begitu kecewa dengan tindak tanduk Ahmad termasuklah keputusan sokongan padu kesemua 13 ketua Umno bahagian di Pulau Pinang kepada Ahmad, mengapa tidak terus sahaja tinggalkan Barisan daripada bertindak bagai budak-budak – putuskan hubungan dengan Umno Bukit Bendera, kemudian putuskan hubungan dengan Umno Pulau Pinang...apa maksud semua ini?

Sekiranya sudah kecewa mengapa tidak terus keluar meninggalkan Barisan Nasional? Sekiranya anda budiman, tidak perlu mengugut, terus keluar dan persetankan....itupun kalau berupaya...

(6) Kalau benar sudah muak dengan Barisan Nasional maka mengapa masih hanya putuskan hubungan dengan Umno Pulau Pinang sahaja sedangkan masih ingin berada di bawah naungan Barisan Nasional di peringkat pusat?

Apakah sekiranya meninggalkan Barisan Nasional pusat maka beberapa ahli parlimen Gerakan akan kehilangan jawatan eksekutif? Jawatan-jawatan seperti Timbalan Menteri Penerangan (kebetulan penjawatnya Ketua Wanita Gerakan yang mahukan Ahmad ditahan di bawah ISA) dan jawatan Timbalan Menteri Perusahaan Perladangan dan Komoditi dan beberapa lagi jawatan yang lain. Bukankah majoriti pengundi di Parlimen Lenggong itu Melayu?

Mudah sangat mengambil keputusan untuk hanya berkisar di Pulau Pinang kerana sudah tiada jawatan untuk Gerakan kerana dihalau keluar oleh masyarakat Cina yang sudah muak dengan politik Gerakan.

(7) Benarkah Gerakan bukan parti perkauman Cina? Sekiranya begitu mengapakah hanya pada Ahad 7 Sept 2008 barulah muncul seorang bukan Cina (berbangsa Hindu) dipilih sebagai Pengerusi Gerakan Selangor? Berapa sangatkah bukan Cina mendapat tempat dalam Gerakan sejak ianya ditubuhkan pada 1969?

(8) Kita pernah dengar Gerakan melaungkan Bangsa Malaysia sebelum ini. Namun apakah mereka faham maksud dan intipati ungkapan itu. Sekurang-kurangnya tunjuklah teladan yang paling baik dengan (a) membuka pintu kepada lebih ramai bangsa bukan Cina untuk dilantik dan dipilih dalam kepimpinan parti dan (b) mulakan gerakan memansuhkan sekolah Cina yang menjadi satu daripada sebab utama mengapa wawasan Bangsa Malaysia tidak akan berjaya.

(9) Bolehkah Gerakan, dengan tiada lagi nama-nama hebat dalam barisan perjuangannya terus hidup atau berkubur setelah meninggalkan Barisan Nasional? Apabila seorang kepala parti itu ditolak oleh rakyat di kerusi parlimen maka, bisanya sebagai seorang pemimpin boleh dikatakan sudah tumpul.

Lihat sahajalah nasib seorang bekas menteri yang berbangsa India. Apakah orang peduli apa yang keluar daripada mulutnya termasuk daripada sebangsanya?

Sekiranya Gerakan dan parti-parti lain boleh melakukan semua ini, mungkin tindakan tegas terhadap Ahmad boleh diambil kerana dikatakan dan didakwa bersifat perkauman.

Sekiranya mereka tidak boleh melakukan apa yang dinyatakan di sini, maka lebih baik duduk diam sahaja. Atau cerminkan diri dan bertanya ”apakah aku pun memelihara kepentingan kaum aku juga, sepertimana mereka?”...

Pendek kata, siapakah yang lebih bersifat rasis daripada yang dituduh rasis?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


History could just happened in Pulau Pinang...

Barisan Nasional candidate for the Permatang Pauh Parliamentary by-election Arif Shah Omar Shah stands a better chance to win. It might be difficult, but its not impossible because nothing is impossible in Malaysian politics.

Being an examplary state assemblyman thus far this white-haired OCBC might pulled of an upset against the overwhelmingly favoured candidate from Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

While there was an enormous preassure on PKR to win, it was less on Arif who is readily embraced by just any other voter in P44. He might just snap away the parliament seat by the slimmest of a majority.

Arif means clever or smart in Bahasa Melayu, actually its Arabic for clever and smart.

