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…