Take a bow, Lee Zii Jia! The young man takes his place among Malaysia's badminton greats after netting the All England prize.

Elsewhere in today's newsletter, we take a look at testy Malaysia-North Korea ties; the new version of the Sheraton Move starring Anwar Ibrahim; and Najib Razak's not-so-noble gesture.

Also, the K-word in Kamus Dewan suggests we've a ways to go to end racial discrimination.

Smash hit!

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

It looked like a bridge too far. But national shuttler Lee Zii Jia showed tremendous composure last night to take the All England men’s singles crown from taller, higher-ranked Danish defending champ Viktor Axelsen.

The Kedah-born Lee, a graduate of the Bukit Jalil Sports School, seemed like a longshot. Yet, his run at the championship’s been nothing short of magical, with a straight-sets win over World numero uno Kento Momota in the quarters and a brilliant 30-29, 20-22 and 21-9 display against Axelsen in yesterday’s final.

The All E is one of the most prestigious badminton tournaments in the world and one Malaysia’s prized from the days of Wong Peng Soon and Eddy Choong. (We’ve bagged 27 All England titles in total over the years, the last won by Lee Chong Wei in 2017). So this victory’s mucho sweet.

What makes the win particularly awesome is that few of our current crop of players seemed worthy of succeeding Chong Wei as the nation’s pride and joy since our dear Datuk announced his retirement

Two years on, however, a new shining light’s emerged from El C-Dubya’s imposing shadow. And he’s only 22! 

Of course, it’d be unfair to start calling him Chong Wei 2.0 after just one super series title, but Sunday’s win is a significant milestone in the younger Lee’s career as it is for us as a nation.

That elusive Olympic gold medal beckons next. And who knows, maybe even a Thomas Cup? Malaysia hasn’t touched the Thomas Cup since 1992 in the heydays of Foo Kok Keong, Cheah Soon Kit, Soo Beng Kiang and the Sidek bros.

No pressure, Zii Jia! 

What a tangled web we weave

Was Anwar Ibrahim approached to be part of the Sheraton Move, and could he have been PM8?

To hear PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad tell it, PKR was invited to be a part of a new Umno+Bersatu+PAS coalition to replace the Pakatan Harapan gomen. However, the PKR chief refused to ditch pal DAP (allegedly! allegedly!)

DAP bigwigs, among them Uncle Lim Kit Siang, have called BS, though, claiming that if Nik Nazmi’s version’s true, how come we’re only hearing about it now? Also, as PH’s ex-deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong pointed out, wasn’t the Sheraton Move’s whole point to remove Anwar from the premiership equation?

It’s all he said-he said right now, but as pointed out, this new narrative has come after Brother Nuar’s been criticised for having informal talks with Umno. DAP head honcho Lim Guan Eng also recently said the only thang DAP will work with Umno on is to have Parliament resume, and not on any GE.

Amidst the tangled web, one thing’s clear — Anwar’s courting of Umno as snap poll talks heat up proves he’s still focused on being PM. 

PKR insiders claim the goal is supposedly to wrest seats away from Bersatu by avoiding three-way clashes. But nothing’s set in stone for the mo.

BT-Dubs, as tensions between the different factions in Umno continue to simmer, PAS is claiming to be unperturbed by its Muafakat Nasional partner’s dalliance with PKR. 

In fact, according to bossman Abdul Hadi Awang, his party’s cool with Umno working with whomever, so long as a certain “communist party” ain’t involved. No points for guessing who he means.

Speaking of DAP, incidentally, there’s been some shakeup in the recent Penang party polls with the likes of Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh not making the state committee this year. You can read more here.

Chicken rice and more

Ex-glorious leader Najib Razak’s come under fire for breaching SOP while dining out. But Jibby’s said he’s ready and willing to be fined. What a peach (sarcasm mode full on).

Vids of the Jibster sauntering into a chicken rice shop in Bukit Bintang without scanning his MySejahtera app and/or temperature check have been making the rounds.

