The Star Publication Date : 2006-10-27
KUALA LUMPUR: Just a day after meeting Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Oct 22, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad renewed his criticism of the Prime Minister.
Mahathir said he was not satisfied with, or convinced by, Abdullah’s responses to issues he had raised at their meeting, which he had earlier described as a “worthwhile” discussion.
Mahathir said the explanations he was dissatisfied with included those pertaining to his criticism of Abdullah’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin and his son Kamaluddin.
Mahathir alleged that Khairy and Kamaluddin had interfered in the awarding of projects.
He also questioned why Abdullah had allowed his wife, the late Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood, to set up the charitable body Yayasan Budi Penyayang when Bakti (Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers) had already been established.
He elaborated on issues he had raised at the meeting such as Approved Permits, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, Proton and the crooked bridge project.
Asked if his dissatisfaction with Abdullah’s responses meant that the Oct 22 meeting had not achieved anything, he replied: “I have achieved the objective of telling him (my grievances) in quite substantial detail.”
On whether he was concerned that his legacy would be chipped away due to the controversy between him and the Prime Minister, he said: “It is being chipped away by the actions of the government.”
He reiterated that he would continue to criticise “in my usual way” and that he had the right to speak to members of the United Malay National Organisation (Umno).
On what he wanted to achieve by his criticism of Abdullah, he said: “The government has been criticised before, and a government which is sensitive would take into consideration criticisms.
“It may take the form of resignation; it may take other forms, like stopping all these wrong things.”
Tuesday September 26, 2006
Quilt of lives
By HASNAH HARIRI
GEORGE LEE felt the chill as he stepped out of the plane in Canberra, having just arrived from hot and humid Kota Baru in Kelantan. With grey skies and chilly winds from the snow-clad mountains blowing, Canberra was in the depth of winter.
The contrast in weather was the last thing on Lee’s mind. His 22-year-old son Danny had had a tragic accident while on a skiing holiday in Australia’s Snowy Mountains.
Danny had a bright future but the shattering news delivered to Lee in Kota Baru, had cut short a parent’s dream for their child.
At the Canberra Hospital Intensive Care Unit, Dr Igor Policinski met Lee immediately upon his arrival. There was no time to waste.
“We discussed what happened, and I explained to him the prognosis, which was very bad, and told him what we’d done to try to save his son Danny, and that we had done everything we could,” said Dr Policinski.
George Lee (centre), with his wife and son Calvin, showing the Brown Hearts quilt that draped Danny (bottom, right) before the organ transplant.
“We talked about 10 minutes and after that I asked him ‘Is there anything else that you want to discuss?’’’
According to Dr Policinski, it was an extraordinary moment because Lee then enquired about organ donation.
“George is an extraordinarily brave man,” Dr Policinski said. “Here is a foreigner who had just arrived, alone, and yet the issue of him being a foreigner, grieving in a foreign land on his own, did not come up at all.”
For Dr Policinski it was the first time that a family member could discuss organ donation so openly and so soon after getting bad news about a loved one.
“Usually they need some time to come to terms with their loss and go through a grieving process before we can even broach the subject,” he explained.
Holly Northam, the Australian Capital Territory Organ Donation coordinator, was then brought in to see Lee. She is usually the one who has the delicate task of raising the issue of organ donation, but this time her job was to support both father and son, and ensure that Lee clearly understood the organ donation process and what it involved.
“I am really in awe of George, there was no reluctant acceptance of the inevitable. The inevitable was embraced with great courage. He accepted that life is transitory and that beyond his grief, life must go on,” Northam said.
Lee and his family had already decided before he left Kota Baru that if Danny had to go, other lives must go on.
“My wife and I had a discussion, and as much as we would like Danny to be here with us, the reality is that that would not happen,” said Lee.
“When I arrived, some of Danny’s friends who were in Australia with him came up to me and said that Danny had told them that he wished to donate his organs should anything happen to him,” he added.
“So there is no question about my family’s commitment to the gift of life,” said Lee.
Danny had already been confirmed as brain dead, an irreversible condition where the body is kept alive only through technology. Tests and more tests had been done to verify that there was no hope of recovery of any sort.
After the decision was made to donate Danny’s organs, Lee spent a bit of time with his son, holding Danny’s hand one last time, surrounded by all the gadgets and machines that were keeping his son alive.
Watching this scene, coordinator Northam then wrapped Lee with the quilt called “Brown Hearts”.
Later that night, “Brown Hearts” was draped around Danny before a team of surgeons, doctors and nurses started the long and arduous task of procuring his organs and transplanting them into the recipients.
“Brown Hearts” was a team effort by members of Quilt for Others.
“Our members often donate quilts as a gesture of love and friendship to families of organ donors, to give them a little comfort of home-made things,” explained Anne Duffy, Canberra Hospital theatre nurse, who is also the Canberra Quilters exhibition coordinator.
