A beaming Chow presenting his book to Arif Shah, featuringthe latter in one of the pages.Halim with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, DCM I Datuk Mansor Othman, exco members andassemblymembers cutting a cake to mark the end of the assembly sitting and in appreciationof the exco members and all assemblymembers for the period 2008-2012.
Story and pix by
DESPITE being on opposite sides of the political divide,both Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah and Penang state excomember Chow Kon Yeow projected a picture of oldfriends when Chow presented Arif Shah with a copy of
his book ‘Reections on 308 Political Tsuna
-mi’.While Chow is in the Pakatan Rakyat StateGovernment, Arif Shah is in the opposition asthe Barisan Nasional assemblymember forSeberang Jaya.However, the white-haired and jovial Arif
Shah, who speaks uent Hokkien and Man
-darin, had been in the Penang state assemblytogether with Chow for many years now.Though they may have argued and debatedin their positions as opposing assemblymem-bers, Chow has featured an interview with Arif Shah inhis recently published book.Previously, Chow was in the opposition as a DAPassemblymember while Arif Shah was on the ruling side.
It was a reversal of roles for them after the March2008 political tsunami which brought the DAP into
government as a member of the PakatanRakyat.
Chow, who was rst elected as an assem
blymember in 1990, recently wrote a poign
-ant piece on how his late mother, Chong Sam
Mooi, 87, had inuenced his political career.He wrote: “Many siblings
told me I was mother’s favoritechild. She had not been toschool but she taught all thechildren good values to face
life‘s challenges. Most of us are
imbued with noble Chinese
virtues of lial piety, honesty,
modesty, sincerity and trust-worthiness. All of us becamegood citizens of the country, I
suppose. Mother must have had
the shock of her life when I joined the opposi-tion party. However, she decided to let me seek a career in
politics. Most of my siblings followed my father’s footstepsand ended up in the mechanical elds. She rejoiced with mewhen I was rst elected assemblyman in 1990 and shared
my sorrows when I did not manage to get re-elected in 1995.”For veteran politicians like Chow and Arif Shah, theyknow that though they may be foes in the political arena,ultimately the basic human virtues, like how Chow men-tioned, were imbued since childhood and play a moreprominent role in their characters.Political foes can be friends too.
Friends and foes
Pix by A
DATIN Wan Zuraida Amiruddin
and her son, Muhammad Ammar
Abdul Halim, 15, were at the stateassembly dining hall having laksa
and Malay kuih during tea break.
State assembly speaker DatukAbdul Halim Hussain was takinga break after a whole day of thelegislature proceedings.The state assembly convenendfrom Nov 1 to 9.
He told Buletin Mutiara: “Youknow, this is the rst time my wife
is visiting the state assembly al-though I have been here for thepast four and a half years.”Wan Zuraida is youthful-look-ing, usually simple but elegantlydressed for her role as the stateassembly speaker's wife and fullof poise when accompanyingwives of other dignitaries.
Buletin Mutiara asked: “The
speaker has a very taxing schedulethese few days. We can see howthe assemblymembers slug it out,often shouting and hurling loudand harsh comments against eachother while he has to keep the
The man who keepsorder in the house
Halim with his wife, Wan Zuraida and son, Muhammad Ammar, 15 at the Penang state assembly dining room.
house in order. As his wife, how
do you nd his role?”
Wan Zuraida said: “I am veryamazed to see him sitting there soquietly, so calm. I decided tocome to the Dewan today becauseI read about the 'heat' going on andcurious to see for myself howthings are in the Dewan.”Abdul Halim and Wan Zuraida
have ve children aged 18, 15,14, 13 and 11. Wan Zuraida shared
that as a family, Abdul Halim andhis children read a lot and AbdulHalim loves to share with hischildren what he has read and theylove watching movies together.Due to his busy schedules,Abdul Halim tries to bring hischildren along for those eventssuitable for families so that he canspend quality time with his chil-dren.
Buletin Mutiara jokingly
asked, “Is the speaker as calm andquiet at home if the children areas loud as the politicians in the
Wan Zuraida broke into a laughand said, “Oh no....”