Malay issues / Politics in general / Umno & Barisan Nasional

The one month review of the people’s government

It is May 2009 already. How time flies…

It’s been a month since Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Razak became our Prime Minister. His deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said:

UMNO tidak tunggu 100 hari bawa pembaharuan

SUNGAI PETANI 30 Mac – Kepimpinan baru UMNO yang akan mengambil alih tampuk pemerintahan negara dalam tempoh terdekat tidak akan menunggu 100 hari untuk membawa perubahan dan pembaharuan.

Therefore, since there won’t be any honeymoon period for BN, let’s cut to the chase and review Najib’s leadership style after 1 month being in power.

Initially Najib mentioned that his style of governance is based on a remarkable declaration that the era where ‘government knows best’ is long gone. In other words, Najib will embark in an inclusive style of government where the inputs from the public or the creme de la creme from the myriad of intellectual groups or institutions will be taken into account.

Firstly, let’s take stock of the situation the government is facing.

1) The Penanti by-election on May 31st

I truly believe that BN must put a candidate in this by-election as it upholds the very basic  principle of democracy. People  in Penanti MUST be given the opportunity to vote for their local representative in the state assembly. BN must not deprive Penanti from exercising their democratic rights. in choosing their Yang Berhormat. A walkover by BN will dent its reputation further. Although there are certain quarters that cringed with the thought of facing yet another by-election, BN must hold its head up high and face this inevitable event with the courage of BN leaders of the yesteryears. If they suddenly want to be prudent in by election spending, then they just have to be more efficient this time.

Local BN leaders should do the ground work. Their Youth brigades and the local party information bureaus must work around the clock to gain those extra votes. There is no need to gather leaders from across the country who are ultimately there just for window dressing and looking to gain favours from top leaders.

About a month ago, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stated that BN will engage an independent body to study the reasons why BN lost the by elections in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau.

Is there such thing being done since then? If they had, then BN should not face any problems in Penanti as lessons learned from the study will benefit BN in facing this upcoming by elections.

If it was just rhetoric from the DPM, then BN will definitely lose the chance to wrestle Penanti from PKR.

2) The Perak impasse

We have discussed tremendously on issues concerning the situation in Perak;

a) Anwar’s encyclopedia of play acting

b) Crybabies if Pakatan Rakyat

c) Lidah bercabang Pakatan Rakyat

d) Pakatan Ridiculous

e) Taking stock of the situation in Perak

f) Mr ‘Expert in Contradiction’

What once was deemed as only simple political takeover issue had mutated into a political, governmental and constitutional debacle. Soon, it will shift to become a socio economical and judicial fiasco if Najib could not find a way to find solution to this.

3) Najib’s policy metamorphosis

Since becoming the PM, Najib had introduced several changes to stamp his style of governance. Among them are:

a) The introduction of 1Malaysia concept

This concept is at an infantile stage and has to aggressively be promoted by his government. JAKIM made an effort to issue guidelines on 1Malaysia. Although a more relevant job function would be the  Information, Communictaion, Arts and Culture Ministry (Datuk Seri Rais Yatim) or the JPM’s Unity and Performance function (Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon), I wish there are more concerted effort from the cabinet. Nevertheless, I hope JAKIM can do this thoroughly well instead of presenting half baked efforts which the previous administration is famous of.

Either way, this bring about another issue – does each minister know their scope of work? KPIs can only be determined if each ministry knows their terms of reference and job scope. If not, there will be a complete confusion during the appraisal exercise 5 months down the road. The result may be a complete sham and an insult to the public.

b) Liberalising the service sub sectors, modernising the public sector and abolishing the MECD

The most drastic yet contentious issues are the changes in socio economical policies stated above. Najib may have wanted to emulate his father’s performance in the area of economy when he announced these changes. Back in 1971, barely a year after being the Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak managed to achieve 10% growth for Malaysia through the implementation of NEP, well structured 2nd Malaysia Plan (1970 – 1975) and expanding the fiscal policies by allocating higher budget for Federal and public sector development.

Personally, I feel that the intention of Najib is very noble in changing the mindset of Malaysians. Since these new policies are affecting mostly the Malays, it must be implemented not only with vigour but more importantly, every Malay must made to be well informed and empathetic towards this decision.

As it turned out, no thorough explanation was forthcoming from the Prime Minister regarding this issue.  Back in October 2008, Najib, the then DPM stated that the NEP will not be abolished but instead, it will be liberalised in stages. However, Najib also made a disclaimer:

“Saya menyatakan bahawa unsur-unsur DEB akan diganti melalui proses liberalisasi secara gradual atau berperingkat-peringkat, bukannya secara serta merta. Saya difahamkan ini menimbulkan pelbagai kecurigaan di hati orang-orang Melayu terutamanya,” katanya.

Beliau berkata liberalisasi yang dimaksudkan itu akan menggunakan formula yang tidak membebankan usahawan Melayu dan juga prinsip yang adil dan saksama kepada semua pihak.

“Kita akan mengambil pandangan daripada semua pihak supaya apa-apa yang akan kita laksanakan dapat diterima oleh rakyat. Seperti yang telah saya katakan, bila kita berlaku adil kepada orang lain, kita tidak mengambil hak orang lain, kita tidak menafikan hak kaum lain,” katanya.

Najib berkata beliau akan meastikan tidak ada sesiapa yang menafikan hak orang Melayu.

“Saya akan terus memperjuangkan agenda Melayu. Jangan ada sesiapa sama ada dalam dewan ini mahupun yang berada di luar sana cuba mempertikaikan perkara ini,” katanya.

This liberalisation is in line with the interview by Tun Dr Mahathir back in 2002. However, just like any other policy changes, the PM should go to the ground (read: every state) and give more information to the public, particularly the Malays. Najib had bent over backwards to plead for the support of the non-Malays.  It will be a shame should he lose support from the Malays instead.

Back in 1998, soon after Anwar Ibrahim was sacked, Tun Dr Mahathir energetically visited every state in the country to disseminate information to Umno members. It was crucial to maintain the support from party members in order to have a united defensive wall against the looming economic crisis then.

Currently, without a doubt, there are grumblings in the grounds which can only be appeased through a cohesive and intense ‘meet the rakyat’ drive in every state.

Najib must not forget that a big policy change will not work if the majority of people do not champion his cause. Afterall, wasn’t him that said his cabinet is actually a ‘Kabinet Rakyat’?

Allow me to comment about the liberalisation of the service sub sectors. One of the reason why the sub sectors are liberalised is to increase the FDI into the country.

I believe there is a need to study this reason as relaxing the bumi quotas in these sectors will not necessarily achieve the intended aim. Foreign investors can be fickle in selecting the countries they want to invest. Back in the 90’s, FDIs into Malaysia were very impressive eventhough there are bumi quotas.

FDIs to Malaysia decreased over the last half decade is probably due to political instability and lack of transparency and increasing corruption index. In 2006, Indonesia surpassed us for the first time in drawing FDI’s!

Though I do not question the move, I do question the timing. The world is currently in recession with top economies of the world is embarking in protectionism and minimal investment in overseas markets. The FDIs may not be forthcoming. The KPIs of MITI may show a poor performance in the horizon.

However, there is hope yet. Anwar Ibrahim promised to bring in investments worth USD1 trillion from key fund managers. I am sure these fund managers still have their trillion dollar stash somewhere on the planet.

Jokes aside, Najib must pre-empt potential backlash with massive campaign drive nationwide.

c) Umno Youth machinery

It took the Umno Youth chief about 6 weeks just to get his team together. This loss of time will be felt when the Umno Youth machinery  finds it hard to battle the very effective PR propaganda machinery in the Penanti by election.

I do not wish to comment on the composition of the bureau members as I do not know 99% of them. However, as I said above, each bureau and secretariat must have a clearly defined roles and responsibilities and also job description. This will prevent any bureaus from impinging into other bureaus’ territory. At the same time, clearly defined roles will enable the Umno Youth to gain synergy from each one of them. I am somewhat impressed with the result of the 3 day brainstorming session conducted last weekend. They produced some shades of brilliance in creating a more relevant bureaus to cater for the current environment.

Some of them include Urban and Rural secretariats, New Media bureau and the Psy-war bureau. Kudos to the Umno Youth members. But can they aspire to be the role models for all the youths in Malaysia?

We can conclude that the young voters simply want an avenue to discuss ideas and also to voice out their aspirations. Umno Youth of recent years did not cater to these needs. Consequently, the young generation are compelled to support the opposition which gives them enough opportunities to be part of something big.

The above are the pertinent issues that will be the barometer to measure the performance and importantly, the competence level of the current crop of leaders. Hopefully, the mantra of ‘government knows best is long gone’ will not be mutated into ‘the government indeed does know what’s best’. Thank you.


19 thoughts on “The one month review of the people’s government

  1. 1-month after into the job, there are so many arrests on anti-establishments. well done, najib !!! continue to do so, and the rakyat sure love you for your courage to protect the interest of the majority !!!

    JMD : Apparently, there is really no difference from us and other democratic countries in the methods of dispersing illegal crowds or other anti-establishment activities… The world needs mature politicians from all sides. We are not like Taiwan to have unruly politicians punching each other in front of the Regent of Perak.


  2. JMD,

    Sorry, but Im not a guy. Y ? ….you think gals
    have no opinions?
    Anyway I think your new header is neat.

    Back to your topic. I dont understand what is 1Malaysia. Has PM Najib forgotten we’ve got Rukun Negara?

    What is his own definition of 1Malaysia, really?
    I agree with you that he has to explain this himself
    to the people.

    I read that he has set 8 Values to achieve this 1Malaysia
    vision. But I do not see any oneness in the values he
    prescribed. For one thing, his Education value is not emphasising on one national stream. If he wants to forgo
    this, I think we can forget about 1Malaysia.

    Liberalising the service sub-sectors is fine if ;

    a. There is no racial discrimination,

    b. There is no monopoly,

    c. There is adequate and competitive funding for all.

    Most important there must be a body to police all of the above.

    As for the said political farce that is happening, Im just
    as blank as the next dumb blonde.


    JMD : We know Najib is taking some effort in explaining the 1Malaysia concept in his blog. But not many people read it. That is why I am proposing that he meet the people frequently in each state to disseminate the concept further.

    Glad you like the masthead. It was done by a good samaritan for which I am thankful for :). By the way, the word ‘guys’, were meant to be neutral and asexual here. I apologise if I had offended you.


  3. Najib has done quite a bit after a month’s worth of work. But he still needs to do more to truly capture the trust of the people back to BN.

    ISA needs to be abolished.

    @ jebat’s fren – I don’t get the anger surrounding the arrests. They were made because law’s were broken. What’s the big deal? Jeez.


    • I dont see any reason why the ISA need to be abolish.. it is required for the government to use on any individual who disrupt or have the intention to disrupt national security.


  4. Najib seems to have the potential. Taib mahmud even said that next to mahathir, najib is the dynamic one.

    Anwar can only talk but could not understand the fundamentals. If he had, he would’ve known that by october last year, fund managers lost a lot of mullahs trading in shady invts eg. financial instruments deriving from subprime loans etc

    How la to govern msia like this if economic ffundamentals oso cannot understand?


  5. I hope Najib got the nerves of steel facing the future.

    We need a strong one now. No hanky panky, no nonsense style of leadership. Was proud to see the once meek Hishamuddin in TV3 news last nite condemning the law breakers.

    yeah we need these kind of people who could say – ‘no matter who you are, what your skin color, race, religion, political affinity, be it myself even, if you break the law… police will see that you toe the line! Public peace and stability is important’

    good lah.. i was shock a bit to see hishamuddin said that. but a good shock.



  6. To Niccolo : Taib Mahmud would say that, wouldn’t he. He just wants the Feds to leave him alone to do what he will in Sarawak, one of them being to build another dozen or so dams in Sarawak. We in Sarawak need all these dams like holes in the head!! Everyone in Sarawak knows why these white elephants are being constructed.


  7. you mean hishamuddin that raised the keris and cium it and angered the rest? or you mean najib who mentioned bath the keris with chinese blood?

    no nonsense leadership doesn’t mean a cruel/wicked leadership. you think he can become PM after the next GE? maybe we should ask all the ministers to go through a lie-detecting machine whenever they make statements !!!

    you mean malaysia has too much of democracy? do you mean UMNO or malaysia having too much? what is too much?

    finance 101 … trading in OTC/exchange means willing buyer and seller. you mean najib understand economics? wasn’t he the one who said GDP will have 1.2% growth okay but the same day, Zeti said was not okay? either zeti is dumb stupid or najib?

    najib has done a lot including seizing perak at whatever cost.


  8. Aksm JMD,

    TS Koh Tsu Koon must take note of a good indicator that Malaysia practises true democracy….our Elected Reps are allowed to slog it out over their differences in the State Assembly. The Police came in to intervene after every ADUN had let out steam.

    What respect had the ADUNs got for the Ruler of Perak. The People’s power is being unleashed and we have anarchy on the way, just like in Thailand.

    Let’s see how Najib solves this impasse in Perak.

    Hang Kasturi

    JMD : W’lam and thank you for the comments.


  9. Dear JMD,

    I am a malay residing in Melaka. For many months I have been passively following your blog. Quietly reading and agreeing to most of things that you said without any comment. Its not that I dont want to but more of the feelings that I dont have the skill to put my feelings/opinion in writing.
    Alas I’m giving it a try, so I hope you will bear with me.
    Coming back to the issue at hand my first take on the newly minted PM is that he’s trying too hard to appease the demands of the non-malays so much so that he’s begining to abandon the wrights of the malays. “Kera di hutan disusukan, Anak dirumah mati kelaparan”.
    In the end UMNO will lose everything when the majority of the malays who voted for UMNO/BN feels that they’ve been betrayed and decided to vote for the opposition.

    JMD : Thank you for reading this blog. Really appreciate it.


    • perhaps the majority malays have woken up. i am a malay and was just talking to some UMNO friends and they concurred that UMNO is not defending the malays anymore. and within my circle of friends, we don’t think we need UMNO anymore. What we malays need are good leaders and not necessary our own race.

      JMD : Thank you for this particular comment. If you are from Umno, it is your duty to help the derailed Umno back to its proper objectives. Please state from which divisions are these Umno friends of yours so that in the upcoming divisional meeting, they can take this up to the AGM this year. There is no point saying it here if you are not prepare to do something about it. Also, during that meeting, please state the name of current good leaders, not necessary from your race, that Umno leaders can emulate.

      Thank you.


  10. civilmen,

    I am a Malay too residing in Perak. I am so disgusted over how UMNO kononnya nak membela nasib melayu but they are more interested to bully the rakyat perak. Majority of the malays in Perak have chosen Pakatan Rakyat and UMNO does not respect that. The Perak malays now will even hate the UMNO more than ever. Marilah sahabat-sahabat menyokong PKR and PAS untuk perpaduan rakyat dan x ditipu lagi ole UMNO.

    JMD : Hello friend, how is the weather in Perak right now? Hopefully it’s as bright as the weather in KL.

    I have met a lot of Perakians; malays, chinese, and indians. Some of them wanted Pakatan, some wanted BN. But no Malays that I have met said Pakatan Rakyat membela nasib Melayu in Perak for the past one year.

    Feel free to read this too.

    Thank you.


    • JMD,

      sebab tu melayu UMNO dan x peduli apa yang berlaku terhadap orang perak. mereka ni nak power dan wang. kalau tanya melayu yang tak da parti, mereka ni mesti sokong kerajaan PR dan bukan bn. perak skarang cuaca mendung sbab umno dah rompas kerajaan dan x hormat pengundi.

      JMD : And you are writing from KL? Anyway, the same can be said to both sides of the political spectrum. Both want power and money. From the article I linked in your previous comment, the PR politicians sounded more power crazy than BN. Thank you for coming over here. Next time, come as yourself please.


      • Perakmalay,
        teman pun orang Perak , IC “08” (tapi duk KL la sebab keroje, undi nanti, tmean balik Perak), tapi teman rasa bukan semua yang neutral sokong Pakatan.

        Tak baik mika nak tuduh orang pilih dacing tu semua orang UMNO dan Barisan. Mika sebagai orang melayu (dan teman rasa agama pun Islam) patut tau, tak baik main tuduh-tuduh. Dosa, lebih-lebih lagi kalau jadi fitnah. Dosa besar mika sanggup tanggung ke? Nak mintak maap sebab salah tuduh kat orang-orang Perak neutral yang pilih Barisan tu sanggup ke?

        Dah pikir panjang?


  11. bro JMD

    hahahahahaha……. Nizar is declared the legitimate MB. kurang ajar Zambry and UMNO. let’s spell the end of UMNO. Long live the Rakyat Malaysia !!!

    Dissolve the Perak assembly and teach UMNO a lesson. We will ensure UMNO will lose more, no more MCA, MIC, Gerakan in Perak. if no one wants to take MCA, MIC and Gerakan, i will avail myself to stand for election to make sure I send MCA, MIC and Gerakan to selat melaka.

    JMD : I am indeed sad and appalled that the judge did not maintain his independence in this particular case when he ruled that only through no confidence vote can the MB be removed. Instead, he chose to follow what Tun Mahathir had said about a week ago that Ruler cannot remove head of government..

    The judge said – ‘a mentri besar can only be dismissed by a vote of no confidence, and upheld the Stephen Kalong Ningkan ruling.’

    This even contradict what Pakatan Rakyat’s lawyer – Tommy Thomas had said in a Malaysian Bar website that no confidence vote is not the only way to remove a head of government.

    It seems that this judge is still under the influence of Tun Mahathir’s lackey, VK Lingam. After all, his influence could still be strong in the judiciary.

    However, I am aghast that Nizar is proclaiming that the judiciary is indeed independent after all. For how could a judge follow what an ex premier had said and not rule in favour of the current government? In fact, the judge did not even grant Zambry to stay pending appeal of the decision!


    Good luck to PAS in Perak. They may get the short end of a stick soon.


  12. JMD

    have you ever think for a second, it’s UMNO, racist bloggers and the UMNO member who screwed up BN? thanks to UMNO members for their unwavering Ketuanan Melayu concept. sometimes, don’t blame it on the opposition for undermining the BN leaders, it could be UMNO who is not matured dragging the entire ship into the deep blue ocean. bye bye MCA and MIC in Perak !!!

    JMD : I do not think so. Please refer to my article which I will be publishing tomorrow in response to this comment of yours. Thank you.


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