Anifah Aman misses the point by a mile

There was a minor brouhaha last night in the mainstream media when an article by New York Times was published. The article was regarding an interview with Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

The New York Times’ correspondent had requested to meet the former premier for an exclusive interview and as the result, the article was not well received by the pro-Najib’s camp.

It’s funny to think that the Prime Minister had to pay APCO more than RM70 million to boost his personal image overseas yet Tun Mahathir is perceived to have negated that image without any cost incurred.

And true to Tun Mahathir’s nature of not shying away from tough questions, the article can be read here and here.

They are actually a couple of harmless articles with no new stories or revelation. Basically what Tun said in the interview was nothing new.

But the Foreign Minister, in his haste had lambasted the article and threw misdirected criticisms towards the former premier.

The problem is, Anifah Aman did not know what he was saying. Maybe because he did not read Tun Mahathir’s interview in the New York Times. Or maybe he did read it, but chose to understand only what is convenient to him.

The said interview, which received widespread ire from desperate people in the administration can be summarised below. Tun Mahathir said a few things ranging from the recent pandemonium about a gymnast’s outfit, to the Rohingya issue. We are only going to take the part which stated Tun Mahathir’s opinion about the things that made Anifah Aman jittery.

On the current prime minister:

On the prime minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor:

“She projects herself too much. Normally, the wife of the prime minister should be in the background supporting the husband.”

On the reasons he has turned against his anointed successors three times:

“They all looked good to me before they held power, but they don’t seem to manage power. They seem to think that power is to satisfy their own ambition. Power is there to serve the people. It’s not for enriching yourself and living a high life.”

On why Umno lacks vision and talented people:

“The little Napoleons in UMNO try to keep out people who are more intelligent than themselves,”

On Western-style democracy in Asia:

“If you look at the history of democracy, initially it was all about the right of the people to choose their own leaders. Since then, we have added more things to democracy. You must have this freedom and that freedom. I know what is wrong about democracy. It is when people interpret it wrongly. And they seem to think that liberty, freedom is absolute. It’s not.”

From the excerpt above, we can see that there is nothing about condemning Malaysia. Tun Mahathir did not go the way of Lim Guan Eng when the latter defamed Johor as a crime hub in an event held overseas.

Importantly, whatever Tun Mahathir had said, has been said before. Everybody knows this.

Below is Anifah Aman’s ‘open letter’ to the New York Times:

OPEN LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR

1. It is regrettable to see Tun Mahathir seeking to undermine his own country in the international media as part of a personal political vendetta.

From the NYT article, he did not undermine his own country. He only criticised the Prime Minister and Umno. If the Prime Minister could not stand the heat then get out from the kitchen.

2. It is irresponsible of any citizen, let alone a former prime minister, to spread lies and distortions about state owned companies – saying for example that RM42 billion is missing from 1MDB to create public anxiety, when in fact these are audited debts backed by RM51 billon assets. These reckless claims have affected market sentiment towards Malaysia.

There is a lot of problems with 1MDB otherwise debt rationalisation would not have taken place and Anifah Aman would not have been given the ultimatum to resign in order to silence him from criticising 1MDB. In this regard, the ultimatum worked. Hence, this open letter was duly written.

Plus, even Bank Negara had refuted the claims that Tun Mahathir’s attacks had affected market sentiment. Anifah Aman should be more up-to-date with his writing.

3. Furthermore, it is telling that he continues to mount his attacks, rather than wait for the findings of the enquiries currently being undertaken by Malaysia’s central bank, Auditor General, and parliament’s bipartisan Public Accounts Committee. This shows that Tun Mahathir is not interested in answers from the appropriate lawful authorities. Rather, he is just using 1MDB as an excuse to topple the serving prime minister, Najib Tun Razak.

Anifah Aman should know that the interim AG report will not be made public and the PAC investigation may take up to one year to complete. This shows that Anifah Aman’s boss is not interested to quickly allay fears and anxiety over the 1MDB issue. Anifah Aman is grasping at straws to keep an incompetent Prime Minister in power.

4. And all because his personal demands, as Tun Mahathir himself has acknowledged, are not being met. Prime Minister Najib, as Malaysia’s democratically elected leader, will do what he thinks is right for the nation, and will not allow rule by proxy.

The only personal demand Tun Mahathir had asked from Najib is for Najib to resign. The rest are just questions which the majority of the public want to know. The rule by proxy is just a concocted piece of imagination, created as diversion by Najib himself. The public knows this, but Anifah Aman used this line of defence like a good little toady.

5. Tun Mahathir told the New York Times that Umno “lacks vision and talented people”, that it “has become a repository of patronage-seeking politicians”, and that members “try to keep out people who are more intelligent than themselves”.