And voters in Permatang Pauh are Arif enough to make a choice, which is not very difficult...

Thursday, July 31, 2008


The followings are the sequences you will most probably face once you step into a restaurant around Kuala Lumpur, especially those managed by Indian Muslims who are fondly called Mamak.

One: You take a seat and immediately a waiter greets you to take an order after pretending to be wiping the table with a cloth. Sometimes between three to four waiters will take their turns asking you the same question without knowing that you have already ordered.

Two: Your meal is served. Well, at leat your drink for now.

Three: A moderately-dressed couple visits your table for sedekah.

Four: A well-dressed hawker hits your table with some socks or ballpoints or sometimes children books or pirated dvds, even layer cakes!

Five: Another moderately-dressed couple visits your table for sedekah after uttering some inaudible words.

Six: Another visit by another moderately-dressed couple (maybe and may not be a male and female combo, they could also be a female-female or male-male duo but one of them MUST be a handicapped).

Seven: A well-dressed hawker in his or her early twenties approaches you to sell items you most probably don’t need. He or she will turn away only after you have declined the offer the fourth time -- meaning you have politely said “ tak pa…tak pa” four times before they leave you in peace, for a while.

Eight: An unfriendly-looking African street peddler offers you leather items, fake designer watches or wallets which are mostly a fav among the immigrants here for their unimaginative colors.

Nine: A well-dressed man in his early thirties show you some fake designer sling bags with his cliché opening line of "Bang, hari ini saya nak bagi abang the baik punya offer…bla bla bla... He could have been having his meal earlier at the next table…

Ten: Another couple, not so well-dressed but not too shabbily approaches your table with some pocket calendars or tissue papers in mini packets usually with “assalamualaikum…”

Eleven: A man in his late thirties with a skull cap greets you for donation to build some mosque somewhere, usually in Southern Thailand or the Philippines. There were others from Kelantan or Kedah making these rounds for some mosque in that state too…

By now you might have transferred all the items on your plate and in the glass into your tummy and was about to enjoy a fag when part of the sequence repeat endlessly until you leave the restaurant.

Twelve: You went up to the counter to pay for your meal and you will never miss a small metal box right on the right or left side of the counter. It was meant for donation to again, build some mosque somewhere which most probably you have never heard of.

Believe me these are the usual scenarios at our restaurants and they are really stretching our patience and tolerance as well as our generosity to the limit.

The best part is that there is no escaping them, they are everywhere and every time with everything and they simply approach everyone for that matter. They do not have any qualms approaching even uniformed personnel be they some Bandaraya enforcement officers having their meal in a group or simply motorcycle-riding cops taking a break.

And again, the best of the best part is that NOBODY is doing anything about this – not the Bandaraya, no particular ministry, no department and not even any religious authority.

Nobody seems to care about this problem of Kuala Lumpur. Then again, these scenarios are not peculiar to Kuala Lumpur for all the major cities and towns elsewhere in our country are not spared.

Simply put, they are everywhere… and always in your face…

Five years ago I have written on this occurrence in a Melayu-language daily but unfortunately the next few days my letter to the editor were met with negative responses criticizing my complaint which were also carried by the newspaper.

Conclusion: Readers do not share my view on the matter and meaning they were sympathetic and generous to the beggars.

Earlier this week I was having Nasi Goreng Cina and a glass of Nescafe Ais at Maju Curry House Restaurant behind the Grand Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur like I used to with some friends and unfortunately we had to endure the same situation I experienced five years ago at another Indian Muslim restaurant in Bangsar.

The only thing that has changed was that Indo China-looking child beggars and bare-footed monks were no longer seen doing these rounds anymore. It was either the authorities got rid of them from the streets or they were no longer part of the trade.

I tend to believe that their role were clipped for a not-so-new approach of having well-dressed makciks or pakciks who were usually partially blind and in tow a healthy woman or man to assist the “predator”.

The point is when will all this stop? Who is responsible to manage this problem? Is there anybody doing anything about this? To whom do we complain to?

Again, the best part is – does anyone care??

And again, they will always be in your face…

Monday, July 28, 2008


Dua hari lepas seorang ketua sebuah parti politik "menampar muka" segerombolan orang Melayu yang selama ini mendakwa memperjuangkan politik Islam.

