Thursday, July 30, 2009
In this context, I refer to the statements and announcements made by the Prime Minister recently. Amazing, I wonder which PR company actually helped to draft these announcements. I would have appreciated a real maverick PM who is daring enough to alter the status quo. But no, the PM had instead made some announcements, on 6 KRAs, which could have been done by his officers.
For example, do you need a PM to tell the nation that he aims to increase the number of LRT coaches at the Kelana Jaya LRT station? Such statement can be made by the LRT company CEO.
What about combating crime? Shouldn't the IGP come out personally to assure us that his force aims to reduce crime by 20%?
It will make the PM sound ridiculous if more insignificant statements are made, and drafted for him by his very expensive PR consultants. Laughable!
My statement urging the government to save up the RM20 million must have hurt some PR companies. As one PR consultant pointed out, if a PR firm can deliver real value to their political client there is nothing to be upset with my statement.
There are many more examples but I would rather not disclose them here since some of the leaders I know are willing to spend their own money on PR consultants. My blog post did not equate spin doctors to PR consultants. Spin doctors normally work in the media organisations as high profile editors and writers.
This PR consultant, Ong Hock Chuan, committed the very fault he accused me of doing, spinning:
"Kay Peng’s take is that since PR practitioners, whom he equates to spin doctors, mainly serve corporations, they are unqualified to help politicians brush up their image since “political PR and corporate PR” are very different practices."
Ong should point out to me and my readers which sentence in my blog equates spin doctors to pr practitioners. After his reply, I might actually change my mind on some pr consultants.
On another point, I stand corrected if Ong can prove to me that the approach to political PR is similar to corporate PR. If some of these pr consultants truly understand politics, the PM would not have been criticized for his insignificant announcements which only seek to expose his lack of ability to focus on key issues and problems facing this nation.
I totally agree with Ong on this, "the best PR practitioners abhor spinning, precisely because it doesn’t work." BN leaders should thank Ong for his generosity in giving out this free advice. They should take this opportunity to review the performance of their pr consultants to find out if those they have hired are indeed the best.
Perhaps Ong is barking up the wrong tree. He ended his post with a list of things on what a pr consultant would have done for the BN. He wrote:
"In the BN’s case, a good PR consultant will point out that all the reports they have heard about the BN being corrupt, morally as well as financially; arrogant; and irresponsive to people’s needs as well as a litany of wrong are all true – at least in the perceptions of many Malaysians and others abroad. They will also tell the BN that unless they fix these problems, communication is futile. The PR Practitioner will explain to the BN that there is nothing you can say to alter people’s perceptions if you continue to behave like a haram quadruped."
Ong's good advice merely confirms my fear that the government may have hired the wrong pr consultants. The attitude of the administration and the way it reacts to problems, issues, controversies and critics did not suggest to me that their pr consultants had performed their duty to inform the government that words are worthless.
Perhaps Ong can help to explain why the government and the mass media are still promoting the 1Malaysia slogan like a magic mantra which can wish all our woes away?
Where is the IPCMC? Where is the RCI on Teoh Beng Hock's death? What is the outcome of the two RCIs? Why is there still a strong display of arrogance and racism in the administration official lines? Why must UMNO insist so strongly on the Malay unity talk when it runs contrary to the 1Malaysia tagline it is promoting?
Ong's closing sentence is unnecessary: "Kay Peng would do well to deepen his understanding of what PR practitioners really do rather than just maligning the profession."
There are bad and good pr practitioners. The good ones should understand what I was trying to emphasize and whom I was referring to. I did not malign the profession. True professionals can stand up to face any scrutiny.
Instead, Ong should spend his valuable time helping the government to hire the right pr consultants and not trying to belittle my understanding of pr consulting. As a citizen, I would be grateful if the government can spend my tax money wisely.
She has three school going children and it is not going to be easy for her, in her mid-40's, to uproot her young family from Malaysia to settle somewhere thousands of miles away. Thousands of Malaysians are probably doing the same yearly.
Many of them decided to leave because all options have run out. They decided to leave because they do not see a future for their next generations in this country. Friends who left their cushy jobs to migrate do so because of their children. Not for their own comfort.
This is why I have asked many friends this question, "how many five years do we have in our life time?" How many five years can we afford to wait for real change to happen? Not that many. I have just shared with a friend that life is like a ticking time bomb. We not not know when it will go off.
The only thing we do not have in ample amount is time. Yasmin Ahmad did not expect to leave us so soon. Beng Hock did not expect not to walk out from the MACC building alive. That is why we cannot expect to wait forever for a real change to happen.
Hence, I have been critical of the opposition PR leadership. Its leaders should be made aware that whatever promises they made to the people will be held against them should they come into power one day. This is already happening in the four states ruled by the PR government. People will hold them accountable for the reform promises.
Unfortunately, I have come to realize that it does not pay to be critical in this country. We are still too keen to put a label on a critic - either he is anti-establishment or a BN lapdog. Only when this society becomes genuinely interested in real progress and reforms that criticism can be fully accepted as a constructive action.
If we want this country to improve, we need to become constructive critics. We need to demand for the best and responsible governance.
At this moment, the price to pay for being critical is huge. Many organisations, companies and individuals would do their best to avoid any link with critics although they may not necessary disagree with their views. They fear public persecution. They do not want to be stigmatized.
