Monday, September 03, 2007

Gara-Gara Kesombongan Menteri, Bakal Putus Talian Rumpun Akibatnya?

Saya baru kembali dari kenduri meraikan pernikahan seorang sepupu di Jakarta. Dalam kemeriahan sambutan, tiada seorang pun dari wakil rumpun keluarga kami dari Malaysia yang bisa lari dari persoalan yang kini menjadi tanda-tanya kebanyakan rakyat Indonesia,”Kenapakah orang Malaysia begitu sombong terhadap orang Indonesia?"

Dalam selok-belok bicara yang merapatkan silaturahim keluarga, sudah tentu soalan tersebut di utarakan dengan penuh sopan dan kebingungan yang ikhlas. Namun, di sekitar Jakarta pada hujung minggu, rata-rata terlihat sepanduk, lakaran di dinding malah sayup-sayup masih terdengar pekikan yang mengutuk sikap sombong Malaysia terhadap Indonesia dengan nada yang lebih perit.

Mungkin ada yang menuding jari kearah kejadian pemukulan hakim karate dari Indonesia oleh anggota Polis DiRaja Malaysia tempohari sebagai punca kemarahan. Mungkin ada juga yang percaya rasa tidak puas hati jiran serumpun kita adalah hasil dari pemaparan media Indonesia akan pelbagai kes yang kurang enak seperti pemukulan Nirmala Bonat, isu Ambalat atau pembuangan pekerja haram Indonesia.

Walaupun benar mungkin terlalu banyak insiden kurang enak yang sudah berlaku terutama sekali dalam tempoh beberapa tahun ini di antara dua Negara. Semestinya benar juga yang pemukulan Donald Luther telah menjadi tunas kemarahan yang baru. Namun, yang menimbulkan kemarahan meluap-luap hingga hari ini, hampir 2 minggu selepas kes pemukulan tersebut bukanlah kejadian tersebut.

Yang menjadi punca kemarahan tidak terhingga masyarakat Indonesia terhadap Malaysia hingga ke hari ini tidak lain dan tidak bukan, kesombongan Menteri Luar Malaysia, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, yang dengan angkuhnya, enggan memohon maaf secara rasmi bagi pihak kerajaan Malaysia atas kejadian tersebut!

Rakyat Indonesia majoritinya serumpun Melayu dengan majoriti rakyat Malaysia. Malah, hubungan kekeluargaan juga wujud di antara rakyat bukan pribumi kedua-dua Negara. Maka seharusnya nyata pada hemah Datuk Seri Syed Hamid yang rumpun Melayu sedia bermaaf-maafan.

Pada masa yang sama, Melayu pantang dilayan sombong. Kalau ada salah dan silap, terutama sekali antara keluarga, yang bersalah haruslah terus memohon maaf, walaupun jika kesilapan tersebut tidak disengajakan. Yang penting tata-susila, sopan-santun dan budi-pekerti antara kita. Ketua Polis Tan Sri Musa Hassan sendiri mengakui kesalahan polis kita dan sudah pun meminta maaf kepada Donald.

Apa yang nak ‘eksyen’ sangat Datuk Seri Syed Hamid, bukankah ternyata kita pada pihak yang salah. Bukannya Indonesia itu Negara yang tidak berkait dengan kita. Indonesia bukan sahaja jiran terdekat, malah tunas rumpun Melayu berlegar di antara kepulauannya berpantulan bumi Champa. Rakyat Indonesia juga tak habis-habis berbudi kepada Malaysia dan pembangunannya.

Sekarang akibat angkuh, bongkak sombong dan eksyennya Datuk Seri Syed Hamid, Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR) sudah mempertikaikan silaturahim Indonesia terhadap Malaysia sebagai Negara ‘serumpun’.



Sewaktu Singapura membantah pembinaan Jambatan Bengkok mengganti Tambak Johor, Datuk Seri sedia akur kehendak Singapura, walaupun darah bapa Datuk Seri mungkin panas sebentar. Ya lah, kalau dengan Singapura tu, mungkin akur bukan kerana bebal atau dayus seperti ada yang menuduh, tetapi akibat Datuk Seri Syed Hamid merasakan hormat sekali terhadap Lee Kuan Yew. Mana boleh sombong.

Ada yang mengatakan usaha Datuk Seri Syed Hamid mengetengahkan calon Malaysia sebagai Setiausaha Agung OIC dan Komanwel gagal sebab Datuk Seri sombong hingga tak merujuk betul-betul pendapat semua pihak. Tapi ini mungkin tidak benar, mungkin Datu Seri ikhlas memilih, cuma kurang bernasib baik.

Ada yang menuduh yang dengan kebebasan yang diberikan Pak Lah, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid terlalu bersedia mengampu Amerika Syarikat dan kian mangabai teman-teman lama dan setia di ASEAN, OIC dan Komanwel. Sombongnya terserlah apabila beliau lebih bersedia mengutuk Palestin dari membantu. Mungkin Datuk Seri terlalu arif akan kelebihan mengampu kuasa besar lebih dari menngamankan kawan.

Sewaktu Banjir di Kota Tinggi dahulu, Datuk Seri seolah-olah sombong tak melawat, hinggalah hari Pak Lah sendiri melawat kawasan parlimen Datuk. Ya lah kita faham yang Datuk Seri Syed Hamid lebih mementingkan Perdana Menteri dari rakyat kawasan parlimennya. Mungkin bukan kerana sombong, tapi menurut kepentingan.

Apakah ongkos sombong-tidaknya Datuk Seri Syed Hamid dalam insiden yang lain ini?

  1. Mungkin maruah Negara tergadai sedikit dalam hal jambatan bengkok. Tapi tak apa, mungkin Datuk Seri Syed Hamid rasa kita boleh hidup tanpa maruah.

  2. Mungkin kepimpinan Negara di peringkat antarabangsa tergugat akibat kegagalan calon-calon OIC dan Komanwel kita, tetapi tak apa, kita boleh hidup tanpa kepimpinan pada peringkat antarabangsa.

  3. Mungkin Malaysia semakin kehilangan amalan prinsip mengamankan dan manbantu kawan seperti Palestin. Tapi tak apa, hidup Datuk Seri Syed Hamid mungkin lebih senang dan makmur di bawah telunjuk Amerika Syarikat.

  4. Mungkin Datuk Seri Syed Hamid sendiri bakal kalah pilihanraya akibat sombong Datuk Seri pada waktu banjir di Kota Tinggi. Saya agak yakin Negara akan terus membangun tanpa kehadiran Datuk Seri di dalam kabinet.

Namun, apakah bakal ongkos sombongnya Datuk Seri Syed Hamid terhadap Indonesia dalam isu yang seharusnya begitu mudah ditangani ini?

  1. Bersediakan Melayu Malaysia diceraikan dari rumpun terdekatnya di Indonesia?

  2. Bersediakan kaum-keluarga di Malaysia berfungsi tanpa bantuan pengasuh dan pembantu rumah Indonesia?

  3. Bersediakah Malaysia memacu ekonomi tanpa buruh mahir dan kasar dari Indonesia?

  4. Bersediakah Malaysia menanggung kerugian pelaburan di Indonesia, destinasi pelaburan utama negara kita pada hari ini?

Maaflah Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, kos kesombongan Datuk Seri mungkin sudah terlalu tingi untuk ditampung rakyat negara kita.

Pada peringkat awal pemerintahan kerajaan Pak Lah, Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad telah diberhentikan perkhidmatan dari pengurusan New Straits Times (NST) akibat tindakannya yang dikatakan menghina kerajaan Arab Saudi. Pada masa itu hampir musim haji dan pihanraya pun hampir tiba...

Bulan Ramadhan hampir tiba, bulan yang melihat paling banyak buruh Indonesia meninggalkan negara, lazimnya untuk kembali atau silih-berganti. Pilihanraya pun hampir tiba. Mungkin tiba masanya Pak Lah memecat salah seorang ahli kabinetnya sebelum keadaan melarat. Melayu lazimnya akan tarima sekiranya Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar dipecat kerana terlalu sombong...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Some Quick Bytes On The NCER

I wanted to resume my blogging on something else, but thought to do a 'quick' commentary on a current economic mego-project first. The Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) - a new mega project - was launched yesterday. Some observations:

  1. I am quite supportive of the agricultural modernisation thrust, only such efforts tend to result in employment reducing in the agricultural sector! So, is there a real engine for alternative employment in place, or is government again hoping to rely on infrastructure projects on the outset?

  2. The strategic plan is actually better thought out than the SJER/WPI was. Probably the result of more time, effort and more considered input from people who know what they are talking about. Outside of the Seeds R&D and waste materials businesses though, I find the plan has nothing new and earth-shaking, or as Dato' Marina Mahathir would say,"Kurang Merah". The plan is actually just conventionally sound.

  3. Can't help but note quirk no 1 being the 'Halal Hub'. This concept is still unclear to many people in Malaysia, let alone investors globally. It detracts from the Malaysian Halal brand even, giving people cause to wonder why Malaysia needs 'Halal Hubs' if its Halal certification is the best around.

  4. Nice maneuvering of Gurun as an 'Automotive Hub' (quirk no 2) with incentives in the NCER plan referring also to the failed National Automotive Policy (NAP). Continuing to help SM Nasimuddin's family at Naza we see... I hope not at the expense of Proton again...

  5. Quirk 3 appears in page 14 of the pdf doc on this link http://thestar.com.my/archives/2007/7/30/nation/northernCorridor.pdf where the IMT-GT (Indonesia Malaysia Thailand -Growth Triangle) is incorrectly drawn, such as to exclude much of Thailand but include Singapore instead! Is this the Singapore friendly 4th Floor's contribution to the document?

