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“Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.”
- John Steinbeck from his book, East of Eden
The majority of the thinking society would feel that a political leader needs to be inherently intelligent enough to know that doing things right is paramount than doing things just to be popular.
Take for example the previous Prime Minister. He wanted to do things which will make him popular with a few factions of people which in the end, led him to become the shortest serving Prime Minister in the history of Malaysia (at 5 years and 5 months, less than Tun Hussein Onn’s at 5 years and 6 months).
Being popular is good for a career in politics but that must be complimented with genuine hardwork and results which people can really see and experienced.
If wanting to be popular for the sake of being popular then people can easily see through the leaders’ smokescreen and be exposed as fake, or a con-artist. Not so much a leader, but a buffoon trying too hard to be popular.
The current Prime Minister and his cabinet has this tendency to be popular with the masses while disregarding the concept of good leadership. We can see the apex of the attempts to gain popularity concocted up by his advisors during the run up of the recent general election.
Ranging from giving too much money to vernacular schools, running election campaigns much akin to the US Presidential election (personality-driven) rather than a cohesive, BN driven (coalition-centric) campaigns, repealing important laws just to pander towards opposition sponsored ‘human rights’, etc.
But all these bending over backwards just to become popular did not yield the returns that they had hoped for. In fact, just as we had foreseen, the majority of the people saw it through and were not impressed. Popularity is never about one-off announcements to wow the crowd. It has never been about shock-factor (just to borrow a few of consultants’ jargons), quick-wins or ‘picking the low hanging fruits’.
Having a crowd to pat you on the back after giving out goodies to people will not make you more popular.
Even Winston Churchill kept perspective on the crowds that gathered to hear him speak by conceding they would be twice as big if they gathered to see him hanged.
Popularity is a series of leadership by example, a series of doing the right things and not flip flopping on decisions that will make you be seen as less intelligent. Above all, popularity will come when you do not seek it.
It’s all about action and results.
Actively trying to be popular without any substance to begin with will only make you look pathetic. Just look at Anwar Ibrahim for example. Those with critical thinking knew him as a snake oil salesman, who would sell his principles just to be popular. Even a foreign publication had called him a chameleon.
Even in his hey days of popularity back in 90s, that couldn’t make him last long in politics. As history sees it, his popularity did not save him from falling in disgrace – exposed for his inefficient handling of the 1998 currency crisis and engaged in morally wrong conduct.
On the contrary and of course as a lesson to the current crop of leaders, going against the tide will often make you last longer in politics.
Take Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for example. He did several unpopular things during his premiership which will bring dread even to the most courageous of politicians. He sacked Anwar Ibrahim at the height of his deputy’s popularity, he clashed against the monarchy and kept their behaviours in check when a few of the rulers were misbehaving and unruly towards the people. These were extremely unpopular decisions at that time and could spell an end to a political career if popularity is what a leader seek.
But it was the right thing to do and Tun Mahathir did it because it was good for the people.
He even agreed to accept all 600,000 members of Semangat 46 back into Umno’s fold in 1996 for the sake of malay unity – a decision which was highly unpopular among Umno members when the likes of Rais Yatim, Tengku Razaleigh and Shabery Cheek returned to Umno after nearly 8 years as an opposition in Semangat 46.
In 1984, after Musa Hitam defeated Tengku Razaleigh again for the post of deputy president in Umno General Election, Tun Mahathir still appointed the latter as a minister eventhough Musa Hitam, a powerful Deputy Prime Minister and a Home Minister at that time was so much against it.
But he still appointed Ku Li nevertheless as the minister in MITI (albeit downgraded him from the Finance Minister post) since Ku Li is a capable leader and as the malay proverb goes – “kalah sekali, bukanlah kalah semua.”
Tun Mahathir made many unpopular decisions – be it concerning the capital controls during the currency crisis, his unwavering stance in curbing racist and religious extremists as well as his decisions to chastise the west and the jews for their hypocrisy and terrorism.
All these led him to become the longest serving (at 22 years 3 months) Prime Minister in the history of Malaysia.
Can we imagine any of the Prime Ministers after him doing such unpopular things? Of course we can’t. What is lacking in the current crop of Umno leaders is gumption and the believe of doing things right. In its place is the mistaken belief that their careers will last longer if they are popular. Unfortunately, they had got it backwards.
And it’s also a fact that Tun Mahathir is arguably the most popular Prime Minister we ever had. He is a walking and living brand and is a successful one at that. And all that stemmed from the fact of doing things right and not wanting to be popular.
How many times have we hear him say that he is merely stating the truth and do not care what people think about him? Plenty of times. He lives by his principles and sticks to it like glue.
On the contrary, what we have now are Umno leaders desperately trying to be popular.
Take for instance, the Ketua Pemuda Umno who is also the Minister of Youths and Sports. Apparently the day the kalimah Allah judgment was read out in the Courts of Appeal, the youth wing leader of agama bangsa dan negara party was more busy tweeting and promoting himself for a popularity contest.
The Shout Awards is a popularity award show organised by Media Prima to honour popular artists in the field of music, tv, movies and radio.
But lo and behold, a minister crept in and found himself in the nominees list as well!
How more pitiful (deserving or arousing pity) can you be when you are already a minister but still want to vie in a popularity contest? A contest where you are not really in sync with any of the categories mentioned.
Truly this is a new low for Pemuda Umno and Umno as a whole. In the face of current issues facing the party and the malays such as the attacks on the kalimah ruling by the liberals, as well as on other fronts, did the Pemuda Umno made any statements to defend the position? The only notable but half hearted statement by Pemuda Umno was when they seek explanation over news of US spying from its KL embassy.
Apart from that, the now liberal Pemuda Umno Malaysia is more than happy to enter popularity contests or collect Pakatan Rakyat leaders as their fans. God forbid, even the incorrigible Lim Kit Siang is the number one fan of Ketua Pemuda Umno now.
Nobody pointed a gun to his head and made compulsory for him to join this fluffy event. Yet he is there, tweeting and soliciting votes from the masses to vote for him for this award.
The ridiculousness of this glam-craze escapade underlines a bizarre, yet comical attitude of the Ketua Pemuda in wanting to be popular at all cost. The less he have, the more he is required to brag.
But since this is an era of liberalism and where Umno leaders want to be popular regardless if they have any substance at all, we should not be surprised. The Prime Minister and his myriad of advisors themselves are also in the forefront and believer of populist movement.
Just sit back and enjoy the entertainment all these leaders are providing us. After all, Umno is now a play and some of their leaders are actors.
You might like to read this too.
In the previous article, it was mentioned that:
It is appropriate for his mother to tell Umno to ‘choose competent leaders’. Fullstop. But to lambast Mukhriz for rising up the ranks to quickly is highly irregular considering her own son’s unfair advantage towards others for the past 9 years.
And obviously it is highly inappropriate for NST to even publish this shoddy piece of journalism. None of the other so called veterans in the article above mentioned any names of the candidates. But somehow a veteran (?) Umno woman who happens to be the Ketua Pemuda’s mother had no qualms to mudsling a candidate in public and NST had the audacity to let it print.
Now the underdog had so much work to do. Considering all government’s media is actively trying to realise the ambition of one young arrogant leader who suffers misplaced sense of self-entitlement and jealousy.
We don’t count on Mukhriz to win this weekend with all this ungentlemanly conduct by people with no class.
And the people with no class had also used the apparatus they owned to further malign and slander the underdog. The Malaysian Insider had no scruples in writing and publishing an article that had tarnished Mukhriz Mahathir’s campaign in the Umno vice presidency race.
People can read that heavily defamatory article here.
Excerpt of the article says:
Umno vice-president hopeful Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has revved up his campaign by sending out an estimated 1.2 million SMS appealing to Umno delegates to vote for him and, if his critics are to be believed, is handing out the cash too.
Party insiders and his supporters said the Kedah Menteri Besar still has a good chance to win despite ground reports and his father, influential former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggesting he may not stand a chance as he was not among those endorsed by the leadership.
“His machinery is going around the country wooing younger Umno supporters,” said a grassroots leader familiar with Mukhriz’s campaign officials.
The leader also told The Malaysian Insider money or “hujan emas” (windfall) will hit the divisions and branch members.
“From the information we received, since this morning, Mukhriz’s machinery had gone all over the country,” he said but refused to reveal the amount distributed to delegates.
Of which Mukhriz issued a stern rebuttal:
Mukhriz vehemently denied that his campaign machinery issued such SMS.
“I categorically deny what was reported both in English and Malay and demand The Malaysian Insider retract the story. I suspect The Malaysian Insider have ill intent by publishing the story and has somewhat tarnished my image as someone who uphold integrity in all that I do”, said when contacted.
“If The Malaysian Insider does not publish an open apology and retract the story by 1000am by tomorrow, then I will not hesitate to take legal action against them”.
The Malaysian Insider, which was acting in mala fide (in bad faith; with intent to deceive) predictably retracted the article an offered a pathetic and half hearted apology. But they have done their task. Damage has been done.
Knowing how all these morally destitute people work, the grassroot leader might even be a fictional character. Otherwise they wouldn’t be retracting the article as their source is solid and reliable. The Malaysian Insider’s greatest faux pas in journalism was their stupidity in not contacting Mukhriz himself to reconfirm their findings before they even publish that damaging report.
That is journalism 101. You must get clarification from the other party so that you will give an accurate news to the public. Did they even ask around and check if the delegates did receive SMS or money from Mukhriz?
But since The Malaysian Insider is really a propaganda tool for their political masters and not really a news portal, the editors and journalists are acting more and more like keyboard prostitutes than a real journalist. Have they forgotten their training?
The crux of the matter is, the good guys in Umno can’t catch a break because those who are in power are using any means necessary, including slander and malicious propaganda just to undermine those who they feel are a threat to their power crazed ambition. And these kind of despicable people have populated Umno to the brim.
Below are some reaction on Malaysian Insider’s shameless article and apology:
Thank you and good luck to all candidates.
For the past couple of weeks there have been no articles regarding the upcoming Umno elections in this blog. It was on purpose because this Umno election, well at least to the opinion of this blogger will not see much change. Whether specifically on the line-up or generally on Umno itself.
We can bet, after the winners have been announced and the confetti being swept away clean, and after the party president gave an arousing speech that the new (more or less) line-up will pave way for a new and re-energised Umno, the party will revert to its old ways of doing things.
This blog tried to stay away from commenting on the candidates because honestly, there are bigger things to ponder about.
But when a known stooge of the incumbent Ketua Pemuda unfairly ridiculed the father of an Umno Vice President candidate through his tweets, then this blog just had to say something about him and his boss – the Ketua Pemuda. Something along the line – ‘kokok berderai-derai, ekor bergelumang tahi’.
Since the Ketua Pemuda and his lackeys have no due regards towards the older generation and had extensively in every turn tried to denigrate the grand old man in very way possible, let us then write something about the Ketua Pemuda just to remind his pack of mongrels to look in the mirror first before poking their noses where they don’t belong.
First off, we begin with these few paragraphs which were written back in November 2008:
Since 2004, Umno is permeated with a culture of being ‘biadap’ to its illustrious former president. This culture of running down their own former leader was one of the factor Umno lost the support from many of its own members.
When Pak Lah and followers were rude to Tun Dr Mahathir, many were turned off by their diatribe. The 4th floor boys were working overtime in discrediting Tun Dr Mahathir. Even NST, Umno’s own newspaper were used to criticise the grand old man. An astute blogger, Datuk Sakmongkol had succinctly put it in a few words;
“The present administration is distinguished in its feverish attempts to discredit as much as possible the legacy of Tun Dr Mahathir. Hence the open ended freedom to strike and assassinate given to political storm troopers like Obergruppenfuhrer Musa Hitam, the purveyor of the term elegant silence plus the barking Rottweilers and Dobermans like Nazri Aziz, Sabry Cheek, Azalina Othman, Ismail Sabri, Zaid Ibrahim, Zaid Hamidi and the man who claimed to be primus inter pares- Shahrir ‘the silverback’ Samad.”
Summarily, they still do not realise their mistake. This barrage of criticisms prolonged even after the general election.
When Samy Vellu was criticising Tun, where were the Umno Youth wing to defend their own leader? Again, as aptly said by Datuk Sakmongkol in one of his earlier writings;
“When Tun Dr Mahathir was his boss, Samy Vellu did not find anything wrong with Tun Mahathir. In fact, Samy Vellu was the greatest apple polisher Tun Mahathir had. Indeed sometimes Samy was more Mahathir that Tun himself. Who shall ever forget, Samy’s act of filial devotion by hand feeding Tun Mahathir with a Deepavali morsel?
Meanwhile in UMNOland, it was All Quiet On The Western Front. Not a single UMNO leader defended their one time president. This man was the UMNO president for 22 years. Their dreadful and shameless behaviour confirms my belief that all these UMNO leaders must be resign en bloc from their MKT positions. If they cannot defend their own leader, how can we ever hope they will protect us? Let the UMNO electorate now judge you.”
With this kind of scenario, I am surprised that Khairy Jamaluddin still do not get it. When many of his underlings in the form of pro KJ blogs are condemning Tun left right and centre, one left to wonder if he could really learn any lesson.
Until now, there is one question that can never be answered comprehensively by KJ and his followers.
“What was the basis, the merit and the reason that enable KJ to be elected unopposed to the post of Deputy Umno Youth Head of Malaysia in 2004?”
And yet, he and his bloggers have no qualms in ridiculing Tun in the blogosphere. In their effort of criticising their political rival Datuk Mukhriz, the only modus operandi of these cyber troopers resort to is to question Mukhriz’s pedigree and his father’s.
I cannot help but to be amused with this. Because, if I were to take the same route, I can also compare Tun with KJ’s own father in law in the process. A feat I would happily relish.
Since they assume that today, Tun Dr. Mahathir is protecting and promoting his son, let’s go down memory lane and read this:
Back in 2009 during the pervious Umno election, the current Ketua Pemuda was caught by the Disciplinary Board of Umno but was able to continue on despite the money politics charges. It was written:
Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam
Verdict : GUILTY
Action : BARRED FROM CONTESTING
Verdict : GUILTY
Action : STILL ABLE TO CONTEST
Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo
Verdict : CLEARED OF ANY WRONG DOING
Action : STATUS QUO
My take? It will be interesting to see whether Umno Youth delegates would still want to vote a candidate that was deemed guilty of money politics. Umno disciplinary board had made mockery of all Umno members. I can imagine the headlines should KJ wins the contest next week:
“KJ BECOMES UMNO YOUTH CHIEF DESPITE BEING GUILTY OF MONEY POLITICS”
Can anyone takes a guess how did the son in law of the Prime Minister at that time could be let off so easily even after being caught in money politics? The only possible explanation is because he had blatantly said time and time again that he will use the protection from his father in law to attain his ambition.
He actually said:
“There’s a certain extent (to which) these people in Umno will not go after me. So it gives me ‘protection’ to change things.
“If I don’t use this ‘protection’ to change things for the better, then I’m just wasting time and marking my time to go up the ladder of politics. That’s not what I am about.
“I want to use this time that I have while I have this ‘protection’ to change things, to change Umno for the better,” he said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Kancil Awards Festival Speakers series.
Yes, he is not about to wait his time and patiently and slowly go up the ladder of hierarchy like other people. He unashamedly said that he will USE his position as son-in-law to change things! But judging from what we can see for the past 9 years, Umno didn’t become better. The only changes we have seen is him, promoting himself and going up the leadership hierarchy in record time – just like what he said he would.
And yet, the underlings, those sycophants of this Ketua Pemuda had the gall to tell us that he is where he is now because of his own merit?!
These yes-men must have gone full retard!
The only reason why he is in the race as Ketua Pemuda back in 2009 was because he won unopposed as its deputy in 2004. That is not merit. That is nepotism.
The reason he became Ketua Pemuda was because the Disciplinary Board of Umno felt that it needs to give protection to a corrupt candidate guilty of money politics, which of course he won the race.
In 2008, Barisan Nasional did not get the majority votes from the youth. In 2013, Barisan Nasional fared even worse than in 2008 with the majority of youths again, did not vote for Barisan Nasional. Now what have Ketua Pemuda Umno and BN Youth Chairman had to say about that?
Well in not so many words he said – I have fulfilled my KPI and must be made a minister. Again, that misplaced arrogance and misguided sense of self-entitledment.
The reason he became a minister is because he is the Ketua Pemuda Umno. That’s it.
The only thing that was accomplished by him is that he is now loved by the leaders from Pakatan Rakyat. All the Barisan Nasional Youth Fair, all the BN Job Fair and all his other initiatives he had concocted, did all those manage to gain votes from the youth? Of course it didn’t. Otherwise BN could have gained a few more seats. What it did gain is increase of his popularity.
In other words, BN Youth Wing and Umno Youth Wing do not understand the basics of voters’ mentality. Even from his speeches, the Ketua Pemuda is way off tangent in understanding the basics of Umno’s raison d’etre. His political speeches once suffered a few criticism from yours truly and a few bloggers.
The problem with this Ketua Pemuda is that he wasn’t brought up within the ambient of Umno’s struggle. Most of his life, he spent it away from this country. He can be termed as liberal and somewhat progressive. The only reason why he is even in Umno is because that is where the power lies. And with power, comes the many forms of benefits such as – twitter toadies.
It is not a sin to be liberal and progressive. The only problem is the apparent dichotomy of being liberal philosophically but trapped in a right wing party.
And when you surround yourself with like-minded liberals as your groupies, then it takes a toll in your reputation from within the party. Although being thick skinned is this particular Ketua Pemuda’s trademark, being wise is certainly not.
This Ketua Pemuda wants to be liberal in Umno and be looked upon as liberal in national politics as well.
Therein lies the problem and the central theme on why he is not trusted by most grassroot Umno members.
The Ketua Pemuda of Umno must always be seen as the protector of malay rights and the Constitution. This must be seen even in national stage and beyond. For if the Ketua Pemuda is too liberal and is friendly towards the enemies of malay rights and the Constitution (like how he as successfully achieved), then any speeches he made within Umno’s context is deemed as hypocritical.
You cannot be a left wing at national level but right wing at party levels. It just doesn’t make sense. That would be called, playing to the gallery.
And what is worse about this Ketua Pemuda, he changes tact at a drop of the hat. At one time he kissed the keris to protect the malay rights when he made speeches during a party assembly, but at certain times, he wants to make Umno more centrist.
Now if at national level Umno is being attacked from all corners, who is there to protect the malay rights and it’s position in the Constitution? The liberal Minister of Youth and Sports? Or the sometimes conservative, sometimes centrist but most of the times confused Ketua Pemuda?
The right way to do things as an Umno leader in this multiracial country is to be right wing at national level (nationalistic, patriotic, protecting the Constitution, defending malay rights) but be very strong in advocating progress in the thinking of Umno members (malays must be progressive, must not rely on the crutches forever, must attain meritocracy etc). That way Umno as a party will progress and yet its position at national level is defended.
You can’t be both liberals at national level AND at party levels.
Currently we have one Prime Minister who tries to inculcate moderation and liberal ideas at national front but during Umno assembly, made fiery remarks on how he will protect malay rights.
It doesn’t makes sense for the 3 million Umno members.
His actions in launching damning initiatives towards the malay agenda since 2009 did not help his cause. That is why when he recently announced a few policies to help the bumiputera community last month, it was immediately deemed as pandering towards the upcoming Umno elections. Thank God (for him) that he was unchallenged. Therefore, there could be a risk that those policies will not be pursued with vigour after all.
And we also do not understand why this Ketua Pemuda has this nonsensical urge to spew rhetoric:
Khairy Jamaluddin, who looks set to be returned unopposed as Umno Youth chief, will use his second term to cultivate a more centrist approach for the wing that has traditionally been a pressure group.
He said that being vocal in expressing right-wing sentiment in defending the interests of the party was no longer appropriate.
“I am trying to change the DNA of Umno Youth from being mostly right-wing and Malay-centric to a more centrist wing that focuses on issues and their solutions,” Khairy said in an interview.
Will focussing on issues and solutions brings back votes from the youth to Barisan Nasional and Umno? What are the examples of Pemuda Umno focussing on issues and providing solutions that had gained majority flocks of votes into the fold of Barisan Nasional in the last general election?
Before this article gets too carried away, just a stark reminder to those who want to ridicule other people – please look at the non-accomplishments of your Ketua Pemuda first before criticising others.
Some of this yes-men of the Ketua Pemuda may argue that this blog is trying to ‘bodek’ Tun Dr. Mahathir. But unlike the Ketua Pemuda, Tun Dr. Mahathir has no say in the government and has no powers in Umno. He only has his words and charisma. There is nothing to gain by defending Tun Dr. Mahathir. This is done just by the sheer respect he commands.
Not many leaders have that capability. Most people only command respect when they are in the position of power. Something most Umno leaders past and present often forgot.
This is not an article to dent the chances of the Ketua Pemuda to retain his seat. We have no doubt that he will win with a big margin. He has done that before in 2009 and he will do it again. Umno members especially the Pemuda have no ability to discern between what is good and what is bad for them anyway. This article is just for the lackeys of Ketua Pemuda and hopefully they remember the kind of person they are supporting. There is actually nothing to be proud of. Like some old wise men always say “Buruk ketuanya buruk lah pengikutnya. Pengikut kurang ajar, pemimpin hilang maruah”.
Just as mentioned at the start of this article, this wouldn’t have been written if it’s not because of a few uncouth people.
Just a few days ago, we tweeted:
The answer is found in a newsfeed by Bernama:
Najib opens Khazanah office in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak officiated Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s regional office for the Amerikas, Khazanah Americas Incorporated (KAI), in San Francisco Sunday.
He hoped that the opening of this office would help propel Malaysia into a developed nation status by the year 2020.
The Prime Minister said Malaysia’s visionary ambitions to reach a developed nation status by 2020 could be achieved by moving up the value chain and creating an economy driven by knowledge, innovation and technology.
Najib said this when officiating the office located at the 45th Floor, 101 California Street, San Francisco, the third Khazanah’s regional office after Beijing and Mumbai.
Also present were his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek; Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh; Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin; Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Director, San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce Mark Chandler.
The Khazanah Americas Incorporated office has a scenic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the world’s longest and tallest suspension bridge when the bridge was completed in 1937, to connect San Francisco with Marin County across the 1,600 metre-wide strait known as the Golden Gate which links the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean.
Complimenting Khazanah for “the great choice of sparkling office with a nice view”, Najib said Khazanah had made the right choice to be in San Francisco as the city is the centre of innovation in the United States – one of the most dynamic regions in the world, home to the most admired and innovative businesses and institutions.
Najib, who is also Khazanah Nasional Berhad chairman, said the opening of the office has shown that the Malaysian government fully supported and underpinned its seriousness on creating a competitive, sustainable and innovation-friendly environment and encouraged private and government entities to invest in key sectors abroad.
The Prime Minister also said Malaysia was keen to invest in exciting high-value areas such as life sciences, green technology and cutting-edge innovation that could help Malaysia’s transformation efforts.
Najib said Malaysia hoped to learn from the United States its remarkable culture of innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship to spur Malaysia’s own economic growth.
He said he was looking forward to see the innovation that would emanate from this regional office initiative.
He said that over the years, Malaysia’s business and economic interests had expanded across the globe and hoped that the Khazanah office would be able to identify potential partners and get the people in innovation in Americas to partner with those in Malaysia.
Najib also said that Iskandar Malaysia in Johor had established itself as a high value innovative centre and its Pinewood Studios, an integrated media production studio facility, are expected to be completed and opened next year.
He said Malaysia had a lot to offer to investors such as big economic growth number of 4-5 per cent a year, its Vision 2020 efforts on track and a low inflation rate of 2 per cent, which was not bad considering the current external factors affecting the world economy.
“With Khazanah Americas, we can further strengthen our presence and build strong networks with businesses here and I hope we can identify potential partners in America to help propel Malaysia into a developed nation status by 2020,” he said.
In his welcoming speech, Khazanah Nasional Berhad Managing Director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the opening of the Khazanah Americas Incorporated office would be a hub for Khazanah into innovation and technology as well as a bridge between the two countries and regions.
Najib, who arrived in San Francisco with his wife early Sunday, is on a working visit here until Sept 24, prior to his visit to New York to lead Malaysia’s delegation to the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) from Sept 25 to 29.
He is scheduled to deliver a statement at the High Level Meeting UNGA on Nuclear Disarmament on Sept 26, and Malaysia’s statement during the General Debate on Sept 28. – Bernama
… and the CONmen go marching in.
This time a lavish Khazanah Nasional rep office in one of the most expensive downtown office towers in very expensive San Francisco. Where the in-building parking (if you can find one) charges run at U$3 (RM10) per 15 minutes or US33 (RM110) per day. That would be RM3,300 per month for one car in a dingy basement — the rental rate of a very comfortable KL apartment.
While being fawned head-over-heels by CONmen from Frost & Sullivan and likeminded parasites, PM Najib reportedly complimented the breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge and praised Mr. Non-Performer Royale, Azman Mokhtar for making “the great choice of sparkling office with a nice view.” Yes indeed. A million dollar view that will captivate many a heart. But is Khazanah promoting Malaysia or Northern California?
Who will staff this luxurious office? How many Malaysians? From where and based on what criteria? Another bunch of cocky 26-year olds “selected on merit” who will splash scenes of their wild parties and sinful weekend getaways — this time in exciting SF — on FB? Don’t be surprised if some of the PEMANDU party animals get recycled and sent here to liven up the wild Bay Area LGBT nightlife.
So how much are the rakyat (yes, Malaysian taxpayers) paying these people? Let me guess ………… a lot. Yes, a lot because San Francisco is one of THE most expensive cities in the U.S., with rental rates three times the U.S. average. The median rent for a 1-BR, yes one bedroom apartment in this city is about US$3,300 (almost RM11,000) per month. In preferred neighbourhoods, 1-BR rentals — if you can actually find one — would be US$3,600-4,500. For 2-BRs? You’re staring at US$5,000-8,000 per month. 3-BR? Don’t ask. And we have not even looked at other costs in a city ranked in the top 3 most expensive in the U.S.
How I know all these? I have a SF rep office as well. You pay through your nose in rental, parking and staff costs but as long as you make money, lots of it, its fine.
So will Azman Mokhtar and the merry-men and -women of Khazanah actually “make money” to cover this yet another splurge of the rakyat’s hard earned ringgits?
By bringing in investors? Isn’t that job already done by the likes of Mida, Matrade and Miti? Seriously, what can Khazanah do that Mida and Matrade cannot do or has not already done? Mida has six offices across the U.S. — Los Angeles, San Jose, New York, Boston, Chicago and Houston. Martrade has offices in Los Angeles, Miami and New York. And we have investment minister-counselors in our Washington, D.C. embassy and consulates general in New York and Los Angeles. Throw in Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines and you’ll have a heck of a lot of “rep offices” offering the same thing again and again to confused Americans.
So what exactly is Khazanah’s role in SF? To attract investments? Again, that’s Mida and Miti’s job. To expand trade? That’s Matrade’s job. To secure tourist dollars? That’s Tourism Malaysia’s job. To play a hand in diplomacy? That’s the foreign office’s job via the embassy and consulates.
Oh, I forgot ….. Khazanah is supposed to SPEND money, NOT make money. While part of the fat budget has been blown on expensive office rental and staff costs, there must be quite a chunk left for a Silicon Valley spending spree. Najib reportedly said in SF, “Malaysia [is] keen to invest in exciting high-value areas such as life sciences, green technology and cutting-edge innovation that could help Malaysia’s transformation efforts.”
What exactly do all those Powerpoint jargons mean?
I’m sure Mr. Kool wannabe here would throw in “value proposition” and “value chain” and “leading edge” and “next-gen” and “ears and eyeballs” and other so-very-90s-lah CON-sultant bullsh*t somewhere in his speech.
As for stopping the spending spree, its too late lah people. The depleting chequebook’s out. Khazanah must be seen to spend on something somewhere to justify their SF office adventure. You see, their No.1 KPI is “to spend money, lots of it” and No.2 KPI is “to lose money, most of it” and No.3 KPI is “blame others, all of them.”
I’m just waiting for some announcement of a “strategic investment” in some “new economy” scam involving solar powered green-coloured multiheaded dildos or something like that run by a couple of Taiwanese H-1B visa abusers out of a Sunnyvale garage repackaged, of course, into some sustainable eco-friendly healthy green technology gizmo that purportedly will yield a financial windfall for Khazanah and propel Malaysia to new heights of economic ecstasy ….. blah, blah, blah. Sounds familiar? A sucker born every minute? Remember InventQjaya? Remember E-Village in the Dengkil boondocks? And don’t let me get into cow farms and such. Just finished a late dinner meeting with some old ex-ministers and the possibility of regurgitating the horrendous raw sturgeon wrapped in salty seaweed and boiled cabbage is very real indeed.
Oh, ….. saw in the newsfeed that Najib had just committed the rakyat’s money into yet another new fund management company, Putra Eco Ventures Inc. The report said: “The company will channel the investments and provide business consultancy services to green technology companies.” Now, that’s a triple whammy of oxymoronia. “Channel the investments”? “Provide business consultancy services”? These types of phrases have scam and leakage and abuse and misadventure written all over them. Throw in “green technology” and you are looking at a financial trainwreck in the making.
So people, another little chapter of the follies of GLC Malaysia unfolds away from the public radar. While the rakyat bicker about twenty sen fuel price hikes and lack of decent affordable housing, the jet-setting chimps-in-suits of Khazanah (… and soon PEMANDU and TalentCorp and 1MDB and other disasters) throw our tax money into bottomless pits in faraway America.
My problem with Najib is that every time he launches or announces or officiates something somewhere, I get an overpowering sense of mindless, needless wastage of the rakyat’s money. And this Khazanah rep office in San Francisco is no different. Again, I just don’t understand the logic. To attract investments, Mida, Martrade and Miti and our embassy and consulates have already done that for umpteen years. No need expensive, lavish office overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in SF. On the other hand, if you just want to throw money at American companies, to invest in their business schemes or scams, they couldn’t care less about your office. They just want your money, lots of it. Heck, they wouldn’t give a hoot even if you work out of a Motel 6 by the 101 freeway …. as long as you give them money.
So again, what’s this “great choice of sparkling office with a nice view” in San Francisco really about? Is this a necessary strategic move to oversee the deployment of our sovereign funds — our children’s money — in foreign-based ventures crucial to our economic competitiveness, ……. or is this yet another expensive stupid out of control ego trip by some chimps-in-suits condoned by a weak, gullible Prime Minister easily fooled by meaningless CONsultant jargons liberally dished out in slick Powerpoint presentations?
We value second opinion. Please share what you think.
Blogger Din Turtle wrote his opinion about it here >> http://dinturtle.blogspot.com/2013/09/najib-buka-satu-lagi-pejabat-milik.html?m=1
The emasculation of Umno Youth wing is complete. As of today, not a single official statement or action on Ngeh Koo Ham’s remark over the appointment of an MCA legistlative member of Dewan Negeri in Johor has been heard or seen from the Umno Youth.
What is more pathetic for Umno Youth is the fact that it was Shen Yee Aun, a former member of DAP Youth (currently an MCA member) who launched a campaign and police report against Ngeh Koo Ham for insulting Sultan Johor. The Facebook campaign might not be entirely effective to get the recalcitrant and unrepentant Ngeh Koo Ham to apologise to MCA, BN and Sultan of Johor but at least it is doing SOMETHING.
Where is Umno Youth?
Busy high-fiving the groupies in the social media? How are the support from the Pakatan fanboys? Will they vote for Barisan Nasional next time around?
Anyway, this article is not really about Umno Youth.
It is about Ngeh Koo Ham. Last Friday Ngeh Koo Ham tweeted the following:
This came about because the Sultan of Johor wanted the state BN to appoint an MCA representative into the state legislation body to represent the chinese. In the end, Tee Siew Kiong, the Adun for Pulai Sebatang, declaring that he is a Johorean through and through will head the Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumer portfolio.
The Sultan of Johor, irrespective of what MCA had pledged before the election had decreed that the state must have a chinese representative from the winners of the state government.
That was a magnanimous act by the Sultan.
Ngeh Koo Ham on the other hand, deemed it appropriate that the chinese in Johor must not have any representative in the state assembly. To him, the opportunity to disparage MCA over an act that is not only fitting, but morally right for the chinese in Johor makes more sense than to discard petty politics for the betterment of the rakyat.
Unfortunately, his outburst exposes another tendency of the DAP to disrespect the monarchy all these years.
In reply for his tweets, Ngeh Koo Ham said that he wasn’t being disrespectful to the Sultan. His vitriol was intended to the MCA. He added “he had no intention to question the monarchy. He accepts the monarchy system and will not question their sovereignty.”
This is double speak indeed. If Ngeh Koo Ham accepts monarchy’s supremacy then why do you question the MCA? If it was the DAP, they had to do the same, won’t they? Since they won’t question the monarchy anyway.
But the question remains, is Ngeh Koo Ham propagating MCA to decline the Sultan’s request? Did Ngeh Koo Ham decline his Datukship when the Sultan Perak decided to give him one in 2008? Of course he did not although there was an instruction by DAP top leadership not to accept any Datukships.
And he had the cheek to add – “this is not about the Sultan, this is about MCA’s decision so MCA has to determine their own decisions. And after a decision has been made, they will have to live with it.”
Precisely. It is a decision BY the MCA. And why would a busybody from DAP poking his nose where it does not belong? Is Perak inside Johor? No.
Is Ngeh Koo Ham a busybody hypocrite? Yes.
MCA on the other hand, had decided to send Tee Siew Kiong on leave until the matter is fully resolved. That is how they will deal with the matter of principles. The situation is delicate. What is important is to look after the people of Johor. Why do we need to see a politician from another state giving jibes when there is no need for one?
If Ngeh Koo Ham is so rattled by the fact that the MCA is subservient to the Sultan, then is he saying that nobody should be subservient to the Sultan? The monarch wasn’t even asking the MCA to perform evil deeds. He just asked them to service the people and in particular, the chinese! What is wrong about being subservient to that?
Therefore, Ngeh Koo Ham must unreservedly apologise to the Sultan of Johor for that uncouth remarks, and apologise to MCA as well as the Barisan Nasional in general. There is nothing wrong in trying to represent the people in the state assembly. If the chinese do not want to vote for MCA and do not want to have a representative in the state, this royal malay sultanate that began in the 16th century will ensure that the chinese will still be taken care of.
Whatever Ngeh Koo Ham tries to spin his answer, it doesn’t change the fact that Ngeh Koo Ham is a fine example of politics ala DAP. They have no respect for other people than their own selfish quest to berate their political foes, regardless the situation or consequences.
DAP nevertheless will come out with a statement that they will respect, honour and preserve the royal institutions in this country. Just like how they say they will protect Article 153, 152 of the constitution regarding the Malays’ special position. But a quick glance at their vision and mission of their party reveals otherwise. Clearly, they will abolish the bumiputra status that is enshrined in the Constitution. It is already stated in their policy statement.
This is DAP. A snake trying to lull the unsuspecting victims. And who are the victims? The ignorant masses.
I want to applaud a blogger at the blogsite http://www.fatimahzuhri.blogspot.com for a really good article on history. As someone who is fascinated with the history subject, I can’t help but to agree with what the blogger Fatimah Zuhri had to say.
Below are some of the snippets of the said article – you can read the whole article (please do) by clicking the link I provided above. There are many more gems in the original article.
1. Today, the Prime Minister has appointed a controversial figure (let us name him Mr KJ) to become a Minister. Since we are living in a free and open democracy, please allow me to give my opinion on this appointment.
2. Firstly, I respect the Prime Minister prerogative in appointing his cabinet but that does not mean we should stay silent.
3. Exactly 30 years ago, a controversial bloke (let us called him Mr AI) was appointed as a full minister – Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. He was appointed to this ministerial position after he defeated SK for the Youth Leader position the year before. He was also at that time a member of Parliament after winning the PP seat.
5. AI was and still is considered the best in terms of oratory skill in Malaysian politics. Many of the world dictators are brilliant orator – Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini. Mao, etc . In Multi level marketing (MLM), you sell yourself and your product to get people attention. In Pasar Seni, fraudsters sells snake oil to get people attention and usually they will show documents and so called ‘evidence’ to get people attention.
Similarly, Mr KJ is also a good orator. He uses his academic credential as his testimonial. When someone try to criticize him, his supporters will throw the J-word. His products? When he first came to prominence, he was selling the Malay agenda as his product. He was so adamant of this agenda that one of his goons provoked the then Youth Leader to show ‘the keris’. However, lately, he has change his tune and try to re-brand his product similar to what Mr AI did.
7. It will be most interesting to see in the next couple of years how Mr KJ will use his position to influence the youth. My bet is that he will exactly do what Mr AI did when he was KBS and then later on, Education Minister. Back then, Mr AI abused his position to make himself an idol for the youth. Instead of promoting UMNO as a brand, he was promoting himself as the brand. This self-branding was continued in a large scale effort when he was appointed Minister of Education.
For the past 5 years, Mr KJ has done nothing as Youth Leader to improve the perception amongst the youth towards his party. Instead, he was busy promoting KJ as the brand, as a result he is considerably well-known in the social media world. This is just a sample of things to come.
9. There is no such thing as new politics. Politics is old. When Mr AI was DPM, he used his minions in the mainstream media to project an aura of ‘greatness’. Mr KJ uses social media to project his ‘greatness’. At the end of the day, the objective and the desired result is still the same. Mr Prime Minister, you were with Mr AI since the Youth days, are you too blind to see that Mr KJ is exactly like him? I do understand it is politically suicidal if Mr KJ was not given a position since he has branded himself well especially amongst the youth. So in GE14, please put him in a mixed or Chinese majority seat in Klang Valley.
A pretty good read I reckon.
Which is all true nevertheless. When Khairy Jamaluddin was not selected to be in the cabinet in 2009 and was given the amanah by the Prime Minister to concentrate on the youth and get them to vote for Barisan Nasional, he did none of that.
Instead, he cultivated idol worshipping among the easily impressed younglings. Instead of getting the young voters to vote for Barisan Nasional, he stressed on his own public image. He created the Barisan Nasional Youth Volunteer fan club just to help elevate his brand. The Khairy 2.0 is what his sycophants had chanted back in 2009.
But in stark contrast, this Umno Youth leader never did get any new votes from the newly registered young voters nor any votes from the fence sitters below 40. Did Barisan Nasional as a whole get the majority of votes from voters below 40 years old?
Hence, the illusion that was created, the hype that has been bandied around that Khairy is a ‘rising star’ is exactly just that – a hype. When the twitter army created through BNYV and other groupies specifically tasked to bomb the social media with his ‘endeavours’ and ‘effort’, it didn’t translate into what the PM had hoped for.
Moreover, the social media unit of Umno Youth is more disjointed than ever with wrong strategies being placed. If Khairy had given more focus onto the Umno Youth wing, perhaps this could be avoided. But individualistic tendencies kept him focussed on his personal vehicle – the social media and the BNYV.
Just like how Anwar Ibrahim did with NST and Utusan back in the 90s, Khairy is using the social media to further his political exploits. Up until Wednesday, that exploits went into viral when his minions pre-empted the PM himself by saying their leader may not be appointed as minister because a former premier is against it. As a result, out of the blue, the old man’s name was dragged into the social media ruckus.
Nevertheless, if their ‘exalted’ leader couldn’t get into the cabinet, the minions’ own future and potential benefits will look dim. And yet these are the same people who said, this is not the time for divisive personal interest.
How pathetic for some silly people to even drag a statesman into their own psywar just because they themselves are afraid of their own future. The statesman had been a minister for nearly 30 years and Prime Minister for 22 years and still, some wet behind the ear politician and his lackeys felt the need to vilify him? Just because he is afraid he couldn’t get to be a minister?
Please bear in mind it was only in early April he offered not to contest in GE13. Perhaps the article – drama or greed, would be the best read for this kind of situation.
But the fact of the matter is this – we need to be wary when history is repeating itself. From just plain observation, we can see that Khairy is not sincere in helping the party nor the coalition. Yes he revel himself in debates with opposition figures. But that is just to promote himself among the savvy youths. But did Barisan Nasional win more votes from the youth?
In fact, the urban youths voted for Pakatan Rakyat.
There is also this principle that one must always use in politics. When the enemy hates you, you are doing the right thing. But when your political enemy is loving you, then something is indeed wrong.
In the case of Khairy, who can ever forget the fact that Rafizi Ramli invited him to join Pakatan Rakyat no less than 3 times during their debate in London last year!
Rafizi was practically begging Khairy to join Pakatan Rakyat!
And the latest incident, to the chagrin of many Barisan Nasional members and to the befuddlement of fence sitters, Lim Kit Siang complimented Khairy as if Khairy was the next best thing that came down from the celestial heavens.
One criticism of the Cabinet announced by Najib yesterday is its distinct lack of “star” or “wow” quality.
The only person who stands head and shoulder over the rest of the Cabinet line-up in intellectual prowess is the Oxford graduate, UMNO Youth leader, Khairy Jamaluddin, but who had stepped on too many toes in his heyday as the son-in-law to Tun Abdullah in the brief period his father-in-law as the Prime Minister in Malaysia.
I had in fact had occasion to castigate Khairy in Parliament as the “richest unemployed youth in the world” when he was too big for his boots. I hope that in his many years in “wilderness” eating humble pie although he has UMNO Youth leader, conspicuously sidelined from government front-benches although his deputy was made Deputy Minister, have taught him the qualities of humility.
His final rehabilitation in being appointed to the Cabinet is however a great let-down, as his appointment to the comparatively minor Cabinet portfolio of Minister for Youth and Sports is a great injustice when he should be appointed to more substantive responsibilities.
In all our lives, have we ever heard Kit Siang gave such accolades to an Umno leader? Unless there is an ulterior motive to it, (such as his praise towards Tengku Razaleigh during the period where Ku Li was pandering towards Pakatan as well as the false magnanimity on Ghani Othman), Lim Kit Siang would rather lick sandpaper than to give such praises. And Kit Siang was not the only leader in Pakatan that had commended Khairy; there were many, many more. His perceived ‘value’ must be really, really high here in the political atmosphere.
And just like any other spineless and unprincipled politician of his ilk, Lim Kit Siang seemed to whitewash and forgotten all the accusations of corruption that he had levelled against Khairy pre-2008. We can see since last week, many foes from the opposition political parties that had once lambasted him had clearly forgiven him and commended his appointment. This is psychologically possible because they see him as someone who could not command the majority of youth to vote for Barisan Nasional. To vote for him, yes. But not Barisan Nasional. Obviously, this is beneficial for the opposition. Khairy and his supporters will call this – mature politics or politics of unity or politics of empathy or bipartisan politics or whatever justification his team want to sugarcoat his intimacy with the political opponents.
