Saturday, July 15, 2006


The experimental plane came to a halt with a broken wing

At about 3.30 pm today, a light weight 500 kg experimental aircraft was landing at the old airport in Sungei Besi airforce base when a strong gust of wind swept the two-seater single prop aircraft onto the busy KL-Seremban highway. The unscheduled landing attracted a large crowd of onlookers wanting to find out what was happening and a resulting massive traffic jam which lasted for more than an hour
Above: The crashed lamp post knocked down by the plane

According to a police spokesman, the aircraft hit a lamp post and broke its right wing and came to a halt. The pilot and co-pilot were slightly injured and taken to the KL Hospital for observation and treatment. The civil defense department and the RMAF rescue team cleared the aircraft off the road with police assistance.

Eventually a large crane was employed to lift the damaged aircraft slowly back to the hangar at the airport for a thorough D CA investigation.

The hoisted plane being guided back to the airport hangar

and here are the confliting reports from the papers

First Bernama reported yesterday that the light plane was coming in for a landing when a gust of wind forced it down in the highway... and later, "a crane was used to lift the aircraft" into the air base.

But the NST published a report today which had the plane experiencing difficulties while 'taking off'. And after the crash, the plane was 'towed to the air force base".

And The Star has a rather more dramatic account today, with the plane 'wrecked' after 'coming to a screeching halt' after it landed in the highway.

But at least one aspect of the incident appears to be conclusively proven true from the item in The Star - there was a Bernama pix which showed the plane [damaged but not quite wrecked in my opinion] being lifted by a crane, and not 'towed' as NST had it.

As for the time of the incident, it was at 3.26pm [so precise!]... or 3.45pm... or 3.30pm... depending on which account you read. I would have been more comfortable with 'about 3:30pm'.

These discrepancies in reporting are a big problem as most reporters are not witnesses to what was happening. And when under a deadline would sometime speculate as to what was happening and relied on heresay evidences in filing their reports.

the Bernama report

Light Aircraft Lands On Highway, Causes Massive Traffic Jam
July 15, 2006 18:03 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 (Bernama) -- A light aircraft made an emergency landing on the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Highway, bringing traffic on the busy stretch adjacent to the Sungai Besi Air Force station to a standstill Saturday.

The yellow-coloured private experimental aircraft was descending on the runway when a strong gust of wind blew the 500kg two-seater, single-prop aircraft onto the busy highway at 3.26pm.

The aircraft then hit a lamp post and landed on the road before coming to screeching halt, a Royal Selangor Flying Club spokesman told Bernama.

He said the pilot and co-pilot were not injured in the incident.

The spokesman said the Civil Defence Department and Royal Malaysian Air Force rescue team cleared the aircraft from the road with police assistance. A crane was used to lift the aircraft, believed to be privately owned, into the air station.

The spokesman said the aircraft was not owned by the Royal Selangor Flying Club or the airforce. Traffic movement returned to normal at about 4.30pm when the road was cleared of the aircraft.

It is learnt the Department of Civil Aviation will conduct an investigation
into the incident. -- BERNAMA
and the NST account

Aircraft blown off course, lands on highway; 16 Jul 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: A two-seater Zodiac CH701 aircraft crash landed on the Sungei Besi Highway after it veered off its landing path.

The yellow aircraft, operated by the Royal Selangor Flying Club, was taking off at 3.45pm yesterday when it experienced difficulties, forcing the pilot to attempt an emergency landing at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base.

It is learnt the pilot was blown off course by strong winds.

The aircraft clipped a street light and damaged its right wing before coming to an abrupt halt on the highway, narrowly missing several cars. Traffic police sealed off a stretch of the north-bound highway near the air base.

The pilot and co-pilot were unhurt and air force emergency services personnel sprayed foam on the aircraft. The aircraft, imported from the Czech Republic, was towed to the air force base.

teh STAR account

Aircraft makes emergency landing on highway; Sunday July 16, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: It wasn't the usual jam-causing mishap that motorists saw at the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Highway.

A light aircraft made an emergency landing on the highway and brought peak hour traffic to a standstill for over an hour.

Pilots Lee Chong Yen, 69, and Atan Akmar Masbah, in his 50s, escaped the crash landing on the road adjacent to the Sungei Besi Air Force without injuries. Their CH-701 two-seater aircraft was, however, wrecked in the 3.30pm incident.

The yellow-coloured privately-owned aircraft was descending onto the runway when a strong gust of wind blew the 500kg single-prop aircraft onto the busy highway.

It hit a lamp post and landed on the road before coming to a screeching halt, according to a Royal Selangor Flying Club spokesman.

