|The not-lonely PM at Invest Malaysia Conference|
I have no clue where the Prime Minister got this idea that people think he was lonely. Instead most Malaysians know just how merry and jolly their PM is.
I think he misunderstood what Dr Mahathir had written in his blog on April 13. In that post, Dr Mahathir said “saya sedar saya keseorangan” (I realise that I am alone). Dr Mahathir was referring to his quest to seek the truth about 1MDB and the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Unless Mohd Najib is speaking Kazak (the predominant language of Kazakhstan), he would have realised that Dr Mahathir did not say he was lonely. He said he was alone. So when Mohd Najib said he did not feel lonely, he once again misunderstood what Dr Mahathir said.
Still we thank Mohd Najib for making doubly clear that he wasn’t feeling lonely.
How Can He Be Lonely?
He had just returned from leading a glittering wedding party of his daughter (with (Datin Paduka Seri) Rosmah Mansor) to Kazakhstan, which, according to Dr Mahathir, comprised some 300 merrymakers.
Also some 160 Umno divisional chiefs had pledged their unequivocal support for him. The Umno Youth had held him up so high up that he could see eternity. The Wanita Umno had wildly waved the “I love PM” banners and sang “1M4U”. I can’t recall what the Puteri Umno did. But I am sure those pretty faces too did something soothing for him.
|The Macho Men and the Princesses|
The mainstream media and the Mohd Najib-linked bloggers (ULB) - paid or voluntary, “bangang” or brilliant – continue to singing praises for him and maligning his critics. But some of them are saying that plots are being hatched in Umno to oust Mohd Najib although this was denied.
So how could he be lonely?
At the same conference he said prosperity must be shared. (Read here). We have no problem with that except that in the last two decades Malaysia has become less equal.
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting nowhere but backward. Even some in the lower middle class are falling off the ledge.
That’s probably why Malaysians are only mildly happy. We are ranked 53 out of 158 countries featured in the most recent World Happiness Report published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The Switzerland is the happiest country and Togo is the saddest.
Apart from 1Malaysia People’s Assistance (BR1M), Mohd Najib recently shared the wealth of the country with fellow members of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara by agreeing to a hefty pay rise.
According to an economist/researcher, that raise catapulted our Yang Berhormats to the top one-per cent of the income band – to be exact the top 0.6%.
Income inequality is growing despite the economy expanding at a respectable high rate, signalling the failure of the wealth distribution in the post-NEP period. The lowest paid civil servants earned under RM1,300 a month after adding cost of living and housing allowances. The situation is worse in the private sector and among the self-employed.
Yet we were recently told by Rosmah Mansor that her hairstylist charged her RM1,200 for hair colouring at home and she blamed it on the GST. A society lady told me that its costs double that to do facial at a beauty outlet like Aster Spring. Today even men visit beauty parlours. Of course these are not the ordinary men in the street.
|Even Men visited beauty parlour like this one|
And look at Tabung Haji, the pride and joy of Malaysian Muslims. The bottom 87% of savers have average investment of only RM567 in 2013 according to the UNDP Human Development Report 2013 authored by economist (Tan Sri) Kamal Salih, Dr Mohamed Abdul Khalid and Dr Lee Hwok Aun. Less than 40% of Muslims have accounts at Tabung Haji.
Then what has happened to Mohd Najib’s call on April 10, 2014 for better representation of gender, ethnicity and age in the Malaysian corporate sector? He said he would like to see a greater number of Malaysian-listed companies producing sustainability reports that include these features. Where is the update or is this another empty transformational promise? (Read here).
1MDB Stayed Away
The conference was organised by Bursa Malaysia with Khazanah Nasional Berhad and CIMB banking group being key participants. 1MDB was invited “to give its side of the story” but declined.
As a bona fide government strategic investment company it should not have shied away from the gathering whose keynote speaker was the Prime Minister himself. If 1MDB’s board of advisers, directors and management are so darn sure of their modus operandi and transparency, they should have attended the conference.
In another development, the company had declined to entertain inquiries from the media saying that “1MDB does not comment on speculation and market rumours.”
According to the report, The Malaysian Insider news portal had asked 1MDB to comment on claims that it had provided falsified bank statements concerning a subsidiary.
Maybe its President and Group Executive Director, Arul Kanda Kandasamy had learnt a bitter lesson when he told the Mingguan Malaysia on Feb. 15 (read here) that the talks of T.Ananda Krishman lending RM2 billion to 1MDB were “mere speculation”.
Then about six weeks later, on March 25, according to Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, Ananda through his power company, Tanjong Energy Holdings, “had arranged the funding with the help of private investors.”
So what Arul Kanda said in the interview with the Malay newspaper amounted to lying. So rather than perpetuating the lies, it would be better for 1MDB to keep its mouth shut and open its books to the investigators.