Thursday, January 2, 2014




1. During the period I was in the Cabinet all Cabinet Ministers were allowed to have one month leave every year and the privilege of travelling overseas for a fare equivalent of 2 MAS first class tickets for the Minister and spouse and 3 full economy fares for adult children for a Kuala Lumpur - London return tickets. There was no ruling as to which airline one travels or how many people travel on which class so long as the sum total of all fares do not exceed the provision. The Kuala Lumpur - London fare was just a criteria in memory of our nation being once ruled from London where our founding fathers had their education.

2. I took advantage of this privilege by travelling to distant places for the benefit of our seven children. By all of us travelling on economy class the fare provision was enough for us to roam the world.
3. One of our favourite destination was Disneyland in Anaheim, California where we went twice. Then we went to Disney World in Florida. We were in Chiba Disney World, in Japan during the first week of its opening. And of course we would not miss the Disneyland in Paris, particularly when the French was at the beginning not too happy with it. Culture being the reason.

4. We were informed that there were more German and foreign visitors to the Paris Disneyland than the French when it was first opened. Certainly during out visit. I knew of this because I too was educated in Germany and could understand their language.


5. Paris was fascinating particularly to my wife who is a non-practicing architect who spends her time photographing the buildings and buying books on architecture for use in preparation for her lecture at the University of Malaya Faculty of Built Environment.

6. Before the formation of the European Union it was more difficult to communicate in English while in Paris particularly when you have the London accent. I therefore spoke in Malay to the non-Malay speaking French when I wish to buy anything. By pointing my finger at the object that I intended to purchase my Malay seems to be better understood by the French.
7. As many Ambassadors, at that time, were old boys of MCKK I had no problem communicating with them. One of them even told me that members of the embassy staff were not too happy accompanying VIPs particularly when it involves long hours of shopping. That includes shopping of books.

8. The VIP husbands on the other hand were extremely friendly when they met in foreign lands but were very difficult to contact when in Kuala Lumpur. It was most insulting when the VIPs did not even recognize them when they met at functions in Kuala Lumpur. It was embarrassing, in one instant, when a friend noted this indifference after having told by an Ambassador, how pally he was with the VIP, just to find out that the VIP hardly recognize the Ambassador.

9. Some of the Ambassadors who had been helpful to me were Tan Sri Mohd Khatib Hamid who was in Form VI in MCKK when I joined in Form 1; Dato' Abdullah Zawawi who was a contemporary of Tan Sri Mohd Khatib at MCKK; Dato' Kamaruddin Abu and Dato' Mohd Amir Jaafar were the other MCOBA Ambassadors. The most senior of them all was Tun Khalil Yaacob, the current Governor of Malacca, who was in Upper VI and also the prefect in charge of Dormitory 6 of which I was one of the students allotted to that dormitory.

10. In Paris I was entertained to dinner by the late Datuk Ismail Ambia who was a colourful diplomat introduced to me by the late Datuk Haji Redza who was the parliamentarian from the constituency of Rembau-Tampin in Negeri Sembilan. Datuk Ismail was from Rembau and he joined the diplomatic service after graduating from Cambridge having earlier had his secondary education at KGV School in Seremban. Not a MCOBA member. He was the Malaysian Ambassador to France from 31-09-1986 to 13-09-1990.


11. At dinner on Friday night of 8th June, 1989, in the residence of Datuk Ismail Ambia, was the Singapore Jewish Ambassador David Saul Marshall (b 12-03-1908 d 12-12-1995). We had a very fruitful conversation on politics in Malaysia and Singapore.  Our common subject of interest was of course Dato' Lee Kuan Yew the Senior Minister in Singapore cabinet. Mr. Marshall was very delighted when I reiterated that Singapore did not secede from Malaysia but was expelled by Tunku Abdul Rahman. It was when Ambassador David Marshall said that Lee Kuan Yew claimed that Singapore seceded and was not expelled that I mentioned of a book entitled 'INSIDE NO. 10' which was written by Marcia Williams who was the Secretary to the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The second abridged edition of her book was published in 1975 by the New English Library (Times Mirror), the first original edition being published by Weidenfield and Nicolson in 1972. The quote from the second edition goes -

12. 'The summer holiday was a good one, because the trade figures for August were good. It was the first summer that the Press were invited to film and photograph this new Prime Minister on holiday with his family on the islands. They found an ordinary man having an ordinary holiday with his family. No more departures for the 'Glorious 12th' for the shooting in August, or a dash for the Riviera sun, or an even longer journey to the West Indies. This was the extraordinary man on his ordinary holiday and the papers were full of it.