The spokesman said the Civil Defence Department and Royal Malaysian Air Force rescue team cleared the aircraft from the road with police assistance. Traffic movement returned to normal about an hour later.

BERNAMA’s FAUX PAS in the RUSH to Release DETAILS of REPLIES to Dr MAHATHIR Allegations. DISPATCH- Inaccurate, Incomplete and Duplication

Bernama our National News agency under the ambit of the government needs more vigilance in dishing out stories for the world to read. More so as they provide subscription-based news coverage in their News link service.

It looks like this blunder is the case of a "cut and paste" that has gone awry. They should have just cut the Appendix A and paste on it instead of rearrange the order and mess it up.

In their rush to release the TOP story PM's Dept Replies To Dr M's Allegations On Scenic Bridge on July 14, 2006 time stamped 16:05 PM and is still available at

they messed up the Allegations. There were a total of SIX in the Appendix A as in
Press Statement On Declassified Documents Pertaining To The Crooked Bridge
July 14, 2006 time stamped 16:40 PM available at

In their haste they have duplicated the
ALLEGATION: That the government's decision to abort the bridge project will cause billions of ringgit in losses (see screen capture 2)

and completely left out
ALLEGATION: That the letter from Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on April 11 2002 was the final commitment by the republic on the bridge proposal by Malaysia.

On first reading, it caused quite a bit of confusion for those who have not read both the releases.

read the earlier posting on

and the lastest posting:
MPs ATTACK Air ASIA in Parliament; CEO TONY Fernandes response to Criticism; TRANSPORT Minister; Datuk CHAN K C defends LIFTING FLOOR Prices for MAS

Friday, July 14, 2006


The Breaking News Headlines in Malaysiakini

What we have been witnessing along the past months is Dr Mahathir trying very hard to establish the truth to the questions. He is stating his facts, and you believe facts to be true? Therefore, it becomes an absolute, and that moves it into an expression of a truth, his truth.
Therefore, when Dr Mahathir spoke for his truth, the conflict is when other people also speak of their truth, that we want their truth to be our truth or vice versa.

There is no absolute, everyone speaks from his or her own truth. The point is you speak from your own beliefs, your own expressed beliefs and from the information and “facts” that you have. But facts are changing.. There are truths and there is the definition of a truth. A truth is some expression, which is translatable in every area of consciousness in some manner.

But our PM Datuk Seri Abdullah is a pragmatist. There are truths which are unchanging. But pragmatists do not believe in unchanging truths. All things, to the pragmatist, are changing; even truths. There is no truth within pragmatism! Our PM Abdullah is fully aware of the changing facts and is very much within his focus.

So with the support of the declassified documents, do we accept this new statement as the “absolute truth” of the matter in this scenic bridge saga?

the following is:
PM's Dept Replies To Dr M's Allegations On Scenic Bridge;
July 14, 2006 16:05 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 (Bernama) -- Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently made several allegations on the Government's decision to abort the construction of the "crooked bridge" to replace the Johor Causeway.

The Prime Minister's Department said the Government wanted to set out the facts and sketch the historical background in which the decision to abort the construction of the bridge was reached.

Below are the allegations, facts and conclusions released by the Prime Minister's Department pertaining to the matter;

ALLEGATION1: That the Singapore Government accepted Malaysia's proposal to build a crooked bridge to replace the Malaysian side of the Johor Causeway.

FACTS: On March 4 2002, Dr Mahathir wrote a letter to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew regarding Malaysia's proposal on the package of outstanding bilateral issues. Among other things, he proposed to build a new bridge on the Malaysian side at its own cost while Singapore would build the bridge on the Singapore side at its own cost.
Once the bridge was completed, the Johor Causeway would be demolished. Dr Mahathir further proposed that if Singapore did not build a bridge on its side, Malaysia intended to build a bridge on its side. Once this bridge was completed, the Johor Causeway on the Malaysian side would be demolished.

On April 11 2002, (the then Singapore) Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong replied and agreed although his preference was for a full bridge. However, that proposal was made in the context of the package approach for the outstanding bilateral issues which would be further discussed at ministerial and senior officials level.

On Oct 7 2002, Tun Dr Mahathir informed Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong that Malaysia had decided to discontinue discussions on the outstanding bilateral issues as a package and to give the highest priority to resolving the long -delayed water issue, particularly the price review of raw water supplied to Singapore. This move came because there appeared to be no agreement in resolving the issues as a package.

On Oct 14 2002, Goh agreed to discontinue discussions on the outstanding bilateral issues as a package. Singapore withdrew its agreement on the crooked bridge in the context of the package and stated that its earlier agreement to the bridge project was now not applicable.

