‘Malaysia Boleh’ frenzy has spawned Ugly Malaysians and Youth Ministry should not become  the first Ugly Ministry to suffer from South Pole complex

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that the investigation report on the aborted Millennium Jump 2000 expedition to South Pole would be made public.  He said the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat is heading the panel set up to probe the matter and will issue a statement very soon.

Hishammuddin should not be infected by the South Pole Complex of denial and  cover-up by weak and indecisive handling of the South Pole parachute jump fiasco and scam, which has brought international  shame and dishonour to Malaysia.

What Malaysians want is not a statement by the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister delegated to probe the South Pole fiasco/scam, but a full report into two aspects: firstly, the full facts about the South Pole fiasco/scam and secondly, the role and responsibility of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in this charade and scam, not only for the RM780,000 allocation for the expedition, but as a co-organiser of the expedition.

It is for the latter reason why the appointment of Datuk Ong Tee Keat, the  Deputy Youth and Sports Minister to conduct the probe into the South Pole fiasco/scam is inappropriate, as there would be public suspicion that there would be an attempt at a cover-up at the Ministry’s failure to  protect national honour and dignity from such a fiaso/scam.

What Tee Keat had been saying publicly on the issue has not inspired confidence that there would be an independent and impartial probe into these two aspects of the South Pole fiasco/scam.

At the MCA Chinese New Year open house in Wisma MCA last Saturday, Tee Keat denied that his Ministry was a co-organiser of the expendition with Fikiran Syndicate.

He said: "The ministry was not involved in the expedition. We disbursed the loan under ‘SOS conditions’ and signed a contract that it should be repaid before the end of March."

Tee Keat should explain what is the meaning of the Youth Ministry’s "SOS conditions" loan disbursement, and what are the other projects which had received such a disbursement.

Tee Keat made the denial in reference to a  police report lodged last Wednesday  by Millennium Jump 2000 organising chairman, G. Siva Kumar against splinter group spokesman Dr. Kamaruddin M. Isa for trying to sabotage the Malaysian team’s attempt to paracute over the geographical South Pole.

Siva Kumar alleged that Dr. Kamaruddin, who revealed that the team did not jump at South Pole on Jan. 13, had "traumatised the eight Malaysian skydivers by saying that they were not fit, not capable and that they would die if they attempted the jump" and that Dr. Kamaruddin’s actions were "akin to an act of treason to try and stop an attempt endorsed by the Prime Minister and the Malaysian Government".

Siva Kumar also made accusations against Dr. Kamaruddin "for tarnishing the good image of the secretariat, the company, himself and the organisers", and he named the organisers as the Youth and Sports Ministry, the Royal Malaysian Police Force, Fikiran Syndicate and Millennium Fiji.

If the Youth Ministry is not a co-organiser of the Millennium Jump 2000 expedition, then it can disclaim responsibility for the South Pole fiasco/scam - but it would also mean that Siva Kumar had lodged a false police report, for which he could  be charged and prosecuted in court.

Will Tee Kiat direct the Youth Ministry to lodge a police report against Siva Kumar for lodging a false police report?

It is however too late for the Youth Ministry to deny that it is a co-organiser of the South Police Millennium Jump 2000.

Siva Kumar’s police report last Wednesday was not the first time the Youth and Sports Ministry had been mentioned as a co-organiser of the  Millennium Jump 2000.

For the whole of last year, ever since  the Millennium Jump 2000 was reported in the local press,  the Youth Ministry was reported as a co-organiser of the expedition.

The South Pole Millennium Jump was the direct off-shoot of the  "North Pole Freefall Expedition Malaysia 1998" when 16 skydivers landed on the North Pole together with a Proton Wira 1.5 during the jump from  almost 3,000 metres in April 1998.

This was why on December 16, 1999, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad handed the Jalur Gemilang to the South Pole Millennium Jump 2000 team in a special ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Department,  where the Youth and Sports Ministry was hailed as one of the co-organisers.

Had the Prime Minister been misled into believing that the Youth and Sports Ministry was a co-organiser of the Millennium Jump 2000?

In fact, the event for which the Prime Minister handed over the Jalur Gemilang and where the Youth and Sports Ministry was described as a co-organiser was described as the  "The Millennium Jump 2000 - Malaysian Time Capsule Mission for Mankind", as it was  reported then that after the South Pole jump, the Millennium Jump team  will skydive at four other locations through the year 2000 and plant time capsules, containing among others, messages from Malaysians to future generations.

These are at Mount Kinabalu, Terumbu Layang-Layang in the Spratly Islands, Vanua Levu in Fiji (site of the Meridian Park which lies on the 180 degree meridian line, first to greet sunlight of the  year 2000) and finally in Kuala Lumpur.  The capsules will only be recovered in 100 years on Jan 1, 2100, except the one at Terumbu Layang-Layang which will be retrieved on Jan 1, 2020.

Has the Youth and Sports Ministry backed out of the "Malaysian Time Capsule Mission for Mankind"?

It is so sad that the whole South Pole Jump fiasco/scam is getting murkier and murkier as it has now been revealed that when the Prime Minister was handing over the Jalur Gemilang to the Millennium Jump 2000 on December 16, 1999, the Millennium Jump 2000 organisers had known four days earlier on December 12, 1999 that the parachute jump over the Geographical South Pole had been called off by the Russians.

If true, this is a most sordid and contemptible exploitation of the "Malaysia Boleh" frenzy and mania, dragging even the office and dignity of the  Prime Minister into the mud.

Is this the reason why the Youth and Sports Ministry is belatedly trying to deny that it was ever a co-organiser of the South Pole Jump fiasco/scam?

Hishammuddin should  realise that for the  Youth Ministry  to belatedly deny that it was ever a co-organiser of the Millennium Jump 2000, when it had basked in the glory of the such  publicity until the expose of the fiasco/scam of the South Pole Jump that never took place, is as dishonourable as the national deceit over the South Pole Jump that never was on January 13, 2000.
The ‘Malaysia Boleh" frenzy has spawned many Ugly Malaysians. But the Youth and Sports  Ministry should be the last to typify the  ugly dimension of "Malaysia Boleh" - claim credit for success and deny association over failure - as over the issue of co-organiser of Millennium Jump 2000.

Hishammuddin should ensure that the Youth and Sports Ministry should not become the first Ugly Malaysian Ministry in manifesting  another symptom of the South Pole Complex  of denials, cover-ups and downright lies.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman