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#KitaLawan politics in sports; motto non issue, says state rep

As published in Sunday Mail

By Vijhay Vick
vijhayvick@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA — Sports officials, athletes and observers have lambasted Selangor for adopting the #KitaLawan motto for next year’s Malaysia Games (Sukma).

The motto, revealed during a briefing with state sports associations at De Palma Hotel in Ampang on Friday, is the tagline used by jailed opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s supporters who are fighting for his release.

The Sukma motto has the words Selangor peneraju kecemerlangan sukan (Selangor spearheading sports excellence) above an eagle’s head and #KitaLawan! below.

The meeting was organised by the Selangor Sports Council and chaired by state executive councillor for sports, Amirudin Shari. Amirudin insisted the tagline was “not an issue”.

Sukma is the national games participated by athletes aged 21 and below. The 2016 edition is in Sarawak.

“It is a tagline associated with resistance. Sukma is a sporting event for the young. It is not right to as…

HARESH SAYS: For the sake of badminton, let's move forward

As published in Malay Mail today.



Haresh Says
By Haresh Deol

THERE are claims of blurred lines and officials unsure who they report too. More importantly, they are unclear where badminton is heading.

The BA of Malaysia (BAM) is one of the strongest sports associations in the country but it is no stranger to internal ‘issues’.

Conversations with those within give a broad picture of how BAM is being run. There are the bitter few. There are also the diplomatic ones.

One thing for sure, badminton has remained stagnant for far too long. In the international arena, only Lee Chong Wei remains the crowd puller. But his future now lies in the hands of an international panel who will judge him on April 11.

He is fighting a doping scandal after testing positive for a banned substance — dexamethasone — at last year’s World Championship in Copenhagen.

The officials are frustrated and are willing to vent but on condition of anonymity.

“Many are taking potshots about individuals but no one is talkin…

Should we include naturalised players in the national football team?

Here are two views about the subject. One is by veteran sports journalist Tony Mariadass while the other is by Malay Mail sports editor Graig Nunis. What are your views?
Search in our own backyard
By Tony Mariadass (March 23, 2015)
IT is unimaginable national football coach Dollah Salleh — having come from an era of talented home grown players — is keen on naturalised players. 
During Dollah’s time, he had Johor teammates such as goalkeepers Salleh Noor and Hassan Miskam and midfielders Khalid Shahdan, Nasir Yusof and Sazali Naseer alongside him in the national team. He also had for company players like Zainal Abidin Hassan, Salim Mahmud, Serbegeth Singh, K. Gunalan, See Kim Seng, Chow Siew Yai, Lee Kin Hong, S. Silvarajoo, K. Ravichandran, Ahmad Yusof, Azizol Abu Haniffah, S. Balachandran, A. Anbalagan, P. Somasundram and P. Ravindran to name a few. 
For him to say the current players do not have the right mentality, are not matured, lack physique and do not play quality foo…

BEING FRANK: Things can only get bitter

Being Frank by Frankie D'Cruz, as published in Malay Mail today.



AIMING for goal, the Land Public Transport Commission has hit the crossbar. The sudden and sharp increase in public transport fares is so out of touch, it’s untrue about the impact of government austerity measures on consumers.

In probably the most depressing story of the week, the commission (SPAD) unleashed a triple whammy on the same day by sanctioning steep increases in budget taxi, express bus and commuter train fares.

One thing’s for sure: The people get overrun and this sort of price hike frenzy will help no one.

In what other society would such wide scale failure be tolerated? Failure - because Malaysian policy makers seem to have lost touch with the man on the street.

Consider the whole issue that is becoming increasingly radioactive: The fare increases come before and after the implementation of the poorly explained goods and services tax (GST) on April 1.

It wasn’t sensible of SPAD to announce the sharp hi…

Thank you - once again

I am truly humbled. Thank you.

As published in Malay Mail today.




PETALING JAYA — Malay Mail added another feather to its cap when executive editor Haresh Deol won the Best Commentary award at the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM)-100PLUS Awards at PJ Hilton yesterday.

