Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Friday, January 14, 2005
No, I am not talking about the blackout yesterday, hysterical as it was or even about the Asian Blog Awards which is already history. The nasi dagang party will be historic, I hope. I am writing about Kelantan's State Election of 1978. The exact date escaped me at the moment. I am sure some historians among you will fill in the gaps.

Kelantan was governed by the Alliance from 1957 to 1959. From 1959 to 1974 PAS helmed the state government. PAS joined Barisan Nasional after that and ruled Kelantan from 1974 to 1977. There were some problems and Berjasa was formed. Problems did not go away and somehow the state was put under MAGERAN (National Action Council) from 1977 to 1978. With Hashim Aman at the head of MAGERAN, the state was peaceful enough to have an election.

After the date of the election was announced, my boss decided that I should go to Kota Bharu and organise the special election coverage and broadcast although I felt that the Kota Bharu staff could have done the job themselves.

We needed a lot of phone lines from counting centers in selected constituencies like Meranti, Gua Musang and other districts. The lines were for voice reports from our correspondents as well as "hot lines" to our Operation Room at RTM Studio in Wakaf Che Yeh. I knew the Telecom officer who came to help us. He was Majid Ibrahim, a Besut boy and my senior in Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School. After listening to our request, Majid told us that there were not enough lines going to Wakaf Che Yeh and although he was ever willing to help, there was no way and not enough time to lay the additional lines.

You must remember that in 1978, mobile phones were not around yet. I was stunned and stumped. I thought of runners, carrier pigeons and walkie-talkies. All were not workable. Looked like I had to abort my mission.

Seeing my dejection and frustration, Noh, RTM Kota Bharu's Chief Clerk whisked me to dinner. In the 1997 picture on the left, taken under the porch of his new house, Noh is the one on my left. I just met Noh on this trip but we liked each other like we were old friends. Noh is a "never-say -die" kind of person and I was amazed at his "can do" attitude. He also seemed to know personally, every person in Kota Bharu and beyond. Over dinner, he asked me how to solve the problem. I offhandedly told him if only we could move the studio and the Ops Room to the town center where Majid told me lines are available, everything would be ok. Noh jumped at the idea. He said it can be done. He knew exactly where the studio and Ops Room should be. Noh was enthusiastic and a little bit of it rubbed off on me. I felt much better.

I made a call to the Engineer to check on technical requirements and then to my boss in Kuala Terengganu. My boss agreed to the idea.

We got cracking at once. Telecoms promised as many lines as we wanted. Noh used his contacts to get some workmen to turn the roof top of Hotel Irama into our special studio and Ops Room. We didn't pay for the use of the roof top. The hotel, at the time, belonged to Noh's brother-in-law.

(More tomorrow, InsyaAllah)