Tamparan itu agak menyakitkan apabila si bukan Melayu itu mengungkit: "Pakatan Rakyat perlu menimbang secara serius sama ada PAS patut terus dibenarkan menganggotainya." Lebih mendukalarakan lagi apabila dia berkata jaminan Abdul Hadi Awang kepada rakan-rakan dalam Pakatan Rakyat bahawa PAS tidak akan meninggalkan pakatan itu bagi menyertai BN adalah tidak ikhlas dan tidak disokong oleh perkembangan kebelakangan ini.

Sampai sekarang parti orang-orang Melayu itu masih belum membalas kenyataan pedas itu, kalau ada pun hanyalah retorik yang bersifat apologetik. Nampaknya menikus jugalah mereka ini apabila berdepan dengan bukan Melayu akan tetapi pantang sahaja dicabar oleh Umno maka segeralah mereka marah membara, naik semangat dan menangkis seakan tiada lagi esok.

Mereka hanya hebat menyerang dan menyerang-balas dengan pidato yang berapi-rapi apabila berhadapan dengan Umno, sebuah parti orang Melayu akan tetapi seperti terkunci mulut hanya apabila si bukan Melayu itu bersuara. Hebat sungguh nampaknya si bukan Melayu itu!

Apakah mereka takut akan digugurkan daripada sebuah kerjasama longgar yang sehingga ini masih belum didaftarkan secara rasmi untuk dinamakan Pakatan Rakyat? Apakah mereka takut akan kehilangan jawatan menteri besar, ahli majlis mesyuarat kerajaan negeri (exco), jawatan ahli majlis perbandaran dan jawatan-jawatan lain yang kesemuanya merupakan harta rampasan perang pada 8 Mac 2008?

Apakah kerana diberi kesempatan menikmati kedudukan yang sekelumit serta tidak berkuasa maka mereka tidak berani menyanggah kata-kata pedas pemimpin bukan Melayu itu?

Hebatkah sangat pakatan itu sehinggakan hampir kesemua pemimpin parti yang selama ini mendakwa memperjuangkan politik Islam ini membisu seribu bahasa, menikus dan memandang ke arah lain apabila muka mereka diludah? Apakah mereka lebih takut kepada bukan Melayu daripada Melayu? Apakah mereka khuatir akan kehilangan segala-galanya apabila digugurkan daripada pakatan itu?

Apakah yang akan rugi sedangkan selama ini mereka hanya menumpang ihsan si bukan Melayu – diberikan jawatan menteri besar sebagai balasan untuk tidak berkata apa-apa apabila parti bukan Melayu itu memonopoli kesemua kuasa dan kedudukan di sebuah kerajaan negeri, diketepikan daripada pemerintahan di sebuah negeri yang lain dan hampir tidak mempunyai suara sebuah negeri yang berjiran.

Beginilah nasib segerombolan orang-orang Melayu ini, hanya kerana kuasa yang sedikit.

Selama ini mereka dilayan tidak ubah seperti melukut di tepi gantang, maka apakah yang menjadi masalah sekiranya tidak lagi bersekutu dengan parti-parti bukan Melayu ini untuk mengambil keputusan bergabung dengan Umno yang sentiasa memperjuangkan Agama, Bangsa dan Tanahair dan menobatkan Islam sebagai wadah perjuangan?

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I have always thought that my name is different.

Its not that simple to explain the reason, (what was) the big idea behind it and its significance. And this has been going on for the last 40 years.

Nope, I have never complained to my old man about it, rather I appreciated his wisdom at arriving to this name -- Zukri Valenteno bin Mohd Ali. Was told that it was his decision all the way and Mak was not involved.

Not only that my name was different: being a very Melayu with an Italian name since most of the times people would have expected a Caucasian or at least a Caucasian-looking person!

But not this Valenteno. An Alor Setar-born Valenteno who is Melayu, can this be real? People still ask me thesedays. One can never imagine the difficulties growing up there in the conservative Melayu surroundings in the early 1970s and later in Kinrara in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur. I had illustrated the story(ies) behind my name in earlier posting, dated June 15, 2008.

During my primary school days in St.Johns Institution Kuala Lumpur there was another person with an equally different name -- Cyrus Reza. His reason: it was given by his diplomat father after the famous US Secretary of State Cyruss Vance. And there was also Akhbar Khan in our class, who was named after the famous conquerer. We also had a son of a Melayu-Mat Salleh mixed parentage by the name of Mohd Johan Musa (elder brother of Harith Iskandar Musa the comic) who looked more Mat Salleh than his Melayu name! All in the class of 1975. And there was also Nazrin Abdul Wahab, a very Chinese-looking guy in our class.

