Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blockbuster weekend

What a weekend it was!

10th state election for Sarawak
2nd Energizer Night Race

You must be ask... what is the connection between those two??

Well, I'm a Sarawakian but I didn't go back to cast my vote. Instead I took part in the night run. :P

I'm not a responsible man ya. A chance to vote for the State government but I went running...running away in Sepang F1 track. Yes, this time the run was held inside the Formula One track.

Honestly I wanted to go back and vote but no polling date was mentioned when the state assembly was dissolved. Couldn't book air ticket...yet. So I waited...waited...waited...and finally the date was announced, 16April. Immediately I checked Air Asia; I need to fork out about RM400 for the trip back to Kuching.
Checking Suruhan Pilihan Raya website, I was to vote in Batu Lintang constituency. It's not a 'hot seat'. Back in 2006, DAP won easily.
Ok, decision done. Skipping the election this round. No worries as BN lost...again! Hah! We want to "Ubah!"

Now...let's go to Sepang F1 track!

Physically there watching and experience the F1 race - done.
Cycled on the F1 track - done.
Run on F1 track - yes! I didn't want to miss that opportunity!

Car pooled, arrived 7pm, forced to pay RM10 to park! $#@$%&*@!!!!!!
Didn't want to let that spoil the race but that was the beginning of a 'not so happy' night.
Arrived at grandstand but we were on the wrong side, together with hundreds of runners. Slowly everyone inched their way down some stairs, walked through a tunnel below the F1 track, up some stairs and fresh air! Beside the stairs, 2 girls...only 2 of them had to give out Energizer headlamps to thousands! Silly isn't it? Energizer wanted runners to use these headlamps but many missed out receiving theirs. Thumbs down to that!

Bumped into Tony who informed us there's a very long queue at baggage collection area. No map provided so we had walked quite a bit looking for a very long queue. And yes, we found the queue and we turned around in an instant to find a better place to keep our bags. End up, we hid them in a little room in the toilet. Interesting huh?

Chatted with friends and before you know it, it's flag off time. Oh man, I didn't have time to warm up! There's a first time for everything but that's not the first that I want! Ergh!! Runners covering the entire track width had to squeeze through a 6foot time mat from the start. What else can go wrong?!
The first 2km...well, considered as a fast warm up...200m from start line we were directed towards outside big loop...heck, the 21km runners supposed to finish 1 inside loop (F1 track) before going outside big loop right? What the?!?!

Outside big loop was DARK! Headlamps very much needed. Pity those who didn't get theirs...sigh...and imagine your foot going into a pothole...that's it!
So I tailed behind runners, reducing the risk of stepping into a pothole. It worked!

1 outside big loop done, 21km runners go back into F1 track. I almost overshot the turning back into tunnel entrance tailing the runners in front. Luckily a marshal asked for my category & flagged me into the tunnel. Ok, those 2 runners were behind me from then on...hahaha! But reaching the track, no marshal directing us where to run...
So again I tailed runners in front of me...left...200m in pit lane on opposite direction...exit to track...crossed time mat...what else could go wrong?!

Halfway into inside loop, bang! Human traffic! Everywhere! There's no clear path!! How to have a decent run? It's brilliant for rugby training but...not a run! My mood took a deep dive. Right foot blister getting to me. Mood...another dive. Stopped & removed socks. Much better.
Water station...overcrowded and the crowd didn't seem to be moving...
Gatorade...good...but paper cups were not filled fast enough so we took it from the cans. Big waste as half drank cans were everywhere on the track. Oh yes, the 1.5L bottles as well! Hazardous to runners! Not only runners to zig zag through...the rolling cans and bottles on the track were added obstacles.

What else could go wrong?!

The F1 track was straight but the way I ran was uncalled for! Left right left right...
Crossed timing mat 3rd time (start 1st time, back from outside big loop 2nd time, completed inside 1loop 3rd time) checked my own personal time... 1.08. That meant there's still another inside loop to complete in order to finish this 21km race.
I gave up! Sorry, no more racing. Another time la...
No way was I going to race through thousands of people walking on the entire track.

So I stopped, took out my HP, checked sms, called my brother in Kuching to get election results update. Ahh...much more satisfying. DAP won urban seats.

Slow jogged my way another loop to cool down and sort off finished the so called run. Personal time was not 21km...much shorter...

As for the rest of the night, you can read about them in the articles below along with articles on Sarawak state election.

It wasn't a good good night.

Damm "pekmo" is still the CM! Argh!!

