The former academician would have probably forgotten what he advocated. His intentions, although sincere,
And that, of course, separates those who
make things happen and those who merely
Twenty years later, TV sets are so cheap
that they are a common sight at squatter
Even Subang Airport was criticised as a prestigious project when it was built. Today, as we all know, it is not big enough to handle the growing demand for air transport.
As it would be foolish to spend millions
to upgrade an old airport, the KL
International Airport was built again drawing the usual loud complaints.
In 1969, when the Gerakan-led state
government pledged to build the Penang
Bridge, one former DAP leader laughed at
He told his audience at a rally that he
would jump off the bridge if it was
built. He has never done so but he has
“jumped'' political parties at least
Motorists who use the Penang Bridge
today will tell you that it is not wide
enough. During this Chinese New Year period, an accident reduced traffic flow on the bridge to a crawl.
The usual criticisms arose when the
Sepang Formula One circuit was built.
One opposition leader said it was a
waste of money while a PAS MP claimed it
was to promote vice.
Their unhappiness was the cost of the
project but they overlooked the
spill-over effects to the economy, preferring to pick on trivial issues.
The findings of a three-month economic
impact study, conducted by Universiti
Malaya, could perhaps shed some light on the positive aspects of the F1.
Over 65% of the spectators were visitors
to Malaysia, mostly from Europe,
Australia and Singapore. They reportedly
took up 64% of the grandstand tickets
and 33% of the hillstand and uncovered
More than 74% of the specatators came for the sole purpose of attending the event while 15% were on holiday and 8% on business.
Significantly, 71% of the foreign
spectators said they would come
back for the next F1 race in Malaysia.
Over 73% of those interviewed stayed in
four or five-star hotels for an average
of eight nights.
Of the 83% who travelled by air, 54%
flew with Malaysia Airlines. The average
total spending for the visitors was
RM6,730 while locals spent an average of
The figures are certainly impressive. We should also not forget that the event attracted over 600 million TV viewers via 750 stations in over 260 countries. Malaysia deserves to
be on the TV screen worldwide for more
than just its street
In September, Malaysia will host the
last leg of the F1 races. It will be a
major event for that reason alone.
The number of viewers and visitors is likely to double; fans would want to be here to catch the final lap and celebrate with the champion.
Perhaps the organisers should consider
inviting politicians who criticise the
race. They would then be able to see for
themselves the positive impact of
The PAS-led governments in Kelantan and Terengganu may want to take into account that many of the F1 visitors travelled to the east coast for their side holidays besides
enjoying Pangkor, Penang and
Instead of running down the F1, PAS
leaders should be more proactive by competing with other states to promote tourism in their states.
They have over eight months to
aggressively woo F1 fans to spend
their money in Kelantan and Terengganu and, subsequently, enable locals to earn tourist dollar.
Let it be a win-win situation instead of wasting much energy walloping the F1
at meaningless ceramahs.
For our F1 organisers, they should consider
hosting concerts involving local and
foreign singers in the run-up to F1
races to take advantage of the presence
Cultural events could also be held on
the eve of the race to take advantage of
the presence of the huge number of foreign
About a month ago, one newspaper from a neighbouring country ran a front-page report about Malaysia
promoting sports tourism. The paper said
Malaysia had put much thought and
planning to host major golf and motoring
events, attracting global
The F1 circuit, it noted, was a former
palm oil plantation, while the Gold
World Cup was held at a disused tin
The newspaper reported that in a global
competition, time should not be wasted
as competition was intense. That,
perhaps, should set us thinking. There's
a great deal of good things going on in
We only have to get our act together and put our priorities right. It's the only way if we want to be a world-class player.