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Sunday, March 1, 2015

All about 1MDB in one day

Here's how the day started.

HEIST OF THE CENTURY – How Jho Low Used PetroSaudi As “A Front” To Siphon Billions Out Of 1MDB! by Sarawak Report

PetroSaudi issued a statement followed by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as reported by The Malaysian Insider.

The Malaysian government apparently also issued a statement - to the English press, reported The Sunday Times.

Not to forget, Jho Low threatened to sue The Edge and The Malaysian Insider as seen here.

And according to this Facebook user, the "Sarawak Report just took parts of the email and spin it to look suspicious", as posted here.

The end (I think).

Discovering Azizulhasni Awang

As published in Mailsport today.

By Wan Noriza Meor Idris

ROZIMI OMAR is the unsung hero behind Azizulhasni Awang’s rise to fame. 

The 43-year-old from Dungun was the one who discovered the then 10-year-old and moulded him into the champion he is today. 

“Azizul is one of a kind. He is strong mentally and physically. He has good discipline which is hard to find,” Rozimi told Mailsport at his training ground at Bukit Pak Sabah — the same place where Azizul first honed his skills. 

“There are a lot of good riders out there but many find it easier to give up. Azizul was different. He was willing to push himself to the limit.

“I’m so proud of him and my aim to discover more champions like him ”

He remembers Azizul as a naughty village boy — but with a good heart.

“As a kid, Azizul loved to play and I had to chase after him to train. He also loved skateboarding and I forced him to choose one ... fortunately he picked cycling,” said Rozimi, a volunteer cycling trainer in Dungun in the 1990s who is now in charge of junior cyclists under the Dungun District Cycling Association and National Sports Council.

“Azizul can ride anything – BMX, mountain bikes, downhill and track. I noticed his speed and asked him to concentrate on track racing.”

Coming from a poor family, money was tight and Azizul went to his first national championship with just RM100.

“It is a memory I will never forget and it helps keep me grounded. My mother (Selamiah Yong) gave me RM100 as pocket money for my first national event in 2002. My coach, too, had about the same amount but we were not deterred,” recalled Azizul

“We had to share whatever we had for petrol, toll, food and drinks. Plus ... we didn’t have a bicycle!
“Upon arrival, we asked around and managed to borrow a bicycle from a goodhearted cyclist. Our only focus was to win and thank God, I won the Under-15 gold medal beating many experience other cyclists along the way.”

Not having enough money for a hotel room, Azizul and his coach spent the night at Rozimi’s friend’s house.
“Thank goodness someone let us to stay at their place. After a few hours sleep, we returned to Dungun the next morning,” Azizul recalled with a smile.

The win boosted Azizul’s confidence and he joined the cycling circuit and continued his winning ways until he received an offer from Bukit Jalil Sports School.

“I spent my Form Four and Five at Bukit Jalil. They polish my skills but I will never forget coach Jimie (Azizul’s pet name for Rozimi).

“He always found time to come to Kuala Lumpur to check on me. He was the one who taught me everything I know.”

Azizul revealed he was quite active in sports and even participated in athletic competitions while at school.
“I actually learnt to cycle from a young age and was cycling around my kampung when I was four,” said the three-time Asian keirin champion.

“When I was 10, I cycled around my village like nobody’s business. Then I came across Jimie’s training place. The place he built to train and teach village boys like me.

“He had seen me cycling and asked me to join him. He convinced me I had the talent to succeed in cycling.  That is how it all started.

“Today, everyone knows John Beasly (national coach) but without Jimie, I would be nothing.”

Azizul said another race that is ‘special’ to him is the 2001 Selangor International Mountainbike event.

“That was my first international race — before I switched to track cycling in 2002.

“I went to Sungai Buloh with just RM50 pocket money given by my mother.

“I was just 14 and needed to stay in Selangor for five days with just RM50. I had to make it last.

“Fortunately I won and was rewarded with RM500. I was so happy and paid my mother her RM50 back.”