13. However, there was a crisis during the holiday period when Singapore seceded from the Malaysian Federation and Harold was forced to come back to the mainland to have urgent talks with Defence and Foreign Office officials. It was not only serious in a world sense but serious for Harold and for the Labour Government. Harry Lee was one of our closest friends. We had indeed known of him when his left-wing associations had been rather more left - in the days when Mr. Marshall was Prime Minister of Singapore and a hero in Labour Party circles.

14. But now Harry Lee had come closer to his Socialist International colleagues. He had a very good working relationship with Harold. He has a formidable wife with very high intellectual caliber, who must be a tower of strength to him in many ways. We were to learn a year later, when Harry Lee came to stay at Chequers, the real reason behind the secession of Singapore from the Federation. As he was to tell us, he had felt well set on the road, through careful political planning and I suppose a degree of 'infiltration', to have taken over democratically in due course the Malaysian Government himself and to have become in time the Prime Minister of the Federation. The Tunku Abdul Rahman must have realized the situation only too well, and decided to act and get rid of Harry Lee before he got rid of him. To avoid such a calamity had taken the only way out to him - secession. He set up the independent Singapore Government, and Harold and the Labour Government gave it their blessing. For this Harry Lee was always grateful.'


15. There is a contradiction in the way these paragraphs were written. How can Marcia Williams write that 'The Tunku Abdul Rahman must have realized the situation only too well, and decided to act and get rid of Harry before he got rid of him.' If Tunku Abdul Rahman got rid of Harry Lee how can getting rid be interpreted as 'secession.' My poor comprehension is that when someone gets rid of someone else then that someone else should be regarded as being expelled by the person getting rid of him. This expulsion is not 'secession'. I could not not find the first edition of the book and I do not believe that Harold Wilson would have employed Marcia Williams if she could not differentiate between expulsion and secession.


16. Mr. David Saul Marshall was the Singapore Ambassador to France, Spain and Portugal from 1978-1993.

17. We did agree that it is always easy to be popular with the West when the media and the banks are controlled by Jewish interests world-wide. As the Jews are anti Islam and the Malays (including the Indonesians) of South East Asia are majority Muslims one need only antagonize the Malays to gain favour from the Jewish media and their bankers.  That explain LKY's attitude. Being Chinese is not a factor as there are Chinese in China which the Jews hate until of course the communists bailed out the Jewish capitalism.

18. Harry Lee comes in the same class as Salman Rushdie as far as getting into the good books of the West. Everything Harry Lee has written so far confirmed that he is clever but his cleverness could not outwit the Tunku for, as Marcia Williams wrote - The Tunku Abdul Rahman ......... decided to get rid of Harry before he could get rid of him. That means expulsion. Harry therefore missed his chance of proving his ability to successfully rule a bigger and really multi-racial and multi-cultural nation. He has to make do with a service industry country and become popular by antoganising his neighbors and establishing his country as a satellite for Zionism


19. Coincidentally in the morning of the night we had our dinner on 8th June, 1989 a Russian fighter plane MIG-29 crashed though the pilot Anatoliy Kvochur was saved. I did not visit the air-show but the discussion that night and the news of the crash in the next day's newspaper was enough to attract my attention to the idea of having such air-show in Malaysia.


20. The idea of an air-show was boiling in my head when I met the Air Force General Tan Sri Dato' Abd. Ghani Aziz, who was my Kedahan form-mate at MCKK, at the rehearsal for the Merdeka Day celebration on 31st August, 1989. As our fighter planes impressively flew over Selangor Club I could see General Tan Sri Ghani being very receptive to the idea of an air-show in Malaysia. He agreed that Langkawi would be a good venue for the event. 