  6. I expressed before of the government's over-reliance on Sime Darby's competency. Firstly, Sime Darby's meant to lead the 'Synergy Drive' effort. It has to continue to deliver as a conglomerate. It was even touted as a Proton saviour. It is also meant to continue to lead the effort for the NCER. Will something give?
On a more petty side, I take great offense in the picture here showing Kedah to be much smaller than North Perak. Most insulting to us Kedahans!


The verdict is nonetheless a big tick compared to efforts of the past efforts by the Lah-ist regime. Thankfully, as they can't convert the NCER name to refer to 3 Sultans simultaneously (at least my non-Oxbridge brain can't!) and as they are also not likely to involve the outdated walking PR disaster that is Musa Derhaka in this, they should be able to avoid boo-boos that continue to dog the ever-unfortunate SJER.

Will Tun Dr M be considered to chair the committee equivalent to Musa's down south?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Re-Focussing Angst And Efforts On Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) - SJER


After my last posting, a fellow Promudan challenged my cynicism towards the IDR, citing the government's intention for IDR to emulate the the Pan-Pearl River Delta Development in China; where Singapore plays the role of Hong Kong and IDR region that of the mainland provinces of South China.

At this stage, allow me to begin referring to the IDR by its old name, the SJER or South Johor Economic Region. The reasons for this I will present later.

I actually do not agree that the SJER emulates the critical elements of Pan-Pearl River Delta Development. Those who equate then have accidentally, or by choice,ignored the following factors:

  • LEVEL OF INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT - Pan Pearl is also called 9+2, where Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan are jointly developed WITH Hong Kong and Macau in one development effort. The effort is integrated for the benefit of the whole or majority of the whole, with the following implications:
  1. The focus of development should be equally weighed against the needs of all parties, whereas the government pitch seems to be overly-sensitive of fulfilling Singapore's needs for SJER, specifically, land (low land investment oversight), labour (passport-less region?) and basic resources like water.
  2. In reality, for SJER to be equivalent to Pan-Pearl, the SJER region must include Singapore WITHIN SJER, with the SJER management body having a say in directing Singapore's development to support SJER. Can't imagine Harry Lee Kuan Yew agreeing to this though! He would basically be reporting to the state government under the rule of the Sultan of Johor!
  • RIGHTS OF SOVEREIGNITY - for which the problem seems to be very much our own government's lack of sensitivity of what the inherent rights they should be protecting.
  1. As mentioned, for SJER to be like Pan-Pearl, Singapore's development must also be driven by needs dictated by SJER development board etc for the sake of SJER as a whole. I see it unlikely for Singapore to agree as it would abrogate their sovereign rights.
  2. It is hence strange that the Malaysian government does not seem to mind having Singapore government reps give direct input as part of SJER's management core. This must be one of the few instances in the world were even a slice of power is surrendered voluntarily by a government to a foreign power to decide on the fate of some of its citizens on its own sovereign soil!
  3. Pan-Pearl does not have this issue of course, as HK and Macau are part of China, avoiding any sovereign issues.
  • SIZE - The biggest difference between the SJER and Pan-Pearl is by far in size and scale. Pan-Pearl River Delta's 9 Chinese provinces are significantly larger than Malaysia - why then is the focus so South Johor-centric!
  1. If the government was right serious and about emulating Pan-Pearl, the region should be LARGER, and even incorporate slices of Indonesia, perhaps also Thailand and Southern Indo-China.
  2. The government can then have tried to be clever by positioning South Johor as an alternative secondary (but fast growing to equal) hub to Singapore for the wider Pan-Central ASEAN Development.
  • REGRESSION TO THE 80's FTZ ERA - The SJER seems to be a regression from the MSC and BioTech corridors we had been moving to as offerings. The MSC, Kulim Hi-Tech Park, etc included a focus on key industry niches that also pushes Malaysia up the FDI value chain. The SJER is just a broad-based resource Free Trade Zone (FTZ) with some glitz, but no apparent value focus.
  1. Hence, by ignoring all the above, the government has not offered up a real equivalent to Pan-Pearl with SJER, when comparing FTZ to FTZ! FTZ - this is so 1980's! (Incidentally, when Musa Hitam was last involved actively in development as a cabinet minister)
  2. As an FTZ, on size alone, the SJER is hence poor competition to Pan-Pearl, and certainly struggles to provide an ASEAN-wide offering to challenge it. Indeed, this is probably why the SJER is being poorly received by the West (who'd rather invest in China), Japan (prefer Indochina) and even Oil-Rich Arabs (Dubai is still being pumped up). Hence probably the over-focus on one ever interested party - Singapore.
But as I said before... Singapore should not matter so much...

As I'm busy with a new baby and now with my sister's coming wedding, I'll keep a running brief on this piece and perhaps update it from this stage onwards as and when info, understanding and opinion gels.

So, why do I wish to still refer to the IDR as the SJER. Well the reasons are:
  1. I understand that permission for use of his name for the SJER has not as yet been sought from the Sultan of Johor. The name "IDR" was unveiled as a 'surprise', against all rules of protocol and Malay propriety at the launching of SJER, to the Sultan's chagrin, and it seems he is still waiting for the request from those 'in charge'.
  2. SJER is a more appropriate acronym for it, being Singapore's Johor Economic Rape!
One last running word on the NEP thing - I don't see why the NEP and its removal or otherwise is such a big deal where attracting FDI is concerned. In truth, EU commissioners like Rommel have something to complain about all ASEAN countries - Indonesian corruption, Thai's military, Philippines' gunpowder democracy, even Singapore's authoritarianism.

In the end, NEP had not been able to deter investment in Malaysia throughout the 70's through to even post 2000. Why should it 'magically' be factor now? The outside investors just don't care about our social-engineering agenda - as long as their investments are not risked by it... Is there anyone out there selling the story that the NEP puts investor's good money at risk...? Who...?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Re-Focussing Angst And Efforts On Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs)?

A discussion on the Promuda Circle on our Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) performance (which can be tracked by even non-members from this link) has such potential that I'm taking a break from my new baby. (Yes, the another son of mine has arrived, Alhamdulillah!)

Of the matters not yet said on the discussion at the Circle, which also explored the issue of Malaysia's competitiveness vs China and Singapore, I put forth the following to be noted in discussions on FDIs:

  1. W.r.t. competition for FDI, Malaysia is typically not seen as a competitor to China, but the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) region, i.e. ASEAN, is seen to be so. In fact, outside of the cash-rich aberration that is the gulf states, the demographically attractive regions for FDI now are seen as China, ASEAN and India, in order of 'sexiness'.
  2. Malaysia is hence not really competing with China for FTA, but rather with other members of ASEAN for FDI into ASEAN. Of course our own competitiveness may help drive ASEAN competitiveness upwards to help ASEAN compete against China, but in a country perspective, Malaysia competes with say Thailand for ASEAN FDI, much like Jiangsu competes with Shandong for China FDI, or Tamil Naidu with Karnataka for India FDI.
  3. Malaysia also does not, or rather should not, compete with Singapore for ASEAN FDI. This is because Singapore's role in ASEAN as a region is much like Hong-Kong's or Shanghai's, that of an enabler of inter and intra regional trade. It also fulfills a role familiar in other regions as a neutral clearing house for finances, like the Swiss performs for Europe and Frankfurt and London from within the EU.
  4. Malaysia's competition is really the other 'almost there nations' of Thailand, and if you like, perhaps Jawa and Luzon as high net-worth regions within Indonesia and the Philippines. These countries and regions compete for FDI to fulfill its own development and also when acting as launching pads into higher risk and potential areas of development in Indochina, and the rest of Indonesia and the Philippines.
  5. The main reason some ASEAN countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, are annoyed with Singapore is because it misbehaves whilst trying to impose a stronger presence in the region (than it deserves?). In the case of Shanghai and HK, this had resulted in swift reprisals (corruption charges on Shanghai Mayor and the general put-down of over-zealous democratic activists in HK by mother China). Hence the Thais are trying to emulate such actions with their treatment of Temasek's Thai holdings post-Thaksin.
Perhaps Singapore behaves this way on behalf of LKY, who's ego likely suffers from the fact that he had never been considered the leader of the ASEAN or South East Asian nations when two of his Malaysian rivals (Malays to boot!) had been seen as such; Tunku Abdul Rahman (with MaPhilIndo and the Konfrantasi) and Tun Dr Mahathir (when he pushed for EAEC which resulted in ASEAN+/EAEG being formed regionally and APEC being formed by the US as a counter).
Please note that from the outset I assume that we are trying to attract the right sort of FDI, the type that will result in Greenfield economic development, not simply selling Malaysian companies to foreigners (individuals and entities) and calling them FDI!

In the end, Malaysians should consider the following 2 approaches to enhancing our attractiveness to the right form of FDI:
  1. We should benchmark against and close the gap between us and the competitors that are beating us, and Indonesia (Jawa most likely) and Thailand are beating us to FDIs at the moment.
  2. We have to remove the factors that erode our value as an FDI destination, and I'm not talking about the NEP et al, using this as an excuse is simply politicising the issue out of ignorance.
The factors that erode our value as an FDI destination include:
  • inefficiencies in actions and infirmities in government policies.
  • the continued perception of indecisiveness and lackadaisical attitude of our nation's current leaders.
  • being trapped in the old models for development, like free trade zones/special development regions (the IDR being a case in point)
  • in our insecurity, forgetting to nurture our real strengths as a nation, such as our creativity, openness and appreciation of diversity.
  • being over-respectful of the ideas and initiatives of others whilst neglecting to value local talent, achievements and initiatives
The Singapore factor is only a factor as long as we allow it to be a factor. In the end, Singapore should not matter. Else, Tunku Abdul Rahman would not have thought its 'value' to be insufficient to compensate for its bothersome leaders, leading him to expel Singapore from the Federation for the greater good of Malaysia!