Goh wrote: "...I had been prepared to make concessions in varying the Points of Agreement (POA) with extra pieces of land, allowing early withdrawal of Central Provident Fund (CPF) deposits and building our part of the bridge to replace the Causeway at our expense, as trade-offs, so that you give us airspace and future water at a fair price... Since you now want to deal with the water issue separately and discontinue the package approach, these trade-offs are no longer possible."

In effect, this letter signalled a return to a status quo position. Prime Minister Goh's statement was not challenged by Dr Mahathir. In fact, there was no reply to Prime Minister Goh's letter by Dr Mahathir.

Singapore reiterated its position in a diplomatic note on Nov 29, 2004 while the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Bukit Chagar was being built.

It said: "... These negotiations on a package basis were unilaterally terminated by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir on Oct 7 2002."

With the termination of the negotiations on the package of issues, Singapore's agreement for the construction of the crooked-bridge no longer exists.

CONCLUSION: It is incorrect to say that Singapore accepted Malaysia's proposal to build a crooked bridge within its own territory. Singapore's acceptance for Malaysia to build a crooked bridge was at most a reluctant acceptance based on the package approach.

The Allegation2: That the letter from Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on April 11 2002 was the final commitment by the republic on the bridge proposal by Malaysia.

The Facts: During negotiations between the two countries, there was an understanding that any proposal would not become final unless it was concluded in an agreement signed by leaders of Malaysia and Singapore. This was explained in a letter by Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew to then Minister of Special Functions & Minister of Finance, Tun Daim Zainuddin on August 24 2000.

The letter read: “To make it easier for us to write to each other, to test various options, all notes or letters I send to you or Mahathir, or vice-versa, will be treated as Without Prejudice: that there is no agreement until all points are agreed and signed by the two PMs.”

Conclusion: It is incorrect to say that Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had given a commitment on the bridge in his letter on April 11 2002. There was no signed agreement between the PMs of Malaysia and Singapore on building the bridge.

ALLEGATION3: That the bridge was not part of the package of bilateral issues.

FACTS: At first, the outstanding package of issues only covered four areas - water, Central Provident Fund, airspace and the relocation of KTM's CIQ complex in Singapore. This was agreed to by both countries in Hanoi on Dec 27 1998.

But later, the bridge project was inserted into the package of issues. Dr Mahathir did so in a letter to Senior Minister Lee on March 4 2002 and the bridge issue became one of five issues in the package titled "MALAYSIA-SINGAPORE PACKAGE OF FIVE ISSUES - MALAYSIA'S PROPOSALS"

CONCLUSION: The bridge became part of the package of unresolved bilateral issues as a result of Dr Mahathir's letter.

ALLEGATION4: That the government's decision to abort the bridge project will cause billions of ringgit in losses.

FACTS: The total cost of building the CIQ, the crooked bridge and the new KTM line across the Johor Straits was RM2.379 billion.
At this moment, the Government is still working out compensation payment to Gerbang Perdana Sdn Bhd. But the fact is that the decision to abort the bridge was not an economic decision. Once it became clear that Malaysia could not build the bridge unilaterally or accede to Singapore's requests, calling off the plan to build the bridge was the most financially
responsible decision to make.

CONCLUSION: It would not have been advisable to spend RM1.13 billion on a structure and be stuck in limbo over its use.

ALLEGATION5: That Malaysia is a "half-past six country with no guts" by calling off the bridge project.

FACTS: Simply put, the Government had to make the right decision, taking into account the interests of Malaysians. It revisited the unilateral proposal by Dr Mahathir to build the crooked bridge but came to a finding that this was not an ideal solution.

A crooked bridge is not a legacy to leave for future Malaysians. In coming to its decision to abort the bridge project, the Government studied not only the Wayleave Agreements but also the Johor-Singapore Water Agreements 1961 and 1962, the Separation Agreement 1965 and took into consideration advice by the Attorney General's Chambers.

This is what the Attorney General's Chambers said: " ... the construction of the scenic half-bridge to replace the Malaysian side of the Johor Causeway must be studied in a holistic manner in view of the fact that the scenic half-bridge would have international legal implications in particular environmental impact to Singapore in and around the Straits of Johor.

"Apart from the above, the construction of the scenic half-bridge will involve the demolition of the Malaysian side of the Johor Causeway. The said demolition would directly affect the water pipeline located inside the Johor Causeway and water pipelines straddling the Johor Causeway. In this regard, legal implications thereof would have to be studied based on the 1961 and 1962, Johor-Singapore Water Agreements, Wayleave Agreements and Separation
Agreement 1965."