“The thought, energy, effort, time and love put into the blanket are not for sale. It is our way of nurturing and caring for our community, and I am pleased to demonstrate Canberra mothers’ love for Danny and George. We hope Danny’s mother in Malaysia can find some comfort in having the quilt,” she said.
In the three days that Lee was in Canberra, he touched not only the hearts of staff members at Canberra Hospital but also seven other Australians and their families.
The seven are the organ recipients. Most are in the same age group as Danny.
Where one life ends and seven more are allowed to continue is nothing short of a miracle.
It was a miracle that even caught the attention of high office in Kota Baru. State Executive Councillor Datuk Husam Musa, in his letter to Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, said that the reciprocal generosity of Lee and the Canberra Hospital staff transcended man-made boundaries.
“Binding ties through the efforts of these special people now link our two cities, Kota Baru and Canberra. We are proud of Danny’s gift to Australia,” said Husam, adding that the emotional ties of organ donation are diplomacy of the highest kind.
“Suffice to say those who have been touched by this experience are emotionally quilted forever,” he said.
“The quilt that Danny’s mother now has in Kota Baru is a symbol of the beauty of organ donation and how lives can be saved,” he said, urging all Malaysians to also consider organ donation.
Lee returned to Kota Baru from Canberra bearing Danny’s ashes. The father’s journey transcended borders, nationality and religion. He walked past the bitter mountain of grief and saw beyond his son’s mortal life, creating a living quilt where Danny lives on, in seven Australians.
Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pentadbiran Awam, Perancangan Ekonomi, Kewangan dan Pembangunan Masyarakat Negeri Datuk Husam Musa berkata dinar itu bukanlah sebagai satu mata wang rasmi Kelantan seperti yang didakwa sesetengah pihak.
Penggunaan dinar ini semata-mata untuk membolehkan rakyat Kelantan mengetahui mengenai sejarah penggunaannya, katanya pada pra-pelancaran dinar itu di sini, hari Rabu.
Pelancaran dinar emas itu akan dilakukan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat dan untuk tempoh pertama pengenalannya, kerajaan negeri melalui Permodalan Kelantan Berhad telah menempah tiga kilogram emas bernilai RM240,000 dalam bentuk dinar bagi dijual kepada orang ramai.
Katanya kerajaan negeri turut membeli dinar yang berharga RM100,000 untuk tujuan simpanan.
Orang ramai boleh mendapatkan dinar itu dalam saiz satu dinar yang dijual pada harga RM332.25, setengah dinar (RM176.76) dan suku dinar (RM99.38).
Husam berkata rekabentuk dinar itu dicipta oleh anak Kelantan sendiri dengan muka depan dinarnya tertera tahun dikeluarkan, logo negeri, kubah masjid, berat emas dalam gram dan mutu emas.
Pada muka belakang dinar itu juga tertera tahun ia dikeluarkan, perkataan dalam tulisan jawi "emas dinar Kelantan" dan berat emas dalam gram.
Beliau berkata sebelum ini kerajaan negeri telah melantik satu jawatankuasa untuk mengkaji penggunaan dinar emas itu sama ada menyalahi peraturan undang-undang atau sebaliknya.
"Bagaimanapun jawatankuasa ini mendapati ia tidak menjadi satu kesalahan di bawah peraturan Bank Negara jika Kelantan memperkenalkan dinar emas ini dan tidak perlu mendapat kelulusan bank pusat tersebut," katanya.
Ketika Husam mengumumkan cadangan penggunaan dinar itu tiga bulan lalu, ia mendapat perhatian ramai pihak kerana khuatir ia menyalahi peraturan Bank Negara.
Ia juga mendapat reaksi Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yang tidak membenarkan Kelantan menggunakan dinar emas sebagai mata wang rasmi.
Husam juga berkata orang ramai yang ingin menjual kembali dinar itu boleh menebusnya dengan wang tunai sama ada di lapan premis pajak gadai Islam ar-Rahnu atau di kedai-kedai emas terpilih.
Beliau juga mempelawa pihak di luar Kelantan yang berminat untuk menjadi agen menjual dinar emas Kelantan supaya menghubungi Kerajaan Negeri untuk berbuat demikian.
"Sesiapa sahaja di Malaysia boleh membeli dinar ini untuk disimpan sebagai tabungan kerana nilai emas tidak susut nilainya berbanding mata wang yang kita gunakan sekarang," katanya.
Menurutnya dinar itu mempunyai ciri-ciri keselamatan tersendiri dan orang ramai tidak perlu bimbang dinar palsu di pasaran.
Mereka boleh mendapatkan dinar itu di premis penjualannya di Jalan Dato Pati di sini.