Anyway, most of the times people had always spelt my name wrongly – Valentino instead of Valenteno. It was a actually a variant of the name which sounds the same and they thought I had my name wrong!

No offence taken since it is not everyday that one meet up with a Valenteno and probably the only Valenteno they knew was Valentino! They could have been influenced by the famous Italian designer of whom I certainly have no family connection. His family originated from Florence while mine, I was told, came from a small village in Palermo, Sicily. You believe that?

But then again I have always thought my name was really difficult to understand, until I came across this article in a local daily today…

KUALA LUMPUR: A retired senior police officer, who was charged with raping a mentally disabled woman five years ago, was yesterday ordered by the Sessions Court to enter his defence.

Judge Datin Anita Harun said in her decision at the end of the prosecution's case, that they had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against retired assistant commissioner Mat Susah Sadikin.

Mat Susah, 66, was formerly an officer with the Special Branch at the Federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman.

He had been charged on Dec 7, 2006 with raping the 23-year-old woman in a storeroom of his grocery store, at Jalan Raja Muda, Kampung Baru, here, between 4pm and 7pm in October 2003.

I could only imagine his life was indeed difficult, having difficult as his name. And right now, he is even more in difficult situation! Imagine the reason to name your own with such a difficult name? Literally and now perhaps figuratively as with the above case with Encik Mat Susah...

I have heard of names like Mat Aje Lah instead of Mat (perhaps what the father meant was "just Mat",) Ogu Salim instead of Agus Salim, Mohd Hitler Zami (yes, a film director he is and son of comedian Zami Ismail), one Harry Salzman (a Melayu, perhaps named after the James Bond fame) who is a pixman with our national news agency Bernama and one Mohd Soeharto Ismail (the last I heard he was with a government departmen in Putrajaya).

Difficult name these are...no?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Semalam tiga bekas ahli Umno menyertai sebuah parti pembangkang. Pastinya parti berkenaan mengharapkan agar ianya menjadi cetusan pembakar semangat agar ramai lagi di kalangan Umno menyertai mereka.

Ketiga-tiga mereka ini amat kurang dikenali, hanya setelah mereka sendiri mengingatkan kita siapakah mereka seketika dahulu barulah kita sedar bahawa mereka pernah berada dalam Umno, yakni bekas ahli Umno.

Mengikut rekod, dua daripada mereka pernah berkhidmat sebagai Ahli Parlimen manakala seorang lagi langsung tidak pernah terdengar namanya. Mungkinkah ketika itu sudah tidak ada orang lain yang lebih layak maka pucuk pimpinan parti terpaksa memilih mereka sebagai calon daripada membiarkan kerusi parlimen berkenaan jatuh ke tangan parti pembangkang?

Saya gunakan perkataan bekas dua kali kerana itulah sifat mereka – bekas ahli Umno yang dalam konteks politik hari ini tidak akan mendatangkan untung kepada sesiapa pun – masuk tidak menambah dan keluar Umno pun tidak akan mengurang.

Apakah Umno akan lemah apabila mereka ini menyertai parti pembangkang?

Tentu sekali tidak kerana mereka tidaklah berpengaruh, malahan ada antara mereka yang telah lama ditolak dan diketepikan tidak hanya oleh pucuk pimpinan Umno malahan oleh para pengundi. Pendek kata, kehadiran mereka tidaklah mengoncang political equation dalam Umno, walaupun di peringkat negeri atau bahagian pastinya tidak langsung mencetuskan sebarang regresion, jauh sekali sebarang kegelisahan.

Apakah sifat mereka mungkin lebih baik sedikit daripada melukut di tepi gantang, atau sama?

Apakah pemimpin besar parti pembangkang itu hanya mampu menarik minat mereka yang sudah direject sahaja? Mana dia Ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional yang akan berpaling tadah? Di mana dia ketua-ketua Umno bahagian yang dikatakan akan menyeberang ke sana?

Apakah mereka yang ditunggu-tunggu akan menyertai parti pembangkang ini masih bersifat tunggu dan lihat atau "hang tunggu aku, aku pun dok tengok hang, macam tu ka"?

Apakah mereka sanggup bersekongkol dan duduk sebarisan dengan gerombolan orang politik yang sudah direject ini?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008



Blog ini menerima banyak komen yang tidak bersetuju dengan posting ini. Ianya tidak dapat disiarkan kerana terlalu nista dan hina untuk dibaca. Saya tidak perlu membayangkan betapa busuknya hati mereka yang masih memusuhi Melayu, daripada nada dan cerca yang mereka tulis.

Namun, apabila berbicara mengenai Melayu, saya tidak apologetik dan tidak akan apologetik terhadap sesiapa pun yang tergolong dalam gerombolan yang memusuhi Melayu.



Agaknya Melayu ketika ini merupakan suatu bangsa yang amat disayangi Allah SWBT?

Disayangi kerana sehingga hari ini Melayu tidak pernah habis diuji, diduga, dicabar dan ditentang bagaikan ada sahaja bangsa-bangsa asing yang cemburu, tidak menyukai serta membenci dan memusuhi Melayu.

Nampaknya Melayu lebih disayangi Allah SWBT daripada kaum Palestin kerana pada skala tertentu musuh kaum berkenaan hanyalah Zionis Yahudi di Israel dan pelobi Yahudi di Amerika Syarikat sedangkan hampir kesemua bangsa asing di dalam dan luar apa yang asalnya Tanah Melayu ini menjadikan Melayu isu mereka setiap hari.

Daripada isu yang kecil seperti papantanda jalan sehingga kepada apa yang disebut sebagai kontrak sosial Melayu tidak pernah tidak dimusuhi, ditentang dan dicemburui. Tiada isu yang paling kecil dan yang paling besar yang berlalu dan berlaku tanpa membabitkan sebarang kepentingan Melayu.

Justeru, ujian untuk Melayu amatlah maha hebat, getir dan silih berganti sejak sebelum Tanah Melayu ini mencapai Kemerdekaan 1957 yang pada dasarnya adalah perjuangan Melayu. Ya, Melayulah yang berada di barisan hadapan dalam memperjuangkan Kemerdekaan dan bangsa lain hanya bijak meraih hasil kemerdekaan.

Bagaimanapun tidaklah menjadi sebarang kemusykilan sekiranya bangsa-bangsa asing di tanah ini – Cina, India, Bengali, Mat Salleh memusuhi Melayu, akan tetapi hari ini sudah wujud golongan minoriti Melayu yang memusuhi bangsanya sendiri, yakni petualang yang sudah lupa asal usul dan tidak sedar untung!

Apabila wujudnya usaha dua badan siasah besar duduk berbincang mengenai ikhtiar-hidup Melayu, maka gerombolan anti-Melayu pun mulalah riuh sekampung mencebek mulut.

Semasa mereka berkomplot, bersekutu dan tidur sebantal untuk membina kekuatan untuk menyerang Melayu, tidak ada sepatah pun kata-kata nista daripada mulut Melayu akan tetapi apabila Melayu mula bangun setelah sedar ikhtiar-hidup kini diancam maka bergemalah retorik anti-Melayu di sana-sana.

Yang menambahkan kehairanan ialah ada juga segelintir di kalangan Melayu yang berkokok sama – mempertikaikan usaha mengukuhkan perpaduan Melayu yang kini sudah dicabar oleh bukan Melayu.

Kini wujudnya pepatah yang berbunyi “Melayu Hidup Dalam Tolak Ansur – Depa Dok Tolak Melayu Dok Ansoq Pi”…

Sampai bilakah Melayu akan begini?

Hujung minggu lepas, saya terdengar semula Lagu Warisan...hampir kesemua stanzanya kini sudah menjelma menjadi kenyataan...

Monday, July 14, 2008


Esok seorang lagi Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Umno dijangka akan membuat pengumuman menawarkan diri untuk dicalonkan bagi jawatan Naib Presiden pada pemilihan jawatan Disember ini.

Walaupun muda pada usia 51 tahun, orang politik ini telah lama membabitkan diri dalam arena politik Umno yang bermula pada usia muda dan perjalanan politik beliau itu telah membawanya setapak demi setapak dalam hireki kepimpinan daripada Ahli Biasa kepada jawatan Ketua Pemuda Cawangan, Ketua Pemuda Bahagian, Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda Umno Negeri, Ketua Umno Bahagian dan kini Timbalan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Negeri.