"Malaysia as a sovereign and independent state has complete power and authority over its territory and in exercising the said power and authority, no other state may interfere with its affairs. Nevertheless, Malaysia cannot take unilateral action without taking into consideration international law principles and requirements, among others, taking into account the rights and interests of its neighbouring states."

CONCLUSION: With so much uncertainty, it made sense for the Government to take a step back and do the right thing. Running the Government is not about scoring points or engaging in brinkmanship. It is about weighing the pros and cons and reaching a decision that is good for Malaysia.

ALLEGATION6: That Malaysia offered its airspace and sand to Singapore.
FACTS: The issue of allowing use of Malaysian airspace has been on the negotiating table between 1998 and 2002. Dr Mahathir himself inserted this issue in a letter to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew on March 4 2002. He offered it as a trade-off during negotiations on the package of unresolved issues. With the de-packaging of the bilateral issues, the proposal made by Dr Mahathir is no longer relevant.

Singapore used to enjoy five flight privileges until 1998. It sought all those rights to be re-inserted but the Government of the day was only prepared to offer Search and Rescue and the Northern Transit Corridor rights on terms and conditions to be mutually agreed upon.

The rights of Search and Rescue was offered on the basis of reciprocity and is consistent with international practice. As for Northern Transit Corridor, it only allows RSAF jets to transit over the South China Sea. The jets will not be allowed to roam the Malaysian airspace.

CONCLUSION: The use of Malaysian airspace was raised by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during a meeting with Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on March 1 2005 in Putrajaya. Singapore said that this issue was of importance to them and said that it would make selling the bridge idea to Singapore more palatable.

Remember, as far as the Republic was concerned, it did not see the need for a bridge to replace the Causeway. It wanted something in return for agreeing to the bridge deal and requested for sand and the use of airspace.
But once it became clear that the Malaysian public was strongly opposed to selling any sand or allowing RSAF jets to use its airspace, the government moved firmly and made the only acceptable decision - it aborted the plan to build the bridge.

Going ahead to satisfy the two conditions the Republic put forward would have meant going against the wishes of many Malaysians. The Government has always stated that its decision is a political decision based on the sentiments, sovereignty and integrity of the people of Malaysia.


July 14, 2006 16:40 PM

Press Statement On Declassified Documents Pertaining To The Crooked Bridge

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 (Bernama) -- Following is the full statement from the Prime Minister's Department on the declassified documents pertaining to the crooked bridge:


The Government has declassified several relevant confidential documents and extracts thereof to allow Malaysians to understand why it has reached the decision to abort the bridge project to replace the Johor Causeway.

And in doing so, it has put the record straight on a string of allegations raised by the former Prime Minister, YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, namely that:

* the Singapore government accepted Malaysia's proposal to build a crooked bridge.

* the bridge was not part of the package of outstanding bilateral issues.

* Malaysia is a "half past six country with no guts" by not going ahead with the crooked bridge project.

* Malaysia put the issue of selling sand and allowing the Republic of Singapore Airforce to use its air space on the negotiating table.

This is only the second time in recent history that information protected by the Official Secrets Act 1972 has been declassified and approved for public consumption - an indication of the Government's seriousness in wanting the people who voted it into power to have the full facts, so that they can appreciate why the Government decided to abort the bridge project.

In the package of documents released are correspondences between Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and two of Singapore's former prime ministers, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and Mr. Goh Chok Tong.

Also made public are extracts of the record of the meeting between Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Mr. Goh Chok Tong in Kuala Lumpur in March 2005.

The contents of these documents contain three key facts:

1. Discussions with Singapore on the airspace issue are not new and were not mooted by the current Government under Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad himself included this issue as a trade-off and as part of the package of issues to be resolved with Singapore during negotiations from 1998 to 2002. This is evident from Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's letter to Senior Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew on March 4 2002. This same issue was raised by Senior Minister Mr. Goh Chok Tong during a meeting with Abdullah on March 1 2005. This fact nullifies the suggestion by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that it was the present administration that offered RSAF jets use of Malaysian airspace.

2. The sale of sand to Singapore was raised by the Republic during a meeting between Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Badawi and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on March 1 2005. This nullifies argument that the Government put the issue on sand on the negotiating table.

3. Comprehensive advice by the Attorney General's Chambers showed that Malaysia should not proceed to build a bridge unilaterally without complying with our legal obligations. In particular, Malaysia had obligations under the Johor-Singapore water agreements 1961 and 1962, the Wayleave Agreements and the Separation Agreement 1965.

The main obstacle was that the construction of the crooked bridge will involve the demolition of the Malaysian side of the Johor Causeway. The said demolition would directly affect the water pipeline located inside the Johor Causeway and water pipelines straddling the Johor Causeway in which the ownership thereof vests with the Public Utilities Board of Singapore.

The Attorney General's Chambers also stated that under the 1961 and 1962 Johor-Singapore Water Agreements, "Malaysia is required to obtain approval of PUB in relation to the alteration of water pipelines as a result of the construction of a full straight bridge or a scenic half bridge."

The 1961 and 1962 Johor-Singapore Water Agreements are guaranteed under the 1965 Separation Agreement. The water pipelines located inside the Johor Causeway is governed by the 1961 Johor Singapore Water Agreement. Therefore, the provisions of the WayleaveAgreements which is applicable to the water pipelines straddling along the Johor Causeway is not applicable to the water pipeline located inside the Johor Causeway. These facts nullify the allegation that the water pipeline located inside the Johor Causeway could be relocated unilaterally after giving six months notice to Singapore.

Taking into consideration these facts, the present Government had to make a firm decision to reject Singapore's quid-pro-quo proposal on sand and airspace as it would have compromised Malaysia's national sovereignty. It had to make the political decision to abort the bridge project as this was consistent with the sentiment of Malaysians and the interest of Malaysia.

In conclusion, the issue boils down to one simple fact - Malaysia wanted the bridge, and Singapore did not want it.

The full straight bridge that was proposed by Malaysia would have been a symbol of friendship and would have benefited both countries. Nevertheless, the responsibility for achieving this aim does not lie with Malaysia only.

Note: Please refer to Appendix A for further information.

Appendix A: (is SAME as the TOP Part)

Update:July 14, 2006 21:35 PM
Declassified Documents Not For Circulation, Says Samsudin
PUTRAJAYA, July 14 (Bernama) -- The confidential documents declassified by the government to explain its decision to abort the "scenic" bridge project are not meant for circulation to the public, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said Friday.

He said that usually when a document is declassified it would mean that it is not categorised as secret anymore and "if it is to be in the public domain, then I guess it will be accessible to people".

"But it will not mean that we will be circulating the Cabinet minutes all over the place, no way. That's not the way it is going to be, but information from it can be contained in any document that states it," he told reporters after presenting a cheque for RM5,000 from the Putrajaya Corporation to Mercy Malaysia representative Ir Imran Mahzan for victims of the recent earthquake in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Samsudin had earlier received pledges of donation from sponsors for the Putrajaya Treasure Hunt 2006 that will be held on July 23.

Earlier Friday, the Prime Minister's Department said in a statement that among the package of documents declassified are correspondence between former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two former Singapore prime ministers, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, and extracts of the record of the meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Goh in Kuala Lumpur in March last year.

The government had decided to declassify relevant confidential documents to reply to the questions posed by Dr Mahathir with regard to several issues, including the aborted "scenic" bridge to replace the Malaysian side of the Johor Causeway, the issuance of Approved Permits for car imports, the non-renewal of Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff's contract as Proton chief executive, and the sale of motorcycle maker MV Agusta SpA for one euro.


see also earlier posting: dated 30th June, which is quite similar to this new statement which has declassified documents
Datuk Syed Hamid : Dr Mahathir’s BELIEFS on SAND AIRSPACE are UNTRUTHS; Datuk Seri Hisham: Dr Mahathir’s friends TAKING ADVANTAGE

ZIDANE Apologized; MATERAZZI Denied RACIST Comment or Aiming ABUSE Zidane's MOTHER; TREZEGUET shoulders BLAME-his crucial PENALTY MISS

David Trezeguet just before the missed penalty shot; 4.37am Malaysian time

The ball was shot a bit too high and bounced off the post

France striker David Trezeguet says he will shoulder the blame for his crucial penalty miss in the World Cup final defeat by Italy
Trezeguet was the only man to miss a spot-kick in the shootout as Italy won 5-3, with the striker's effort coming back off the crossbar with Gianluigi Buffon diving the wrong way.
The duo currently play together at Juventus, but Trezeguet has denied that that was a factor in his miss.
He said: "It's true that I know Buffon very well, but I didn't change my style of striking the ball because of that.
"I didn't think I hit the ball badly. I think it's important that one takes responsibility for their acts and I walk with my head held up high.
"We have to accept defeat, look ahead, this is part of football.
"We did dominate and I don't think we were inferior to Italy.
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to score and the game was decided on penalties. We knew then that it could go either way

No regrets from Zidane; Thursday Jul 13 2006 07:37
France legend Zinedine Zidane has apologised for headbutting Italy defender Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final, but says that he does not regret his actions.
Zidane spoke on French television about his assault on Materazzi, which led to a red card in the final match of his illustrious career, with the Azzurri going on to clinch World Cup glory after a penalty shootout.