It hence continues to puzzle me why the Lah-ist regime is so hard-up for Singapore to participate in the IDR? In fact, why have an IDR at all? I would have thought North Perak or the Malaysia-Thai Border or perhaps Sarawak from Sibu to the interior deserves more development focus than the IDR. Could it be because Singapore sees no benefit from developing these other regions? Why should it matter what Singapore thinks about Malaysia's priorities?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Economics Of Crime And Prevention?

I was praised recently for keeping most of my postings here unemotional, but I apologise if I let a little emotion slip through in this particular piece. A few weeks ago, my house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL, was broken into. It was the second break-in in broad daylight we had to endure in less that 8 months.

Fortunately, no one was home, but again, my wife's digital camera was stolen. The camera was a replacement I had bought her for the one stolen in the earlier break-in. The original camera was an anniversary gift to her. More personally, with loss of both cameras back-to-back, we have lost nearly all the photos of our one-year old ever taken.

A few observations to be made:
  1. We were not nearly as traumatised by the second break-in. But this in itself is a tragedy. We joked that we could almost forgive the burglars if they would just return our son's photo's.

  2. We live in a terrace house. After the first break-in, we considered putting in an alarm, and decided against it as it felt pretentious. We're not rich, just obviously middle-class, and a burglar in Taman Tun should get more from a Semi-D or Bungalow.

  3. A friend informed me with much irony soon after the break-in that Taman Tun was considered one of the safest suburbs in KL!

It is with great sadness that I have now installed an alarm at my house. When we've saved enough money, we'll probably move, though I struggle to imagine why we should or where we would move to from the 'safest suburb in KL'.

This long pre-amble is not intended to attract pity, empathy or indeed as a prelude to criticising the police. I actually am grateful to the police as both in the most recent and past experiences we have had with them, facing the danger and aftermath of break-ins, etc., they have been courteous, professional and showed great empathy. This despite obvious signs that they are being increasingly stretched of late.

Whilst the response time of the police to the alert of the second break-in was excellent and their actions in inspecting the house decisive, we noted that only one squad car came, when 8 months earlier, we had 2 arriving in the space of minutes. In addition, the detective and "CSI" was able to come within the hour of the report of the first break-in. On the most recent break-in, we had to wait for at least 4 hours.

The detective apologised for being late the second time as as it seems they have a major backlog, not just of cases, but of follow-ups to reports of crime! Again, this is no fault of his, we just have more crime, and the need for more police officers is more a challenge for the government.

And so I welcome the recent announcement that the government is planning on increasing police numbers in the WPI region, only...

  1. The root cause isn't the police numbers, it's the economy! Despite great government statistics on investments, growth and the stock market, people are still being driven into sufficient poverty that they are turning to lives of crime. Does the government have statistics for crime rate as a proportion of unemployed ... including migrants of course?
  2. And what is so special about the WPI region that only they get the extra police? Surely if the economy is doing so well, the government can afford more policemen all over the country? Can the safety of potential Singaporean investors in the WPI be so important to Pak Lah's dreams that he is happy to ignore the safety and security of us humble citizens in other parts of the country? I thought he was our PM?

Just some thoughts. One hopes that Pak Lah's new spouse will help him apply the proper and right priorities of his leadership upon the citizens of our increasingly fading nation...

Monday, June 18, 2007

ZAM And Johari, Please Consider Banning This Book

In support of the new committee recently mandated by the Malaysian Government Cabinet Minister's Meeting to monitor internet behaviour by us wee bloggers, may I welcome this new government initiative (which must be now immediately active seeing as the civil service has become so much more efficient under the Lah-ist regime) by proposing the following pro-Lah action.

Could the Lah-ist Minister ZAM and Lah-ist Deputy Minister Johari Baharum in their respective portfolios of Information and Internal Security please consider banning this book:

may be disguised as


This is because, this book will potentially cause Malaysians to evaluate Pak Lah and draw conclusions, based on the 9 C's of leadership. This would:

  1. Tarnish Pak Lah's reputation as people evaluate the traits of leadership alleged by the author of this book. (I'm sure the 4th floor knows better what it takes to be a PM!)
  2. Lead people to draw conclusions on how similar Pak Lah's leadership is to George W. Bush's!
I would also like to warn the committee monitoring naughty activities on the internet that there may be elements in the country that will try to smuggle these books in via internet orders from such insidious sites as http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.amazon.co.uk/

In addition, some parties may also try to smuggle such titles in as audio-books. Such people should be treated with the contempt that ZAM and Johari's ministries typically reserve for PAS CD distributors or indeed bloggers!

As an ex-CEO famous for turning around Chrysler 2 decades ago, unfortunately Iacocca is probably too competent for Azlan Hashim to consider as a viable Proton CEO, so the best avenue for buying him off (if even possible) is self-closed.

It is unfortunate that this foreign national is not in Malaysia at the moment. Otherwise, I am sure the BSA Tahir treatment is the only suitable way of protecting Pak Lah's regime from further embarassment from such individuals. How long has BSA Tahir been in ISA by the way?

In jest...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

When A Proton Loses Its Charge...

Let's have a conversation about something that I've been keeping silent about for a while now, the snow-balling disaster at Proton. Silence seemed a wiser course of action knowing that my last long discourse on this matter was when it seemed a local entity with a credible leadership was being considered to replace the disasterous Azlan Hashim regime at Proton.

It was hoping that the national committee on this matter, led by the DPM Dato' Najib Tun Razak no less, was on the right track towards appointing an entity to guide Proton to a steadier footing, as the better option seemed... better... whilst the lesser one's main problem was not incompetence, but rather its sleazier self-serving owners. However, since such matters were in the press, some strange things have occured...

Firstly, when Proton's performance continued to dive, quarter by quarter, through to the poor final full year result posted recently, Azlan Hashim's Proton management acknowledged shortcomings due to 'need for a partner' or 'tough market environment' or 'high cost of steel'. These of course were excuses and nothing more, as the Proton management failed to acknowledge that:
  1. In place of a proper new product driven marketing strategy, Proton's management had embarked on the classic marketing fool's option of cutting the price of its cars, with no understanding of the price elasticity, or lack thereof, for the higher volumes to cover the lower unit margins.
  2. Poor manufacturing strategy as Proton continued to make cars people didn't want, including the Wira, which was supposed to have ceased production long ago, resulting in an increasing inventory problem in Proton. These high and rising investories was what made increasing material cost so much more expensive to Proton.
  3. Both the poor manufacturing and marketing tactics were due to a lack of undestanding by Azlan's management of the fundamental change in the car market, not just in Malaysia, but globally. Trends like a shift to smaller cars to save fuel, as anticipated by the former oil-man that was previously running Proton leading to the Savvy being developed. Azlan Hashim's leadership was just directionless in this regard.

Then, the issue of the collapse of the 2nd hand car market came up, with first Proton, then automotive bodies, bandying out the unworkable idea of a minimum trade-in value for used cars to kick-start the market. In many discussions, it was said that the National Automotive Policy (NAP) was too successful in reducing car prices, leading to this problem. Very few commentators in the mainstream media hinted that the issue was due to the failure of the NAP! How? In order of events:

  1. When the NAP was launched with much fanfare, the first few days was embarassing for the 4th Floor, who claimed it as an achievement, and Ethos Consulting, which helped produce this shallowest of policies. This was because the NAP was expected to result in the market drastically adjusting car prices downwards. The problem was, it did not! The market players just did not see the NAP giving much incentive to reduce the price of cars!
  2. So, in panic, someone, the 4th floor? Ethos Consulting? Someone convinced the DPM to come out to publicly admonish the local car manufacturers for not dropping prices, then arm-twisted the GLC's to cut the price of Protons and Peroduas. So, the drop in car prices was not due to the NAP, but due to an artificial forcing of price cuts by the government.
  3. Whilst the arm-twisting, rather than the NAP, did get car prices to drop more significantly, it also resulted other effects. It spooked the banks. How could the banks set interest rates for car loans that would effectively reflect the risk of government price intervention in the car market? Raise the interest rates on car loans!
  4. In addition, the forcing down of new car prices spooked the second hand car market also into a price shift downwards, a little lower than a market reaction, again, due to the artificial forcing down of new car prices.
  5. Ah... but now comes the killer blow. The banks, seeing the second-hand car market declining in prospect even more than the new car market, made it more difficult to get and increased interest rates for car loans to buy second hand cars.
  6. The banks' reaction led to a further collapse of the second-hand car market to where it is today.

So, if you follow the chain events back to the root cause, the reason for the collapse in the second-hand car market is the artificial lower car pricing forced by the government onto the car producers like Proton and Perodua due to the panic felt by the government's young inexperienced Oxbridge advisors when their policy didn't have any significant impact to the local market, on which they had also mistakenly over-focussed the policy on!

Why have we not heard condemnation or any sackings of the authors of the NAP for partly destorying Malaysia's car market, and potentially Proton too!