However, if there is no effective check-and-balance mechanism this country may turn for the worse. Many once developed and wealthy societies had lost their wealth, influence and glow. They lost it all to poor governance, corruption, power abuse and brain drain. Can this society and local companies afford to face the same situation?
How many of us are standing just inches away from the growing list of migrants? How many parents are quietly whispering to their children to stay back overseas once they have completed their studies? How many of us are feeling less hopeful that this country can become a great nation? How many of us are beginning to accept that racism is a permanent fixture of this society?
How many five years can we afford to lose for continuing to tolerate and accept our fate that things will NOT change?
Let me ask you sincerely how many critics can you afford to lose until a day when no one is left to speak up for you anymore?
It is weird that I did not feel guilty asking my friend to be grateful for her successful application to migrate to a country much more superior and democratic than us.
Is it something wrong with me or it is this country?
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tan, the Jawi assemblyman, did not only cooperate with the anti-corruption investigators but he also submitted an undated resignation letter to the Penang chief minister to be executed if he was found guilty.
He has been cleared of abuse of power allegations as investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found that there was no evidence to implicate him.
Tan said he had received a letter from Penang MACC director Latifah Mad Yatim, dated July 23, stating that the case had been closed.
All elected representatives currently being investigated by the MACC should do the same thing. Will Khir Toyo lead the way for BN?
Only days ago I told a senior BN politician that using spin doctors and PR specialists serving mainly corporations is one of the main faults often committed by politicians. Political PR and corporate PR are not apple to apple.
In the case of BN, the coalition needs to practice common sense politics based on the principles of fairness, justice, rule of law and good governance to reverse the slide of their political fortune.
Anything less than giving back the power to decide to the people is not going to help change the prevailing negative public perception against the coalition.
The BN government must not only return the public institutions to the people, they must also be accountable for the power to rule entrusted by the people. If not, sooner or later the people will realize that this prevalent political model is not beneficial to them.
UMNO cannot hope to play its racist game all the time when faced with real political challenges and try to rally the Malay community support for the party. The fact that the party had lost a massive Malay support since 1999 is a sign that the erosion of more support from the Malay electorates is possible.
I told the politician that a good leader must get closer and listen to the voices of the middle ground. The middle ground abhors senseless and irresponsible politics.
What is the use of spending RM20 million on spin doctors?
BN/UMNO leaders must understand that a real change can only be implemented if there is real sincerity and political will. Other than that, no amount of spinning or positive publicity is going to help the coalition.
They should use the money to help the homeless and poor of all races.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has announced a series of targets for the government to meet in the next few years and the ministers responsible for it. Among his targets are:
- Reduce street crimes by 20 percent by end of 2010;
- Enable 80 percent of Malaysian children to get access to pre-school by 2012 from the current 60 percent;
- By 2012, all school kids must master reading, writing and arithmetic by Year 4;
- Kelana Jaya LRT line to get 35 new four-car train sets by 2012 as part of the Government's efforts to increase public transport usage to 25 percent from the present 16 percent
I would like to congratulate the prime minister for being bold enough to announce a series of targets. Visibly missing are his targets on fighting corruption and enhancing the living standard of the lower income group although two ministers were assigned to oversee the areas.
The government should make a necessary arrangement to ensure that the public will be kept updated on the progress of these targets. It would be even better if the government can share with us its implementation plans. For example, it is easy to announce that the government intends to lower street crimes by 20 percent. It is only a percentage.
Numbers can be manipulated but real improvements of the crime prevention mechanism and process can make the public feel safer and more confident of their own safety. The government cannot hope to improve crime prevention and help to reduce crime rates without embarking on a major overhaul of the police force.
The force needs to focus on fighting criminals and not targeting peaceful demonstrators. Senseless detentions and the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators did not help to repair the police’s public image.
Having some targets are better than none but I cannot say that I am deeply impressed with the prime minister’s announcement. These targets showed that Malaysia is still playing catch up.
This country must focus on quality and not just quantity. It is timely that the government focuses on the quality of our growth, socio-economic development and living standard.
Another area which must change is our political model. There is so much hatred, hostility, anger and negative vibes in our political discourse. The lack of a meaningful dialogue to forge a common undertaking to address some serious policy and governance issues in the country is reflected through how this nation is being governed.
An important KPI should be addressed at reforming his own party, UMNO. It is pertinent for the prime minister to realize that the race-based formula has outlived its purpose. The vehicle for progress cannot be powered by a 1950’s engine.
It is time for leaders of all race-based parties to accept the reality that this race-based political model has been detrimental to our progress as a multiracial society.
Nevertheless, I would like to assure the prime minister that I will keep both eyes on his targets and will revisit them again once the deadlines are up. Promises must be kept.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Fair enough, it was a noble wish. As a Malaysian, I pray that your wish will come true too. However, Mr Prime Minister, with the power resides in your position you can certainly make many more wishes come true.
In the true spirit of celebration, perhaps you can help to realize the wishes of some Malaysians too:
- End all forms of racism in the country, starting with a rebuke of Dr M's racist statement;
- End race politics and division in the country. Your party is the single largest race-based party in Malaysia and it has contributed to almost all racist statements, policies and decisions made in this country. For a true unity, why don't you do something here?;
- Ensure justice is delivered to the families of custodial deaths in the country;
- Stop manipulating the press, sack all spin doctors and end political control of media organisations in the country;
- Severe the nexus between public institutions and the ruling regime; and
- Focus on taking this country to the next higher level e.g. competency, education quality, economic competitiveness etc.
