Malaysiakini : COMMENT | What was the new Perak
Mentri Besar, Ahmad Faizal Azumu, thinking, when he agreed to hold this
year's Hari Raya Aidil Fitri open house at Ipoh's Movie Animation Park
Studios (MAPS) theme park?
Celebrating a religious festivity in a theme park cheapens the
religion and trivialises the significance of the occasion.
insulting and disrespectful. One cannot imagine the leader of a country hosting Christmas, Easter,
Deepavali or Wesak celebrations at Disneyland, Harry Potter Studios,
Universal Studios, Legoland or at the Lost World of Tambun.
Hari Raya is a solemn and important religious holiday, which marks
the end of Ramadan, a month of empathy for the poor. It is signified by
acts of charity, discipline, self-control, special prayers, patience,
abstinence and forging a stronger bond with God. In the balik kampung exodus, individuals return
home to share this special day with parents and family members. People
seek forgiveness, and in typical Malaysian fashion, the doors of the
family home are thrown open to receive friends and relatives - the "open
house". Many people also pay their respects at the graves of deceased
This year's "open house" at MAPS
is a serious error of judgment by Ahmad Faizal. People do not spend
hours in a gridlocked highway, only to queue-up and be bribed with free
food and free entrance to the theme park. It makes a mockery of Hari
Raya. A few weeks earlier, Ahmad Faizal's lame approach to the Manjoi mob
had invited criticism. Troublemakers from Muslim NGOS risked straining
community relations when they terrorised shop assistants, in a grocery
store in Manjoi, by demanding the removal of alcohol from the shelves.
As a career politician, Ahmad Faizal's prism of life is shaped by the
confines of his formative years, as a political aide, working in a
government department. He lacks experience of the "real world".
The last straw for Perakians was his appointment of Fadzi Zainol (photo),
from Umno-Baru, as his special adviser. Ahmad Faizal dismissed his
critics and said, "... Zainol's previous experience as the state
executive councillor could be utilised to strengthen the administration
of the Perak government..." Really?
Zainol leap-frogged from Umno-Baru to Bersatu. Can a leopard change
its spots? Can a political frog be expected to change its stripes? Ahmad Faizal will invite enemies from his own camp if he lacks faith
and trust in his own coalition members. He lays himself open to
criticism, as the rakyat have accused him of installing an Umno-Baru
state administration, by stealth.
The state governments, under the previous Pakatan Rakyat, which won
Selangor, Penang and Perak in the 2008 general election, did not invite
former Umno-Baru/BN members to form part of their state administration.
Has Ahmad Faizal forgotten Umno-Baru's meddling, which led to the 2009
The MAPS theme park is mired in controversy.
Built during the former Perak MB, Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir's
administration, it cost RM520 million and is only half finished. It is
expensive to run, and is dogged by intellectual property claims and low
Don't the rakyat's concerns matter?
If Zainol contributed to the decision of the previous administration
to build MAPS, then his appointment, as the new MB's special advisor, is
ill-advised. Claiming that Zainol's appointment had received the consent of the
Perak Sultan does not wash with the public. Don't the rakyat's concerns
matter? Having the open house at MAPS is not "killing two birds with one stone", as some people have suggested. The new MB is foolish to be seen to promote this failed Umno-Baru project, which is saddled with problems.
Many mega million ringgit projects in Malaysia have failed because
the arrogant Umno-Baru politicians, and their cronies, think they are
above the law. They spend hundreds of millions of ringgit of taxpayer's money on
grand projects. Via a combination of dodgy deals, they probably siphon
half of the rakyat's money into their own pockets. They care very little
about details like intellectual property rights, public safety,
worker's rights, attendance, publicity or regular maintenance.
These projects usually end-up being white elephants. The Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) owns 51 percent of
MAPS. So, who owns the other 49 percent? Which crony or politician's
family member owns a significant number of shares in this theme park? Perakians demand to know the reasons for the state's involvement in this theme park.
Like most Umno-Baru politicians, former MB, Dr Zambry, likes to have
his pudgy fingers in every pie. Greed forces this type of politician to
be a jack of all trades, and make a mess of everything they touch, so
they fail to administer the state properly. Instead of cosying-up to members of the previous Umno-Baru
administration, Ahmad Faizal should start by directing MACC to
investigate MB Inc (Mentri Besar Incorporated).
By continuing to live in fantasy land, he risks his administration being known as a Mickey Mouse government.