But it is Tun Mahathir who led the party for 22 years. It was he that, during his time, worked to cultivate ‘yes men’ and entrench his position – even introducing a quota system for the Umno presidency to prevent challengers – rather than bringing in talent and strengthening the party. It is Prime Minister Najib who democratised the party constitution to make it far easier to challenge him for his job.‎

The Prime Minister and his yes man

The Prime Minister and his eager yes man

How could Tun Mahathir cultivate ‘yes men’ when in the 80’s there were two camps in Umno? And in the 90’s when he sacked Anwar Ibrahim almost half of the Umno leaders left the party to follow the sacked deputy president?

Actually yes-men are people who sees something wrong, but dutifully kept quiet, or worse, begin to malign a former premier for asking questions and telling the truth. Yes-men will do biddings like a good attack dog, barking away making noises just to protect their own self interests.

And there is no truth that Najib had democratised the party. In fact, the new voting system had made it easier for him to hold on to power. Instead of controlling nearly 3,000 voting delegates, he now just have to control only about 190 division leaders. These division leaders  in turn, control the branch leaders in their division. While the branch leaders then instruct their members on who to vote. As the result, there were no changes in party leadership since 2009 and this is a fact. The 2013 party elections saw the same people being voted into power; from the presidency, deputy presidency, vice presidents, women and youth wings.

As for Umno lacked vision and talented people, well that is a matter of opinion. Stupid people might think they have vision and talent, that is why they created 1MDB; and cabinet ministers had approved its existence.

6. For Tun Mahathir to accuse Prime Minister Najib of acts “verging on criminal” is simply outrageous, and entirely false. It is a measure of the reforms put in place under Prime Minister Najib’s administration that Tun Mahathir has the freedom to be so vocally critical of the party and government he once led.‎

Tun Mahathir was talking about 1MDB, not the so called reforms. With all the incidents of poor governance, corruption and abuse of power surrounding 1MDB, it is not illogical to say that the Prime Minister is indeed acting on the verge of criminality.

7. But Dr Mahathir is abusing that freedom, and his privileged standing as a former prime minister, to indulge in reckless and baseless personal smears against Prime Minister Najib and his family. Most Malaysians would rather see Dr Mahathir retire gracefully than continue to damage the standing of his own country for personal political gain.

Anifah Aman, please stop being a yes-man and start become a man. Start giving proper advice during cabinet meetings. For example start telling the Prime Minister to contain the show of luxury and opulent lifestyle his wife is indulging. Start asking the relevant questions about 1MDB and make a stand. Since we all know cabinet ministers are clueless about 1MDB, there is no harm to poke your nose into their business since you are our proxy.

The one that is damaging the standing of his own country is the Prime Minister and his coterie of yes-men. You are included. Because currently, to be something other than a yes-man will be damaging for your personal political gain.

Furthermore, it is very unusual for a foreign minister to issue an open letter to the editor of a foreign press. Usually Wisma Putra will send a letter directly to the intended publication. 

But maybe for the chance to be seen as a Najib loyalist, Anifah issued the letter as a political oneupmanship to out-do the other yes-men.

And by the way Anifah Aman, if you must know, a statesman like Tun Mahathir is impervious to personal political gain. He is a 90 year old man who wants to see that Malaysians deserve a better country.

Will Anifah Aman have the testicular fortitude to do what is right? Only time will tell. After all, nobody wants to leave a legacy to be known only as a yes-man.

You might also want to read:

1) http://www.apanama.my/2015/06/the-new-york-times-najib-1mdb-altantuya.html

2) http://ffrreeddiiee.blogspot.com/2015/06/1mdb-turkmenistan-fact-or-fancy.html

3) http://matrodi.my/2015/05/26/1mdb-and-ipp/

#1mdb, #anwar-ibrahim, #lim-guan-eng

Perihal Proton dan kayu hulu kapak

Kita mulakan minggu ini dengan penulisan dari Ku Seman Ku Hussein yang disiarkan oleh Mingguan Malaysia semalam. Catatan yang membawa seribu satu makna. Semoga menjadi pengajaran.

Alkisah kayu hulu kapak, nasihat Cikgu dan Proton

KU SEMAN KU HUSSAIN (KUSEMANKH@GMAIL.COM)  |  14 Jun 2015 12:59 AM

Saya memulakan catatan hari ini dengan ucapan syabas dan tahniah kepada Proton kerana diberi “publisiti” besar-besaran selama tiga hari berturut-turut oleh TV3 baru-baru ini. Bukan mudah untuk mendapat peluang “keemasan” begitu. Sebenarnya dengan rating TV3 tertinggi, “iklan percuma” pada waktu perdana yang diberikan itu terlalu tinggi nilainya. Nasib baik TV3 memberikan secara percuma. Kita wajar menyanjung sikap pemurah yang ditunjukkan itu.

Kita juga wajar berbangga kerana stesen televisyen ini berjiwa rakyat dan mendengar “rintihan” pemilik-pemilik teksi yang mengadu kualiti kereta Proton terlalu rendah. Pemilik teksi dikira bernasib baik kerana mempunyai TV3 yang mengutamakan keluhan mereka walaupun kereta Proton dijadikan teksi sudah hampir tiga dekad lalu.