In the meantime, Azlan Hashim had to try and sell a success story for Proton seeing as his contract was due for renewal. He widely publicised the story of Proton's entry into Indonesia, with Proton also securing a deal to supply Wira's to a major taxi fleet. Maybe some clarification here:

  1. Proton's entry to Indonesia had been planned for at least 5 years, but had been delayed for at least a year by Azlan's management.
  2. Selling Wiras to the taxi fleet was a mistake as it now risks branding Proton as a car producer of outmoded technology in a key market. It would have been better if they supplied at least Waja's, with its large boot and Lotus handling as key selling points.
  3. The selling of the Wiras had an ulterior motive, basically as a desparate measure to remove huge stocks of Wiras that had been over-produced beyond its earlier planned line discontinuation.
  4. Indonesia was only one of the key foreign markets Proton had planned to enter up to 2-3 years ago. What happened to the deal with Iran? Did Renault really take it from us first or did Azlan stop talking to the Iranians so that Proton can still be sold to American companies like GM?

A more recent tragic read I found in the mainstream press was, after the poor full year performance, Azlan Hashim had the temerity to suggest that he needed to select a new team to lead Proton, as Syed Azlan was probably unsuitable as a CEO and they needed a top class CFO! He seems to have forgotten that:

  1. Azlan Hashim was responsible for compelling Tunku Mahaleel, which like or not, was at least competent, from continuing to be Proton's CEO.
  2. Azlan Hashim was responsible for the resignation (some say in disgust) of the reputable CFO of Proton, Mr. Tan Seng Lee. One suspects this is due to Tan's protesting of book-keeping around MV Agusta's disposal, as soon after he left, MV Agusta was sold for 1 Euro, with no consultation with minority shareholders and justified by dubious accounting.
  3. Azlan Hashim was the one who chose Syed Zainal to be the next CEO, by-passing a senior Proton person with superior operational skills even as a choice, Dato' Kisai Rahmat.
  4. Azlan Hashim made it untenable for Kisai Rahmat to stay in Proton. This is as Kisai saw his efforts for many years in Proton being put to waste and squandered by Azlan.
  5. Azlan Hashim also has singularly failed to attract the appropriate leaders to serve in Proton under his leadership, despite being in sole control for some 2 years now.
  6. Finally, I'm not even sure if Azlan's contract as Chairman has been renewed - the old contract lapsed some months ago!

The litany of poor personnel decisions by Azlan Hashim in the past shows that he not only is not sufficiently competent to choose the next leaders for Proton, he doesn't deserve to even be retained in his own position in Proton. So is he being delusional or arrogant or just ignorant when he speaks of replacing key personnel at Proton?

And today, I picked up news that got me writting again, about how Khazanah, in a panic, is about to sell control of Proton's crown jewels, whatever remains of its intrinsic value, at a song to a company with VW and Sime Darby in the driving seat. Sime Darby? I thought Sime Darby management was too busy with Synergy Drive to bother with Proton!

What has happened to the plans on the DPM's table some months ago? Is Khazanah really that desparate that they will act despite the DPM's wishes?

As the PM will be busy getting married this weekend, and as I do not trust the PM's minders, I believe only the DPM can address the Proton issue now. I hope he's at least being given the right advice - that Proton needs an new local entity to assist it in any engagement with a foreign partner - Azlan has just made Proton too weak to do it on its own.

The entity I prefer to take up Proton's equity is one led by a leader with a proven turn-around and national service record. The entity also has strong synergies with Proton. The choice was obvious many months ago... and certainly not this VW/Sime Darby nonsense, or some crippled plodding American has-been company that also shares the news.

Dato' Najib... if you or your people deem my writing here worthy, please save Proton from the ill action of Azlan and Khazanah... the rakyat should get its investment's worth... pleas remember Proton is more than it appears to be...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Masih Relevankah Anwar Setelah Dikalahkan Oleh Samy Vellu Di Ijok?

Benarkan saya bermula dengan memohon maaf kepada Dato' Seri Samy Vellu, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak dan YB K Parthiban atas salah analisa di blog ini tempohari akan peluang kemenangan BN di Ijok. Saya mengaku termakan propaganda tentang perpecahan MIC Ijok akibat iri-hati awal Ketua Bahagian MIC Kuala Selangor kerana tidak dipilih sebagai calon BN pada pilihanraya kecil tersebut.

Namun dalam seminggu sebelum pembuangan undi di Ijok, saya terbaca paparan berikut oleh seorang blogger ulung (http://bigdogdotcom.wordpress.com/2007/04/25/bloggers-bertemu-parthiban/) yang menunjukkan secara nyata yang K Parthiban bukan sahaja calon yang tepat, malah bakal menang akibat aktiviti giat beliau di peringkat akar-umbi MIC mahupun NGO pemuda di Ijok.

Kemenangan BN di Ijok membuktikan sekali lagi yang dari segi kelincahan politik pilihanraya di peringkat akar-umbi, Samy Vellu kekal ulung dikalangan ahli politik kaum India di Malaysia. Ada juga yang mengatakan bahawa beliau jelas terletak di tangga kedua selepas Tun Dr Mahathir dan sebelum Tun Lim Chong Eu dalam kategori tersebut jika dibandingkan semua pemimpin politik tanahair yang masih hidup.

Lihat sahajalah bagaimana dengan pemilihan calon yang tepat sahaja, Samy hampir menjamin kemenangan BN di Ijok, sekaligus membuktikan Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim hanyalah sekadar fenomena politik semusim-dua yang kini kian lelah hidup politiknya di luar payung UMNO.

Berbalik kepada perkara asal, ke manakah arah Anwar selepas Ijok. Keputusan Ijok memang telihat seperti bedalan pukul-mati terhadap Anwar. Anwar dan para pembangkang begitu mengharapkan kemenangan sebagai pemangkin masa hadapan mereka. Yang satu sebagai bukti beliau masih layak dilayan (dan mungkin diterima?) UMNO manakala yang ramai kekal mencari-cari bukti inilah pemimpin yang dinanti-nantikan setelah kembalinya KuLi ke pangkuan UMNO.

Dari awal lagi Ijok diwar-warkan sebagai pertembungan Anwar dan Najib. Para penyokong Anwar, termasuklah 'Gerakan Anti-Najib' (GAN) yang kononnya ada juga pemimpin UMNO, begitu yakin akan kemenangan kuda tunggangan Anwar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, sehinggakan Pak Lah lambat sekali turun padang, mungkin supaya Najib boleh dipersalahkan atas kekalahan BN yang pada awalnya dijangkakan sekaligus memberi modal untuk kembalinya Anwar ke UMNO.

Tidak hairanlah yang kemasukan semula Anwar ke dalam UMNO menjadi topik Mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi (MKT) UMNO sejurus selepas Ijok. Malang sekali bagi Anwar, dengan kekalahan PKR di Ijok, modal yang rencananya akan diajukan oleh 'teman-teman Anwar' ke MKT UMNO hangus! Tidak hairanlah bila diberitakan yang MKT menolak langsung kemasukan kembali Anwar ke dalam UMNO... http://www.thesundaily.com/article.cfm?id=17789

Mungkin Anwar sendiri menyedari bahawa hidup politiknya terancam apabila pada hari-hari akhir berkempen, Pak Lah tiba-tiba turun padang! Mungkin sekali budak-budak berhingus dalam politik yang betenggek di Tingkat 4 akhirnya sedar Anwar bakal kalah, maka mereka menasihatkan Pak Lah cepat-cepat turun padang kerana takut kemenangan BN di Ijok bakal dilaungkan sebagai kemenangan Najib mengatasi sandiwara bersulam tohmahan bertalu-talu si Anwar.

Seorang pemerhati yang condong kearah pembangkang siap mempersoalkan sama ada tindak-tanduk Anwar dan Khairy yang saling membedil satu sama lain pada hari-hari akhir di Ijok menggambarkan putusnya usaha sulit mereka dan GAN untuk membawa Anwar kembali ke UMNO? http://www.harakahdaily.net/bm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7566&Itemid=28

Lebih hebat lagi, kelihatan seperti serangan Khairy terhadap Anwar masih tak putus-putus, walaupun di media arus perdana, apabila beliau dipetik mengatakan parti PKR dan Anwar telah menjadi sejarah apabila kalah di Ijok... http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/content.asp?y=2007&dt=0507&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Politik&pg=po_01.htm

Ijok sebagai sebuah pilihanraya kecil mungkin tidak kelihatan sepenting pilihanraya umum dalam perkembangan politik tanahair. Namun permulaan kehancuran aspirasi politik Anwar dan pendukung-pendukungnya mungkin hanya salah satu dari hasil kekalahannya di Ijok. Mungkin juga dengan pengukuhan kedudukan Najib sekarang, strategi penduduk Tingkat 4 juga akan berubah serta lebih berwaspada akan masa depan mereka pasca zaman Lah.

Jelas sekarang bahawa para pembangkang mahupun para penyokong kerajaan yang kurang senang akan tindak-tanduk rejim Lah tidak boleh lagi menaruh harapan terhadap Anwar sebagai pemangkin perubahan. Mungkinkah Ijok berupaya menggerakkan rakyat Malaysia supaya membuat penilaian kritis terhadap segala isu tanpa diwarnai harapan terhadap seorang pemimpin sahaja, baik Anwar, mahupun Tun Dr M? Kita hanya mampu mendoakannya.

Namun, yang melucukan sekali, kiranya benar kepupusan muktamad politik Anwar Ibrahim bermula di Ijok, ia bukanlah kerana usaha Najib, yang hanya sekadar pelakon gandingan terpenting pada pilihanraya kecil tersebut, tetapi hasil ketokohan calon BN, K Parthiban, dan kebijaksanaan pemimpin ulung kaum India, Samy Vellu.