Sunday, 17 April 2011 23:00

The new face of Sarawak politics

Written by Malaysia Chronicle

The "Ubah" wind swept across the cities and towns of Sarawak, from the southern Kuching to the central Sibu and onward to Bintulu and Miri in the north.

But it failed to make its way into the Dayak interiors or the Malay/Melanau coasts.

The outcome was pretty close to what had been widely anticipated. No surprises were in store.

Although BN lost its absolute advantage, the result was within its own expectations.

While the ruling coalition has lost a big chunk of the support of the Chinese, the community makes up only about 30% of all voters and Chinese dominated seats only constitute about 20% of all the seats up for grabs. In other words, they can't tip the table in any way.

The Malay/Melanau communities have always been the most important and unshakeable source of ballots in favour of BN, and the PKR and PAS have found it almost impossible to make noteworthy inroads into these staunchly BN bastions of support. The Dayaks, meanwhile, continue to lean towards BN in pursuit of stability and continuity.

The voting pattern has effectively dissected Sarawak into two halves: On the one side urban/Chinese voters yearning for change, while on the other side the rural/bumiputra voters remain contented with the status quo.

Urban Chinese Sarawakians have made their stand very clear. They have almost denied the SUPP outright, indirectly telling everyone they get so frustrated with Taib Mahmud and are utterly disenchanted with the SUPP.

They have used their ballots to express their aspirations for the state's economic development as well as their pursuit of social justice.

The ideology championed by the DAP goes well with the requirements of the Chinese voters in the state, and the Pakatan's model offers them an alternative option.

That said, the Chinese voters will also need to face an unknown future for the choice they have made. How they are going to get adequate representation in the restructured power framework remains to be seen.

Pakatan's hopes of Ubah among the Dayaks have been dashed.

PKR has put its stake on the six Bidayuh constituencies with a possible opposition lean in the south to turn towards them, as the other Iban and Murut constituencies plagued with land controversies or religious sentiments or forced relocation due to dam construction, with the hope that tide will turn in their favour.

The Dayaks are still willing to accept their political destiny in resignation. Living in difficulty, they are focusing on their realistic needs than any vision for the future.

Only a truly powerful leader and plenty of effort can bring on any opportunity to change the political inclination of the community.

The victory of Baru Bian in Ba’Kelalan marks an important milestone for the Pakatan, but to make further advances into other Dayak domains will require a whole lot more effort than this.

The Malay/Melanau communities have always been BN's fortress although they too are encountering difficulties. But as minorities in the state, they have enjoyed an adequate sense of security thanks to the political prowess of Taib Mahmud and his PBB.

Although the election outcome is well within many people's anticipation, the political face of Sarawak has undergone a substantial change following this election.

For one, Taib's strongman status is beginning to wither.

He has lost the support of the Chinese voters, and under the pressure from the federal government, he has unveiled his retirement plans.

Sarawak is gearing itself towards the post-Taib era. If Taib bows out two years later, the new leadership is not expected to inherit the charisma of Taib, and their grip of the state administration will very likely lax, which is favourable for Sarawak as it moves towards a relatively more liberal, counter-balanced and transparent society. Nevertheless, the same may also sink the state into fiercer power struggles.

Secondly, localised politics is diminishing in Sarawak while the influences of national politics are expanding.

Najib has projected himself as the central figure during the campaign period, Taib paling far behind by comparison. Such phenomenon took place not only in the strongly anti-Taib urban communities but also among the Malays and the Dayaks.

In a similar manner, the humiliating defeat of the SUPP points to the fact that the localised Chinese political party is set to be displaced by a national political party DAP.

Sarawak's political ecosystem is evolving towards a greater degree of nationalisation. This is true not only in the state BN, but also the state opposition.

Sarawak will from this moment move towards a new pattern in which the federal political forces signified by prime minister Najib, the native political forces signified by Taib Mahmud, and the urban Chinese grassroots signified by the DAP will see themselves locked in a tussle, or counteracting one another, to spawn a completely new political ecosystem.

- Sin Chew

Source :

Taib sworn in tonight after 55-seat victory

UPDATED @ 12:18:45 AM 17-04-2011
April 16, 2011
The Sarawak chief minister (in purple) celebrates securing his seventh term in office tonight in Kuching.
KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will serve a seventh term as Sarawak chief minister after a late-night swearing-in an hour after it was announced tonight that Barisan Nasional (BN) had retained its two-thirds majority.

Taib has helmed the East Malaysian state for 30 years but recently pledged to step down after this state election following pressure from the BN leadership.

His insistence on going for another term became campaign fodder for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) which more than doubled its presence in the state assembly.