If not, please spare us from more slogans.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I would like to remind all Malaysians to be vigilant. The formation of a RCI is only a first tiny step. Justice for Teoh must still be served! Until then, the people must continue to push for the administration to do what is right.
If this RCI is going to end up with the other two, then expect no justice to be served on the family, friends and loved ones of Teoh. The administration should not see the formation of a RCI as the final solution to this crisis of confidence in the MACC and other public institutions.
Members appointed to sit in the RCI ought to be seriously scrutinize to ensure that they are capable of achieving a breakthrough in the case. However, like the RCI of Police Force, if the recommendations were ignored we will still go back to a square box.
To the opposition parties and PR coalition, I hope their leaders will not use the death of Teoh as a diversion to permanently ignore the need for the coalition to pull up its socks and correct their shortcomings.
Teoh would have wanted this two-party system to work. He was probably inspired by the 2008 general election outcome to offer himself as a political aide to a DAP state leader in Selangor.
PR leaders must not disappoint this young man who had lost his life so that others can live a life better than his. We must work hard together to ensure the future of his child is not as hopeless and senseless as the one we are facing now.
It is time for all Malaysians to question their own moral compass. Are we dignified and humane enough for being able to tolerate and condone racism, corruption, abuses of power, political arrogance, hooliganism and incompetence?
I hope the answer is NOT.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
“Because they (the Malays) are willing to share their country with other races, the race from the older civilisation of more than 4,000 years and who are more successful, as such today whatever they have now is also being taken away from them,” he wrote in what appeared to be a reference to the Chinese community.
Mahathir anticipated that “with this article I am sure to be branded a racist by the non-Malay racists”.
“But if they are willing to accept the truth they can compare the sacrifices of the Malays who are the original owners of this land with their sacrifices for the interests of the country.”
He argued that the way forward for peace and progress was for the distribution of wealth in the country to be fair even if unequal.
I thought only Abdullah was a flip-flop prime minister. But it is proven today that almost all UMNO leaders, including Dr M, were masters of flip-flop. Dr M once said that this government should appreciate the contribution of the Chinese community. This community did not ask for any grant or subsidy from the government.
Many of them worked hard to send their children to overseas for further studies when higher education opportunities were scarce in the country. A great number of small businessmen I know are now facing a daunting financial challenge from the ongoing global economic crisis. Many of them invested their entire life savings into their business, fully aware that they must work extremely hard to help themselves.
If Chinese were the real masters, we would not have so many 'Malay-dominated institutions' (as claimed by Berita Harian) and we do not need to continue begging for places in the local universities or study grants/scholarships. The vernacular schools would have been flushed with money to continue upgrading their worn out and over stretched facilities due to high density.
I am afraid Dr M is referring to some Chinese as the masters of this country. But some of these masters were your cronies. You made them rich and powerful and gave them public contracts to help them to get where they are today. Some of them had helped you to even pick the right judges to hire and fire. The rest of us, Chinese, are just struggling to make ends meet. How can we be your masters?
The rest of us dare not even raise our voice or react when abused and physically assaulted by officers from your 'Malay-dominated institutions'.
Let me tell you the truth why many Chinese, Indians and Malays were able to find a common ground in their political struggle today. It is because they now realize that the 50% wealth equity is in the hands of a selected few and not in the hands of most Chinese.
Yes, I support your call for a fairer distribution of wealth. Can we start with your super rich sons? If no, please do not tell us to take you seriously. If no, tell me why I should not call you a racist and an out-of-touch leader of the ruling elite. This oppressive government should thank you for teaching them how to oppress to stay in power. The rest of us hope that you will just fade away.
We are not the real masters. If we were, you would have been hauled up to answer to the many abuses and mismanagement of this country.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Why makes the MACC so daring to operate above their standard operating procedure (in accordance to the Criminal Procedure Code) and work ethics? What makes them so daring to use threats, physical force and all forms of torture against their suspects and witnesses?
The answer is the protection of the ruling elite. These officers believe that by working in cahoot with the ruling elite that their actions and misdeeds will be conveniently covered and protected. According to Berita Harian, the MACC has even become a 'Malay-dominated' institution under severe threats from the largely non-Malay protesters because a Malaysian Chinese witness was killed in its custody.
The whole issue is not because a non-Malay was killed in its custody. The main issue is because someone, a young man and an innocent Malaysian had lost his life to the dangerous political game played by the institution. It should have stayed out of the political contestation between BN/UMNO and PR but it had chosen to get involved and to become a tool of these politicians, believing that this collusion will bring them a useful liaison.
Only fools do not see the liaison. What makes Nazri Aziz, Khir Toyo, Berita Harian, Ahmad Said, Ashiruddin Attan (Rockybru), and others so quick to leap to the defence of the MACC if the latter is truly independent. Any government should have held the MACC accountable for failing to perform its responsibility to act transparently and diligently.
How do we trace a liar? It is rather simple. A liar will cook up unbelievable stories that do not connect or make sense. This is precisely what has happened to the Teoh Beng Hock's saga. If the MACC is truly faultless, why didn't its top management provide a detailed explanation on what had transpired during the interrogation of Teoh? Why must its head, Ahmad Said, so insensitively still refused to admit the mistake and a breach of ethics of his commission?