Azizul said these memories are what motivates him when he races for Malaysia and the next stop is the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dr Anuar memangku jawatan presiden MPM, Zainal digantung tugas

As reported by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Feb (Bernama) -- Timbalan Presiden Majlis Paralimpik Malaysia (MPM) Prof Madya Dr Anuar Suun kini memangku jawatan presiden majlis itu berikutan Datuk Zainal Abu Zarin digantung tugas kerana disiasat atas dakwaan penyelewengan wang MPM.
Setiausaha Kehormat MPM Siti Zaharah Abdul Khalid berkata Zainal digantung daripada memegang jawatan itu sejak Jun tahun lepas sementara menunggu hasil siasatan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).
Zainal didakwa menyeleweng wang berjumlah RM4 juta milik badan induk sukan Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU) itu dengan melabur dalam sebuah syarikat pengurusan acara, Paralimpik Ventures Sdn Bhd (PVSB) yang diterajui Zainal dan dua anaknya.
Siti Zaharah berkata mengikut perlembagaan MPM, Zainal masih memegang jawatan tertinggi itu sehingga pemilihan kepimpinan tertinggi baharu diadakan pada Mesyuarat Agung Tahunan (AGM) Jun ini.
Beliau berkata demikian kepada pemberita selepas menghadiri Karnival Paralimpik Malaysia 2015 di Tasik Titiwangsa yang dirasmikan oleh Pengarah Cawangan Pembangunan Sukan OKU Kementerian Belia dan Sukan, Mohd Zaki Mahmud di sini hari ini.
Siti Zaharah berkata kemelut itu tidak menjejaskan perjalanan program pembangunan atlet paralimpik dan kebajikan atlet tetap terus dijaga dengan baik.

Read my expose 'Paralympics RM4 million poser' published in Malay Mail in 2011 and reproduced by Malaysia Today.

Beasley gets wish, Kamarul no longer handling cycling team

As published in Mailsport

By Wan Noriza Meor Idris

KUALA LUMPUR — National cycling coach John Beasley has got his wish. Kamarul Aizad Othman, the special officer to Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Datuk Abu Samah Abd Wahab, will no longer handle team matters. Beasley said he would never forgive Aizad, who nearly caused the team to miss the Asian Cycling Championships in Korat, Thailand recently. 

Aizad messed up the flight tickets and hotel bookings which resulted in the team taking a later flight and staying in a hotel more than 20km from the championship venue.

Despite these problems, Azizulhasni Awang still won the Keirin event. It was his ninth gold medal in the history of the championship — three as a junior (2006 — sprint, 1km and Keirin), three Keirin titles (2007, 2008, 2015), two individual sprint crowns (2008, 2009) and one team sprint victory (2009). 

He broke the record he shared with South Korea's Jang Sun-jae (eight golds) to be the most successful Asian cyclist.
"I'm glad MNCF and NSC (National Sports Council) finally heard my pleas. I don't want this kind of person (Aizad) involved with me or my team," said Beasley, who revealed this was not the first time Aizad had messed up travel arrangements. 

"He has done a lot of damage. We want cycling to bloom but he wasn't helping. "I will never ever forgive him. He made my team suffer. They are representing the country and don't deserve this." He was speaking after a five-hour meeting with NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, Abu Samah and MNCF deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad. It was decided Mohd Izham Mohamad, a sports performance team leader in National Sports Institute, will now assist Beasley. Beasley revealed MNCF agreed to reimburse him RM21,000 he paid for travelling and accommodation at previous events. 

"They didn't state any specific date but it's a happy ending for me," he said. 

Shapawi said miscommunication was the main problem. 

"We solved everything. We will make sure it won't repeat for the sake of our athletes," he said.

Shapawi also confirmed former cyclist Josiah Ng declined to be team manager for the Rio 2016 Olympics. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Where art thou, FAM coaches?

By Vijhay Vick

PETALING JAYA - Numbers do not lie.