Zidane said: "It was inexcusable. I apologise, but I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he was right to say all that.
"It was seen by two or three billion people on television and millions and millions of children were watching.
"It was an inexcusable gesture and to them, and the people in education whose job it is to show children what they should and shouldn't do, I want to apologise.
"We always talk about the reaction and obviously it must be punished. But if there is no provocation, there is no need to react.
"Above all it was a very serious provocation. It was an inexcusable gesture but the real culprit is the person who provoked it.
"Do you imagine that in a World Cup final like that with just ten minutes to go to the end of my career, I am going to do something like that because it gives me pleasure?"
Of the nature of what Materazzi had said to him, Zidane added: "You hear them once and you try to move away, but then you hear them twice and then a third time.
"I am a man and some words are harder to hear than actions. I would rather have taken a blow to the face than hear that."
After ending his career with a red card in extra time of the World Cup final, France’s Zinedine Zidane was named the Golden Ball award winner, given to the most outstanding player of the tournament. Zidane edged out Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro in voting decided by media members. It is the third time in a row that a player from the losing side in the championship team won the award.

Zidane was great at times in this tournament but frankly I don’t think enough tohis play was good merit him winning the award. Perhaps members of the media saw it as an opportunity to honor a player who has been great throughout the years, but I think they made the wrong choice. I would have gone with Cannavaro.
The other awards from the 2006 World Cup:
Golden Shoe (top scorer): Miroslav Klose (Germany)
Most Entertaining Team: Portugal
Best Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Best Young Player: Lukas Podolski (Germany)
Team Fair Play Award: Spain and Brazil

Meanwhile Italy defender Marco Materazzi has again denied making any racist comment or aiming abuse at Zinedine Zidane's mother before being headbutted by the Frenchman in the World Cup final.
Zidane has broken his silence to level allegations of serious abuse against Materazzi, but the Azzurri stopper says his conscience is clear.
He said: "I didn't mention anything about religion, politics or racism.
"I didn't insult his mother. I lost my mother when I was 15 years old and still get emotional when I talk about it.
"Naturally, I didn't know that his mother was in hospital but I wish her all the best. Zidane is my hero and I have always admired him a lot."
Materazzi had earlier told Gazetta dello Sport: "I held his shirt for a few seconds only, then he turned to me and talked to me, jeering.
"He looked at me with a huge arrogance and said 'if you really want my shirt I'll give it to you afterwards'. I replied with an insult, that's true.
"It was one of those insults you're told dozens of times and that you often let fall on a pitch.
"I did not call him a terrorist. I did not bring up Zidane's mother, for me a mother is sacred."
Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has warned that Zidane could be stripped of the Golden Ball award as the World Cup's best player, saying: "The FIFA executive committee has the responsibility of intervening when it is a matter of conduct which goes against the ethics of the sport.
"That is why I gave the orders to our disciplinary commission to investigate what happened.
"To see him, Zidane, acting like that leaves me vexed, both for himself and for all sense of fair play."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

SPEEDY GONZALES in MALAYSIAN CABINET: No 1- SAMY VELLU-RM17,460 (143); Fong Chan Onn - RM15,230 (115); Syed Hamid Albar –RM15,200 (121)

No 17 - Chan Kong Choy, Transport Minister
Graphics Courtesy Malaysiakini

When Malaysiakini had the exclusive exposure (see above) on 10th Jul 2006; 18 ministers were identified with unpaid summons, many people with the ministers' car registration numbers did their own checking and alerted them that "many more are involved". So many are not "cleaned"

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu led the pack of defaulters. There is confusion on the 2nd spot; Datuk Seri Fong has more fines than Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar who has more summons on his name. All of them will denied they were actually driving their cars, it must be the Datins, the sons or daughters; but all will have no choice but to pay up to follow the leadership by examples principle.

From the cabinet list and the majority of people with summons, it seems every tom dick and harry is overspeeding (assuming it is the major offence). What the police should do now is to actually analyze where most of the summons come from and at what speed they were caught and at which stretch of roads. They must utilize the ICT experts and determine what should be the appropriate speed limit for that stretch of road.

The speed limits are very outdated in a great number of places and are essentially “speed traps zone” for all motorists. When the roads are widened to accommodate speedier movement of traffic, speed limits should be adjusted to reflect on the better road conditions.
What is outdated is the Road Ordinance which should undergo a detailed study and the appropriate clauses be amended.

The following is Bernama account which is bare
Najib Pledges To Settle Summonses, Wants Ministers To Do The Same
PUTRAJAYA, July 11 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday he would settle his outstanding traffic summonses and urged fellow ministers slapped with fines for traffic offences to pay up.