Jelas Samy sendiri menyedari akan perkara ini apabila beliau berkata,“Saya percaya PKR melakukan kesilapan meletakkan calon pilihan parti itu, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim,” sambil tersenyum sendiri agaknya? ... http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/content.asp?y=2007&dt=0507&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Politik&pg=po_07.htm

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Antara Ijok, Telefon Bimbit Dan Perjuangan

Saya baru melawat halaman http://nursamad.blogspot.com/ dan melihat paparan sambutan ulangtahun kelahiran seorang pendekar Melayu yang masyhur Tan Sri A Samad Ismail, atau Pak Samad. Melihat gambaran zaman muda Pak Samad, sebelum beliau mula berentap mengasak kroni sang penjajah Inggeris, si Lee Kuan Yew, teringat saya akan kisah pertemuan beliau dengan Pemuda UMNO. Begini kisahnya...

Pak Samad dijemput berbicara dengan para pemimpin Pemuda UMNO sekitar zaman kepimpinan sementara Dato' Nazri Aziz. Pada sesi soal-jawab, beliau ditanya oleh seorang Pemuda, apakah perbezaan antara Pemuda UMNO sekarang dan Pemuda UMNO pada zaman Pak Samad.

Memang sesuai soalan ini diajukan kepada Pak Samad, selaku bekas pemimpin muda Melayu yang hebat di Singapura, beliau diantara pengasas Gerakan Angkatan Muda (Geram) dan PAP (People's Action Party). Beliau juga tidak putus usaha memperjuangkan kemerdekaan serta mempertahankan hak masyarakat Melayu pada era kelahiran Malaysia.

Namun selepas berfikir sejenak, jawapan Pak Samad ringkas,"Handphone". Perbezaan perjuangan Pemuda UMNO dahulu dan sekarang pada hemah Pak Samad adalah 'Handphone', Telefon Bimbit. Telefon Bimbit?

Bingung sejenak anak-anak muda UMNO tersebut, apabila tiba-tiba, seolah-olah dikurniakan Allah S.W.T. peluang menimba lagi ilmu dan pengalaman Pak Samad, berdering kedengaran bunyi telefon bimbit. Tergesa-gesa lebih separuh peserta majlis menoleh ke kocek, beg, meja, kerusi atau pautan lain telefon bimbit masing-masing. Ternyata seorang sahaja yang menerima panggilan, lalu peserta tersebut menjawab, dan tak sempat beredar dari bangkunya, sudah mula berbicara mesra (dengan taukeh mungkin) melalui telefon bimbitnya.

Pak Samad sambil tersenyum mengulanginya,"Handphone". Telefon Bimbit.

Kemudian dengan nada separa sinis, separa nasihat, Pak Samad menghuraikan pernyataannya, lebih kurang begini, kerana saya sendiri tidak hadir, tetapi tersampai juga bicara-katanya:

Pada zaman Merdeka dahulu, apabila Pemuda Melayu dan UMNO berbicara tentang perjuangan, tidak ada "Handphone" (Telefon Bimbit) yang mampu mengalihkan tumpuan perhatian dari prinsip, usaha dan matlamat perjuangan tersebut!

Retakan jantung-hati para pejuang kemerdekaan seperti Pak Samad dari melihat betapa deringan Telefon Bimbit berupaya mengalih perhatian mereka yang kononnya generasi baru pemimpin bangsa merupakan suatu papan-tanda bahaya kian melanda UMNO, Islam, Melayu dan Malaysia. Ternyata juga gejala Telefon Bimbit ini kian menjadi-jadi, terutama apabila Pemuda dukungan Tingkat 4 zaman Lah bukan sahaja kini tak ingin mengamati malah berupaya mengherdik dan sangsi akan nilai-nilai perjuangan generasi merdeka seperti Pak Samad.

Dan bukan yang Muda sahaja yang menghidapi penyakit Telefon Bimbit, yang baru habis Muda dan yang perasan masih Muda pun dijangkiti bersama hingga menular disegenap lapisan kepimpinan negara kita. Lihat sahaja gelagat kaum politik Malaysia di sekitar pilihanraya-pilihanraya kecil Batu Talam, Machap dan kini Ijok.

Di Batu Talam, masyarakat di alih perhatian dari isu-isu penting melalui gembar-gemburan 'boikot' PAS sambil UMNO berbisik-bisik di sebalik tabir akan kecundangnya Dato' Najib sekiranya kerusi UMNO tersebut gagal dipertahankan. Di Machap pula, suasana kempen diperhangatkan lagi dengan terbitnya cahaya yang kian malap, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Kini di Ijok, Anwar terus timbul, menunggang kuda barunya, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, seorang wira yang telah dialihkan perhatian dari perjuangannya untuk bangsa.

Di sebalik jentera dan percaturan pilihanraya-pilihanraya kecil ini, wujud perangkaan, jalan-cara, usaha mempertingkatkan imej kekuatan Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan perlecehan kedudukan Dato' Najib Tun Razak. Kenapa? Sebab Anwar ingin merebut kuasa! Kenapa? Telefon Bimbit...

Dengan kuasa, nombor Telefon Bimbit sentiasa dicari orang. Dengan kuasa, terbitnya nombor Telefon Bimbit pada telefon yang berdering pasti menyegerakan jawapan. Telefon Bimbit...

Mana perginya perjuangan demi Agama, Bangsa dan Negara? Manakah usaha meleraikan pertelingkahan di antara dan dikalangan kaum? Tertinggal di luar perkiraan jika dilihat pemilihan calon Ijok, baik pembangkang mahupun kerajaan. Yang PKR menusuk usaha mendirikan parti bukan perkauman dengan memilih calon berdasarkan kaum untuk memastikan kemenangan. Yang MIC mengancam harmoni parti untuk menjamin kekalahan.

Ijok untuk menguatkan Telefon Bimbit Anwar...

Machap kelihatan sebagai sandiwara sambilan di antara Batu Talam dan Ijok, tetapi dengan memilih calon yang tak bisa menang, ternyata Lim Kit Siang menjamin kekuatan Telefon Bimbit anaknya di Melaka... Anwar pun pandai, perginya perkempen di penghujung pilihanraya kecil Machap semata-mata sebagai persediaan untuk Ijok... seumpama mencas tenaga Telefon Bimbitnya...

Dan di Batu Talam, PAS memboikot kerana ingin mengelakan dari kehabisan modal menjelang pilihanraya umum. Bukan modal wang sahaja, tetapi modal isu. Ye lah, kalau isu-isu hangat diketengahkannya terlalu awal sebelum pilihanraya umum , mungkin BN dan UMNO berupaya menanganinya dahulu.

Yang penting untuk PAS bukan isu diketengahkan secepatnya supaya rakyat mengecapi nikmat penyelesaian dengan seawalnya. Yang penting kepada PAS adalah dengan hanyir dan hapaknya isu-isu apabila tidak ditangani akibat dipendam, sengsara rakyat menjelang pilihanraya umum akan meningkat. Yang penting kepada PAS adalah kemenangan, walaupun didukung kesengsaraan rakyat yang mungkin boleh dielakkan.

Boikot Batu Talam berniat menguatkan Telefon Bimbit pemimpin-pemimpin PAS...

Memang penuh ilmu dan teladan Pak Samad. Semoga cukup panjang umur Pak Samad dan pejuang-pejuang generasinya untuk melihat nilai-nilai perjuangan yang lebih murni bangkit semula hingga berupaya mematikan deringan Telefon Bimbit yang kian nyaring. Insya'Allah.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Kenapakah Pilihanraya Harus Diadakan Pada Tahun 2007... BUKAN Kerana Anwarlah!

Dewasa ini telah diperkatakan oleh segenap lapisan masyarakat yang pilihanraya umum bakal diadakan pada akhir tahun ini. Ini walaupun Pak Lah tidak perlu mengisytiharkan pilihanraya sebelum tahun 2009 memandangkan mandat teguh yang dipegang oleh beliau hasil kemenangan besar pada awal tahun 2004.

Lazimnya dikatakan yang Pak Lah ingin mendahulukan pilihanraya tersebut kerana:

  1. Bimbangnya beliau yang menjelang awal tahun 2008, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan berupaya bergiat dengan lebih aktif dalam politik selesai tempoh penggantungan hasil pemenjaraan DSAI kerana jenayah rasuah.
  2. Berita 'kekuatan ekonomi' yang digembar-gemburkan oleh media di bawah penguasaan Tingkat 4.
  3. Pengagihan dana RMK9 kepada para penyokong UMNO serta BN yang berterusan secara langsung dan tidak langsung sejak akhir tahun lepas.

Ini semua dikatakan membawa petanda yang pilihanraya akan diumumkan sejurus selepas pengumuman belanjawan 2008, apabila pengagihan dana kepada rakyat pula akan diadakan, mungkin sekali di penghujung atau selesainya Syawal.

Walaupun saya bersetuju yang ada kemungkinan besar Pak Lah berniat demikian, Tangen yang ingin saya ambil adalah 3 sebab di atas bukanlah sebab kenapa Pak Lah ingin mengisytiharkan pilihanraya menjelang akhir 2007.

Sebenarnya, apalah sangat yang perlu ditakutkan oleh Pak Lah tentang menjelmanya semula Anwar Ibrahim ke arena politik. Walaupun Anwar mungkin lebih berupaya memangkinkan usaha dan meningkatkan prestasi pihak pembangkang, tetapi dari segi jentera politik, pihak pembangkang tetap mengalami kelemahan terutama di luar kawasan di mana mereka sudah sedia aktif selama lebih setengah abad.

Anwar tanpa jentera UMNO untuk mendukungnya bagaikan singa yang telah dikasi.

Yang sepatutnya lebih membimbangkan Pak Lah adalah prestasi ekonomi dan kenaikan kos hidup rakyat yang semakin menghimpit, terutama bagi golongan makan gaji dan berpendapatan rendah. Golongan ini lazimnya dari kalangan bangsa Melayu, dan initiatif-initiatif kerajaan, walaupun manis dimulut, ternyata menanduskan kocek, dengan naiknya kos tol, api serta minyak, dan memeritkan hati, apabila kemudahan DEB diancam oleh "jaguh Hitam" Pak Lah sendiri.

Mana tidaknya Tingkat 4 merasakan perlu untuk menggembar-gemburkan, malah sedikit-sebanyak me-reka berita yang ekonomi negara sekarang kian kukuh. Mungkin penduduk Tingkat 4 perlu melindungi diri dari tuduhan bahawa nasihat dan daya-fikir OxBridge yang mentah tidak ubah liat-hanyirnya berbanding pandapat anak muda lepasan universiti lain yang sama kurang berpengalaman.

Orang-orang lama lazimnya tahu yang niat disebalik azam Pak Lah memajukan tarikh Pilihanraya ke akhir 2007 adalah semata-mata untuk menguatkan kedudukan politiknya di dalam UMNO. Ternyata pemimpin yang paling kuat dalam UMNO sekarang adalah Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak. Inilah sebabnya Anwar menumpukan serangannya bertubi-tubi kearah Najib, bukan Pak Lah. Kalau ada komplot lain tu, tak tahu lah, tetapi ternyata Najib lebih penting kepada UMNO.

Ini adalah kedudukan yang kurang selesa untuk Pak Lah, kerana beliau lebih memerlukan Najib dari sebaliknya untuk kekal berkuasa. Adakah patut ketua harus mengharapkan sokongan nombor dua sebegini rupa... tidak terancamkah Pak Lah? Mungkin Najib datang dari darah bangsawan yang terbukti setia kepada ketua walaupun beliau lebih berpengaruh, seperti bapanya juga. Tetapi ingatlah yang bapanya juga sedia dan lekas mengambil alih apabila ketuanya rebah...

Maka Pilihanraya Umum kelak akan membolehkan Pak Lah melakukan beberapa perkara:

  1. Mengalihkan kerusi pencalonan dari penyokong-penyokong Najib atau pemimpin UMNO lain, seperti penyokong Tun Dr. M dan Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (KuLi). Ini memberi peluang para pemimpin tersebut diberikan kedudukan yang mampu dipergunakan untuk pertandingan dalam parti.
  2. Pengalihan kerusi ini digandingkan dengan pengagihan dana sempena 'persiapan Pilihanraya Umum', yang sebenarnya untuk mengukuhkan kedudukan penyokong Pak Lah untuk bertanding dalam Pemilihan UMNO peringkat Cawangan dan Bahagian kelak. Ini terutama sekali di Bahagian-Bahagian yang mana UMNO tidak memegang kerusi Wakil Rakyat atau ADUN dan dikuasai pemimpin yang kuat mengkritik seperti Seremban dan Cheras.
  3. Memberi peluang untuk jentera jaguh-jaguh Pak Lah dengan senyap 'mengalahkan' calon UMNO yang 'kurang sesuai' pada hemah para penasihat politik beliau semoga kekalahan tersebut memincangkan kedudukan para pemimpin tersebut di kaca-mata ahli-ahli Bahagian.

Tidak hairanlah yang Pilihanraya 2007 bakal diadakan sekitar setahun sebelum Perhimpunan Agung UMNO. Sebelumnya, pemilihan pemimpin UMNO pada peringkat Cawangan serta Bahagian mesti diadakan. Makanya rakyat tidak harus hairan yang tiada kebimbangan pada Pak Lah akan risiko mandat besarnya tidak mungkin dimenanginya lagi. Apalah perlunya mandat besar dari rakyat kiranya Pilihanraya 2007 akan tetap memperkukuhkan kedudukannya dalam UMNO.

Tetapi ini rancangan Pak Lah semata-mata. Beliau memang seorang perancang yang hebat, seperti dilihat di kacamata TV rakyat Malaysia setiap malam. Adakah rancangan Pak Lah akan membuahkan hasil yang diimpikannya? Mampukah Pak Lah membuahkan hasil dalam bidang politik yang kononnya beliau memang ahli, bukan seperti bidang-bidang lain seperti ekonomi? Wallahualam... Adakah Pak Nujum yang berupaya menilik berdasarkan prestasi Pak Lah hingga kini?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crunch Points Of 2007, With Q1 Leading To Initial Conclusions

I had a gathering with a few friends on New Year's Day to discuss the potential crunch areas facing the nation this year, 2007. It was partly in reaction to the on-going number of issues, many unresolved till today, and many more arising continuously, almost swamping us to the point where many have stopped caring. We thought it was important to focus on the key issues that may place the nation in danger, in the eve of our 50th Merdeka celebrations.

By far the most critical item was agreed as being the impending USFTA. The group believed this was the biggest issue, though surprisingly the issue the rakyat were least aware of, as:
  1. If miss-handled, it had the potential of being the most damaging agreement the country has ever agreed upon since independence, to the risk of even sacrificing out sovereign rights to the US, a power that has shown itself to be selfish and unsympathetic to other, closer, past partners.
  2. The recent JapanFTA with Malaysia has indicated a degree of incompetence of the current government in concluding such agreements, resulting in an agreement clearly NOT in Malaysia's favour, when a better agreement would have been easy as Japan is a country that has a long-standing, cooperative and benign relationship with us.
  3. Worryingly, there has recently been anecdotal evidence from the behaviour of MITI, especially the long serving minister, that the Japan FTA was not signed with the ministry's full endorsement, but an agreement was forced by 'other forces', much as being seen recently for the USFTA.

Compared to the USFTA, the other 2 'crunch' events seen then are more benign, but are themselves major events were it not for the presence of the USFTA. The second highest ranked issue for my part was Proton, or rather what the government was going to do about it.

The Proton issue is a long-standing one, but is critical in demonstrating the seriousness of this administration in establishing good corporate governance and the building of a progressive Malaysia. Continued misshandling of Proton, by rewarding its ownership to the wrong parties, or denying its success by turning it into a second-rate subsidiary of a foreign rival, would be seen as confirming that corporate corruption and the culture of mediocrity is alive an well in Malaysia.

As mentioned on occassion by this blogger, my book of writings on Proton is coming along nicely, with materiel from former leaders and internal sources from bidding companies, hopefully, shedding more light to the whole mess so far, though we hope (naively?) nevertheless leading to a good outcome.

Finally, the issue we thought would be of interest moving later into the year was Synergy Drive and the amalgamation, and re-allocation (as there must be), of the assets of the major Plantation GLCs in the country. Synergy Drive is seen as a larger and potentially bigger test case of the extent of corporate corruption and mismanagement has progressed than Proton.

Of particular additional interest also is the way the merger will change the power-structure in Malaysia's corporate landscape, with the plantation companies wielding so much power even whilst apart, second only to Petronas in the GLC ranks. Will our plantations continue to be steered by Nationalists like those in PNB, with Nation-Building agendas, or new-age Economic Hit-men like many in Khazanah, with KPI's and 'loose change' on their minds... and little else?

We are coming into the end of Q1 2007, and I believe the above to still be pertinent, so many may ask, where is the 9MP and Singapore's Johor Economic Rape (SJER), now better known as the IDR (Iskandar Duped Repeatedly). Well, I believe the 9MP to be nothing more than a poor man's PR trick (I mean really, do you remember the 8th, 7th, 6th... MPs?). And the IDP, the biggest real-estate auction in history, deserves a separate category altogether...

As for the coming elections... well, I think the handling of USFTA, Proton and Synergy Drive should probably be guiding lights for Young Professional voters in Malaysia on how they cast their votes in any case. On these issues we can decide if the government is guiding us and our country where we think we deserve to be driven, in a decent Proton running along in 'synergy' with our nature and desires, and without some obnoxious American as a backseat driver!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mari Kita Sama-Sama Menasihati YAB Sebelum Ekonomi Malaysia Jahanam Lagi

Sejurus keluar bahan tulisan Yang Angkuh Bongkak (YAB) Khairy Jamaluddin di halaman Mingguan Malaysia tanggal 25 Feb 2007, mengetengahkan pendapat yang ekonomi kita memang semakin kencang hasil usaha kerajaan pimpinan bapa mertuanya, harga saham Bursa Malaysia turun menjunam pada minggu berikutnya.

Ini bukanlah petanda kehebatan kata-kata YAB Khairy sehingga pelabur Bursa boleh ditakutkan oleh tindak-tanduk beliau. Hanya sekadar menunjukkan yang mungkin beliau belum cukup ahli dalam hal ekonomi untuk memberi pendapat yang sah boleh diterima.

Kalaulah YAB benar-benar ahli dalam hal ekonomi, beliau pasti sedar yang sebenarnya melonjak naiknya Bursa Malaysia sebelum ini kerana pelabur jangka-masa pendek yang lari dari pasaran saham Thai telah mengalihkan wang mereka secara mendadak dari negara tersebut ke Malaysia. Pengalihan ini pun ternyata untuk jangkamasa singkat kerana saham kita sudah terlalu murah akibat kurang pelabur jangkamasa panjang baru di Malaysia dibandingkan negara-negara jiran.

Maka di manakah kesahihan pendapat YAB Khairy, apabila hujahnya yang ekonomi Malaysia kukuh berdasarkan analisa yang kurang jitu. Terlanjur pula beliau mempertahankan kenaikan harga minyak, tol dan sebagainya sebagai sah walaupun hasilnya rakyat mengalami keperitan secara mendadak.

