Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Penang Bridge Marathon Cancellation - Satu Lagi Projek BN?
Related post: 2008 Penang Bridge Marathon Cancelled
Is the cancellation of the 2008 Penang Bridge Marathon part of the federal government's plan to punish Penangites? Is this a crazy idea? If you think so, then let's lay out the info that we know so far.
Firstly, one of Azalina Othman's first acts as tourism minister is to cancel MoUs with Pakatan Rakyat states, threatening to throw state tourism plans off balance. State tourism agencies weren't even informed of upcoming events and faced difficulties in securing funds from the federal government.
Secondly, the administration and maintenance of the Penang Bridge comes under the provision of the Malaysian Highway Authority (Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia), an agency under the Ministry of Works (Kementerian Kerja Raya). Unfortunately, the federal government which has the final say makes them guilty of being puppetmasters.
Lastly, the rationale and timing of the cancellation raises some eyebrows. For god's sakes, sponsors are supposed to do what sponsors do - fund events in exchange for advertising and the chance to do some good public relations. At last year's event some 30-40 different logos were easily seen on participants' T-shirts. Now, why would the MHA now decide to be considerate and "not tax their sponsors"? Take a look at their pathetic news statement on their website. Do they think that Penangites are a clueless bunch?
If there's anything that the government can't provide, the private sector can fill in the gaps. If there's no private company willing, then it boils down to public interest to keep it going. It shouldn't be hard to recruit and train volunteers to be security personnel, just like the process of selecting election observers from the public.
This begs the question: Would the federal government pump funds into the event if a Gerakan man was holding the Chief Minister post? It's a sure yes.