It is understood that the ruling coalition views Abdul Taib, unpopular with Sarawak’s Chinese voters, as a liability and is eager to put the Sarawak BN chairman out to pasture.

But Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, when asked earlier about Abdul Taib’s quit plans, would only say that the promise would be fulfilled when the time comes.

BN won 55 seats, seven less than in the 2006 state election. Its share of the popular vote also decreased from 62.93 per cent in 2006 to 55.24 per cent this year.

The ruling coalition managed to keep its two-thirds legislative majority in Sarawak but today’s results have shattered its apparent invincibility and the notion of a “fixed deposit” in future elections.

DAP doubled its presence to 12 seats and PKR tripled its representation to three although the PR lynchpin had contested in 49 seats. PAS lost all five seats it contested while independent George Lagong gained one seat.

The number of state seats to PR will spell danger for BN as it could help the opposition pact win more parliamentary seats when the general election is called by Najib. PR now has 75 MPs but the Sarawak win could translate into more in the future.

Source :

No fun in this run

Sports Minister wants to know how race held without green light
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 12:21:00

Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek
KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (pic) said yesterday the Sports Development Act 1997 should not be taken for granted.

He was responding to a statement by organisers of the Energizer Night Race at the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday that they did not seek the Sports Commissioner’s approval as it was a 'fun run'.

Some 10,000 participants cried foul, claiming the event was badly organised and have not received their medals and certificates.

“I will look into it,” Ahmad Shabery said at the National Press Club.

“This is serious. We have laws that cannot be taken lightly. Organisers must do things according to the law."

Sports Commissioner Datuk Yasin Salleh said guidelines of the Act clearly states any sporting activity must receive the thumbs-up from his office. Expose Media director Josie Huang Wan Ling told The Malay Mail a sanction was not required as the event was considered a 'fun run'.

Failure to obtain the office’s clearance could see the organisers face a fine of up to RM5,000 or six months jail, or both.

“The Act states that any form of sports activity, fun or not, has to get clearance from our office,” said Yassin.

“We will ask the organisers for a written explanation. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for now.”

Article 36 (1) states: “A company shall not involve itself in any sporting activity or in any other activity related to sports as may be prescribed by the Minister in the regulations unless it is licensed to do so by the Commissioner.”

Article 39 reads: “Any person guilty of an offence under this Act for which no penalty is expressly provided shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.”

“I think it’s better for us to educate the masses then to threaten. Perhaps they are unaware of such requirements and hopefully they will not repeat this. If they continue to ignore the ruling, then it is only right for us to take action as stated in the Act,” said Yassin.

Participants at the run paid between RM50 and RM75 each.

They were asked an additional RM10 for parking. Many failed to receive not only their goodie bags but also their medals and certificates on completing the race.

Comments on the event were posted on Facebook and video clips uploaded on YouTube.

Organisers to make it up to the finishers

KUALA LUMPUR: Participants in the Energizer Night Race 2011 have been told sorry by race organisers for the poor conduct of the fun event.

Following all-round disappointment over the shabby conduct of the race, the organisers have apologised unreservedly to participants.

In a statement, Energizer Malaysia managing director Mike Foong, whose company organised the event, said: "We share the disappointment of participants in the Energizer Night Race and apologise as the race sponsor. We had such high hopes for the event."

Foong said Expose Media, as the official event organisers, took responsibility for shortcomings in all aspects of the event and committed to an official plan of reparation.

Energizer Malaysia will refund registration fees to every participant.

Details of the refund will be announced on Friday on the Energizer Night Race website and Facebook page.

Expose Media group director Josie Huang Wan Ling in a statement on Facebook page, said: "As event organisers of the Energizer Night Race, we apologise for all discontent experienced by the participants."

She said Expose Media took full responsibility for all actions directly and indirectly leading up to the issues before and on race day.

"We will hand out certificates, medals, finisher's T-shirts, headlights and complimentary gifts to every registered participant. The details will be announced on Thursday at 6pm," she said.

The winners would be contacted personally to come forward to receive their awards.

The Malay Mail received numerous complaints on the Energizer Night Race via email.

Calvin Tan, 31, of Shah Alam wrote: "During the race, there was lack of water stations, with only one water shed for so many runners.

"There was also no proper signage and no proper tagging for those who finished the run within the qualifying time.

"I'm sure Energizer doesn't even know who finished the run or within the qualifying time! I finished my race 45 minutes before the qualifying time of two hours and I queued one-and-a-half hours for my goodie bag.