Janganlah ditanya kenapa dan mengapa rintihan itu dilayan ketika ini. Elok sangatlah media tempatan seperti TV3 memberikan “iklan percuma” kepada khazanah negara seperti Proton ini. Kalau hendak diharapkan media Barat seperti The New York Times atau The Washington Post, tidak adalah nampaknya. Lagi pun jangan percaya sangat dengan media Barat kerana mereka lebih cenderung untuk meruntuhkan daripada melestarikan yang sudah ada.Proton bagi kita adalah sebatang pokok yang bertaraf balak.

Mengambil masa berpuluh tahun untuk matang, tegap dan teguh menahan ribut dan taufan. Kalau dulu orang Melayu dihina oleh penjajah kerana tidak mampu membuat jarum, tetapi sejak tiga dekad lalu, kita sudah boleh membuat kereta. Proton dan beberapa lagi yang menjadi mercu tanda kecemerlangan dan legasi bangsa adalah sebatang balak yang mengambil masa lama untuk berada seperti yang kita lihat sekarang.

Bercakap tentang pokok balak, ingatan saya pantas melayang ke kampung halaman ketika mula-mula menjadi wartawan di Utusan Melayu 30 tahun lalu. Di kampung ada seorang tua, guru pencen yang terus kekal dengan panggilan hormat “Cikgu” dalam kalangan orang kampung. Cikgu pencen ini seorang pembaca setia akhbar Utusan Melayu bertulisan Jawi.

Dia sangat berbangga apabila saya bekerja di Utusan Melayu sebab dia kagum kepada tokoh wartawan, Ishak Haji Muhammad (Pak Sako). Dia terkedu apabila saya memberitahu bekerja satu pejabat dengan Pak Sako. Dia kata, kalau Pak Sako menyertai UMNO, sudah lama Pak Sako menjadi menteri. Entahlah, saya tidak tahu cerita ini tetapi Pak Sako memang hebat, antara anak Melayu awal pernah jadi majistret zaman penjajah Inggeris.

Suatu hari apabila saya bercuti di kampung, Cikgu datang ke rumah dan berbual panjang di tepi sawah tentang hal ehwal di Kuala Lumpur. Dia kelihatan ternganga apabila saya menceritakan tentang operasi di Jabatan Pengarang Utusan Melayu yang bingit dengan bunyi mesin taip. Cikgu banyak memberi nasihat kepada saya, antara yang saya tidak lupa ialah jangan sama sekali menjadi kayu hulu kapak.

Ketika itu saya tidak faham sangat dengan kiasan-kiasan. Pening memikirkan kayu hulu kapak. Puas mencari maksud tersurat dan tersirat. Kata Cikgu, kayu hulu kapak itu dikiaskan kepada orang yang menjadi pengkhianat. Cikgu menghuraikan, hulu kapak itu diperbuat daripada kayu yang asalnya sebatang balak. Kemudian dibuat hulu tempat memegang untuk digunakan bagi menebang pohon yang “sebangsa” dengannya.

Dalam lain perkataan, kiasan kayu hulu kapak ialah orang yang dipergunakan oleh pihak lain untuk menumbangkan legasi atau khazanah milik bangsanya sendiri. Ini adalah gambaran orang yang hilang maruah dan integriti kerana sanggup menjadi alat untuk menghancurkan sesuatu yang menjadi milik bangsa.

Saya agak terkilan kerana ketika itu tidak mengambil endah sangat dengan nasihat orang tua-tua. Pernah sekali itu Cikgu memberi amaran kepada saya, katanya, “Aku tak mau dengar hang jadi wartawan kayu hulu kapak, dipergunakan untuk meruntuhkan bangsa,”.

Saya terkedu. Sampai hati Cikgu kata saya “wartawan kayu hulu kapak”. Tetapi setelah lama bergelumang dalam dunia wartawan, melihat warna peribadi pelbagai manusia termasuk yang menjadi sesumpah dan rama-rama, barulah saya sedar nasihat Cikgu sebenarnya sangat berharga.Saya bertemu dengan banyak manusia seperti hulu kapak, mereka dipergunakan untuk menumbangkan pohon bangsanya sendiri kerana mengejar habuan dan kedudukan. Mereka melakukan tanpa sedikit pun rasa bersalah.

Oleh kerana Proton diumpamakan sebatang balak yang sudah mempunyai teras, janganlah pula ada manusia yang berperangai seperti kayu hulu kapak yang dipergunakan untuk menebang legasi kebanggaan bangsa itu. Saya percaya tidak ada. Kalau ada, itu tandanya nilai integriti dan maruah mereka lebih rendah daripada sekeping roti yang basi.

Baca selanjutnya di sini.

#malaysian-corporate-matters

Rafizi Ramli and Tony Pua showed us how they view PAS’ role in Pakatan Rakyat

Below is a news excerpt on what two much maligned Pakatan mouthpieces, Rafizi Ramli and Tony Pua had to say about their relationship with PAS:

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 ― DAP and PKR leaders have admitted that without PAS, Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) hope of capturing Putrajaya will recede further, as the Islamist party holds the key to unlocking crucial votes from Malaysia’s Malay heartland.

Although PAS leaders have brushed off talk of a possible split in the six-year-old pact, the Selangor mentri besar crisis had exposed deep fissures between the Kelantan-born party and its PR allies.

PAS’s firm refusal to endorse Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had put it on a collision course with both PKR and DAP, and raised doubt on whether the Islamist party will remain in PR or eventually opt out.

“If that is the case we can’t achieve our aim of capturing Putrajaya in the near future… not till after two more general elections, at least,” said PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.

The former PKR strategist noted that although the federal opposition pact had succeeded, to some extent, in steering voters to pledge support for its issue-based policies in the last federal polls, there are still large pockets of the society that identify better with a race-based cause.

“The Malay psyche is that PAS and Umno represent the Malay agenda and both are considered a Malay-based party,” he told Malay Mail Online.

Despite having bagged more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast in last year’s general election, PR only retained 89 parliamentary seats while a bulk of the Malay and Bumiputera-dominated rural constituencies, including those in Sabah and Sarawak, were lost to BN.

Still, Rafizi said, should PAS decide to leave PR, Malaysia’s oldest opposition party would face an equally challenging task of regaining its own support base.

“PAS has always lost marginally… or some are by major vote differences against Umno but under Pakatan, a coalition that brought three parties with a common interest of getting rid of Umno, gave PAS a chance to defeat Umno.

“And any three-cornered fight will be disastrous in breaking up the votes and inadvertently Umno benefits,” the Pandan MP said.

DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua agreed with his PKR ally and admitted that if PAS parts ways with PR, it would put the pact’s Putrajaya dream further out of reach.

“It will be a steeper hill to climb than it already is,” said Pua in a text message to Malay Mail Online.

But, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP pointed out, if PAS stays in PR but continues to lean further right, as reflected in its just-concluded annual congress, achieving federal power may not happen anyway.

“Hence, Putrajaya will be unlikely regardless of whether PAS is in or out,” he said.

Selangor DAP vice-chairman Charles Santiago concurred, saying if PAS deviates from PR’s common policy framework, it would severely impact the party’s ties with PR, as well as the pact’s hope of capturing Putrajaya.

“I don’t think DAP will agree to religion is being used to organise a particular country or share the idea of an Islamic state, if PAS were to return to that objective,” said the Klang MP.

The senior PAS leadership had consistently stood apart from its PR allies in PKR’s intricate bid to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim with Dr Wan Azizah as Selangor mentri besar ― before PKR deputy president Azmin Ali snagged the post ― leading to growing questions over its commitment to the pact and open calls for its exit.

Among others, some in PAS had argued that Dr Wan Azizah’s gender would render her incapable of shouldering the responsibilities of a mentri besar.

Their claim was immediately met with scathing criticism from DAP and PKR leaders, and women’s groups, who categorised the view as antiquated and misguided.

The situation grew more intractable when PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang unilaterally named three nominees for the MB post in accordance with the Sultan of Selangor’s request although PKR and DAP were adamant in naming only Dr Wan Azizah.

PAS had initially agreed on two names — Dr Wan Azizah and her deputy Azmin — but their list was later overtaken by Abdul Hadi’s choices for the post.

It was the state ruler who finally ended PR’s bickering over the coveted Selangor post, when he decided on Azmin for the job.

PKR stopped its lobbying for Dr Wan Azizah, and together with the DAP, declared their support for the Sultan’s pick. PAS naturally did the same.

In his speech during the swearing-in ceremony at the Klang palace last Tuesday, Azmin said he would give top priority to repairing the frayed ties within PR.

All three PR parties have eased up on their squabbles for the moment, but it remains to be seen if PAS, and Abdul Hadi in particular, is ready to mend ties with its partners. – Source

Comment: What PKR and DAP didn’t say out loud is that they admitted that they are using PAS to manipulate the malays votes in order to vote for Pakatan during the last two general elections. PAS is used by DAP and PKR to tell their huge vote bank that DAP and PKR are more islamic than BN. That is how unscrupulous the political strategy of Pakatan. And now that PAS is putting a stand on what they truly are, both PKR and DAP are baffled like a stupid kid whining over why the toy couldn’t work when even from the beginning he knows the toy won’t function properly. But all this is not new. Only the mentally blocked couldn’t see it.

#malaysian-ge-2013

Why Umno leaders can’t seem to get it

A couple of days ago Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad wrote an article to highlight his complaints on the direction of this country, particularly to criticise the administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak. As a citizen of this country, and like everybody else, he has the right to criticise and give his views.

