Monday, February 26, 2007

Malaysia's Court Jesters

According to Wikipedia, a jester or fool is a specific type of clown mostly associated with the Middle Ages. Jesters typically wore brightly colored clothing in a motley pattern. Their hats, sometimes called the cap ’n bells, cockscomb were especially distinctive; made of cloth, they were floppy with three points (liliripes) each of which had a jingle bell at the end.

All royal courts in those days employed entertainers and most had professional fools of various types. Entertainment included music, juggling, clowning, and the telling of riddles. The tradition of Court Jesters came to an end in Britain when Charles I was overthrown in the Civil War in 1642.

Well, the tradition of Court Jesters continues, albeit a little more subtly in the Kingdom of Malaysia. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you a highly entertaining episode of Malaysia's clumsy Court Jesters!

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak

The controversial London High Performance Sports Complex which was originally slated to cost RM490 million was stillborn after facing unanimous public opposition earlier in 2006. However, the Deputy Prime Minister breathed life into the project once again with a RM69 million “refurbishment” to turn the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) in Brickendonbury into a training centre. The refurbishment will include building accommodation for athletes and upgrading the fields and equipment all to be ready by April 2007.

However, the balloon was quickly busted by R. Nadeswaran of The Sun, for the East Herts Council, under whose jurisdiction the Brickendonbury centre falls, expect that it will be at least couple of months before a planning application is even submitted.

So, who gave the deputy prime minister the false information on the progress of the plans to turn TARRC into a high-performance sports centre which would be fully operational by April? It is not the first time either that he had pie on his face. Najib must hence prove that he is not leading an incompetent, unprofessional and shambolic Cabinet Committee on Sports Development.

Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy

First, the Minister had announced that a reward of RM150 for the best picture, RM100 for second best and RM50 for third best would be given each day in the 'Shoot, send and win' contest from Feb 9 to March 10 2007 organised by the Road Safety Department.

Within days, he cancelled the contest after spend tens of thousands promoting the event. Of course there was a possibility of abuse for profit by some quarters. Of course it encourages law-breakers when motorists use their camera phone to take pictures whilst driving. Did the Minister 'shoot' before he think?

Current & Former Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad & Datuk Azmi Khalid

The former Home Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid on Aug 25, 2005 announced the Home Ministry's "Lets Change and Win" lucky draws offer to get 12 million Malaysians to change their old identity cards. The prizes include motorcycles, TV sets, holiday packages, computers, camcorders and handphones, sponsored by six consortium companies.

The current Home Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said that the lucky draws offer is silly because it was irresponsible of Malaysians to want to be given something just to change their old identity card for MyKad. Therefore he cancelled it. What's more, apparently the top prize of a Perodua Myvi car has gone missing as well!

Now, what we'd really like to know is whether Datuk Seri Radzi really thought Datuk Azmi Khalid as well as the Cabinet who approved the lucky draw as “silly” or if it was because the lucky draw prizes promised didn't really exist in the first place!

Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak (yes, again!)

The Deputy Prime Minister had on February 8th stated that an agreement “in-principle” had been reached with the Arsenal football club to train the national under-16 football team, which will be the first to use the “to-be-refurbished” London TARRC sports centre.

Unfortunately for the clueless Deputy Prime Minister, a little simple journalistic investigation by the Sun and the Weekend Mail totally dented his credibility. The Arsenal Football Club stated in its official statement that they “can confirm that the club does not know about the proposed arrangement and furthermore, [they] have no involvement in any such project.”

Led by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah “I can't remember” Badawi, it appears that instead of turning in improved performances by our Cabinet Ministers, as promised after the landslide 2004 elections, we have elected for ourselves, a bunch of leaders preoccupied with tripping over themselves to keep the rakyat amused and entertained.
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