Another day, another sad story.

Debra Chong from TMI filed this report:

KT resort looking at cloudy future

KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 8 — The state-owned Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort and Spa in Pulau Duyong near here gleams like a jewel in the sun.

Formerly called the Heritage Bay Club, its exclusive chalets have seen a host of celebrated guests including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

It is also the only resort along the length of the east coast with a purpose-built “sailing stadium” — a watery circuit that opens to the South China Sea and home to the Monsoon Cup.

It is where the Who’s Who of Malaysia gather to rub shoulders every year during the northeast monsoon season when the state’s biggest sailing event starts.

But last December, the Tourism Minister dropped a bombshell.

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said the Monsoon Cup may move to Sabah this year, to show the international participants more of Malaysia.

The Monsoon Cup was originally a state-run affair until the Barisan Nasional government turned it into a federal event last year.

Her announcement worries the new management running the resort.

“What’s going to happen to Kuala Terengganu if the Monsoon Cup is no longer here?” cried Tun Gama Ismail, Ri-Yaz’s assistant sales director.

The place may be forced to close down.

Should that happen, the workers would join the ranks of the jobless; unemployment is the state’s biggest socio-economic problem especially among the youths.

Gama told The Malaysian Insider that over three-quarters of the resort’s workers are local residents. He is concerned for their welfare.

The number of room bookings also dipped last year while the federal government deliberated on where to hold the Monsoon Cup before arriving at a decision two months before the event. The guests also stayed for a shorter time.

Much criticism has been hurled at the sailing event, mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Among them: it is an elitist project; the exorbitant cost was a waste of the state’s funds; it did not benefit the local population as it was meant to.

“People still think we are a private club because of the old name,” Gama sighed.

The new management is working hard to shake off the resort’s elitist image and open it up to the public.

The resort is now being repackaged to cater to the business seminar sector.

It took over operations from the event management company headed by Datuk Wan Hisham Wan Salleh, brother of the Barisan Nasional candidate in the current Kuala Terengganu by-election, just some four months earlier.

But it has no experience in running a resort marina, which had been specially built for the Monsoon Cup. Its sister company is the Cyberview Lodge in Cyberjaya, Selangor. Many of the new management staff came from there.

They slashed the room rates by half. A deluxe room, its cheapest option, starts from RM300. There is free wi-fi in the guest rooms and throughout its extensive grounds.

The eight custom-made wooden gondolas, or “bot penambang” in the local dialect, can be hired for a cruise around the coastal state capital or used as water taxis to the wet market across the channel, at a fee of RM3 per ride.

But while the rooms are currently occupied with the A-list crowd who are in town for the by-election, the marina is more than three-quarters empty.

A custom-made wooden sailboat bobs up and down forlornly beside the pontoon where its owners, a German couple, moored it before flying off to their homeland thousands of nautical miles away.

On the other side, a monitor lizard crawls out from under the boardwalk and splashes into the murky seawater for a short after-lunch swim.

The resort’s future seems just as murky right now.

(bold emphasis is mine)


Soooo… BN’s candidate, WAF, will be made a deputy minister at the Federal level if he wins at KT. That’s what NTR said, I think. (Kinda hard to keep up with BN promises lately).

Is this a reward for the candidate or the voters at KT, or perhaps, both? Assuming WAF wins, will he be able to take on AO who is a full minister (aiyah, yer know these UMNO types like to pull rank mah… and show others they’ve got larger ones) to ensure that the Monsoon Cup does not move away from KT?

Dang! With RM300 million ‘sailing away’ annually, I guess BN can make monsoons pop up anywhere in Malaysia and there’s no shortage of BN MPs with bimbo.bomoh rebut.. ribut credentials to present their pink forms.. white paper at the weekly cabinet meetings for the usual express approvals (like the SD/AA LCCT Labu project).

Why Sabah? Well, didja know that there’s oil and gas off its shores too and in fact,  Petronas have commenced with building a gas pipeline last year from Kimanis to Bintulu, Sarawak to ‘re-package’ the LNG for export. Duh!

Yup, wherever there’s fossil fuel, monsters-with-cup-in-hand.. monsoons will loom, blowing away the nation’s heritage in one form or the other.

Speaking of which, Haris Ibrahim has a quaint little story of a potential heritage site in KT which has been in existence for about 200 years.

Nope, it’s not the one-and-a-half-term-AAB-built legacy mentioned above which interestingly, WAF and his sibling had their grubby hands involved as well. Win or lose, WAF will have to face off with blistering Qs from disgruntled UMNO MPs or KT folks respectively.

With AWE winning as KT’s next MP, he will have the entire bloc of 81 PR MPs plus 2 from SAPP in parliament (but minus that funny fler from Kelantan) to support his cause. Geee.. won’t that be simply AWEsome. (note: Abdul Wahid Endut, in case yer a little lost with O.B.E. acronyms)

Still wanna smile, eh WAF.