Does the CM know?

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between KXP Airport City Holdings and Aeroport de Paris Ingenierie (ADPI) in preparation to build the Kulim International Airport (KXP). 

On that specific event, the Kedah Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir was present. During the MOU signing event, it was announced that the groundbreaking will take place in the coming November. The plan to acquire 3,982 hectares of land for the mammoth project has also been finalised. The state government has also enforced the Section 4 of Land Acquisition Act 1960 to prevent any transfer or sale of the involved land and the negotiation with landowners will begin soon. The Kulim International Airport is expected to have their first flight as early as January 2024.

The two companies who signed the MOU looks legit. KXP Airport City Holdings, which has been entrusted by the Kedah state government to manage the development of the airport, has been in serious planning and negotiations. They have opened up tender for consultants to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Social Impact  Assessment (SIA) and Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) August last year. Needless to say for Aeroport de Paris Ingenierie, they have been the airport experts with various experiences of building and upgrading airports all around the world.

With all those hype, negotiations and discussions surrounding the development of the KXP, it is a surprise that the Penang Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow said that the Penang state government is unaware of the MOU.

I remember well that the Economic Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has mentioned that the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), which is under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) is the organisation responsible to look through the proposal of the development of KXP. And our Penang Chief Minister is a council member of the NCER. 

Development of an airport must have also involved the Federal Government’s Transport Ministry, which is under the leadership of Anthony Loke. I wonder if Chow’s comrade ever discussed the KXP updates with him.

Even as the state’s CEO, they attend meetings with the Prime Minister and every respective state’s Menteri Besars and Chief Minister. Access to  the Prime Minister and the Federal Government must have not been difficult for Chow especially when they are from the same coalition. 

And I really wonder, with all the connections, how can the Penang Chief Minister be ignorant of the updates of the Kulim International Airport? 

In an article in Invest Kedah magazine, it stated that three independent studies, about 20% of cargo load and 30% of passengers that travel via Penang International Airport comes from the main towns of Kedah and Northern Perak. That numbers are huge enough to impact the economy of Penang.

While the Penang Chief Minister might not be able to do much to influence the development of KXP as it is not  “terpulang kepada dia”, he should be focusing on things that are under his control, or maybe “not”?

The feasibility studies of the Penang Undersea Tunnel that was last said will be completed by September 2019, I wonder whether it is complete yet or not. The last time the Chief Minister mentioned it, it was 90% complete. How long do they need to study the other 10%?

Penang Transport Master Plan which was initiated by the DAP government about a decade ago, is still only on paper? Traffic issues and population does not wait for the government to work on the proposal, it will keep growing no matter what. Whatever challenges there are to implement the PTMP, the government has to solve it for the benefit of the people.

While it is not the rainy season yet, we may not know whether it will still flood in Penang, has the state government implemented the flood mitigation project which has been mentioned for so long?

It is not about criticising the current government, but it really does seem that these proposed ideas have been pending for way too long. Wondering what is the real problem at hand.

These are just a few of the main things that have been dragging on since years ago. If these are not the priorities of the state government, then I wonder what they are. Or is the CM just as ignorant of the development of the state as he is towards the development of the KXP?

Perhaps the only fast moving pace projects are the developments of luxury residential projects.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 24th February 2020.

A nation building lesson from Kobe

In the end of 1990s, the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan was at their peak, dominating and winning championships in NBA. That was when I started to play and got interested in basketball, but Michael Jordan was retiring during that period. Although he was one of the greatest basketball players in the world, he wasn’t the one that I paid much attention to. During the time when I was so fascinated with basketball, Kobe Bryant was the inspirational one to my friends and I. We grew up watching his whole career in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant, a legend

As I was writing to complete my bi-weekly article two weeks ago, it was devastating to receive news from friends from my basketball circle that the inspirational Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash.

I may have not met him before, I would have never imagined that I would have the opportunity to meet him ever as well. But he remained as an inspirational person to me, not only on the basketball court, but his character of developing himself as well as advocating for sports among youth and women.

He won five championships, was an 18-time All-Star, and countless NBA records in history. And he is the one and only basketball player who has won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Winner of Academy award for Best Animated Short Film

Having achieved such a high stature, in the basketball world, among sports lovers, and to people who might not be interested in sports at all; he played a major influence throughout the world. 

5x Champion

Politicians have a lot to learn from Kobe.

As politicians, it is natural to contest in the general elections to win. Nobody wants to lose in any contest that we participate in. But although general elections are important to politicians, we should not make it a priority; in which it is a priority to many. Most of the political parties and politicians first goal is to win in the elections, and then only plan on how to build the nation. Which I think the mentality and the priority should be changed. We must first have our ideas of developing our nation, then as we advocate for better policies, ultimately, we will be given the victory in the elections.

If basketball is a nation, Kobe has his idea on how to build his ‘nation’, he makes sure he understands his ‘nation’, gets to know the people across his ‘nation’. Winning championships may be certainly a goal for him, but he had used the influences he won from the championships to execute his ‘nation building’ ideas to make it a reality.

Many typical NBA players who retired from professional basketball will probably continue to earn from the fame that they have built, but it is different for Kobe.

At the end of his professional basketball career, he went back to the court to inspire and teach even more players to develop their successes, and that is what he does to build his ‘nation’.

If he is there only to win championships, he wouldn’t have continued his advocacy after he retired professionally. Similarly to politicians, if one has real concerns and is true to his words of building the nation, the priority is not about winning elections then. Building a nation is not only reserved for the winners, everyone and anyone can play their role in it.

There are numerous lessons and experiences that we can learn from Kobe, but specifically for politicians, I think it is his mentality of building his ‘nation’, his love and loyalty for his ‘nation’.

No. 24 was the jersey number that I will take lesson from; coincidentally N24 was the seat that I contested in 2018.

KB 24

His first phase of success ended in 2016 when he retired as a professional player from NBA. His second phase of life is just beginning and was poised for even more success. I was expecting to learn even more from him. It is such a waste that his life has to be ended. Rest in Peace, Kobe, Gianna and to all others who were on board the helicopter.


This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 11th February 2020.