Pada pengalaman pentadbirannya, beliau bermula sebagai setiausaha politik, setiausaha parlimen, timbalan menteri dan kini bergelar menteri. Sudah dua kementerian beliau terajui dan telah banyak asam garam dan sepak terajang politik beliau pelajari dan ketahui.

Kini beliau ingin menyandang jawatan yang lebih kanan dalam Umno kerana menurutnya: "sudah sampai masa dan ketikanya saya berbuat demikian untuk Agama, Bangsa dan Tanahair”.

Orang politik yang hebat berpidato ini dijangka akan membuat pengumuman itu pada pukul 4 petang di Kuala Lumpur selepas selesainya sebuah majlis anjuran kementerian yang beliau terajui.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Semalam seorang lagi ketua bahagian Umno menawarkan diri untuk dicalonkan sebagai Naib Presiden pada pemilihan Majlis Tertinggi Umno yang dijadualkan Disember ini.

Disebabkan sudah ramai yang berbuat demikian maka angka sebenar mereka yang telah berbuat demikian tidak diketahui, akan tetapi ianya agak besar dan mungkin yang paling ramai dalam sejarah Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu atau PEKEMBAR atau selalunya disebut UMNO.

Sebelum ini, mereka yang telah berterus terang menyatakan hasrat ialah mantan Menteri Besar Perlis Shahidan Kassim yang masih menyandang jawatan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Negeri Perlis, Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Pahang Adnan Yaakob, Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Negeri Sembilan Mohamed Hassan, bekas ketua Pergerakan Pemuda Umno Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, bekas Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda Umno Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Dr Rais Yatim dan Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda Umno Hishamuddin Hussein yang telah menyatakan hasrat tidak akan mempertahankan jawatan itu, sebaliknya ingin menaiki hireki kepimpinan dalam parti.

Mohd Isa Samad yang baru-baru ini dibebaskan daripada hukuman gantung tiga tahun akibat kesalahan politik wang dilaporkan akan bertanding jawatan berkenaan dan semalam, seorang Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Khaled Nordin menawarkan diri untuk turut sama bertanding. Seorang lagi Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Syed Hamid Albar pula diberitakan masih lagi menimbang peluang dan semua kemungkinan sebelum membuat keputusan samada bertanding atau tidak.

Antara dua Naib Presiden yang ada sekarang – Mohd Ali Rustam dan Muhyiddin Yassin, hanya Ali yang menyatakan hasrat untuk mempertahankan jawatan itu manakala Muhyiddin belum lagi berterus terang samada ingin kekal di jawatan berkenaan atau bertanding jawatan lain. Namun beliau dilaporkan berkata bahawa akan bertanding satu jawatan penting pada pemilihan Disember ini. Bagaimana penting jawatan itu tidak dinyatakan secara berterus terang.

Justeru, kita ingin bertanya apakah penting sangat jawatan Naib Presiden sehingga menarik minat sebegitu ramai? Apakah kriteria yang perlu diteliti akan seseorang calon itu sebelum sidang perwakilan membuat keputusan? Adakah kriteria lain dipertimbangkan?

Sebenarnya tiada kriteria ditetapkan, seseorang calon itu hanya perlu memperolehi bilangan pencalonan yang sebanyak 10 peratus (mengikut Fasal 9.5) daripada jumlah bahagian dalam Umno yang mengikut Fasal 14.5.4. untuk melayakan diri bertanding. Seorang calon itu perlu mendapat 19 pencalonan daripada sejumlah 190 bahagian.

Hanya tiga kerusi Naib Presiden – tiap satunya akan membebankan penyandangnya dengan tugas-tugas seperti Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Latihan Umno, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Perlembagaan Umno dan Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Penambahan Ahli. Ketiga-tiga jawatan itu juga mempunyai tempat dalam Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Umno yang dipengerusikan oleh Timbalan Presiden Umno dan Biro Politik Umno yang dipengerusikan oleh Presiden Umno.

Peluang melangkah ke jawatan yang lebih tinggi dalam parti termasuk ke kerusi Timbalan Presiden dan Presiden adalah kemungkinan yang paling besar mengapa jawatan Naib Presiden sentiasa diminati ramai. Glamournya jawatan berkenaan turut menjadi sebab.