Explaining how he ended up being on the list of federal ministers with unpaid summonses for traffic violations, the Deputy Prime Minister said: "As you know, I don't drive the cars, others drive." "So, I don't know the car had been summoned and the people responsible didn't tell me," he said of the list put up on a website showing him at the sixth spot with 67 summonses since March 1999 amounting to RM7,820 in total compounds after reduction.

Topping the list is Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu followed by Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamad Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Queried about the list at a press conference after chairing a meeting on jobless graduates here, Najib said: "Many of these are personal cars driven by others I'm not aware of. Whoever's name is on the list, we'll take action to settle the summonses. We'll settle this matter."

The NST account gave more details of the total amount and the number of summons.
Najib to settle RM7,820 in traffic fines; 12 Jul 2006
PUTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has to pay RM7,820 to settle summonses for traffic offences by a car under his name.

"I’ll settle it. But it wasn’t me driving the car," he said in a light-hearted tone to reporters who raised the issue with him yesterday.

Najib is number five on an Internet news daily site of ministers who have not paid fines for speeding offences.

The list was published online yesterday, with Najib having 67 unpaid summonses, the oldest one on March 27, 1999 and the most recently issued summons on April 16, this year.

"Yes, I know all about it, I know I’m number five on the list," Najib said. He was speaking at a Press conference after chairing a meeting by the special committee on unemployed graduates.

He said the summonses were issued on his personal car which was driven by other people.
"I didn’t know my car was summoned, whoever was driving also neglected to tell me. But we will settle it," he said.

On the same list, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was number one with the highest number of unpaid summonses – 143 with RM17,460 in fines after reductions.

Second is Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who owes RM15,200 for 121 unpaid summonses over the past seven years.

He is followed by Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn with 115 summonses and RM15,230 in fines.

Fourth was Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Minister Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who owes RM12,190 for 93 summonses.

.. and here are the comments extrated from readers in Malaysiakini
Malaysian Voter: Your report of “elite speedsters” including cabinet ministers - it’s interesting that it included the transport minister who has preached road safety - with unpaid fines of traffic offences is an inescapable fact that they did not put to practice what they had publicly preached. Certain ministers who lamented about our high accident rates are also implicated in the speeding offences.

It is indeed an “eye-opener” which reflects our quality of political leadership and the double standard where top leaders are exempted from the deadline imposed by the traffic police in the payment of fines. No wonder, the saying that Malaysians are taking comedians seriously and politicians as a joke.

It is a known fact from their former drivers that they normally flicked their cars’ head-lamps lights as they approached an “anti-speeding operation” indicating their VIP status to avoid being summoned. Or the drivers switched on their emergency lights as they sped beyond the authorised speed limits, after all, the cars carried “special passengers”. It is indeed a great disappointment but kudos to our traffic police for their integrity and transparency.

Meng: I do not understand why ministers get a discount for their speeding fines. If anything, the ministers should be fined twice the amount because they should set an example on obeying the law. I really deplore this type of preferential treatment and find it disgusting that this government asks us to change our lifestyle, to be thrifty, to eat less sugar, to use less energy, to pay our traffic summonses, etc. Yet our own BN leaders have more traffic summonses then two hands put together, and they have no warrant of arrests? This is selective persecution.
David Yee: Please continue to highlight this issue until they pay up, and in particular Samy Vellu. In Australia, the ministers will have to probably resign.
Update: Jul 13 06

Why ministers' licences not revoked?; Bede Hong Jul 13, 06 11:53am

The revelation that a majority of ministers in the cabinet have accumulated nearly 1,000 unpaid summonses raises questions as to how the road taxes for their vehicles could be renewed each year.

According to an official at the Road Transportation Department (JPJ), owners of vehicles with outstanding traffic fines cannot renew their road taxes until payments have been made.

It is illegal for motorists to use a vehicle without a current road tax, which must be renewed annually.

When renewing road taxes, information on a road user's unpaid summonses would show in the computer network which is directly linked to the JPJ's mainframe computer.

Motorists are then told to clear their unpaid summons before they can renew their vehicle's road tax.

This is, of course, in theory. The reality is quite different, said a motoring expert, who declined to be named.

He said there seem to be some bureaucratic glitches between the police and the JPJ.

"Summonses information must first get to JPJ," he said.

"If the police does not send over the information, then a motorist would not have a record. That is why sometimes you could renew your road tax even when you have a backlog of several summonses from years ago. It's because the information has not reached JPJ yet."

However, the expert said that if a car owner is unlucky enough to be issued a traffic summons by a JPJ officer, it is a "guarantee" that the owner would be unable to renew the road tax of the vehicle if the owner does not pay up. Summonses are usually issued by the police, as JPJ has less manpower.