While the FA of Malaysia (FAM) dismissed suggestions it was in a crisis after it emerged a number of coaches were leaving, the team lists of Harimau Muda B and Harimau Muda C released yesterday indicated a need for more manpower in the coaching department.
Harimau Muda B have seven coaches, including national team trainer Omar Salim who is temporarily assisting the goalkeeping department.
Even more worrying is that Hassan Sazali Waras is the only coach for Harimau Muda C, as they kick-off their FAM League campaign in two weeks time.
"I used to bump into many coaches at Wisma FAM but it is no longer the same. It's as if there are not many around," said an FAM staff who requested anonymity.
Another staff, however, stressed there was no need to push the panic button.
"Yes, FAM needs more coaches but it's not worrying. Some interviews are taking place and everything will be back in order soon."
"Hassan isn't the only coach for Harimau Muda C. Probably paperwork for the new coaches has not been finalised."
While Harimau Muda C need an array of coaches, Harimau Muda B only lack a goalkeeping coach.
Omar would not be able to handle the national team and Harimau Muda B for long. He could assist the latter in the S-League but would not be available for the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers scheduled March 23-31.
The dates clash with the international break and the national team have an away friendly match against Oman on March 26.
In October last year, Mailsport highlighted a growing number of displeased coaches on the verge of quitting the national set-up. FAM, had then, insisted coaches come and go.

Read the full report in Mailsport today.

HARESH SAYS: Muted CNY celebrations — will it be a baa-d year?

As published in Malay Mail today.

Haresh Deol

I MADE it in the nick of time as the yee sang remained in the centre of the table, untouched.
It was close to 9.30pm, the rain didn’t help as riding from Petaling Jaya to Serdang turned out to be an adventure, no thanks to my helmet’s faulty dark visor that keeps dropping each time I hit a bump.
Unlike previous years, the yee sang was served last, as I promised my family and relatives I would turn up for the reunion dinner, by hook or crook.
As soon as I arrived, the 13 of us quickly gathered around the table as we tossed the yee sang while shouting Huat ar (prosper), hoping for good health and prosperity while welcoming the Year of the Goat.
But those were the only smiles I saw throughout the celebrations.
The conversation quickly revolved around politics, security and the nation’s economy.
Firecrackers were hardly heard or seen in Serdang and even other parts of town. I seriously doubt it has anything to do with good enforcement.
Even the children in my neighbourhood were left disappointed on the second day of Chinese New Year as the corner house neighbour, famous for lighting up the skies with his extravagant display of fireworks, only lit cigarettes this time around.
“Adik (as he often calls me when I go for walks with my dog), ini tahun tak boleh main-main,” he said, predicting it would not be a prosperous year for many after all.
He didn’t even offer a can of beer like he usually would. He did not even invite any of the neighbours over, unlike previous years.
It was just him listening to some good old tunes through his smartphone with his dog by his side.
Even other friends admitted Chinese New Year has been relatively quiet this time around. Fewer ang pows were handed out.
Not many adhered to the tradition of wearing a new outfit on the first day, claiming they were either too busy at work or just did not want to spend unnecessarily.  
The pending implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was among the many conversations that cropped up during the gatherings.
The elders who owned businesses remained clueless over the system, insisting they would have to spend additional money on hiring an accountant. The younger group kept asking if prices of vehicles would go down or be tagged higher once GST sets in on April 1.
The official GST website by the Customs Department does little to pacify such fears. Click on the Shoppers Guide and the page states it will be made available on Jan 1. It’s been more than a month, yet the page is empty.
The list of sundry goods on the website, however, looks extensive. It lists down basic items that will see six per cent tax imposed and those exempted from GST. 
Fans of cencalok, fresh nutmeg and most fruits will rejoice as these food items are exempted from the tax.
But they will also learn deodorant, hair gel and even the card game Old Maid join the list of many products that will be taxed.
Other items that will be slapped with GST include pet food (all kinds), minyak angin (a hit for many to ease headaches), Chi-kit Teck Aun pills (the best way to stop diarrhoea), pencils, battery water, drinking water, pau and coffee.
Perhaps the fear (or others may insist the ignorance) pertaining to the implementation of GST is just to camouflage an even greater fear — the health of the nation’s economy.
Business journals and articles, mostly quoting economists and “analysts”, predict a volatile economy in the region and Malaysia, especially so with the dwindling oil prices and surge of foreign outflow which has impacted the ringgit.
While prices have stablised, those working across the causeway are still smiling with the exchange rate at S$1 to RM2.67.
In December 1980, the rate was 93 sen and has increased ever since; December 1990 (RM1.55); December 2000 (RM2.18); December 2010 (RM2.39) and last December it was RM2.64.
Even the Thai baht has risen compared to the ringgit.
“Just compare the ringgit with the Singapore dollar over the past two decades and see how much it has dwindled.
“You don’t need to be a financial expert to understand the situation,” said Uncle Sam, who spends most of his evenings drinking tea while reading the newspaper at an eatery in Bukit Indah.
He too complained the price of tea has gone up.
The muted celebrations were evident. Such a pattern was seen even before Christmas last year.
Malls toned down their decorations while organisations spent the bare minimum on advertising campaigns.
But household debt continues to soar.
The same people who claim they do not earn enough and worry about their future are buying new continental cars or latest designer handbags.
They gather with friends for their weekly yum-cha session at a fancy café that serves coffee for RM15.
So are people really concerned about the nation’s economy? Or do they fear changing their lifestyle to suit their true budget?
Will 2015 be a baa-d year? 
We’ve gone through rough times in the past, we have learnt (hopefully) and I believe (if we set our priorities right) we can sail through this time around.
We can all make a difference — from the government to the man on the street.
Let’s ease the fears, if any, regarding new policies and make the people understand why certain mechanisms are being introduced.
At the same time, the authorities must seek the views of the stakeholders and not catch them off-guard by introducing policies.
Perception is important and there is a need to negate assumptions — as without clarity and transparency, it will only worsen the situation.
We all need to know what to expect in 2015 and beyond. Here’s looking forward to a prosperous year and trouble-free year. 