21. I was at this time, and for 13 years, the Chairman of the Merdeka Day celebration committee.


22. I met the Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir after the Merdeka Day celebration and, as a Member of Parliament for Langkawi, suggested another attraction for Langkawi as an international tax free tourist destination.

23.  As a man of science, and very keen on machines, thus the national car project, coupled with his obsession in the development of Langkawi and his vision of putting Malaysia on the world map for tourism there was no effort needed for him to accept the idea of a Langkawi air-show with a little amendment - it should be small airoplanes and NOT war-planes as those exhibited in the Paris Air Show. I promised to communicate with General Ghani of his agreement to the idea.

24. The very next weekend I saw General Ghani coming down the Bangsar Shopping Center escalator as I was going up. Before I could tell him of Tun Mahathir's agreement to a Langkawi Air Show he excitedly told me that he had seen Tun Mahathir who informed him of the agreement to an Air Show in Langkawi. When I asked him about the type of airoplanes he reiterated having spoken to Tun Dr. Mahathir.


25. It was during a cabinet meeting in June 1991, that is about 24 months after the Paris Air Show, that the Defence Minister Dato' Seri Najib told the cabinet of a problem he was facing in organizing the Langkawi International and Maritime Air-show (LIMA).

26. Tun Mahathir appeared happy until Dato' Seri Najib told him that 'The Russian pilots refused to sleep in the Singapore naval ships'. Tun was shocked and said ' ..... what has the war ships got to do with the air-show'. Tun looked at me and I too was pleasantly shocked as deep in my heart I preferred war planes rather than the little ones that Tun flies around.


27. Dato' Seri Najib explained of the enthusiastic reception by manufacturers of war-planes to exhibit their merchandise in the first air-show in a developing country. About 2,000 rooms are required to house all the participants from the various country and Langkawi had no such suitable accommodation. I regarded that as a problem of success and I knew too that Tun Mahathir has a way of overcoming these types of problems.

28. After the meeting he smilingly said to me '... you didn't tell Ghani?' I replied ' ..... he told me that you agreed.' 'I told him to see you!!'. 'Yes, we saw one another on the escalator.' He smiled cheekily and up till now I am not sure whether he suspected I plotted with General Ghani in favour of the war planes.


29. At the following cabinet meeting, which was the first to be held outside Kuala Lumpur, was held in Kuching, Sarawak. After the meeting the Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud brought the cabinet to a factory which manufactures ready made houses. The entrepreneur Tan Sri Ting Phek Khing was there to convince that he could do anything and do it quickly.

30. It was Tan Sri Ting's enthusiasm that earned him the confidence of Tun Dr. Mahathir to entrust him with the development of 2,000 hotel rooms in Langkawi within 4 months ensuring that it would be ready for the LIMA event in October 1991, about 16 months after the Paris Air Show. Tan Sri Ting proved that he could do it.

31. With Puan Sri besides him he brought thousands of workers to Langkawi by chartered planes to finish the job entrusted to him. The 2,000 rooms were ready for occupancy two days before the arrival of the LIMA participants.

32. LIMA's success is atributed to the leadership of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, the management of Air Force Gen. Abd. Ghani Aziz, the guidance of Dato' Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abd. Razak and the entrepreneurial spirit of Tan Sri Ting Phek Khing.

33. That miscommunication, as I and General Ghani criss-crossed on the escalator, was after all a blessing in disguise.


Nurul said...

Tengku Abdul Rahman is a stupid PM.
He should have arrest LKY and pun him under ISA.

Or If he worried Thi British will come after him,gim Singapore a limited authonomy.We control police and Army.
Look what happen to Singapore after 50 years of saparation.
A pain in the ass for Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Miss Nurul, If we blame the history we are the victim of future.

Anonymous said...

Those years, if I can reiterate, success and the ability to do comes form a political will and outside the box thinking. Alas, now a days, opinion sought from so called consultant, without having the necessary knowledge about issues. Hence, the success is purely based on the stregth of a power point presentations by these consultant.