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Abdullah’s first “White Elephant” Project (London Sports Centre) – Azalina’s “Tai Chi” in Parliament
(Parliament, Tuesday) :Youth and Sports Minister Azalina Othman was booed on Sunday night when she was late by 40 minutes for the opening of the First World Junior Wushi Championships 2006 in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday night – and she offered neither explanation nor apology for her lack of punctuality.
But she might have picked up some tips for her “Tai Chi” performance in Parliament during question time this morning, in totally avoiding the question on the Sports Centre in London – claiming that a final decision would only be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Sports in September based on a feasibility study which is being finalised, asking for queries to be held in abeyance until then. She added that the RM490 million figure quoted for the proposed Brickendonbury Sports Centre project outside London was not correct.
She was unequally unforthcoming to my supplementary questions, viz:
(i) especially when it is roundly opposed by the people and MPs regardless of party as the monies could be better spent on building sports centre throughout the country as in every parliamentary constituency to scout and develop sports talents;
(ii) aware of the objections of the planning authorities to such development as the proposal by the former Primary Industries Ministry to build a golf course at the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) in Brickendonbury had been rejected by the local council concerned;
· Why if a foreign country is being considered for a Sports Centre, why was not Australia considered which won 84 gold models in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006 and a recognized sports power as compared to England, which only won 36 golds in Melbourne;
· Whether having a Sports Centre in London can result in:
(i) Malaysia winning back the Thomas Cup’;
(ii) Improvement in the standards of Malaysian football, which had fallen to 148 placing in the FIFA World Rankings 2006. (This is lower than North Korea, Singapore, Palestine, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. A decade ago, Malaysia’s FIFA world ranking was around the 100 mark); or
(iii) Breaking Mani Jegathesan’s 400 metre record of 46.3 second set in 1965 without any Sports Centre in London.
Azalina asked for my patience to wait until the September decision, remarking irrelevantly that I might otherwise suffer a heart attack. I riposted that although I was down with a bad flu, I had made the point to be present in Parliament to pose these questions – and Malaysians expect a responsible Minister to give proper answers.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman