Pak Lah’s administration continuously trying to fight the criticisms hurled at them with much disarray. Supplementing the mistakes with weak and sometimes illogical excuses, one has to wonder whether who are the brains behind this malignant administration. It is a no-brainer (pun intended) that KJ runs the show. And lately, people from all walks of life are questioning the wisdom in most of the decisions made by the PM. Sometimes, we are stupified by his statements that came forth from his mouth.
I do not wish to repeat what had been said in this blog. But today, Tun Dr Mahathir sealed the manifestation of the people’s grievances/protests/complaints in a letter published in The Sun and copied in http://malaysiavoices.blogspot.com. This letter highlighted some of the points I had wrote in an entry a couple of days ago and another entry here sometime ago.
Why BN and Umno performed miserably
DATUK Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the president of Umno, chairman of the Barisan Nasional and Prime Minister of Malaysia has blamed everyone else except himself for the miserable performance of the coalition in the 12th general election.
He has blamed the whole electorate for not wanting him to get a two-thirds majority; BN members and Umno members in Kedah and Perak for sabotage; Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for BN’s defeat in Kelantan and myself for speaking against him and his government.
He is not too far wrong. There is a lot of truth in what he says. I know that many Umno members voted for the Opposition. I admit that what I said may have influenced some of them into doing the unthinkable
But the more important question is why did they do this. Umno members had always been loyal to the party. They would never vote for the Opposition, particularly PAS and DAP. Yet they did in the 2008 general election. How else could the Opposition parties win if they did not get the votes of BN supporters? The reduction in the votes for BN candidates very nearly matches the increase in votes for the opposition parties.
In the last 50 years and 11 general elections Umno members and the average Malaysian had never failed to support Umno or the Alliance/BN. Except for 1969 when the Chinese withdrew their support, the Alliance and the BN had won a two-thirds majority every time.
Neither Tunku Abdul Rahman (the 1969 general election excepted), nor Tun Razak, nor Tun Hussein Onn, nor yours truly had won less than two-thirds. Certainly we never had occasion to accuse Umno members of sabotaging their party. Yet Abdullah, by his own admission, has apparently been “sabotaged” by Umno members.
Umno members did not want their party to lose. But they needed to send a message to Abdullah and his coterie of “Yes Men”. They could not speak their minds because all avenues were closed to them. Delegates to the Umno General Assembly were chosen because they would not criticise the president. My son Mukhriz had commented that there was nothing new in the president’s speech in 2006 and he was called up by the Umno Youth Committee, was scolded and told to choose between his father and the president.
The Umno Supreme Council and the cabinet were full of Yes-Men who never voiced the dissatisfaction or the complaints of the Umno rank and file. Umno members were forbidden on pain of disciplinary action from listening to any talk by people not approved by the president. This includes me. The police and the state Umno called up people who invited me and told them to withdraw their invitations.
Since Umno members could not express their real opinion regarding the government at any time and in any place, the only way they could convey their disenchantment with it was through voting at the general election. Voting was relatively secret and no action could be taken against them. So scared were the Umno voters that they might be found out that they never revealed to each other or to anyone of their intention to vote for the Opposition. And so it was that no one accurately forecast the massive swing in favour of the Opposition.
Some Umno members could not bring themselves to vote for the Opposition. And so they deliberately spoiled their votes. There were more than 300,000 spoilt votes in all, a record. It cannot be that after 50 years and 11 elections the voters still did not know how to vote.
Maybe it was because of me that Umno voters acted the way they did. I did urge Umno members to vote for good candidates and not just vote for the party. Umno could have fielded really good candidates but despite the president assuring that all the candidates were clean and qualified, they lost. This was because the candidates were not good and they often replaced the giant-killers who had done well in the past. Most of the “parachuted” candidates were young and Umno members were angry because they suspected that these young candidates were chosen by one person. Do a survey and find out how many of these new candidates lost.
The leadership apparently believed that Umno members would vote for any candidate chosen by the party leader. The leadership, was grossly mistaken.
But so angry were the Umno voters that they voted even for opposition candidates who were educationally unqualified and inexperienced.
The present leadership of Umno and BN, in particular Abdullah, should face facts. The electorate did not reject or “sabotage” the BN for no reason. In 2004 they had not seen Abdullah perform. So there was no sabotage. But in 2008 they had already seen Abdullah reveal his true colours. They did not like it.
The first thing he did when becoming prime minister was to bring his family unofficially into the government. He can deny this but people know the activities of Khairy Jamaluddin and Kamaluddin Abdullah and their cronies, including those of the fourth floor. They often sit in meetings of government committees and when the prime minister met people.
Khairy’s winning the deputy Umno Youth post uncontested disgusted many people. Had it been a party veteran with years of service to the party winning uncontested, no one would object. But Khairy had been in Umno less than five years and had no record of service to Umno. How could he win uncontested?
Early in his term of office, Abdullah decided not to go ahead with the so-called mega projects initiated by me. That was his right. But what was not right and what caused people to think he was being vindictive was the suggestion that I was wasting money on my many “pet” projects so much so that the government no longer had money to continue with them. Actually people know the projects were necessary. Imagine Malaysia without the KLIA, Sentral Station, Penang Bridge, North-South Highway, double-tracking and electrification [Malaysia Alternative Voices : Double Track Project awarded to Gamuda costed RM14.5 Billion from Johor to Padang Besar in 2003 (when Pak Lah aborted the project but was reawarded on Dec 2007 to Gamuda for RM 12.5 Billion for Ipoh to Padang Besar – less than half the initial project length) – How many billions has the Government/Peoples lost as the result of Abdullah Badawi decision to postpone the project? – Personal View of Malaysia Alternative Voices, not TDM’s view or opinion], the LRT and monorail for Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, toll roads, Westport, Tanjung Pelepas Port, Formula 1 circuit, KL Tower, ports, etc.
I will not mention the things he did which affected me alone and are not generally known to the public. This is because the voting public could not have been influenced by this.
But what is known is his reaction to my criticism regarding the APs (Approved Permits) and the decision not to build the “crooked” bridge in Johor. He and his ministers publicly abused me and at one stage wanted to expel me from the party. Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was extremely rude.
People felt that he and his cabinet colleagues, many of whom were appointed by me were most ungrateful. People know that but for me Abdullah would not be the prime minister today. So were most of the others for they were made ministers by me. They used to be my strong supporters, kissing my hand and some cried when I stepped down. Now they turned on me and denigrated me in a most unbecoming way. I don’t really care but I think the people regard this behaviour as just bad.
The fear Abdullah instilled in his ministers, members of the Umno Supreme Council and other party leaders was such that none dared to stand up to defend me or to counter what Abdullah and his colleagues said.
If Singapore could not agree to build a straight bridge unless sand was sold to it, we could have gone on to build the “crooked” bridge which had nothing to do with Singapore. Irked by the refusal of Johoreans to sell sand and allow Singapore warplanes to fly over Johor air space, Abdullah disallowed the construction of even the “crooked” bridge. Why?
I am sure it was because the one billion cubic metres of sand he wanted to sell to Singapore was objected to by Johor. Someone stood to make RM1 billion or more over 20 years from the sale of sand. Singapore would like to have the sand at above market price even as the land reclaimed would be sold at S$3,000-S$5,000 per sq ft.
The objection by Johor was because mining the seabed sand would cause erosion of the shores, destroy fish breeding grounds and deprive Johor fishermen of their fishing ground. The royalty collected by Johor would be nothing compared to what Singapore could make from selling reclaimed land.
There were other things done by Abdullah which the people did not like. These include matters related to the issuance of APs, the sale of MV Agusta, the CIQ building in Johor Baru, the double-tracking of the railway from JB to Padang Besar, miniature mosques and crystal mosques in Terengganu, the Monsoon Cup, the various corridors and the extensive renovation of Sri Perdana.
There were many other unpopular things done by Abdullah which alienated Umno and BN members and the voters in general. If there is anyone to blame for the miserable performance of Umno and BN, it is Abdullah himself. This is the opinion of the vast majority of Malaysians. If they are allowed to speak freely, this is what they would say.
No matter how strongly he denies that he is the cause, no matter how many people he blames, he cannot explain why this catastrophe to the Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan and the BN had never happened under four previous prime ministers but happens only during this tenure. He cannot explain why the “sabotage” by Umno and the component party members in 2008 when in the past they had been very loyal and never failed to give the Alliance and the BN two-thirds majority in Parliament and control of almost all the states. If he refuses to go and tries to ignore the calls for his removal until the next election, the disgusted voters and party members will probably ensure the BN will be defeated at federal and state levels as the only way to end his premiership.
DAP and PAS will want to ensure that Abdullah remains until the next election because, as in 2008, the disgusted BN supporters will vote for the Opposition. This will be even more likely if PAS and DAP provide good government for the states under their care.
When that happens there will be no hope for Umno to make a comeback.
As I said, I admit some responsibility for the poor showing of Umno and BN. Had Abdullah won big he would continue with his disregard for the objectives of his Umno, for the well-being of Malaysia.
I would consider myself a betrayer of my country if I allow this to happen. And those sycophants who fawn before Abdullah will also be betrayers of their country, their people and for Malays, their religion even.
In the final analysis, the responsibility for the losses sustained by the BN is with the prime minister himself. If he wishes to redeem himself and help resuscitate Umno and BN, he should resign now and let others rehabilitate the parties. As long as he remains Umno president, BN chairman and prime minister, recovery would be impossible.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad
I have to agree with Tun’s honest assessment. In one of my blog entry, I commented to a reader as below:
Obviously the effort to subtly demonize the ex PM had proven to be successful. In the effort to cover up the current PM’s failure as a businessman and salesman of Malaysia, the public were made to believe the current situation we’re in is the cause of TDM. I strongly believe, Pak Lah screwed up a well organized nation he inherited. How? By screwing up the nation’s priorities. How? By developing the wrong kind of projects. Tell me, besides the wasteful Masjid Krystal and Perkampungan Hadhari in Terengganu, what other projects/infrastructures he had successfully built? Do you know what was the annual Malaysia’s budget since 2004? Around RM130 billions to RM160 billions. Where did it go? Even with much, much lower budget during his time, TDM managed to propel the nation efficiently through effective and smart nation building process.
It seems unbelievable that Pak Lah is feeling so self righteous about his performance. We were fed with so many of his failures, but yet, unable to voice our criticisms. Hence, the apparent surge in blogging community. In one of an entry in this particular blog, I lashed out to comment;
They can lie all they want but we know better… When Pak Lah took over, he said Malaysia has no money although Dr Mahathir strongly denied it. And then, instead of doing some prudent spending (as logic dictates if the country has indeed no money), he spent lavishly on buying private airbus, doing the stupid monsoon cup, launching corridors, etc. as well as raising fuel price to get more money. He was spending money like nobody’s business. And then now, after looting the country of its riches since 2003, he claimed the country has no more money. If you look at all the physical projects he proposed in 2004, non was completed. Don’t believe me? Look at the RMK9 projects. Even some of RMK8 projects were scrapped (coz he said very wasteful and we need to save the money – like the crooked bridge). But now how? Pak Lah is an idiot. Even that is an understatement.
In other matters, Tun also commented on the payment of ex-gratia to the judges from the 1988 judiciary crisis. He gave us the glimpse on the behind the curtain scenes which the public had not been privy of. He also confirmed my suspicions in my article which I wrote here.
The Ex-Gratia Payment
The Malaysian Government of Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recently decided to pay certain judges ex-Gratia Payments.
Clearly the Government felt contrite over what had happened to these judges many years ago, and felt a need to make amends, but not quite enough to apologise as was suggested by the de facto Minister of Justice, Dato Zaid Ibrahim.
In fact if newspaper reports are to be believed the Cabinet rejected the proposal by the new Law Minister. Nothing was decided about the ex-Gratia payment.
But a dinner was held by the Bar Council which rumours say was paid for by the Government during which the Prime Minister announced two things which must gladden the hearts of members of the Bar.
The announcement were;
1) A commission would appoint judges
2) Ex-Gratia payments would be paid to Tun Salleh Abbas and the six judges who tried to frustrate the work of the first tribunal.
I will not elaborate on the Tun Salleh case reserving this for the future. But in my blog, the question was asked whether the ex-Gratia payments constitute contempt of the Tribunal.
Not being a lawyer I cannot really say with certainty but I understand the rules and procedures which apply to the courts do not necessarily apply to the Tribunal. So they may not be in contempt.
But the fact remains that the payments imply that the Government does not quite agree with the decisions of the properly constituted Tribunals. Perhaps it is because the quality of mercy was not exercised. Perhaps it is because the judges suffered from financial losses because of the findings of the Tribunals.
I would like to clarify here, and I stand to be corrected of course, that on appeal by the Attorney-General, I agreed that all the judges be paid their full pensions.
Again if I am not mistaken Tun Salleh Abbas was entitled to and accordingly draws two pensions; one when he reached the age of fifty-five and another at the end of his term as Lord President following his dismissal.
It is possible that as a former State Councillor he also draws a pension.
Maybe I should mention here that I am not so fortunate since I was never paid any pension when I attained the age of 55. Instead I only received my pension when I stepped down in 2003, at the age of 78.
The other judges were also paid their pensions and where they fulfilled the Malaysian pension scheme they too would receive two pensions.
I mention this only for the purpose of comparison. I am not seeking any pension or ex-Gratia or whatever payment from the Government upon reaching the statutory age of 65.
It was reported in the newspapers today that as Petronas Adviser, I am paid RM15,000 a month, not by the Government but by Petronas. I would like to state that this income is taxable and a sum of RM4,500 is deducted monthly.
I also serve as Adviser for Proton, the Langkawi Island Development Authority (LADA) and the Tioman Island Development Authority. For these three entities, I do not receive any form of payment nor do I seek any. If it is felt that the Government can ill-afford the allowance I receive the Government can always stop paying. I will continue to serve even if I am paid nothing.
It also shows the magnanimity of a statesman. How many of us actually being paid more than Tun himself in a month? A measly RM15K per month for an ex prime minister? And that does not include deductions on tax. I for one am ashamed that a leader of a country being given shoddy treatment by his successsors.