I was watching Astro AEC news updates last night and was shock to hear that MCA's Lee Wei Kiat had uttered something less than sensible. He was allegedly said that Teoh deserved to die because the latter had committed suicide out of personal guilt. He was quoted as saying that MACC has always been very professional in dispensing their duty.
I immediately send a text message to his president, Ong Tee Keat, to verify and protest the statement. Ong responded almost immediately to confirm that Lee's statement was fabricated by an unknown person and that Lee had responded with his own statement to call for a full probe on the fabrication. I would like to thank Ong for his clarification. There could be a possible internal sabotage in his own party and it is for Ong to worry about it.
I would like to warn the MACC against telling half truths. Like many other Malaysians, we will scrutinize all statements and explanations made by the commission.
I would also like to urge the Prime Minister to approve the creation of IPCMC immediately. Guna, a Malaysian Indian, was detained on suspected drugs abuse and was found dead in police custody. His death was so unfortunate. He was not as fortunate to get the attention of politicians who are now focused on the controversial death of Teoh.
We must stop all these abuses. If this government is not willing to help us do it, lets find one which is willing to implement change.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
"Any act that will replace the ISA should have the same objective, that is to safeguard the country's security. At the moment it is not proper to abolish the ISA," he added.
Khairy, once you told this blogger to improve his listening skill. I believe you should use this advice for yourself. Yes, you should listen to the people. Why do you want to keep this legislation which has been abused, misused and manipulated by your colleagues in UMNO to detain civilians?
How can the repeal of ISA be abused by anyone? You do not make any sense here. The existence of the act has clearly contributed to a blatant abuse of political power (ministerial power to detain without trial and his decision cannot be challenged in courts).
Was Teresa Kok a threat to national security? Was RPK a threat? Were the Hindraf 5 leaders a threat? The answer was a firm 'NO'.
I challenge you to call for a national referendum on the abolishment of this draconian act. Who cares what UMNO Youth want or not.
Do not preach what you cannot practice. You should really work on your own listening skill. There is now a clear and present danger to the society esp. PR elected representatives in Selangor. Will you support a use of ISA against the MACC officers?
By the way, your colleague and deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, said that UMNO will continue to protect the special rights of the Malays. Sadly, your party has had more than 50 years to do so but has failed miserably to turn the Malay community into a leading race in the country and the world.
Many bright Malays were not able to realize their full potential because they were tempted by your party's empty promises - to protect their rights, to hand them riches, to offer them opportunities and to appoint them to high positions in your party and the ruling regime.
Keep it up! Soon you will realize if the "tide of change among the people, especially among the young, was sweeping in favour the Barisan Nasional " is real or not. It may turn out to be a tsunami which will sweep away many of your leaders in the next general election.
SAY NO TO RACISM!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
He said the public should allow the police to complete their investigations before jumping to conclusion as such unsubstantiated rumours could create a tense situation.
“We will not hesitate to act against any one who spreads rumours of foul play. I assure them that there will be a thorough investigation and no cover-up,’’ he said.
I would like to urge the IGP to stop his silly and unnecessary threats. You only need to fear if you commit a crime. Otherwise, rumours and speculations will remain just that - rumours and speculations.
If the MACC is clean and civil, they should not fear public scrutiny. The same goes to the police. A life, an innocent life, was lost. The lost felt by this man's family is immeasurable - his fiancee, his unborn baby, his parents, his siblings and his friends. Any good Muslim, Christian, Hindu or any God fearing person should feel angry too.
Yet, silly you expect us to keep quiet? This is a democracy and this government is answerable to the people. This includes you, IGP, and your police force. Your personnel acted like a pack of wild dogs when detaining the protesters. Shame on you!
You are only good at hurling threats and not combat crime on the streets. That is why many taxpayers including myself are calling for your removal when your contract ends this coming September.
STOP YOUR THREATS!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Teoh's body was just claimed by his family from the hospital mortuary and we already have an instant verdict from the police.
I would like to remind the government that it has promised to investigate this case thoroughly. The image of public institutions in the country e.g. the police, the judiciary and now the MACC is already facing a daunting setback.
Anything less than a responsible, thorough, meticulous and professional investigation will not help to retain public's confidence in these institutions and the government of the day.
Why were the police able to conclude that there was no foul play in the sudden death of Teoh barely less than 48 hours? And expect us to trust the outcome of police investigation?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz is the grand winner of 2009. He cautioned against pointing the finger at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for Teo Beng Hock's death.
I would like to inform Nazri of what I think of the MACC in this incident. The commission is wrong for abusing its investigation and interrogation procedure. Was Teh a criminal? Would he abscond?
Why must the commission conduct its interrogation after office hours until wee hours in the morning? Why can't officers of the commission conduct the session during office hours the next day?
I am not suggesting a murder here but clearly the commission has a lot to explain for neglecting the safety of a person under their custody. Worse, this person was not even a suspect.
The commission should be sued for negligence.
Nazri's insensitivity should be severely criticized. For once I agree with Dr Mahathir that this man is not fit to be in the current cabinet. Recently, he verbally attacked several commissioners of Suhakam who called for a new state election in Perak and called them 'crooks'. It takes one to know one.