Demerit points

Another question, although not related to road tax renewal, was why the driving licences of the politicians, or their drivers', were not suspended after having committed dozens of traffic offences.

The JPJ has a road safety demerit system called Kejara. It is a point demerit system whereby if a motorist exceeds 15 points, the user's drivers licence could be suspended for six months.

Ensuing offences would result in further suspension and finally a permanent cancellation of the drivers licence.

Speeding, the most common offence committed by the ministers, carries demerit points of between 6 and 15 points, depending on the severity of each offence.

"However, for the demerit system to work, police officers would have to fill out forms. It's a complicated system, which of course does not work because you don't see any of the ministers' licences suspended or revoked," said the motoring expert.

Double standards

He also criticised several ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who claimed that they were not driving their cars when the traffic offences were committed.

"If you look closely at the bottom of the traffic summons, it is stated that if you are not the driver of a vehicle, but someone else was driving your vehicle, then you can fill out the form and direct the police's attention to that particular person. The police would then reissue the summons.

"We can't know for sure whether a minister was behind a wheel or not. But you can't expect people to believe that you had no knowledge of the traffic offences committed in vehicles under their names.

"The only scenario I can imagine is that their aides could be hiding the summonses from them, but it's very unusual as the summonses were not paid for up to seven years," he said.

On why the ministers have been getting away with it for so long, the expert felt it was due to a mix of procrastination, inefficiency and a fear of penalising high-profile politicians.

"The summons are issued to high-profile car owners. You know where their offices are. The police cannot claim that these people cannot be traced.

"They can't say we cannot find them... even if that is the case, you can send a formal notice to their office," he said.

The police said more than RM2.82 billion remain uncollected in traffic summonses issued between 2001 and 2004 to some 9.4 million drivers nationwide.

Malaysiakini has sent a request to the traffic police for an interview last week and has yet to hear from them.

Full list of cabinet members and their unpaid fines
and comments in a letter
LETTERS: VIP traffic summonses: Why no arrest warrants?
Sulaiman Rejab Jul 13, 06 4:02pm

I refer to your exclusive report 18 more ministers among 'elite' speedsters.

If one says that selected prosecution does not take place in Malaysia, please laugh. Ministers are getting away with unpaid traffic summonses while the ordinary man is being dragged to the lock-up in the wee hours of the morning.

Inspector-General of Police Mohd Bakri Omar must explain the police's failure to arrest the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and other cabinet ministers for not paying their traffic summonses, some dating back to late 1990s.

Why the double standard? When the ordinary man, who surely earns much less than these ministers, fails to pay his or her summonses, the police take great pains to go to court and obtain warrants of arrest.

If the IGP cannot give a satisfactory answer as to why there are no warrants of arrest against these ministers, who in their hypocritical political speeches and Hari Raya messages advice motorists to drive slowly and carefully, then he should obviously resign for failing in his duties.

No doubt that in most cases, it is the ministers' drivers who commit the traffic offence, but while ferrying whom?

The deputy prime minister has collected summonses dating back to 1999 and owes the government about RM8,000. And guess what? No warrant of arrest. Works Minister S Samy Vellu, with 143 unpaid summonses, still owes the government RM17,460.

He is followed by Foreign Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who has racked up 121 unpaid summonses totaling RM15,200 over the past seven years.

Close on his heels is Human Resources Minister Dr Fong Chan Onn, with a debt of RM15,230 from 115 summonses issued from May 21, 2001 up to April this year.

Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin is said to owe RM12,190 from 93 summonses over a period of seven years.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had 11 summons, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Sharizat Abdul Jalil had 23 and International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz had 10. Youth and Sports Minister Azalina Othman had 28 recorded against her name.
The Minister of Transport (also has 14 summons
under his name
) speaking to newsmen

Update 13th July 06
No special treatment for ministers: Chan
Giam Say Khoon Updated: 08:45PM Thu, 13 Jul 2006
PUTRAJAYA: There is no special treatment for ministers who, like ordinary citizens, must pay up their traffic fines.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said today (July 13, 2006) ministers will not be spared simply because they are ministers.

However, he said he was told that most of the time, the car registered under the minister's name is not driven by the minister but his driver.

"Anyway, this is not an excuse for them not to pay their outstanding summonses," he told reporters after announcing a road safety mobile exhibition.

"The ministers should also advice their drivers to drive safely and follow strictly the traffic rules and regulations."

Chan said that during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday (July 12, 2006), the ministers discussed the matter and (decided) that those booked must pay up. According to recent news reports, several ministers chalked up high outstanding traffic fines.
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