Haresh’s commentary on former world No. 1 shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei’s doping saga “Is this the end of Lee Chong Wei?” published on Nov 12 last year won the hearts of the juries. He took home RM3,000 and a trophy.

Lee’s hearing has been scheduled for April 11.

This is Haresh’s fourth SAM award. Haresh, who started as a sports journalist with Malay Mail 15 years ago, won the 2011 Best Special Report award and was named Sportswriter of the Year. He also won the SAM Best Report award for 2012.

Together with roving news editor Pearl Lee, they won the Malaysian Press Institute-Petronas Best News Report Award last year.

Malay Mail sports journalist Vijhay Vick was nominated for two awards — Best Commentary (“Wake up…

HARESH SAYS: Cabbies are the nation’s ambassadors

Haresh Says, as published in Malay Mail today. HARESH SAYS by Haresh Deol
THE subject of taxis always hits a soft spot. I am after all a taxi driver’s son. Although dad, whom I fondly referred to as papa-ji, did some real estate in the past, I’ve always preferred introducing him as a well-read taxi man. With either a Reader’s Digest, Time magazine or a Malay Mail on the dashboard, he read whenever he had the chance. And it is through his fascination with reading that he was able to interact with people from all walks of life — from students to businessmen — easily.  He was an individual permit holder and owned a black and yellow Nissan Sunny 130Y for more than a decade before changing to a red and white Ford Laser followed by his last taxi, a red and white Proton Iswara. He would leave the house at 6.45am — the same time he sent me to school — and would often return just before midnight. He made sure he ate lunch at home. That’s an hour’s worth of quality time, if I made i…

HARESH SAYS: ‘We are not fools’

As published in Malay Mail today.
HARESH SAYS by Haresh Deol
SHAMAR SAAT calls himself a penjaja bebas. What he does is go table to table, selling tissues and calenders.  Blind since birth, Shamar, from Bandar Baru Sentul, explores many places in the city with his cane as a guide, warning him of potholes and kerbs.  “I have a schedule. I’ll be in Chow Kit every Monday, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman on Tuesdays, Cheras every Wednesday and it goes on,” said the 46-year-old. “It’s not easy but it pays the bills.” But Shamar will take on a different role next Wednesday. He is expected to join at least 100 other visually impaired people as they gather in front of the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) office in Brickfields to voice their grievances against the association. Called Solidarity Orang Buta Malaysia — Selamatkan MAB, they have been organising sessions ahead of the gathering. They held one last week at the Society of the Blind in Malaysia building, (also in Brickfields) last …

Enthusiats to pay more for sports once GST kicks

As published in Mailsport today
By Vijhay Vick vijhayvick@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA - Exercising could cost slightly more come April 1 as futsal and badminton courts operators said they will be raising prices following the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST). And efforts by the government to promote a healthy lifestyle among Malaysians and reduce obesity and cardio-related diseases could hit a snag as many would be put off by the price hike, stressed sports officials. At present, one can rent a badminton court at an average of RM28 per hour during peak hours while the rental of a futsal court is about RM100 per hour. Operators have started announcing they will charge and additional six per cent tax on top of their current rates. "This is the beginning of many other price hikes. We can't just look at the cost of court rentals individually. It may seem as a minimal increase but GST is also slapped on other things including equipment. We must look at …

Teen’s dying wish to meet guitar hero fulfilled

As published in Malay Mail today



By Gwen Manickam
gwen@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA — It was a visit that struck all the right chords for cancer-stricken teenager Muhammad Syazwan Ashraf Mohd Sukri, 19, who sadly passed away hours after meeting his rock idol.

Syazwan had his last wish when he spent more than an hour with Man Kidal of Lefthanded at University Malaya Medical Centre before he died.

The member of the 80s rock band surprised Syazwan who had been his big fan since childhood.
The meet-up at Syazwan’s ward, while emotional, drew joy from the boy who was suffering from dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, a rare form of soft tissue cancer.