Attempting to turn the tables on his ignoring of the rules, Najib’s now called on authorities to issue him an RM1,500 fine as there should be no double standards for him. Cos’ he was also quick to remind that the summon’s only amounted to RM750 after the gomen’s early bird discount offer.

For most people, it’d be applaudable to own up to mistakes. But Jibby’s Goody Two-Bloody Shoes act begs some questions. Did he intentionally breach SOP to prove a point? Intentional or no, shouldn’t he get hit with a higher fine seeing that as an MP/community leader, the self-proclaimed Bossku should know better? Also, side note: why did the merchant not remind him to check in and do the temperature scan?

After all, this came after he criticised our Covid vaccine rollout only to be ousted as having skipped his own vaccine appointment (which he claimed was to give way to frontliners). So we really wouldn’t put anything past him – including orchestrating this whole thing as a stunt just to score some brownie points with the public.  

The tiered system of fines is yet to be formalised into law. So Jibs could well find himself slapped with an RM10k compound. Or, he may just get off scot-free with a s̶l̶a̶p̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶w̶r̶i̶s̶t̶ warning now that our gomen’s said compounds would only be issued as a “last resort“.

Anyways, here’re a few more Covid highlights from the weekend:

  • Our Covid numbers stayed pretty much in the same 1k+ zone since Friday with 1,5761,671 and 1,327 cases registered over the past three days and 10 deaths in total. Active cases are currently at 14,518.
     
  • A total of 3,170 Covid-19 cases were notched between Jan 1 and March 21 on account of interstate travel, the Health Ministry has said. But wait! If a travel ban’s been in place from Jan 13, how the hell did the numbers get so high??!?
     
  • Schools with Covid cases will only be closed on the advice of the district health office, the Education Ministry’s said. This after an opposition MP recently highlighted some discrepancies in how schools are closed based on Covid cases.

Race relations and other matters

Yesterday was International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Yet, while a policy research organisation did launch a media campaign to promote inter-racial harmony and an insightful comment piece was published, the day passed with little significance.

Considering that Malaysia’s attempting to get a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, the gomen should’ve done more to address the thorny issues of race relations in the country yesterday. Sadly, what we got instead, thanks to an activist who highlighted the issue, was evidence of a derogatory definition on a government portal.

Tambi, FYI, is the Tamil word for little brother but has made its way into Malaysia’s colloquial vocab in that wonderful rojak way we talk. But type that into the online version of Kamus Dewan, and you’ll find it defined as a word used to describe younger “orang Keling“. 

The earliest definitions of Keling may well have been in reference to the Eastern Indian Kingdom of Kalinga. But it’s been regarded as the equivalent of the N-word to Indian Malaysians for ages now. So how did something so vile and racist end up on a gomen portal? 

Incidentally, all three BN/PN/PH gomens have failed to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).

While you chew on that, here’re a few more things to know about:

“In a racist society, it's not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.”

- Angela Davis-

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • A woman in Florida has given birth to the first newborn with Covid antibodies. FYI, pregnant women are only just being formally included in vaccine trials. The Florida mum, however, is a healthcare worker who got inoculated while 36 weeks pregnant.
     
  • Meanwhile, Pakistan PM Imran Khan has tested positive for Covid on Saturday, two days after receiving the first vaccine dose. However, the gomen’s called on folks to get vaccinated anyway, saying the premier could’ve gotten infected before getting inoculated.
     
  • Overseas spectators will be barred from this year’s Olympics and Paralympics ’cos of Covid fears. Punters can get refunds for their purchases, though.
     
  • According to an aide, Donald Trump could soon be returning to social media via his “own platform”. What that means is anyone’s guess, but speculation is rife that Le Orange might be creating a new TV network.
     
  • Dozens of protesters were injured in the latest round of demonstrations in Thailand. Pro-democracy protests criticising the monarchy have continued in the country since last year.

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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