In fact, the inquiry into the South Pole parachute Malaysia's national heroes to give due recognition to their feats, which includes jump fiasco should be extended to the North Pole paracute free-fall in April 1998 to assure Malaysians that there was no hanky-panky in "Malaysia Boleh" creation of national heroes and to check the unseemly and murky side of the "Malaysia Boleh" frenzy.
Just before the National Day last August, the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism launched a "Malaysia Boleh" jingle to honour sailing solo around the world, climbing Mount Everest and freefalling over the North Pole.
The Ministry said the jingle was to spur the spirit of patriotism among Malaysians, remind the younger generation of our national heroes' accomplishments and to cultivate a future generation who will strive to reach greater heights.
The South Pole paracute jump fiasco and scandal, where the entire nation was misled into believing that Malaysian skydivers were the first Asians to jump over the South Pole from an altitude of 6,400m on January 13, 2000 to mark the millennium when such a millennium jump had never taken place, has raised disturbing questions as to whether all the other national feats like the North Pole parachute free-fall in April 1998 had been above-board with no hanky-panky whatsoever.
Dr. Kamaruddin M. Isa, the person who performed a great national service by single-handedly exposing the South Pole paracute jump fiasco by lodging a police report, has made another shocking revelation in todayís Star report by K. Parkaran.
Dr. Kamaruddin said the Malaysian Millennium Jump 2000 team knew that there was no skydive over the Geographical South Pole even before they left the country on December 26, 1999.
He said the international organiser, 45th Russian Expedition, told them that no delegation was given a permit to jump at the Geographical South Pole as it would have been extremely dangerous with the weather then.
He said: "We were only given permission to jump on Jan. 1 at Patriot Hills. Even then, the first jumper was an Indian air force officer, Lt Kamal Singh."
Dr. Kamaruddinís latest revelation has thrown a totally new and shocking light on the whole expedition.
When the Malaysian Millennium Jump 2000 team returned from South Pole
to Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, its organising chairman G. Siva Kumar made
two claims after he was forced to admit that the skydivers never
jumped over the Geographical South Pole as officially claimed earlier:
Why canít the Malaysian Millennium Jump 2000 report about the jump in the Antartic at Patriot Hills at an altitude of 4,500m above the sea level on January 1, 2000 without making baseless and ridiculous claims?
The expedition leader, Deputy Supt of Police Muhamad Fuad Abu Zarim, for instance, said on his return to Kuala Lumpur: "The area is in the South Pole. For example, if we did not land at the Petronas Twin Towers but the Royal Selangor Club instead, we still parachuted over Kuala Lumpur, didnít we?"
Universiti Malaya geography department head Assoc Prof Dr Azizan Abu Samah, who led a four-person team on Malaysia's first scientific expedition to the Antarctic in October, said it was wrong for the team to claim that they had jumped over the South Pole just because they skydived over Patriot Hills on Jan 1, 2000.
This is because Patriot Hills, which is the Chilean airport base, is on the Antarctic continent but it is not in the South Pole. The Geographical South Pole is located on 90 degree latitude and is about 1,800km away - which is more than three times the entire length of peninsular Malaysia.
If the millennium skydivers had been told even before they left for South Pole that there would be no jump over the Geographical South Pole, then there was a fraudulent conspiracy to mislead the government, people and nation which must be taken seriously by the authorities.
This would mean that all the following statements were made in the full
knowledge that they were untrue:
Probably, the Cabinet at its meeting next Wednesday should set up a committee to conduct an overal review whether the "Malaysia Boleh" campaign has gone overboard and should be reined in so that it does not end up with all sorts of ridiculous, outlandish, purposeless and even deceitful pursuit of fame and glory for being the first, the biggest, the smallest of this or that completely devoid of the values of honest endeavour, commitment and excellence that are meant to be promoted.
The Youth and Sports Ministry cannot distance itself from the South Pole millennium jump fiasco as the Malaysian Millennium Jump 2000 is jointly organised by the Ministry and Fikiran Syndicate, together with an loan allocation of RM780,000.
The Ministry was also a co-organiser of the "North Pole Freefall Expedition Malaysia 1998" although there is yet to be a full accounting of the expenses and budget for the expendition.
Hishammuddin should table the full budgetary details of the North Pole Parachute Free Fall 1998 and the disgraceful South Pole Parachute Non-Jump when Parliament reconvenes next month.