Syazwan’s wish before he drew his final breath was to meet Man Kidal and, ultimately, the meeting could not have been more timely.

“I am touched but at the same time amazed he knows me. Through music, I have this fan,” said Man Kidal, 52.

“This is something I will remember all the days of my life.”

He visited Syazwan with his wife Norlaila Yusof and five…

Felda hotshots probed over London hotel deal

As published in Malay Mail today



By Haresh Deol
haresh@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is expected to haul up more Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) officers following the arrest of a decision maker over the purchase of a multi-million ringgit boutique hotel in London.

The high-ranking official was nabbed on Sunday and has been remanded until today. A middleman, in his 40s, allegedly linked to the deal, was arrested last week. His remand was extended by four days yesterday.

FIC, the investment arm of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) acquired the four-star Park City Hotel for £60million (RM330 million). It was renamed Grand Plaza Hotel on Dec 15 last year.

Last May, Lavista Sdn Bhd and Pegang Impian Holdings Sdn Bhd, the major shareholders of Encorp Bhd, sold a 49.45 per cent stake in Encorp to FIC for RM239.72 million.

MACC special operations director Datuk Bahri Mohammad Zin confirmed the arrests.

Asked if MACC was probing other deal…

Cops nabbed over fuel smuggling near Malaysia-Thailand border

As published on the front page of Malay Mail today.
By Haresh Deol haresh@mmail.com.my
PETALING JAYA — A young policeman, who joined the force just six months ago, is among 26 enforcement officers picked up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged links with petrol and diesel smugglers in Durian Burung, Kedah.
In what has been described as a major bust, MACC is expected to arrest more people, including police officers stationed near the Malaysia-Thailand border.
The anti-corruption body had last year nabbed 12 Customs Department officers for their links with alcohol and tobacco smuggling, mainly through Port Klang. The smuggling racket cost the government billions in tax revenue.
MACC had been monitoring the movements of the suspects — including nine policemen and a former Smuggling Prevention Unit (UPP) ASP who retired recently — before conducting a two-day blitz codenamed Ops Licin 2, on Monday and yesterday.
The suspects, aged between 20 and 60, we…

HARESH SAYS: The art of managing perception

As published in Malay Mail today.
ROBERT Mugabe — hailed as a hero to some, labelled a “racist dictator” by others.
Having won the hearts of the locals,  mainly for fighting against the whites in the Rhodesian Bush War, Mugabe and his political party Zimbabwe African National Union — Patriotic Front secured a landslide victory in the 1980 elections as the nation gained independence.
Mugabe was named prime minister in 1980 before he became president in 1987 — a post he holds till today. 
But it has been a challenging time for Africa’s oldest leader throughout his more than three decades in power. Zimbabwe’s economy has not been rosy. Six years ago, the African nation adopted the multi-currency monetary system, referred to as dollarisation. It was in response to the country’s chaotic economy, riddled with inflation, throughout the 2000s. 
The World Bank recorded the most recent poverty headcount for Zimbabwe (in 2011) was 72.3 per cent, with 22.5 per cent living in extreme p…

Voice of the Valley: Ghosts of MAS twin aviation tragedies linger on

Voice of the Valley, as published in Malay Mail today.

Voice of the Valley
By Pearl Lee

ON March 8, the world will be reminded of MH370 — the ill-fated Beijing bound flight which went missing barely an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport. 

A dozen of theories and a year later, the whereabouts of the Boeing 777 jetliner remains unknown. Despite a massive underwater search in the Indian Ocean, not a single body or debris from the plane has resurfaced. 
This has made it difficult for the families to accept the fate that has befallen their loved ones. 


Sarah Bajc, whose partner Phillip Wood was aboard the flight is still holding on to hope that she will meet him again. She had in reports said that she cannot move on until Wood returns, even if it is just his remains. 


On her Facebook page last month, she posted: “Good evening blue eyes. A year ago today I kissed you goodbye in KL to return to finish up my work in Beijing. We were sad to be parting for a month, but excited by …

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 wannoriza@mmail.com.my
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 train…