Nazri should make real his threats. He is welcomed to come after this blogger. I am going to repeat it again; yes, the MACC was responsible for the death of Teh Beng Hock. It could also be a breach of the commission's ethics and procedure.
Ong's intention to make a full disclosure on the massively expensive and controversial project must be supported. Yes, why should Malaysians and the next generation inherit the massive debt so that a few individuals can become unimaginably rich and wealthy?
Companies and individuals should not resort to threats and defamation actions to shut the mouth of those who were elected to represent and protect public interests.
Ong has claimed that some forces had collaborated to stop him from disclosing the audit report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ). He claimed that the forces included persons involved in the PKFZ as well as political-business forces.
Ong even disclosed that a note delivered to him had read: "If you're wiped out from this world some day, you should know why this has happened!"
The threat on his life should not be treated lightly. There have been too many incidents, deaths and even assassinations associated with political rivalries and struggles.
I would like to urge the police, the MACC and Ong's own government to take an immediate action against those who threatened the minister.
Yes, the PKFZ is too big to wipe it off the memory of the public.
Feudal Political Mindset A Stumbling Block to National Progress: Do Not Let Teh Beng Hock and Others Die in Vain
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
At best, PR’s own performance in the last fifteen months was mediocre. Apart from making some pledges to reform e.g. the introduction of a Freedom of Information Act in Selangor, the intention to hold local elections and the declaration of assets by the state executive members, a number of PR state governments’ initiatives were equally populist. Initiatives such as giving free water to households and a token allowance to the elderly will not help to eradicate poverty permanently.
None of the state governments have indicated how they are going to run their respective government differently from the previous administration. Ask any of the people who live in any of the PR run state; none of them can clearly explain the mid-term and long-term vision and direction of their new state government.
There is an apparent lack of effort from some of the PR state governments to reach out to the people. As a result, the Kedah state government had announced a revision of 30 percent Bumiputera quota for all housing projects to 50 percent. Instead of trying to help homeless Malay families to own a home, the state government’s insistence to implement the new quota would have been detrimental to the housing sector in the state. The state government obviously did not consider improving the income of these families as an option to help them to be able to afford their own house.
Some of the PR controlled state governments must be careful with their own announcements. It would be a mistake to take it for granted that the voters will continue to support the lesser of two evils. Cynically, a number of people would seriously consider selling their soul to the devil if all possible options and hope have run out.
Until and unless these new state governments can spend more time to work out a new socio-economic agenda and not keep looking to (or blaming) the federal government for (or the lack of) solutions , the initial public sense of déjà vu may soon turn into scorn and disappointment.
Unfortunately, the hostile political environment has created a barrier for both coalitions to openly discuss the options for them to cooperate and co-exist. The need to cooperate is not an option but a political responsibility to the nation and a respect for the people’s mandate.
Moreover, the current central planning economic model adopted by the BN government is outdated and sloppy. This model has created uneven regional development and unequal and unjust distribution of wealth in the country. The physical evidence is obvious that developments were concentrated around the federal capital and areas nearer to the power centre. Those living in the resource rich states such as Trengganu, Kelantan, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak have remained poor and neglected from mainstream development.
Instead of working collectively to push for more resources and autonomy from the federal government to plan, execute and manage their own economic agenda, the PR controlled states have evolved into a mirror image of the coalition – fractious, mutually exclusive and lacking a decision making process and a dispute management system.
Most of the controversies and issues faced by the coalition were self-inflicted. Supporters of PR may argue that the open arguments between its leaders prove that the coalition is democratic enough to accommodate a divergence of views and characters. However, too many frictions may indicate that the coalition members lack self-discipline and mutual respect for one another. The recent conflicts in Kedah, Penang and Selangor exposed a lack of mutual understanding, a weak coalition partnership and a mutual distrust between the DAP, PKR and PAS.
The coalition has done poorly in measuring and managing the appropriateness, behaviour, efficiency and effectiveness of its own policy makers. When criticized, its leadership was quick to defend and protect some of their recalcitrant and non-performing leaders.
PR had demanded their rival BN to take action against their leaders for making racist and socially inappropriate remarks but failed to act on its own kind. Hence, the likes of Zulkifli Nordin will continue to make insensitive remarks. The resignations of two top leaders in Penang and Kedah and the defections of two state exco members and a deputy speaker in Perak to the BN should not be taken lightly. These are the symptoms of a more chronic disease morphing in the coalition if left untreated.
I was told that some leaders, after a short spell at the top, have become inaccessible and arrogant. The taste of power can turn a person into either a responsible leader or an egoistic elite. What PR should not emulate is the BN’s ability to alienate the civil society and the middle ground. PR’s stunning victories in the last general elections do not belong to them solely. The battle was not won on the collective strengths of PAS, PKR or DAP alone but also the collective resolve of the people to push for a real change.
Tengku Razaleigh was right to point out that we should focus on policy and not personality. This is a valuable advice for the PR coalition to take heed. It should prepare itself for an eventual leadership transition which will take place in the DAP, PKR and PAS in the next few years. These parties will suffer a great setback if they were to continue to focus on personality politics. Iconic leaders such as Anwar Ibrahim, Tok Guru Nik Aziz and stalwart Lim Kit Siang are not easily replaceable.
A complacent PR may end up seeing Najib and his coalition enjoying the last laugh.
