Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Saturday, January 15, 2005

After the temporary studio was ready and equipment installed we started daily broadcast from the roof of Hotel Irama. As far as I can remember, there was no campaigning for any political party on air. There were guidelines for voters though. Listeners were told to go out and vote on polling day. Even if their lembu or kerbau were missing, they were advised to vote first, search later. This was to counter an old trick whereby livestock of party supporters were spirited away in the hope that they will spend the whole day looking for lost livestock and miss the voting hours. Another trick was to get identity cards under some pretext and then holding on to them until voting hours expired. We had to remind listeners not to give their kad gamba to anyone or else they won't be able to vote.

When voting day was fast approaching, more people came to the roof top studio. There was Sunny Menon from Public Affairs Section, tv crews as well as broadcasters from Kuala Terengganu like Ismail Long and a few others who came with extra Nagras. We needed a lot of people since we had to have reporters from key constituencies. Various Ministers and Deputy Ministers also came and had their interviews broadcast.

Voting day passed without any untoward incident. Reports from various reporters went on air without any problem at all.

After a quick dinner we came back to the rooftop studio to broadcast the results. There were two or three announcers taking turns to announce the results as they come, coloured by the usual live reports from reporters at the various counting centers. The announcers somehow got a bit shy late into the night and pleaded that I be the anchor. Not wanting to argue, I took over the microphone. I didn't know what the rest knew. We were no longer broadcasting regionally but we were on National airwaves. This I knew very much later.

When it was official that Barisan wrested Kelantan from PAS, we were making frantic calls to get Dato' Hj. Mohamad Nasir, the MB on air. Mahadi, the KB Program Supervisor managed to get him on the phone. The MB was resting in a hospital room under doctors order. We congratulated him on the victory and listened to him comments. He tried to comment on the then PAS President and we had to cut him off. Lawsuits were on my mind then. We apologised later.

Then Mahadi got the hero of the day, YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Even though Palm Manor, his residence was nearby, we conducted the conversation live over the phone. After congratulating him on his victory I mischievously asked him about the promise of abolishing the toll at the Sultan Yahaya Petra bridge if Barisan won. He told the listeners that the promise would be honoured as soon as possible.

Barely half an hour later people returning from across the river told us that the toll booth was deserted. They and others after them crossed toll-free.