Yang membimbangkan adalah, dalam kegagalan usaha YAB Khairy menunjukkan keahlian dalam hal ekonomi, apabila beliau sebenarnya tiada berkemampuan besar, kata-katanya membawa risiko seperti:

  1. Menimbulkan tanda-tanya tentang kesahihan pendapatnya yang betul, seperti apabila beliau menyatakan betapa perlunya kita membantah perjanjian perdagangan bebas dengan Amerika Syarikat (USTFA). Ini betul, tetapi kata-kata YAB Khairy tidak membantu sekiranya beliau dilihat pincang keahlian ekonominya.

  2. Tindak-tanduk YAB Khairy mungkin menimbulkan tanda-tanya akan kebolehan generasinya untuk mewarisi tampuk kepimpinan negara kelak, kerana walaupun beliau tidak mewakili generasi beliau, mungkin ada yang berfikiran demikian.

Oleh itu, saya menyarankan kepada hamba-hamba Allah yang sudi, nasihatkanlah beliau untuk membaca dan belajar lebih lagi tentang hal ekonomi sebelum beraksi sebagai ahli.

Sebagai seorang yang disanjung kebijaksanaannya, YAB Khairy patut sedar yang walaupun beliau seorang pemegang ijazah Politik, Falsafah dan Ekonomi (PPE) dari Oxford, ini hanya ijazah Sarjana Muda yang mengajar 1/3 sahaja dari kandungan bidang Ekonomi yang ada pada kelulusan Ekonomi lain. Ijazah Sarjana beliau pula bukanlah dalam hal ekonomi.

Malangnya, pengalaman kerja YAB Khairy sebelum ini pun kebanyakannya dalam hal kewartawanan, dan dengar kata yang beliau diambil menjadi Pegawai Khas pun kerana kebolehannya untuk mengarang ucapan, bukannya kerana keupayaan dalam bidang ekonomi. YAB patut mengakui yang tugas-tugas beliau di ECM-Avenue pun sekadar dalam hal Perhubungan Awam (PR) semata-mata, jadi manalah sangat pengalaman bidang ekonominya.

Kalaulah pemain boneka utama negara a.k.a. Uncle Kali berupaya mengajar YAB Khairy, tak apalah juga. Tetapi memandangkan dalam hal penulisan dan kewartawanan pun YAB kelihatan lebih ahli dari Uncle Kali yang ternyata bukanlah seorang wartawan yang hebat, apalah sangat yang upaya diajar oleh Uncle kepada YAB?

Dalam keinsafan YAB Khairy, kami menasihatkan beliau membaca buku-buku tersebut untuk memahami apa itu ekonomi dan apakah asas pemikiran yang harus ada dalam usaha membangunkan negara:

Mungkin selesai itu, YAB Khairy akan berupaya membaca teks yang lebih rumit, sejurus itu menjadi lebih upaya untuk memberi pandangan tetang hal ekonomi. Namun, ada baiknya mungkin sekiranya beliau menasihati teman-temannya di Khazanah dan GLC-GLC untuk membaca buku-buku tersebut dan yang dibawah, selain mengarah dan mengherdik mereka dalam pelbagai hal lain:

Sekadar inilah keupayaan saya, untuk mengajukan nasihat sahaja. Adalah diharapkan mana-mana hamba Allah yang mengajukan saranan saya kepada YAB Khairy juga mengutarakan niat ikhlas saya. Sesungguhnya, adalah untuk kebaikan sejagat warga Melayu dan Malaysia yang kemampuan YAB dalam hal ekonomi ditingkatkan lagi dari kadar yang sedia-ada.

Some Humbling Reflections

I've been busy at work, and then chose to take time to reflect and reassess, whilst resisting to respond to stupidity such as these:

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/2/28/business/16996639&sec=business
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/3/5/nation/17047430&sec=nation
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/3/10/bizweek/17073462&sec=bizweek
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/3/13/nation/17119560&sec=nation

And hypocracies like these (however welcome any voice may be against notions like a USFTA and for notions like the GLCs' role in nation-building):

http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=7329
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/3/11/nation/17113577&sec=nation

And just plain naivety/ignorance, unworthy of the reputation of an Oxford PPE degree, such as this:

http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/archive.asp?y=2007&dt=0225&pub=utusan_malaysia&sec=rencana&pg=re_05.htm&arc=hive

In the period, this site still received a modest number of hits, for which I must thank
http://rockybru.blogspot.com/, http://www.mykmu.net/ and some new notoreity from this http://www.umno-reform.com/urnews1/blog_attack_pm.htm site.

In my time to reflect I remain convinced that the biggest danger facing Malaysia as a nation this year is

which you can find out more on
http://www.usftamalaysia.blogspot.com/ and that Uncle Kali

remains the country's best puppet-master with Yang Angkuh Bongkak (YAB)

as described here
http://www.pemudaumno.org.my/modules.php?name=NaibKetua being by far his most dangerous puppet.

Just a note. BursaMalaysia collapsed the week after YAB KJ opened his mouth on the soundness of our economy in the Utusan. Not saying that YAB has strong influnce on the markets, only that he probably shouldn't confess his ignorance so loudly. Its so embarassing for those in the generation he (wrongly) claims to be representing!

I'm back... with some humbling reflections...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Adakah Orang Lain Yang Patut Disyaki Dalam Kes Altantuya - Razak Baginda?

Saya menulis di sini sebab merasa agak pelik dan kasihan terhadap musibah tuduhan yang mungkin fitnah dihamburkan terhadap Dato' Najib Tun Razak tentang kes ini. Macamlah kalau Razak Baginda tu bekas kawan dan kroni beliau ia menjadi bukti kukuh membolehkan tuduhan sedemikian. Saya rasa lebih adil kita sekarang mangambil tangen membuka skop tuduhan lebih luas kepada orang lain yang patut disyaki seperti...
  1. Semua tahu yang lazimnya para ahli UTK ini melindungi kedua-dua VVIP jaguhan kita, PM dan DPM, dan juga kaum keluarga mereka apabila keluarga mengiring bersama dalam apa-apa acara, bukan Dato' Najib sahaja. Ya la, susah sikit nak percaya yang Pak Lah berupaya celik untuk mengganas sedemikian rupa, tapi yang si K, K dan pelbagai kawan-kawan K mereka macam mana? Adakah mereka juga pemangsa Altantuya?
  2. Sebenarnya, Razak Baginda ni rapat dengan geng-geng Tingkat 4. Ya la, kan semuanya berintelek. Korek punya korek, mesti akan ada yang sedar mereka semua mula berkenalan sejak bebudak Tingkat 4 di Universiti lagi. Malah, boleh dikatakan Razak ada juga membantu beberapa dari mereka ke Tingkat 4 dan menyertai pejabat Najib. Adakah mungkin mereka begitu rapat sehingga terlibat?
  3. UTK-UTK ini pun pernah melindungi bekas PM dan DPM lain. Mungkinkah Tun Dr M, Anwar Ibrahim dan Tun Musa juga patut disyaki terbabit dalam kes ini? Masya'Allah!
  4. Para ahli kabinet, para ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO dan ahli-ahli perniagaan yang pernah melawat ke luar negera dengan PM serta DPM dahulu dan sekarang mesti ada yang sudah mengenali UTK-UTK ataupun Razak Baginda sebelum ini. Mungkinkah mereka ini juga ada yang terlibat?
  5. Tambah pula, UTK-UTK ini pun ada kawan lain. Razak Baginda pun ada kawan lain juga. Apakah semua perlu disyaki?
  6. Alamak... saya rasa saya pernah jumpa-lah Razak Baginda. UTK-UTK ni pun ada hadir kalau saya menghadiri majlis dengan PM dan DPM. Adakah saya juga patut disyaki? Adakah anda?

OK lah, pada saya mungkin kerja tuduh ramai-ramai ni taklah baik sangat, jadi baik kita tak suka-suka tuduh sembarangan siapa-siapa pun! Biar polis dan pejabat peguam negara sahaja yang meneruskan kerja tuduh-menuduh ini. Buat orang marah dan semakin sedih pulak! Tetapi apa pun berlaku, yang ingin sekali saya tahu tentang kes ini ialah...

Macam mana polis boleh dengan begitu mudah sekali menjumpai taburan tulang Altantuya yang sudah berkecai dibom di cerok belukar hutan yang kera sekalipun, apatah lagi manusia, tak minat nak lawat? Kalau sayalah yang menjumpai tulang macam itu, mesti saya ingat tulang binatang punya! Jadi macam mana boleh jumpa dan bagaimana polis tahu? Ada orang yang cerita ka...?

The Annonymous Spinning Identities Post Machai.net (SiPM) Of The Lah-ist Regime

I'd always wondered what happened to the guys at machai.net soon after the http://machai-umno.blogspot.com/ site out-ted them. There has been claims hither and tither that they now appear in a new more 'acceptable' guise of the Siber Party of Malaysia (M) or SiPM (http://sipm.blogspot.com/index.html), of whom one member honoured me by commenting on this blog... realise now that its probably their way of pluggin' shamelessly...

I tend to believe now that SiPM is a new form of machai.net - a new version of spin-doctoring from the Lah-ist regime. May or may not be the same people, but at least they are trying to engage us in cyberspace... rather flattering really if you can stand from puking over their hypocricy (these are the people that are condemning us in mass media and who's chums are suing some of us after all!). At least its their writing that has ended up out-ting them this time...

Just a Tangent for the likes of Machai and SiPM, there's merit in considering blogging non-annonymously as it does save the effort of the many honest bloggers out there in out-ting the Lah-ist psy-war spin-doctors among us. At least all the other bloggers you so hate, be they the Mahafirauns, KMU, Jeffs and Rockys, are honest in what they represent... they don't spin...