Some of his announcements are note worthy but most of them are not going to bring any significant changes to the social, economic and political landscape in the country. The twenty percent discount given to frequent toll roads’ users, limited to those using Smart Tag and Touch n Go cards, does not help to address the root cause of lopsided privatisation contracts signed between the government and the operators. It was not made clear whether the discount is given by the operators or the government may end up having to compensate them for the lost revenue.
Most of the announcements are not extraordinary. Halving the licensing renewal fee for petty traders and hawkers in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, providing low cost housing to low income families, facilitating applications for registration of births in Sabah and Sarawak, construction of roads and public amenities in Sabah and Sarawak and offering additional three thousand individual taxi permits are things any government should do without the need to make any fuss about them.
Only in Malaysia, such announcements are considered ‘goodies’ and ‘special gifts’ generously handed out to the people by its supreme leader. I would like to offer the prime minister a free advice. He should really avoid making such populist announcements because they are not going to win him any brownie points. His administration should recognise a growing political maturity amongst many urban Malaysians. Such announcements will not make him look generous, caring or people friendly. Instead, they only help to expose his inability to focus on real fundamental issues facing the nation and its people.
I would like to urge the prime minister and his teams of experts to put more thoughts and efforts into our economic development. The economic structure is clearly facing a serious bottleneck. Our efforts to market Malaysia as a high-tech hub and a knowledge-based economy are not bearing the desired results. The main problem highlighted by many organisations, both local and foreign, is a lack of skilled workers. What is the government’s strategy to help retain and grow our skilled labour pool?
The government’s continuous education policy flip-flop is going to invoke a high cost on the society. It means our hope to enhance the knowledge capital of our workforce will be severely dented and any new plan to help improve the quality of our education system can only be done after 2012.
Closer to the economic front, none of our plans – five year plans or otherwise – seemed to work. There is a dire need to rethink a new growth strategy for our economic development. None of our newly developed industrial parks and hubs e.g. Cyberjaya, Port Klang Free Zone and the various corridors is showing any sign of success yet.
Our tourism development strategy focuses more on promotion and advertisement rather than the development of world-class tourism products and the improvement of public amenities to support tourism. The appointment of Jean Todt, the ex-CEO of Ferrari, is not going to save the industry. Again, it only exposes a lack of new idea to help develop the sector.
As a veteran, the prime minister should do better than just the eleven announcements made to mark his 100th day in office. On race relations, he should strive to introduce a race relations legislation to protect the people from unfair and unjust racial profiling and abuses. He should try to introduce a new coalition formula for Barisan Nasional.
Any political party or coalition must evolve with the changing requirements and expectations of the society. The Barisan Nasional political structure does not help to promote a true nation building. On many occasions, it was detrimental to national unity by protecting and condoning overt ethno-nationalism, race supremacy, religious exclusivity and nepotism.
In the early days of his premiership, Najib had touched on the need for BN to change. Sadly, he failed to walk his talk in the first 100th day. He should spend a great deal of speech on the need to explore meaningful socio-political changes to help steer the society towards a less racialised and polarised future.
Najib spoke casually on his intention to combat crime and fight corruption but stopped short of providing us with the details. I support the prime minister’s intention to address these two key issues. To address these two issues, his administration must first strengthen the relevant public institutions which are directly responsible to carry out their duties to fight corruption and crime.
What are his plans to help restore public confidence in the MACC, the police and the judiciary? What had happened to the two royal commissions e.g. judiciary and police force? As a start, his administration should ensure a satisfactory closure to the two royal commissions. Is Najib going to address these issues in his next 100th day?
There are many more fundamental areas and important issues which were left unaddressed in his first 100th day e.g. the PKFZ fiasco, custodial deaths, land scams, constitutional crisis in Perak power grab, dispute in using religious terms, repeal of draconian laws et cetera. These issues cannot be swept under the carpet. They will return to haunt his premiership.
As a Malaysian, I would like the prime minister to do well. It is my citizenry duty to ensure that his leadership brings out the best in the country. There is no time for populist announcements, half-hearted reforms and insincere apple polishers.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
"I would also like to ask him (Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng) to announce and make public a chronology of the promises that DAP leaders had made before and during the last general election on this issue and quote what they have said themselves (to the residents) just as he had quoted from the 'presumably' exco minutes," he said yesterday.
Based on his current statement, there is little hope for Koh to repent, admit and own up his past mistakes. He still missed the main point. His party ideology has promised to protect and champion the rights of the underprivileged. Gerakan has a deep socialist past. It was a party of the masses, the deprived and the marginalised. Why didn't he keep this promise?
Koh should answer why he chose to take away this land, which has been inhibited for over 200 years by the descendants of the current dwellers and was on a verge of being listed as a heritage enclave, and sold it at a huge discount premium to a cooperative so that this cooperative can stand to pocket hundreds of millions from a commercial project?
Political parties make a lot of promises during general elections. UMNO, Gerakan and BN did the same - to treat all Malaysians equally and to protect the rights of the minorities. What happened after each election? The goons in your coalition would start the racial blame game again. Remember the 'keris' waving antics at the UMNO general assembly? Remember Ahmad Ismail?
You, Koh Tsu Koon, made promises you cannot keep too. You told the voters that you will not accept a 'backdoor' entry into the cabinet. Remember? But you are now sitting pretty in Putrajaya as a 'backdoor' minister.