Namun, dalam sejarah Umno tidak semua Naib Presiden akan menjadi Timbalan Presiden dan seterusnya Presiden akan tetapi kesemua Timbalan Presiden dan Presiden Umno pernah seketika dahulu menduduki kerusi Naib Presiden.

Saya tertarik dengan justifikasi oleh seorang daripada yang telah menawarkan diri untuk bertanding jawatan Naib Presiden yang berkata: ”saya hendak menyumbang dengan lebih bermakna untuk parti sekiranya diberikan peluang menyandang jawatan Naib Presiden.”

Agak klise bunyinya dan biasanya inilah ungkapan yang dijaja.

Persoalannya apakah dengan menduduki kerusi Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Umno tidak cukup bermakna atau tidak cukup berwibawa untuk menyumbang kepada parti? Apakah tidak cukup penting jawatan Ahli Majlis Tertinggi Umno untuk membuat sumbangan kepada parti.

Saya berpendapat bahawa sekiranya seseorang itu adalah pemimpin yang cukup berwibawa, walau dimana jua beliau berada atau ditempatkan merupakan wadah yang sudah cukup baik dan berkesan untuk menyumbang untuk Agama, Bangsa dan Tanahair. Hanya yang terpilih sahaja yang menduduki Majlis Tertinggi Umno, koridor kuasa yang paling penting dalam parti.

Umno tidak perlukan seorang Naib Presiden yang hanya pandai berpidato pada majlis-majlis politik dan membuat kenyataan akhbar yang berapi-api akan tetapi tidak boleh membuat kerja dalam ertikata yang sebenarnya, seperti merancang strategi yang hebat untuk mengembalikan sokongan rakyat kepada Umno sebagai teras Barisan Nasional.

Apa yang diperlukan oleh Umno hari ini adalah strategis atau sekumpulan strategis yang hebat untuk merancang dan melaksanakan pelan jangka pendek dan jangka panjang untuk sekurang-kurangnya memenangi semula kesemua kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri dan Parlimen milik Umno yang tewas pada Pilihanraya Umum Ke-12. Barisan Nasional yang bertunjangkan Umno telah kehilangan kuasa di Kedah, Perak, Pulau Pinang, Selangor dan masih gagal memerintah Kelantan. Barisan Nasional juga kalah teruk di Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

Barisan Nasional mungkin tidak boleh memenangi kesemua kerusi yang tewas akan tetapi Umno mampu mengambil balik kerusi-kerusi yang tewas hanya sekiranya parti ini telah mula merancang untuk ke arah matlamat itu sebaik sahaja selesai PRU-12 baru-baru ini.

Perancangan untuk memenangi kembali kerusi yang hilang sewajarnya bermula sejak, paling lewat pun April tahun ini dan bukannya selepas Disember ini. Saya diberitahu bahawa telahpun berlangsung beberapa siri mesyuarat peringkat tertinggi di parti-parti pembangkang dengan objektif merangka strategi dan pelan pemulihan untuk menambahkan angka kemenangan pada PRU-12. Objektif mereka ialah menawan Dewan Rakyat yang merupakan pintu ke Putrajaya.

Mereka mungkin sudah mempunyai perimudi atau navigation untuk menambah kerusi pada pilihanraya umum akan datang dan mempertahankan kerusi-kerusi DUN dan Parlimen yang ada sekiranya berlaku sebarang pilihanraya kecil menjelang PRU-13. Mereka sudah menunjukkan kesungguhan untuk menghadapi ujian politik seterusnya manakala Umno masih terperangkap dalam kemelut politik peribadi menjelang pemilihan jawatan tertinggi parti.

Bagaimana dengan Umno? Melihatkan kepada trend sekarang, lebih ramai pemimpin parti ini sedang memandang ke arah pemilihan jawatan Majlis Tertinggi daripada memikirkan ikhtiar-hidup atau survival pada PRU-13.

Justeru, apakah penting sangat jawatan Naib Presiden Umno dalam konteks politik hari ini? Apakah dengan adanya muka baru sebagai penyandang maka Umno akan lebih berwibawa untuk mengembalikan 5+1 negeri yang telah hilang kepada parti pembangkang?

Tepuklah dada tanyakan selera, apakah kita telah mengukur baju kita di badan sendiri? Apakah kita mempunyai material Naib Presiden untuk bersama-sama Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden untuk merancang, melaksana dan mencatat kejayaan pada PRU-13 ini?

Tepuklah dada dan ukurlah baju itu betul-betul...