HARESH is executive editor of Malay Mail. He can be reached at or on Twitter @HareshDeol

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Azizulhasni to mum: Happy birthday, thank you and I love you!

By Wan Noriza Meor Idris

IT was not the medal he wanted but the smile on Azizulhasni Awang’s face hid his disappointment.

He wanted the gold badly after winning two silver medals in previous Track World Championships but settled for bronze in the Keirin final at the Velodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, yesterday.

“I dedicate my medal to my lovely mother Selamiah Yong who celebrated her 51st birthday on Wednesday,” Azizul told Mailsport after the prize-giving ceremony.

“This is for you mum. Without your support and love, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you and I love you.”

France’s Francois Pervis retained his title with a blistering final lap to beat New Zealand’s Edward Dawkins and Azizul.

Azizul crossed the finish line just ahead of 2009 world champion Maximilian Levy of Germany. The Terengganu lad had won silvers in the sprint in 2009 and Keirin the following year.

“I made a perfect start in Round 1 but faced difficulties in the semis and final. They (riders) blocked me and I started from poor positions,” lamented Azizul.

“Overall, I’m satisfied with my performance. It’s a good start towards next year’s Rio Olympics.
“I can see myself in Brazil but need to improve a bit more. The result has boosted my confidences to win a medal in the Olympics.”

The newly crowned Asian Keirin champion also dedicated the win to his coach, John Beasley.
“This is for Beasley who has been criticised by some in Malaysia. He deserve this medal and respect,” said Azizul.

Asked about the proposed forum involving Beasley, the Malaysia National Cycling Federation and National Sports Council to solve outstanding issues, Azizul said: “There is chaos in Malaysian cycling. I hope we can settle everything fast as we need to look towards qualifying for the Olympics.”

Meanwhile, there was no joy for Josiah Ng in his final international appearance after he was eliminated in the first round.