Basically, in his 34 paragraphed article, he outlined a few of those grievances. We are sure there are many, but perhaps these are the main ones (in 6 paragraphs only):

25. Apakah dianya yang saya fikir salah. Ia bermula dengan pendirian melayani semua tuntutan musuh. ISA dan undang-undang buang daerah dimansuh. Tindakan ini tidak sedikit pun mengurangkan tentangan oleh parti lawan. Sebaliknya jenayah bertambah dengan banyaknya kerana pembebasan ketua-ketua geng.

26. Demikian juga dengan sikap merendah diri kepada negara jiran sehingga urusan dalam negeri pun tertakluk kepada pendapat Kerajaan negara jiran. (JMD: this is pertaining Singapore, on how the way we develop Johor; our own state, and the high speed rail must take into account what Singapore wants)

27. Tetapi pendapat kaum dan parti yang kuat menyokong untuk menyelamatkan kedudukan Kerajaan tidak diberi layanan yang saksama.

28. Wang Kerajaan diguna untuk mempengaruhi sokongan rakyat apabila sahaja pilihanraya umum diadakan. Ini menjadikan rakyat terlalu bergantung kepada Kerajaan untuk segala-galanya. Bagi yang betul-betul miskin, bantuan seperti ini memanglah wajar. Tetapi beribu rakyat yang ditawar menolak bantuan wang seperti ini. Semangat rakyat untuk bekerja menjadi luntur apabila mereka diberi ganjaran tanpa apa-apa usaha oleh mereka. Semangat ini tidak akan menolong pembangunan Negara.

29. Dasar ekonomi mengutamakan tuntutan pengguna. Impot barangan digalakan dan industri tempatan diabaikan, bahkan dihalang oleh dasar Kerajaan.

30. Cuti ditambah sehingga adakalanya pekerja bercuti lebih satu minggu. Sebaliknya gaji minimum dinaikkan tanpa mengambilkira kenaikan kos yang boleh menjadi perniagaan dan perusahaan tidak bedayasaing dengan barangan impot.

31. Sesungguhnya banyaklah dasar, pendekatan dan perbuatan Kerajaan pimpinan Dato Seri Najib yang merosakkan hubungan antara kaum, merosakkan ekonomi dan kewangan negara.

32. Semua ini disebabkan penyokong Kerajaan tidak pernah menegur pemimpin.

The above are his grievances on how the policies and changes made by the PM is disastrous and have little benefit for the country as a whole.

BUT WHAT ARE THE REPLIES FROM UMNO LEADERS CONCERNING THESE PROBLEMS?

Hishamuddin Hussein, a senior minister with an Umno VP post retorted with:

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has to come to the defence of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, saying he is doing his best in administering the country.

The defence minister cited accomplishments such as the handling of the remains from the MH17 tragedy, where he was quoted as saying by news portal Malaysiakini that Najib succeeded where US president Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had failed.

“If Najib did not take the brave stand of facing the separatists, I may not be standing here today to organise the arrival of the corpses (of Malaysians),” Hishammuddin was quoted as saying by the portal.

“Ask if Obama could do it, ask if Putin is able to do it.”

Najib’s handling of the MH17 tragedy allowed investigators to access the crash site and bring back the remains of the MH17 victims.

What has MH17 got to do with the grave error in listening to the opposition calls to repeal the ISA? Do you know why the ISA is still needed? Because sometimes, when anti-opposition groups made unsavoury remarks towards the opposition, the opposition themselves want people who made those remarks to be treated under the ISA!

But the main point is, why isn’t the points made by Tun Mahathir are replied specifically? Is it because there are no replies forthcoming? Are the braincells incapable to think? This is precisely what Tun Mahathir had said in his article; when the most obvious mistakes are made the PM, the Umno leaders are incapable to criticise those mistakes.

And changes made if it is not beneficial to the society, it could be disastrous for the nation. Tengku Adnan, another Umno leader seemed not to get what Tun Mahathir had said.

“Give Najib a chance to make changes to bring the country forward. It takes time to make those changes,”

Yes ultimately, any PM wants to make a change. But if those changes are strategically disastrous (as mentioned by Tun Mahathir), then BN really do not need time. They really need a miracle to make things better.

The inability of Umno leaders to address each and every point made by Tun Mahathir is really comical. Not to mention the reply by Umno Federal Territory Youth Chief. The skill of saying something which addresses nothing is really being honed here. Again, if the changes prove to be a disadvantage for Barisan Nasional in surviving the next general election, there is no need to say that the PM is working hard to make these changes.

Umno Youth should just focus on making themselves attractive to GLCs. Who knows one day they may sit on the Tender Committee Board and dish out tenders for friends? If there’s a way to use a shortcut to get whatever you want in your political career, why not use it? Right?

But using a shortcut to reply on the points made by Tun Mahathir is really not an intelligent way to address the problems facing this country. If you couldn’t deal with simple questions by Tun Mahathir, how do you expect people to believe you can handle more complicated problems facing us?

As a conclusion, no hard feelings. Maaf zahir dan batin.

#reference

“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Dr. Awang Puteh

Just like the great masterpiece of Oscar Wilde, this article which was published in The New Straits Times today and written by one who calls himself Dr. Awang Bin Puteh revealed how comical double standards, ‘lupa daratan’, vanity, arrogance and hypocrisy thrive in the corporate world and among billionaires. And we thought these people living in the upper echelons of society could at least be humble, reciprocal and more reflective about their social standing and how they came to be.

A recommended read indeed.

The Importance of Being Earnest

CRONY CAPITALISM? It’s time for YTL boss to walk the talk and show ethical leadership by example

APPARENTLY, the negative trait of Melayu mudah lupa is not only confined to the Malays, but also to other ethnic groups in Malaysia. This is evident from the statement by YTL Corporation Bhd managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh when he commented  on crony capitalism a few days ago.

Yeoh’s claims that he is successful because he is not a crony and doesn’t depend on government contracts.

He also went further, which seems tantamount to fanning the flame of racial provocation, by stating that non-Bumiputera small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) “absolutely have no chance” to even fight “for the crumbs” as they are already at the low end of the food chain.

He delighted in lecturing us, delivered with a straight face and an affectation of pious conviction, that Malaysians are not taking advantage of our ethnic diversity, and we must introduce more open competition and encourage greater transparency in business.

Not unexpectedly, his statement evoked negative reaction from the public, and many reacted in disbelief to Yeoh’s hypocrisy given his companies’ close links with the government in the past as well as in the present.

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam summed it up aptly when he said that “people who live in glass houses, should not throw stones”. He further correctly stressed that Yeoh’s talking about getting rid of cronyism doesn’t sound right while his companies bagged lucrative government contracts through direct negotiations rather than open tender exercises.

Why the repetitive mantra by Yeoh despite YTL receiving all the government’s love and special attention all these times? We know that great wealth buys great political influence, but to insult the people’s intelligence with his sermon borders on brazen arrogance.

Maybe these kinds of people live in a bubble, and not surpassingly, those inside the bubble sometimes think that they can pull the wool over our eyes.

Nonetheless, let us address Yeoh’s arguments specifically.

Yeoh is adamant that YTL is successful because he is not a crony and doesn’t depend on government contracts. That is a bold statement.

Without government contracts, YTL would still be a small-time contractor. In fact, it is continuously the beneficiary of government assistance. For instance, in 1990, YTL was awarded an almost RM1 billion contract to build public hospitals.

Unless Yeoh suffers from amnesia, he could not possibly forget his big break in 1992 when the government awarded him the first licence to build, operate and manage power plants.

Without this lucrative concession, his company would probably be stuck as Syarikat Pembinaan YTL Sdn Bhd, a relatively small construction and property development company. This foray into the power sector vaulted YTL into the big league, where its pre-tax profit last year alone amounted to RM2.5 billion, versus RM30 million in 1991 before contributions from power operations began flowing in.

Importantly, most of the projects given to YTL were and still are heavily subsidised by the rakyat. His power agreement with Tenaga Nasional Bhd was so lopsided and utterly unjust that Tan Sri Ani Arope, the then TNB chief executive officer, submitted his resignation after refusing to accept YTL’s terms.

His “take or pay” agreement with TNB obligated it to take up YTL’s power output — priced much higher than what TNB could easily produce — whether the utility needed it or not, for 21 years.

Maybe that’s what Yeoh meant when he stated that YTL became successful via “innovation”, which ripped off billions in taxpayers’ money.

Has he also conveniently forgotten how he was recently awarded a RM10 billion contract by the Education Ministry to provide, among others, laptops to schools, despite YTL not being a computer maker, nor expert in education services? The contract irked member of parliament Zaril Khir Johari, who raised questions on this issue in Parliament. His 1BestariNet programme, which is to install 4G high-speed broadband to all schools, indirectly means that the rakyat are actually funding the commercial expansion of YTL’s YES 4G network. So much for innovation.

Yeoh was also borderline malicious when he said the non-Bumiputera SMEs had been discriminated by the government.

Well, I wonder where he got his statistics from. Analyses done by the Economic Planning Unit show that non-Bumiputera businesses, especially Chinese companies, took 80 sen for every RM1 in government contracts.

Even funding for SMEs benefited non-Bumiputeras the most, as data shows that Bumiputera companies accounted for about 30 per cent of the entire funding for SMEs last year.

To put things in perspective, the value of the contract YTL secured from the Education Ministry alone, for providing only laptops to students, exceeds the entire funding for all Bumiputera SMEs for the entire period of last year!

It is heart-warming to learn that YTL supports national unity. Let us, for a second meditate upon and closely scrutinise these nationalistic statements from Yeoh: “We should leverage on our different ethnic races in the nation and should start working together. We have been working for a long time like we’re in a tunnel. We have not learnt to work together. We have been separated and not looked at each other’s strengths. We do not celebrate our diversity.”

Such enlightened view should indeed be emulated by other companies! However, in the name of transparency, would YTL be willing to make public the ethnic diversity figures in YTL workforce, its board of directors, exco, senior management, mid-management and low-level positions?

YTL should also make public how much was sub-contracted to Bumiputera and Indian companies, compared to Chinese-owned companies.

Similarly, in the name of transparency, would YTL also make public its power agreements, which had enabled YTL to make astronomical returns at the expense of the people? Please allow public scrutiny of the agreements, as suggested by MP Tony Pua from DAP not too long ago.

Yeoh also argued that he is a true patriot, for he has “defended the present government’s concerted efforts to introduce more open competition and encourage greater transparency in business”.

This is commendable, but flies in the face of facts. How does YTL explain its willing participation in direct negotiations with the government on some of the most lucrative contracts? It was only last week that a YTL Corp wholly-owned subsidiary was awarded a power plant project by the Energy Commission via direct tender!

Maybe YTL can make a declaration to the public that it will no longer participate in direct-negotiations and cease altogether from seeking contracts from the government.

There is still time for redemption for a devout man like Yeoh to walk the talk. I am sure he would like to show ethical leadership by example.

Moving forward, we have to help Yeoh from backsliding from his recent epiphany, and to become the born-again corporate leader that he aspires to be.

I would urge the government to be kind to him by avoiding any dealings with YTL group, either in providing contracts, or using its products and services. The government should also exclude YTL from participating in any way whatsoever in the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project, if the project is yet to be awarded to him. He sorely needs help from the government to wean him away from his old habits.

As for me, I will also do my little part. I will stop patronising YTL hotels, shopping malls and Internet service provider, among others. I am boycotting YTL and I suggest the rest of Malaysia follow suit.

After all, Yeoh proudly claimed that his company gets 85 per cent of revenue from overseas operations.

Oh, by the way, the deafening silence from some of the most vocal critics of crony capitalism in Malaysia is really puzzling.

Imagine if the same statement was made by a Malay tycoon, I am sure the deafening silence will become a raging tropical thunderstorm.

Maybe when a Bumiputera businessman gets a contract, it’s cronyism and unfair privileges. But when people like Yeoh gets it, it is innovation, market forces and meritocracy.

 

#chinese-supremacy, #malaysian-corporate-matters, #new-economic-model

Top 10 Reasons Why Pakatan Rakyat Is Lowering Your Standards

The standards we are talking about is the standard of being you set yourself as a citizen of this country. Your standard as part of the larger society. And this standard of yours is quickly being eroded by Pakatan Rakyat. Here’s how:

10. When it comes to corruption, all Barisan Nasional MPs and leaders must be seen as corrupt free. But when the leaders of Pakatan Rakyat do it, all of you turned around and say – look Barisan Nasional is even worse. Yes, Pakatan Rakyat had successfully lowered your standards in terms of corruption. In your minds, Pakatan Rakyat can be corrupt because Barisan Nasional is corrupt too. In the end, it is okay for YOU to be corrupt because everyone else is corrupt too.

9. When it comes to Barisan Nasional leaders, the Pakatan Rakyat politicians are telling you that you need better leaders than Bung Mokhtar or Hassan Malek or G. Palanivel or most of the current crop of MPs from Barisan Nasional. But when it comes to their own leaders it does not matter who they are and what quality they possess; the lower the better. That’s why you are okay when Loh Gwo Burne became MP (your lowered standards voted him in), when Anwar Ibrahim was caught in a video with a China doll, all of you still voted for him. Let’s just cut the nonsense and admit that he is that fella in the video and on top of that, he is also guilty of sodomising someone against his will (a homosexual rapist is another term for that). Why can’t you people admit that? Standards too low already? Should we even delve and talk about Mahfuz Omar and even Hew Kuan Yau?

8. When it comes to the education qualifications of Barisan Nasional leaders, Pakatan Rakyat wants you to scrutinise their intelligence and education background. The standards they set for you is that you deserve Barisan Nasional leaders with at least a doctorate level education. But when it comes to their own leaders, anyone will do. Even the intelligence level of Mat Sabu will get him your votes. Recently, a  26 year old UiTM graduate with only one year working experience as a trainee in a law firm is being put as an MP candidate to serve a constituency of 60,000 people. The selling point to the people in Teluk Intan? A promise of hope for things to get better. Yes, we all know the value of a promise in Pakatan Rakyat’s election manifesto. But who cares, your standards are quite low so that is okay. God forbid if Barisan Nasional fielded a candidate with the same amount of education qualifications to what say, Mahfuz Omar acquired. All hell will break lose.

7. Pakatan Rakyat wants you to hound Barisan Nasional leaders for shoddy services and below average performance by the ruling government. You only deserve the best and above all, must not thank Barisan Nasional because it is their duty to provide these to you in the first place. But when it comes to the services by Pakatan Rakyat state government, they want you to lower your standards and forgive them for any poor performance. Because it is not their job to give you top notch services. Even promises can be broken. But don’t stop there, they want you to be angry at Barisan Nasional for any third-rate, poor quality services rendered by Pakatan Rakyat state governments. The JAIS raid on Bible Society as well as Selangor water fiasco are two such examples.

Lying and giving poor services are Pakatan Rakyat's standards which are acceptable by you.

Lying and giving poor services are Pakatan Rakyat’s standards which are acceptable by you.

6. Normally, hypocrisy is a trait which is shunned by most people. But since the arrival of Pakatan Rakyat, they have successfully  ingrained this attitude into you as an acceptable characteristic. You have been downgraded as a walking hypocrite. Take for instance, the call of cronyism and nepotism by Pakatan Rakyat to Barisan Nasional. You people echoed the same sentiment and propaganda against Barisan Nasional. But when it comes to Pakatan Rakyat, they can take all these nepotism and cronyism to another level yet you are okay with it. Not only that you embrace it lovingly and say it is okay for them to have father-son, husband-wife, father-daughter intra-party relationship with a whole gamut of feudalistic family oriented parties. It is all nice and dandy. Right? So sad.

 5. When it comes to Barisan Nasional, double standards is a big no on your part. You are bred by Pakatan Rakyat to believe that Barisan Nasional must never resort to double standards. Say one thing, but do the other. That is unforgivable. But for Pakatan Rakyat, you are blinded or worse, brainwashed to see that practising double standards is acceptable on your part. Want to have a multi racial country but support segregated vernacular schools; want to have an equitable and just society, but want to impose hudud only for muslims; want to have a free and fair elections, but their party elections are very autocratic and riddled with corruption and strife.

4. The freedom of speech within Pakatan Rakyat is near non-existent. You must not criticise the leaders in Pakatan Rakyat, especially if you are a member, and especially if you have a valid reason to criticise. All that will be swept under the carpet and the complainers will be issued gag orders. Worse, they will be kicked out. But God forbid if the freedom of speech against Barisan Nasional is slightly curtailed. When it comes to Barisan Nasional, there must be a no holds barred attitude against them. The Prime Minister must not stifle any unfair defamatory speech against him. But Lim Guan Eng, Anwar Ibrahim and their ilk can sue anyone who says something which they do not like. In other words, there are practising totalitarian leadership right under your nose. Yet, you bask in it pretending it to be a liberal democracy.

3. For years Barisan Nasional has been ridiculed by you when you say it is an old party, filled with political has beens and dinosaurs. You laugh at Barisan Nasional without being cognisant of Pakatan Rakyat’s own pack of grizzled old men. Leading the charge is of course DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, who will be 77 come next general election. Your ‘prime minister in waiting’, Anwar Ibrahim will be 71 in 2018. Abdul Hadi Awang, your future DPM, will also be 71 in 2018. There are many more oldies in Pakatan Rakyat. So why are you people lowering your standards in accepting dinosaurs as your leaders? Because Pakatan Rakyat asked you to.

2. As your intelligence is being lowered even more, you still find enough time to believe what Pakatan Rakyat told you; that Barisan Nasional treats non-malays as second citizens and that only malay cronies could reap all the benefits this country has to offer. But at the same time you believe another propaganda that says non-malays pay more tax than the malays. And so, those who are ‘oppressed’ by Barisan Nasional suddenly get a lot more income that’s why they are taxed! This contradicting logic would be so preposterous to an intelligent mind, but alas, Pakatan Rakyat has stupefied you to the point of no return. You can’t even step back and take stock on any messages Pakatan Rakyat throws at you. You can’t even perform logical and critical thinking anymore. You just gobble everything up as the truth.

1. When it comes to Barisan Nasional, you are made to believe that the current state of perceived despair and worsening fate of the country has always been the case since Independence. You were made to believe that only Pakatan Rakyat is the saviour of this country. Judging from 9 points mentioned above, it will take only the stupid to believe that Pakatan Rakyat will make this country better. Fact of the matter is, the country under Barisan Nasional has made this country one of the best place to live on this earth and to say that things have always been terrible would be a great disservice to your standard of intelligence. Yes sure, things have not always been perfect. But remember the great 90s and the decades before that? Remember the great country prior to 2008? One of the things that made this country worse is the birth of Pakatan Rakyat. Where were you in the 90s? Perhaps living a happy life at that time with few complaints. Even Lim Kit Siang was a happy, tolerable fellow at that time.

#anwar-ibrahim, #lim-guan-eng, #lim-kit-siang