The easiest and less painful way for Koh to move forward is to admit his mistake and try to assist to work out a win-win situation for everybody.
Another thing, you should stop going around and telling lies about me. You told a senior executive in the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall that I used the party's resources and information to publish a book about Gerakan. If you cannot tell the truth about me, can we expect you to tell the truth about Kampung Buah Pala?
You should tell the executive that my team and I had completed two books commissioned by the party - an autobiography of Lim Keng Yaik and another on the party's history - but your CC had decided against publishing the two books so that you can continue to lie about me and my credentials. These two books praised the ex-leader and your party sky high.
The only book I co-wrote was written after I left the think tank in April 2008. It was published in July 2008.
I would still insist that there is nothing wrong with Gerakan's ideology but there is something very wrong with the leadership of Koh Tsu Koon.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
I would like to remind the Hindraf leader that his attitude is going to bring a huge repercussion to his movement and his leadership. He should tell us, Penangites, why the state government should use its development funds (less than RM250 million a year) to acquire the land? To acquire the land, the state government will have to use the people's money. Not the DAP's, Hindraf's or Waythamoorthy. Ask for our approval first if you want our money.
Next, if the land was illegally alienated to the developer, Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn. Bhd., I would like to urge Waythamoorthy to use his legal experience to bring both the past government, the ex-CM Koh and the company to the court. I symphatize with the villagers but I would like to ask Waythamoorthy again, why should we pay for the folly of Koh Tsu Koon and his past administration?
Many of us are very angry that the current state government is claiming a lack of development funds to really spend on anything. The partial payment of RM14 million to the plaintiff of a quarry land case should have been used to improve public amenities and to build tourism facilities so that more jobs can be created. Do you think we would allow the current government to spend another RM200 million, including eventual compensation to the developer, just to clear the shit of the former useless and irresponsible CM?
Waythamoorthy should really think hard again. You are also trying to gain political mileage through your senseless threats. Why must Penangites pay through their noses for your political mileage?
I can assure you that your Indian-based political party will remain just that - a pressure group. Your attitude will not help your soon-to-be-listed party to capture any seat in the next general election.
Instead of acting like the next warlord, you should really work out with the current government to find a viable solution to the settle the issue. The best way to get back at the culprits of this land grab fiasco is to send the ex-CM, his party and the state coalition he is still leading to a perpetual limbo.
I would like to urge the current CM to tone down his own abrasiveness too and learn to listen more.
Remember, Waythamoorthy, do not let us pay for the folly of the past government or else...
Monday, July 06, 2009
I have seen a picture of the abattoir. The condition was appalling and dirty. Pork sellers and distributors who were using the facility should not merely focus on profit taking. They should work out with the state government to set up a clean, modern and environmentally friendly facility to conduct their business.
To those politicians who are fighting to keep the abattoir, please stop relating it to my right. Mind you, pork is not the only source of protein to the Chinese. Many of us would not mind substituting pork for another white meat.
It is time for our pork industry to clean up their act and stop turning this into a race or religious issue. The fact is we would not have been able to see pork on sale or eat pork freely had it been truly a religious issue.
H'ng said Lim was not being transparent on the location of his newly rented residence, tenancy agreement, deposit or the bungalow's renovation costs.
Lim's official residence was found to be infested by termites and red ants. H'ng added, "If he can't resolve minor problems plaguing Seri Teratai, how can he govern Penang successfully?" This is a masterclass statement. A statement that is neither meaningful nor purposeful.
Isn't Lim trying to solve the problem by moving out of the premise so that an insect-buster can work freely to destroy the breeding nests of these destructive insects? What does Gerakan expect Lim to do? Catch these insects with his barehands to prove that he can govern the state?
On the Kampung Buah Pala land fiasco, what was Gerakan's response? Ex-chief minister Koh Tsu Koon, whose administration had signed the S&P of the land to a cooperative in 2005, said he would not indulge in a blame game with the Penang CM Lim. Koh said Lim should focus on solving problems which included many of those created by his administration before the last general election.
If his youth vice-chairman is worth his salt, H'ng should demand that Koh use his influence in the PM's department to solve the Kampung Buah Pala issue which was created by the Gerakan-led government. Otherwise, how can the party convince Penangites that they should be given another chance to rule the state?
Koh's response to the issue is predictable. If Koh cannot even own up to his own political mistake and poor leadership which had caused a total wipe out of Gerakan in Penang, can we expect him to show us a responsible leadership by owning up to his mistakes and bad decisions in the Kampung Buah Pala and another quarry land fiascoes in Seberang Perai?
I am sick of such hypocrisy.
H'ng should ask Lim to show us his economic blueprint and when he intends to call for a local authority election. That would have been more relevant.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Another PKR lawmaker lambasted the CM for not upholding human rights and social justice in handling the 'High Chaparral' Kampung Buah Pala crisis. Balik Pulau parliamentarian Yusmadi Yusoff said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should know that any development forsaking human development and values is in breach of universal laws and principles.
Lim has explained that the economic cost of buying over the land can be astronomically high. The cost does not only involve the land value but a potential compensation which has to be paid to the developer for a lost of revenue. In return, the developer will have to pay compensation to buyers for its failure to complete the project.
This controversy is an unfortunate and a costly 'inheritance' from the previous government. This is the burden of power. It appears easy for both Yusmadi and Waythamoorthy to launch a tirade of attacks and criticism against the present government.