Newsflash, everytime the fence sitters or the easily swayed youths see a Barisan Nasional politician agreeing and pandering with Pakatan Rakyat’s politics, why would they vote for Barisan Nasional at all?
And just like how Anwar did it in the 90s, Khairy seems to appear more frequently in the mainstream media since his appointment than any other ministers more senior than him. It is on daily basis now.
But sadly, what he gave in return for the past 4 years upon being given the task by the party president was not satisfactory. Only hype. Only fluffy events. Only public relations stunts. The important thing – translating new voters and support into votes – were close to zero.
Umno Youth used to be the pressure group, the one that will act should there were any extremist groups bent on toppling the delicate balance of the social contract, were going overboard. But for the past few years, have we heard anything from Umno Youth? They seem to have lost their testicular fortitude. With regards to the current demand by Dong Zong, what is Umno Youth going to do about it? Just lay low and continue to let them rebuke those two highly respected academician and judge? Just because they were talking ACCORDING to the Constitution?
The Secretary General of DAP also wants an Umno vice president and the Home Minister to apologise over an innocuous statement. What will Umno Youth do? Issue warning through twitter bots and fake twitter accounts? If they are not sleeping, this would be the most manly thing they would do.
How about Ngeh Koo Ham’s tacit insolence towards the Sultan of Johor? Any idea when will Umno Youth let out a squeak?
All these signs are not good. The writing is on the wall. The Prime Minister is sleeping and being serenaded by dozens of advisers. If failure to perform is rewarded by ministership, then the least the Barisan Nasional supporters would demand is, to see a real change among the youths so that they will vote Barisan Nasional in the next general election. And that change certainly won’t be led by Khairy Jamaluddin. Judging by his past performance, it is beyond his selfish persona to actually work FOR the benefit of his party i.e., by getting the much needed votes. Umno Youth has become a lame duck.
Penetrate through the smokescreen and you’ll see only hype but no results.
But what can we expect from someone who got into his position not through merit? Do we honestly think he won the position of deputy Youth leader uncontested back in 2004 through pure merit? Back in 2009, although he was found guilty of corruption by the Umno disciplinary board but by virtue of being the son in law of the Prime Minister at that time he could continue to contest and eventually won the Umno YOuth chief post amidst allegations of bribery and money politics. All that is not merit. And we thought an Oxford graduate could win on his own two feet and save the world singlehandedly. Arguably, he could not even deliver Saluran 4 and 5.
Unless of course he can prove it once and for all in this new ministry whether more youth and new voters will vote for Barisan Nasional. But then again, I want to tell the ordinary Umno members, please do not get your hopes high.
In the wake of the news of foreign funds financing local non governmental organisations here in Malaysia and the rise and fall of ‘Arab Spring’ in the middle east, the Obama’s policy and admission of training activists in Muslim countries to change their governments (albeit undemocratically), are an eye-opener.
Have a look:
Tomorrow is the 1st day of the holy month of Ramadhan.
May this month truly be the month of blessings, a month full of forgiveness and guidance for all of us. May God bless us with happiness and grace our homes with warmth and peace.
Usually, as common sense dictates, we shall try to resist and desist any forms of extremism in the commentary sections, not only in this blog but in other platforms as well. As we all know, moderation should not be confined in the real world. It should germinate in cyberspace as well. A virtue which is quite scarce to find these days among the more fervent and fanatical commentators we can see out there.
But this might be a normal occurrence as the prospect of general election looms. It is hoped that the psyche of the people in cyberspace can withstand the onslaught of malicious, seditious and plain repulsive behaviour amongst the barrage of articles and commentaries that will populate the social media.
The 2008 general election was at the apex of social media play where groundworks for the political campaign within cyberspace started extensively since 2006 and was primarily led by the opposition. But now, with the pro-government elements having a rather equal footing, and the near maturity level of twitter and facebook accounts as well as the mushrooming of news websites, the Malaysian socio-political universe coming to this next general election could reach a new apex altogether. It could be exciting. But it could very well be troubling.
But I digress.
Have a great Ramadhan to everyone!
Exactly a week ago, Dato Seri Idris Jala was ‘quoted’ by The Malaysian Insider as saying “Malaysia could still become bankrupt within a decade if it spends borrowed money on operational expenditure such as subsidies instead of investing the cash.”
The opposition portal also alluded that this statement triggers alarm bells with forecast of bankruptcy.
As the result, blogger SatD made a scathing attack on Idris Jala in his blog and this writer further enquired through twitter on his statement particularly the part where the government could have breached some fiscal rules and guidelines (please refer here).
Below is the twitter conversation this writer had with him concerning the issue:
@IdrisJala_ implying e Finance Minister @NajibRazak didn’t follow fiscal rules n had mixed up e revenue/subsidies & borrowings/devlpmnt?PM @NajibRazak n Husni Hanadzlah must answer what @IdrisJala_ had said; that Finance Ministry had broken e fiscal guidelines.
Pls watch my speech on video, I spoke positively abt our economy! I spent 1 hour explaining what the Govt is doing
@JebatMustDie @NajibRazak @JebatMustDie. I was responding to a question using scenarios (IF assumption). Under ETP, Msia shd be high income economy (not bankrupt)TQ for d reply TS @IdrisJala_ but it didn’t answer e Q. Is govt breaking e fiscal rules by using borrowings to finance subsidies? TQ @JebatMustDie. The govt is NOT breaking any fiscal rules! I hope you listen to my video (presn and QA). Nothing wrong with what I said.Sloppy reporting from TMI. Has PEMANDU rectified e article? RT @IdrisJala_: Now u know! What ppl say can easily be reported differently.
As the result of intentional spin by The Malaysian Insider, The Mole contacted Idris Jala directly over this miscommunication and published an article to straighten the whole issue:
Idris Jala: ‘IF” is the word
By Azreen HaniThursday, November 3, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala has called on his critics and those bent on running down the government’s Economic Transformation Plan to listen carefully to his statements.
Stressing that the government did not break any fiscal rules, as implied by a newsportal, Idris who is also the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu) chief said his statement about the country going bankrupt had once again been reported in bad light.
Idris was responding to a question posed on to him by blogger Jebat Must Die via micro blogging site Twitter.
Jebat Must Die had questioned Idris if it was true that the government breached fiscal rules by using borrowings to finance government subsidies.
In his reply Idris he tweeted: “The govt is NOT breaking any fiscal rules! I hope you listen to my video (presn and QA). Nothing wrong with what I said.” (The government is not breaking any fiscal rules! I hope you listen to my video (presentation and QA). Nothing wrong with what I said.)
The question was raised by the blogger based on a report by The Malaysian Insider which stated that Malaysia could become bankrupt if it spends borrowed money on operational expenditures such as subsidies instead of investing the cash.
Jebat Must Die in his latest blog posting asked whether Idris was implying that there is dereliction of duty by the Minister of Finance pertaining the government’s its fiscal responsibilities.
“Is he (Idris) saying that Malaysia will go bust if Government continues to finance subsidies through borrowings? Since we know that it is against the law to do that, we are now stuck in a quandary.” Jebat Must Die queried.
The fiscal rules and guidelines stated that operating expenditure is financed through revenues while borrowings are only used for development expenditure.