And before you accuse me of blogging annonymously... I'm not...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

USFTA Malaysia = Malayan Union Abad Ke-21?

Saya baru sahaja menyumbang kepada bahan 'pantauan' tersebut di site http://www.usftamalaysia.blogspot.com

Suatu cabaran yang diterima oleh Gabungan Rakyat Pemantau USFTA-Malaysia dari para pemimpin pelajar Malaysia di UK adalah untuk menjelaskan kenapakah USFTA atau Perjanjian Perdagangan Bebas dengan US ini dikatakan seakan-akan ancaman Malayan Union yang ditentang oleh nenek-moyang kita dahulu.

Izinkan kami menjelaskan sedikit hujah di sebalik pendapat ini. Pada zaman kemenangan sistem kapitalis Barat ini, sistem kapitalis ini sendiri menjadi senjata utama dalam usaha membelenggu negara-bangsa lain di dunia. Amalan ini mungkin tidak didukung oleh semua negara Barat, tetapi Amerika Syarikat, sebagai kuasa besar utama di dunia sekarang dari segi ketenteraan, mahupun saiz ekonominya, tetap mengamalkan penjajahan kapitalisma, atau Colonial Capitalism.

Bacalah lagi di ... http://usftamalaysia.blogspot.com/2007/01/usfta-malaysia-malayan-union-abad-ke-21.html

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Blogging Is Global In Nature, Hence Is Its Litigation Global In Nature?

They say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, so as I have no real formal knowledge of the law, any views I espouse probably would be ...

It's getting to be a little too much fun taking Tangents of the NST vs. Blogger (Jeff and Rocky) civil action. My earlier post pondered the risks of Pak Lah being partisan on this case. I now wonder if maybe Uncle Kali and co may have begun something that isn't quite within the realm of their 'control'.

Consider this. Blogging is global by nature. The audience is global, as witnessed by the global outpouring of support in addition to the international reporting of this case, cited even as a 'landmark' case by the over-exuberant. However, there are legalistically global implications also to the suing of Rocky and Jeff, in that:
  1. Their blogs, whilst by and large Malaysian by content, are hosted in servers abroad, potentially making them 'resident' within a foreign legal jurisdiction.
  2. Any income they derive from the blogs, either directly through advertising, or indirectly by incidentals, opportunities, etc, would also not only be from Malaysian sources, but from an international base and would typically be via off-shore facilitation (adsense, etc).
  3. The reputation held by these blogs are also international in nature, evident from the global awareness and commentary of the case, hence the owners risk critical cross-border defamation and all that that entails, whatever the outcome of this case.

So, is it too far a Tangent to imagine that whatever the outcome of this battle in the Malaysian courts, Jeff and Rocky may be able to seek legal recourse of some sort from a foreign court of law, almost of their choice?

So, could Jeff and Rocky even from now on lay a counter-claim of libel, defamation and loss of income through restriction in blogging activity in a US court due to their blogs being hosted and the income from advertising being facilitated by US entities?

And lets assume say a link is made between the case and happenings in Turkey, just an example mind you, could they take action in a Turkish court specific to the element of the case being cited?

Wow... this is great kung fu for us wee bloggers if it proves to be true...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Can Pak Lah Afford To Be Partisan Against Us Wee Bloggers?

I'm taking a Tangent here of course on the matter of the bloggers (Jeff and Rocky) vs NSTP case which is running rabid on the Malaysian blogosphere and apparently infecting much of the world's on-line and traditional media.

The Tangent I'm taking is actually on this:

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/1/24/nation/16663444&sec=nation

Am I reading this right? Is Pak Lah really taking sides here, against Jeff and Rocky, in what is really a civil suit? I mean I know-lah that NST is an UMNO paper and that Kalimullah is Pak Lah's chum (due to Pak Lah mistakenly thinking that Kalimullah helped him secure the DPM-ship - uncle Kali you sly old manipulator you...) as well as his son-in-law Khairy's boss and once(?) business partner, but isn't this going a little too far?

It would be far fairer of Pak Lah if he also added a comment in the lines of,"Traditional media also should take responsibility of their reporting, and responsible blogs then do have a role to play to check the excesses of such media, especially those with links to the establishment like the NST. Indeed traditional media like NSTP's publications that are linked to the ruling party must set the standard in responsible reporting ahead of blogs as any poor reporting risks embarassing the government."

The above line is not just more creditable for a leader gagging for world recognition (since local recognition is tough in the days of floods, boats, inflation and toll hikes), it is also good politics as:
  1. Bloggers are voters too

  2. Uncle Kali and gang are not really the most popular people in Malaysia at the moment

  3. In Acheh recently, the winner of the race for Govenor was a surprise dark-horse ex-rebel/freedom fighter ex-con. The reason he and his block of the Acheh Liberation Movement (GAM) won? They printed out and distrubuted the 'best off' news about their block that was published in the net and blogs!

By the way, there may also be legal reasons why Pak Lah should refrain from commenting on this matter as the recent thorn in Dato' Rafidah's side, Michael Backman (http://www.michaelbackman.com/) once commented in his book...

...that (in his view) Malaysian courts are actually quite independent (contrary to popular opinion), but have this annoying habit of typically passing judgement in favour of or in line with what they percieve are the government's desires; the flip-flop on Anwar Ibrahim's conviction and subsequent release on appeal being the case in point.

Could Pak Lah be setting up grounds for an appeal for this case should the NST-fellows win? Pak Lah... I thought uncle Kali was your friend?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lets Not End Up Riding In This Boat...

Our former DPM, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, (otherwise known as the 'KJ Idol' or the 'politician otherwise known as DSAI' on the net), admist his blatant attacks on the man he sees as his biggest obstacle to returning to UMNO, and power, the current DPM, has chosen to raise the anchor of another boat's issue to lend him 'credibility' by:

  1. Giving the impression that Leaders of Muslim countries still have the time of day to spend with him. (http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/beritankom.php?itemid=1919)
  2. Giving the impression that he's also anti Pak Lah... which actually may well be true, which would be really tricky of him! Ahah!

Well seeing DSAI's antics and with myself getting a little sick of the new ridiculous act of 'management' in Proton, akin to gorging on a sour Cherry in the hope of patching up large tracks of missing 'grey cells' involvement in past decisions, I thought I'd take a Tangent even from my last take on 'the boat': (http://thoughtsintangents.blogspot.com/2006/12/about-boat.html)

I say we Malaysian should all stay focussed to avoid us ending up in a boat like this:

















This is "The Raft Of The Medusa" by Theodore Gericault, by far my favourite of all the pieces of art on display at the Louvre in Paris.

Note that it does qualify as a 'boat' as it appears somewhat seaworthy enough to carry some people, though just barely.

It is of course nothing like the supposed "Yatch of Pak Lah" or the RM30 Million boat.

My attraction to this painting isn't just due to its apparent morbidity (which is kinda cool), the artists' wonderful use of colour and technique (which, being an engineering graduate, I don't really think I have the tools to comprehend) or because I could admire it in peace whilst every other tourist were scrambling over each other to glance a snapshot of the Mona Lisa (my wife's more of a babe anyway).

What attracted me also was the history underlying the painting, as it was actually a record of the last hours before the rescue of an incident involving the French vessel Medusa in the 1800's. Here's a Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Raft_of_the_Medusa

The history behind The Raft Of The Medusa is actually that of management incompetence. The incompetence of the French Bourbon government in appointing the frigate Medusa's Captain. The Captain's inexperience and incompetence leading to the ship being grounded. Then the rather pathetic efforts to save the survivors of the wreck, leading to a disaster and scandal which deservedly rocked the French government of the time.

Read excerpts from wikipedia (with edits for clarity of my message):

"The French Ministry of the Marine made the mistake of appointing inexperienced Frigate-Captain ... to lead the fleet. He had mainly worked as a customs officer more than twenty years previously and had worked against Napoleon. His crew did not particularly appreciate him, because they had served with Napoleon during his reign...

The fleet left Port de Rochefort on June 17. Medusa sailed quickly away before the rest of the fleet. On July 17, the Captain... ran the ship aground.

At first the crew tried to release her by throwing heavy items overboard, but (the Captain) stopped the effort....

Eventually he decided to abandon ship. Because there were only six
lifeboats, he made a raft out of masts and crossbeams to carry the rest of the crew. Dignitaries – 250 of them – took the lifeboats and attempted to tow the raft. The raft was too flimsy to keep all the rest (149 men and one woman) afloat. Seventeen men decided to stay on Medusa. The rest were left with no food and water to speak of.

Those in lifeboats soon noticed that the idea of towing the raft was impractical. (The Captain) decided to cut the rope and leave the rest of the crew to its fate, four miles (6 km) off shore.

On the raft, the situation deteriorated rapidly. Men began to throw wine and flour out of spite and fight among themselves. On the first night 20 men – whites and
Africans, soldiers and officers – were killed or committed suicide. Rations dwindled ever more rapidly and on the fourth day some on the raft resorted to cannibalism. On the eighth day, the fittest began throwing the weak and wounded overboard.

Thirteen days later, when (the ship) Argus found the raft almost by accident, there were only 15 survivors remaining. Five of the survivors, including the last African crew member, died within days. Three of the seventeen men that had decided to stay on the Medusa were later recovered alive. British naval officers helped the survivors to return to France because aid from the French Minister of the Marine was not forthcoming."

A 'nice' metaphor and cautionary tale for our times in Malaysia no? What with the out of control increases in cost of living, the selling off of national assets, the instigation of racial tension and with the USFTA coming up to boot! Interpret the history behind The Raft Of The Medusa in the current Malaysian context as you wish... lets just not end up in THIS kind of boat...

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