"There was no proper crowd control and people started looting the goodie bags because of the long queue and waiting time. Eventually, the organisers closed the goodie collection counter. Many of us went home empty handed and disappointed."

Another participant, C.W. Mok, wrote: "Parking manned by Rela charged us RM10 per entry when during Formula 1 event, parking cost only RM5. It took years for Energizer to build up their brand name but this was crushed within a few hours of the race."

Others complained about the change of date for kit collection at the Tropicana City Mall in Petaling Jaya without notice.

Energizer says sorry, offers refund

By Sheila Sri Priya

As the queue was too long, goodie bags were thrown to the crowd. — Picture taken from
As the queue was too long, goodie bags were thrown to the crowd. — Picture taken from

KUALA LUMPUR: All registered participants of the Energizer Night Race KL 2011 will receive full refunds on their registration fees following problems faced during the event which took place last Saturday at the Sepang International Circuit.

Energizer Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which was the title sponsor, also apologised to all participants in a press statement.

The event, which attracted almost 10,000 runners, had received a lot of flak from many participants who vented their frustrations and anger at various social networks on the Internet.

Among the complaints were the shortage of head torches which each contestant were told they would get, lack of drink stations and a lack of directional signs along the route.

The participants were also upset that there was no prior notification to inform them that a RM10 parking fee would be imposed.

Some of the complainants also posted pictures and videos on the Internet showing the crowd turning rowdy at the goodie bag counter as the queue was too long.

A video clip showed goodie bags being thrown to the crowd.

There were also claims of poor distribution of medals and certificates to participants who completed the race within the stipulated time.

Other complaints include the shortage of marshals along the routes and a lack of medical assistance.

Some also claimed that the master of ceremonies was not tactful when trying to disperse the crowd. They said there was also no announcement of the winners and the prize giving ceremony.

On the other hand, there were also posts on various Internet sites which blamed the participants for their unruly behaviour which led to the chaos.

Energizer Malaysia said details of the refund would be announced on Friday through the Energizer Night Race website ( and also via Facebook at (

The night run was conducted over a distance of 5.5km, 11km, 21km and 42km and participants had to pay registration fees ranging from RM65 to RM75 per person.

G. Rajaseelan, 31, who took part in the 11km run, said the race was poorly managed. He also blamed the participants for misbehaving.

Rajaseelan said he was not notified prior to the run about the RM10 parking fee which he felt was too costly. He said the Rela officers stationed at the car parks were collecting RM10 from motorists and he was not given a receipt for the parking fee.

Rajaseelan received his free head torches from the organisers but many participants did not. He also saw participants taking the head torches in bulk.

"There was only one guy distributing the head torches and I saw participants taking the head torches from him.

"This caused a shortage of head torches for other contestants. The head torches were important because the race routes were dark," he said.

Rajaseelan said the flag off for the 42km race went off smoothly. But contestants for the 21km, 10km and the 5.5km races were confused and lost due to poor directional signs.

He also claimed that there was only one medical booth and this was situated far from the running circuit. Injured participants, he claimed, were sprayed with mosquito repellent instead of anti-cramp spray.

It was also claimed that towards the end of the race, the police had to be called in to disperse the crowd.

Yim Heng Fatt, 41, who took part in the 42km race said the poorly organised run could have posed a danger to the runners.

He said part of the race routes were not lit and runners could have injured themselves due to poor visibility and lack of head torches.

Yim claimed that a friend's husband had collapsed near the finish line but there was no medical team to assist him. He was also upset that there was a lack of drink stations throughout the race and none at the finish line.

"Imagine after completing 42km and you are dehydrated but there are no drinks available at the finish line. Dehydration can cause death," he said.

Yim claimed he only received two check point markers and ran the rest of the routes with no markers provided.

"There were no marshals to give us the markers during the run. Some of the runners lost count of the number of rounds and ended up running either more or fewer rounds," he said.

Runners were also told to walk through a connecting tunnel with poor ventilation to the grandstand area.

"My friends and I were beginning to feel claustrophobic because the crowd was not moving inside the tunnel. The tunnel was stuffy and warm.

"I later found out that the organisers were giving out the head torches at the end of the tunnel. Why pick that spot when there was ample of space at the circuit? It was just bad planning," said Yim.

Jess Ross Francis Xavier posted on the Energizer Night Race Malaysia facebook that she was also frustrated over the run. But it saddened her to see people trying to exploit the matter.

"We were there for the love of the run. I even see a post urging people never to use Energizer batteries again. What has the batteries got to do with the night race?" she said.

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