Friday, November 24, 2006

Flashback of a new Age of Malaysia

A Flashback from Previous Backman's remark. I have nothing to say but to share the grieve of Malaysian Citizens with you.

Miffed Mahathir starts to retaliate
Michael Backman
July 12, 2006

MAHATHIR Mohamad, Malaysia's former prime minister, is not happy. He was content to leave politics in late 2003 in return for a degree of reverence as an elder statesman, and perhaps to be consulted from time to time. He wasn't banking on being largely ignored, openly blamed for current and past errors, and seeing initiatives he backed dismantled in a way that seems calculated to make him lose face, particularly in the Asian context.

But Mahathir has retaliated in the past fortnight. He has claimed publicly that his successor, Abdullah Badawi, has stabbed him in the back. He has rebutted criticisms made of him and he has questioned Abdullah's policies.

The media, which under Abdullah was supposed to report the news rather than be the Government's good-news mouthpiece, blacked out Mahathir's remarks, presumably on Government orders. The Government also responded through Nazri Aziz, a minister in the Prime Minister's office who, in a 45-minute news conference, launched a fierce attack on Mahathir, advising him to be a "real man" and to leave UMNO, the ruling party. He even accused Mahathir of not loving his country, as if criticising the Government meant criticising the country. That's the sort of confusion normally reserved for developing-world dictators.
Also last week, a former political secretary of Mahathir, who weighed in to support his former boss, was rewarded with a defamation suit for 50 million ringgit ($A18.3 million) from the deputy chairman of Malaysia's biggest newspaper group.

And a former owner of the national airline filed a court document to say he never wanted it and that Mahathir's government made him buy it. Presumably, that is what led him to strip millions from it in related-party transactions.

And former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim lodged with the High Court his reply to Mahathir's attempt to get his defamation suit against Mahathir quashed. Anwar made a range of new allegations about how the government was run under Mahathir, seemingly neglecting the fact that it was also Anwar's government at the time.

Amid all this madness, there was spark of common sense. Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail floated the idea of bringing back jury trials, which were abolished 11 years ago. Malaysians were now better read, informed and competent, he said.

But the spark was soon extinguished by none other than Nazri Aziz. Jurors were "ordinary" people, Nazri said, and might be swayed into believing clever lawyers' arguments. Goodness. On top of that, they might be bribed. Essentially, Nazri was saying that Malaysians were too stupid to be jurors and that court decisions were better left to judges. Apparently Malaysian judges are renowned for their professionalism, incorruptibility and independence. I hadn't known that.

The Mahathir furore has helped Abdullah mask his own inaction. When he came to office he encouraged expectations that he would seriously tackle corruption and promote transparency.
But Malaysia's police remain a disgrace. Out of control, corrupt and trigger-happy, they generally kill at least one person a week.

So far, no major Government project has been subject to an open tendering process, despite Abdullah's suggestions they would be.

And, despite all the talk of getting rid of nepotism, the families of most politicians remain involved in businesses that rely on Government contracts, including Abdullah's own.
Furthermore, he appears to be excessively reliant on his son-in-law, the unelected 31-year-old Khairy Jamaluddin.

Mahathir no longer wants Abdullah to remain Prime Minister. He hasn't for quite some time. His preference is for Najib Razak, the current deputy.

So what is Najib like? He's certainly no Mahathir. He rarely takes a strong position on anything, and when he does, it's usually because he's worked out which way the numbers are. Accordingly, he has few strong enemies; nor many passionate supporters.

Ever the good deputy, Najib was quick to pledge loyalty to Abdullah last week but he also refrained from saying anything critical of Mahathir. A fence-sitter but a splendid one, he is rich, Malay, well-educated, and his father (Tun Abdul Razak) was prime minister.

But will Najib take the tough decisions that so far have eluded Abdullah? Nothing in his career suggests he will. It will probably be business as usual, and in Malaysia politics is always about business.

Najib's younger brother, Nazir Razak, is chief executive of CIMB, Malaysia's largest investment bank. He and two other brothers, Nizam and Johari, are involved in GP Ocean Food, which describes itself as the country's biggest integrated fisheries group.

The company planned to issue a prospectus to enable it to list on the stock exchange this year, but that was shelved last week after the Securities Commission announced an investigation into alleged irregularities in the company's accounts. That's the thing about Malaysia: so much of the regulatory apparatus almost works.

But back to Mahathir. Is all his noise a bad thing? Not at all. Mahathir must keep up his criticisms. It doesn't matter whether he is right or wrong. What matters is that he keeps going. Monopolies are never a good thing, particularly when it comes to a monopoly of ideas. Mahathir has given Malaysians a lot of things. Giving them what might turn out to be the most effective opposition voice they've had is his latest contribution.

Flashy buildings make a country look modern. But real modernity comes from open public debate. Mahathir is dragging Malaysia forward while Abdullah is disappointing.

13 comments:

Calvin's Girl said...

(=_+)" Who larh in the government still want to support Mahathir dee... All also scared their ass's are being jeopardized if they do so... (although some of them really supports him still)

As for me, although Mahathir was abit KKC too, but i did prefer him than Badawi... well, wat to do... Mahathir sendiri chose his substitute... LPPL

Calv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calv said...

LPPL i know la, lan pa pa lan...but KKC?? kuku chiao ah?

eh how u have the picture by the side of ur comment ah? i dun have wan?

Effy said...

haha, why delete the comment. anyways i read about this mahathir vs badawi thing in wikipedia.org. haha.

Calv said...

i delete it coz it was me who posted and i made some posting errors lol

Calvin's Girl said...

LOL... yeah KKC meant that.. LOL, yea can have ur pic by the side wan mar... u dun have meh?? Hmmm weird.. u check ur settings n see...

Calv said...

i dunno which part of the settings to change. hahaha

Calvin's Girl said...

erm..... hmmm..... go to edit profile... upload ur pic at the photo url... then i think shud be like tat kuaaaa... cause i also did like tat

Calv said...

hmm ok lo. thanks for the info though

Calvin's Girl said...

Hahahaha I know why dee... you're using the new beta blogger thingy... I'm still using the older version wan... perhaps thats y... :D

Calv said...

wah..sure or not? haha but nvm. it's good sometimes to hide this hunchback of malaysiadam (stolen from hunchbak of notredam) face...

Calvin's Girl said...

(=_=)" wat lah you..... *slap slap*

Anonymous said...

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