Idris pointed that his statement was reported differently.
Another blogger, SatD, the first to raised the issue following the newsportal report also pointed that Idris must be able to differentiate between development expenditure and operating expenditure of the government.
“What you are saying is misleading and reckless for someone of your position…..you give the impression that our Government does not have any financial discipline and does not adhere to the Law as provided for by the Constitution and its guidelines,” he wrote, criticising Idris for his statement (as reported by the news portal).
An officer from ETP’s corporate communications unit told The Mole the news portal did not report Idris’s comments in its actual context.
Idris, during the Q and A session inconjunction with ETP’s first year anniversary on Tuesday, gave a briefing on programme’s progress and answered a host of queries from the public.
Responding to a question on the rationalisation of subsidies and his past statement that the country could face a possibility of going bankrupt, Idris re-iterated that his statement on the country being bankrupt was based on a presumption that ‘IF nothing was done” to improve the economy.
“If our economy grows for the next ten year with less than 4 per cent, if we grow with only 3 per cent and we do not curb our operational expenditures which includes subsidies, and we need to borrow at 12.5 per cent, if our annual debt rises at 12.5 per cent per annum as we did in the last 10 years, and if our revenue does not grow, then we’ve had it. The presumption of we’ve had it means we would have reached our debt position of 100 per cent of GDP by 2019.”
Idris pointed that the introduction of ETP showed the government’s seriousness developing the economy in a very focused manner while ensuring Malaysia and her people achieved greater prosperity.
On suggestions that the government should not borrow money as it would increase national debt, Idris said it was not wrong to borrow.
“We should borrow the money provided that it is spent as an investment, (like) development expenditure (rather) than operating expenditure.”
“That is why when you run an economy of the country; we need to make sure our borrowing is proportionately focused on the investment,” he explained.
Pemandu has also released the full context of Idris’ comments on the need for Malaysia to keep GDP (gross domestic product) growing, as well as clarifications on the “bankruptcy” issue.
Time and time again, The Malaysian Insider was caught spinning what would be considered as a deliberate attempt to mislead their readers. This practice must stop. The country’s economic prospect looks fine. I believe the opposition has no more issue to criticise the Government in order to rile the public to vote against It.
The latest attempt by Anwar Ibrahim is one of them.
What Idris Jala should have said and promote to public is this: With ETP, Malaysia will not face bankruptcy. Full stop.
Now this is something that some people will find trivial but I see it as a a danger that will jeopardise the reputation of online portals in Malaysia.
Back in February, Siti Nurhaliza launched her first talk show which featured Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as her first VIP guest.
During the Q & A session with the audience, Tun Mahathir was asked on what would he do if he was given the chance to become the prime minister once again.
From what I heard, Tun said that his priority would be to see Malaysia become a developed nation and that he would like to balance the disparity between races.
But the very next day, Malaysian Insider published an article with the heading:
If PM again, Dr M would prioritise racial equalityBy Clara ChooiFebruary 12, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad placed racial equality as top on his list of priorities to develop the country if he were given a second shot at running the country as prime minister.
Dr Mahathir told songstress Datuk Siti Nurhaliza on the first episode of the latter’s new TV talk show “Siti” on Astro Ria tonight that despite having relinquished his job for over seven years now, he still had “many ideas” on how to improve development in Malaysia.
“I have many ideas that can help to develop the country, especially to achieve racial unity.
“But these plans can only be carried out by those in power… because I am not in power, all I can do is try to influence the present leaders,” he said.
The outspoken octogenarian explained that now that he was no longer in government, his only avenue to affect changes in the country was by speaking with present government leaders and writing in his blog chedet.co.cc.
“My wish if I were to be PM of this country again, which is unlikely, is to ensure that Malaysia achieves its objective to achieve developed nation status,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said this when responding to a question from a member of the audience who had asked the former prime minister what he would do if he were given the opportunity to run Malaysia again.
The country’s longest serving prime minister was the first guest on Siti’s maiden television programme.
This was a grave mistake by the reporter as Tun Mahathir did not even say the words ‘racial equality’. As the interview was in Bahasa Malaysia, my first thought was, the reporter did not understand Bahasa Malaysia that well.
Racial equality in Bahasa Malaysia would be ‘kesaksamaan antara kaum’. I was sure Malaysian Insider had it wrong with the heading.
In fact, if you look carefully at the article above, the term ‘racial equality’ was only stated in the headline, not in the article itself. It was only the spin put by Malaysian Insider. The closest words that were stated was ‘racial unity’. Even then, I swear I did not hear Tun said ‘perpaduan kaum’ in his statement.
True enough, judging by the amount of negative comments it received, the opposition aligned news portal has achieved its goal through a grave error in reporting.
For those who missed it, the ex premier gave his answer as seen in the video clip below:
What he actually said was “saya mempunyai banyak idea-idea yang boleh menolong membangunkan negara khususnya mengimbangkan kedudukan kaum-kaum di dalam negara kita….” [30 - 40 secs] and “jadi yang saya berniat kalau saya dah kembali jadi perdana menteri, yang tak mungkin, ialah untuk berusaha supaya negara kita dapat mencapai matlamat kita untuk menjadi sebuah negara maju…” [1.02 - 1.25 mins]
If we had taken a bit more time in counter checking with our national language, Tun did not mean racial equality. What he meant was correcting the imbalances between races. This had been his mantra since he started his political career. Everyone with enough salt would have known this. Is Malaysian Insider trying to put words in his mouth?
I even went to the extent of contacting the boss of Malaysian Insider the very same day the article appeared:
So what now?
It is proven that the reporter made an error while performing her duties. I believe negligence at this proportion which tarnished the image of the ex-premier was deliberate in order to gain negative feedback from the public.
What is disappointing is the editorial management of Malaysian Insider which derived its experience from News Straits Times and other reputable media chose to sit on this issue and do nothing to correct the article. Its level of investigation stopped only by looking at the reporter’s notes. Did anybody bother to look at the reruns of the show?
I was lucky a hardcore fan of Siti Nurhaliza sent me the link. If not, this matter would be swept under the carpet and an innocent person was unnecessarily lambasted for things he did not say.
As a reader of Malaysian Insider, I am aghast at this irresponsible editorial attitude. I thought with the amount of advertisements it gained from government linked companies , it would at least strive to be reputable and credible. Surely it does not strive to be just like its big brother, Malaysia Today.
I have a sliver of hope that it won’t.
One of the best and quickest way of relaying news is through Twitter.
Everyone does it.
Politicians do it.
Bloggers use it.
Celebrities are hooked on it.
Teenagers can’t get enough of it.
Even big corporations started to get the hang of it.
I think GLCs will do itself a big favour by using twitter as part of its public relations tool. With the advent of mobile applications such as Ubertwitter, any news imparted can be quickly discerned by the public through their handphones.
For example, one of the biggest GLC in Malaysia has already using it to reach its stakeholders.
Telekom Malaysia Berhad.
Or better known as @TMCorp in Twitter world.
With the new HSBB (High Speed BroadBand) project is currently a work-in-progress in Klang Valley, it is imperative for them to constantly educate the public about it and at the same time gauge the public’s responses and feedback.
Twitter is becoming more than just a social networking tool. It will be a potent marketing tool in the near future.
I am urging all other GLCs to do the same. The benefits are too great to ignore. Thank you.