However, a deeper look at the crisis appears to invite more questions than just a simple solution suggested by Waythamoorthy. Some of the questions are quite obvious.
First, can both Yusmadi and Waythamoorthy assure us legally that the court's decision can be overturned and the ultimate cost to allow the residents to stay put at the village will not drain the state finance?
How much is the actual cost of take over despite the use of Land Acquisition Act? Can Waythamoorthy confirm that the figures quoted by several sources in the state administration are not accurate. I have personally heard several approximates ranging from RM100 million to as much as RM300 million.
Next, should the present government be burdened with the legal cost if they were to adopt Hindraf's recommendation to acquire the land and stop the project. Does the land acquisition act protect the state government from any litigation?
In the event the state were sued by the developer, how confident are both Waythamoorthy and Yusmadi that the state will prevail and the public will not have to bear the burden of another huge compensation to be paid to the developer?
Can Hindraf accept a facilitation between the developer and the families to work out a viable and fair compensation? I would like to remind Waythamoorthy that a case like this may open up a possibility for greed to flourish too. Some may want to use the ongoing political spat between Hindraf and the state government to obtain the highest mileage possible.
Is it fair for the public to pay up for the folly and greed of the past administration by selling this piece of land to the cooperative and eventually a politically linked company?
I have said it in my previous post that the state government should exercise its power to protect the poor and helpless. I would like to reiterate that a legal and political action must be taken against the culprits. The current state government must get down to the bottom of this issue.
The chief culprit has kept very quiet about the issue. His new political secretary was quick to ask for an instant remedy to the dispute in the appointment of MPSP president. He should be consistent enough to ask for a quick reaction from his boss and party.
However, I would like to urge Waythamoorthy and Yusmadi to weigh in other options too. Hurling criticism alone is easy especially when the compensation does not come from the pockets of both Yusmadi and Waythamoorthy.
Are Hindraf and Yusmadi prepared to form a joint legal team to sue both Koh Tsu Koon and the BN for raping humanity and the universal law of justice?
This issue is not as easy as both Waythamoorthy and Yusmadi would like us to believe, sadly. I may not vote for my PR representatives but I will definitely not vote for a BN candidate either.
Policy makers and politicians should challenge themselves to think deeper to come out with a workable solution to solve their own mess. Not throwing tantrums and make the public pay through their noses.
From the topic, we should expect a nasty and confrontation debate from the two youth movements. Logically, the PAS Youth should blame UMNO Youth for not being Islamic enough and had deviated from the teaching of Islam.
But it does not look like the two movements are going to be engaged in any heated debate. Funny, why would two debating teams willing to set up a joint secretariat?
These goons are at it again. The nation should be ready to move beyond the some senseless and useless debate on race unity. The bigger question should be can the people unite to make this country a socio-economic powerhouse? Can we unite to compete against the rest of the world? Can we work together to curb corruption, social injustices, crime etc?
Only today I met several top executives who said that the lack of skilled labour is a bigger threat to our economic development than the lack of liberalisation. Companies find it extremely difficult to hire good skilled people in Malaysia.
Hence, many had chosen to set up their companies in Singapore or Hong Kong despite a higher labour cost. Many Malaysian professionals can be found working in these economies.
Are both PAS and UMNO willing to discuss the important issue of retaining brains in the country?
As a Malaysian, I am growing disenchanted with our politicians and their inability to focus on real important issues.
As a news website put it, Malaysians were the force of change in the last general election. We must continue to push for a real change in the next by weeding out all useless politicians.
"The villagers' ancestors were brought to this place about 200 years ago as indentured labourers from South India to work in colonial estates. C Tharmaraj said the ancestors were given this land on free ownership by the Brown Estate Housing Trust before the Umno-dominated Malayan government turned it into a temporary occupation licence (TOL) settlement after Independence in 1957.
He said senior villagers would recall that their parents, mostly illiterate, were hoodwinked into signing documents about 50 years ago by government officers on the pretext of providing water and electricity supply to the village. He said the villagers only now realised that their forefathers were duped by their own government to terminate their land ownership and turn the land into a TOL village.
In 2005, the state land office stopped TOL collections from the villagers, alienated the land under state ownership and subsequently sold it to the cooperative."
The land was sold at a huge discount by the Koh Tsu Koon led government to a cooperative. This fiasco is a strong reason for Penangites to continue to reject a useless leader such as Koh.
This is a sad story. The villagers were duped and robbed off their land by the previous government. The new government claims it cannot do anything to correct the wrong. A spokesman of the new administration said it would cost the state some RM30 million to buy back the land. Why would the current state government do anything for the 22 poor families?
If the claim is correct, the panel of investigation set up by the new government should have taken a legal action against the past government and those who were involved in the land scam. Similar to the same action demanded by the PR leaders against those who were found guilty in the PKFZ fiasco.
The new transport minister, Ong Tee Keat, was asked to be responsible for the fiasco. Similarly, the new Penang administration should shoulder the responsibility to correct the injustice done against the villagers.
If nothing is being done, can the poor and powerless people continue to trust politicians to defend and protect their rights?
Are all politicians the same? The mandate to rule must come with a responsibility. A leader must have the courage to use his authority and political power to do the things right for the people.
Sad, this country does not have a place for poor, powerless and helpless people.