Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Making Beeline to Curry Favour with Dr M

PREAMBLE: Views expressed herein are entirely mine. I am writing in my personal capacity as a blogger. It has nothing to do with whatever position I may hold.

LAST evening I was invited for a berbuka puasa with the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at the Perdana Leadership Foundation (PLF) in Putrajaya.

I saw many familiar faces - men and women - who during good and bad times had stuck with THE man.

[Anonymous comments will not be published. Please use real or pseudonym. Thank you.]

But I also saw many who had been absent from his berbuka puasa and other functions for quite a few years. I felt no sense of remorse when I greeted them with disdain.

They deserved it. They abandoned and disregarded the very person who made them rich and powerful in the first place.

What was his sin? Nothing! But these hypocrites and backstabbers shied away from him because they were afraid of losing their plump contracts, projects and concessions.

It’s hard for me to believe that they did to him. I have been is this business of scribing for 49 years. I met these people when they were young businessman struggling to make a name for themselves or were learning the ropes from their elders.

And it was during the 22-year that Dr Mahathir was Prime Minster (1981 – 2003), thanks to the good management of the economy,  that they rose to become millionaires and billionaires.

Some of them were not even businessman. They were academicians, civil servants and technocrats but the Mahathir era turned them into corporate figures – genuine and pseudo.

When Dr Mahathir was in power they celebrated him as if he was a “Tua Pek Kong” and man of miracle. He was lavishly praised and even more lavishly feasted.

But when he left office but yet continuing to care for the country, many of these people abandoned him for fear that supporting or just being seen with him would jeopardize their billion dollar contracts, projects concessions or subject them to the scrutiny of the Inland Revenue Board.

The situation became worst when he joined and finally led the opposition in an effort to save the nation by democratically overthrowing the kleptocratic government of (Datuk Seri I Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sandrobone Sultan Abdul Jalil) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.

The mere mention of Dr Mahathir caused them to cringe. Their fear of the government was childlike. It appears as if the puja of the “pawang buaya” and the priest from Sri Lanka had been put on them.

Of course there were those who were totally and completely devoted to the ousted Prime Minister and his wife (Datin Paduka Seri Puan Puti Reno) Rosmah Mansor.

They keep away from Dr Mahathir and whoever he was associated with.

The majority of them had not thought that Dr Mahathir and his new Pakatan Harapan (PH) team could pull it off against the money and might of Najib's Barisan Nasional (BN).

Very few businessmen dared to support him overtly. Those who did were punished. But there were a handful who, I am told, supported his struggle overtly.

I had bumped into some of these corporate characters while campaigning for PH. They camped in Langkawi to make sure that Dr Mahathir did win the island constituency.

They brought with them entertainers and performers to draw away crowd from his rallies. I know some of these people. They were nothing when I first met them during my younger days but are today Tan Sri and billionaires.

Their hypocrisy and lack shame put me off. But still I accepted their handshake for the sake civility and common courtesy.

These people must know or, be made to know, that this is not BN government. This is the PH government which has promised to be different, open and transparent.

They cannot and should not expect their multi-billion ringgit public contracts, projects and concessions and, above all, their shenanigans, to be left unnoticed.

The new government has made it clear that mega projects and negotiated contracts will be re-examined and re-evaluated.

While the government may have to continue working with these people, it must take cognizant of the fact that there are many struggling businessmen and women who fearlessly supported the coalition.

Their sacrifices and bravery must not be forgotten. This government must endevour to give the best to the rakyat while helping genuine businessman to flourish.

They should never be sidelined in favour of the fat cats and top dogs of the central business district.

I have not the slightest doubt that Dr Mahathir still has the golden touch to make this country great again, Insya Allah.

I thank Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam for reminding me that I have not lost a single election that I got involved in – on behalf of the BN then and PH now. 


Cari makan is important but dignity is a virtue not to be forgotten. I cannot imagine millionaire Datuks and billionaire Tan Sris kowtowing to dedak eating konco of Mohd Najib.


Monday, May 21, 2018

The End of Umno’s Hegemony

In the name of God, the merciful and the compassionate

I HAVE never started my post with a reminder. But I now have. The opinion expressed here, in this blog, is entirely mine. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my position (for now) as the head of media & communication of the Council of Elders (CoE).

As has been for the past 12 years, this blog is mine and the content herein is mine. They do not represent or purport to represent other individuals or organisations.

I have to make this absolutely clear because of late some journalists and media organisations had either intentionally or out of ignorance linked my opinion here (and also in my Facebook) as representing that of the CoE.

The CoE has nothing to do with my blog and Facebook, my writing in Sinar Harian and Dewan Masyarakat. So I appeal to journalists and organisations quoting from my blog, Facebook and my columns in Sinar and Dewan Masyarakat not to link it to my for-now position as an apparatus of CoE aka the Council of Eminent Persons.

[Anonymous comments will not be published. Please use real or pseudonym. Thank you.]

NOW to my opinion. This time it is about the end of the Umno-Barisan Nasional political hegemony.

As we now know, the hegemony of the United Malay National Organisation (Umno) and the BN came to an unceremonious end on May 9.

On the way to conceding defeat
The 72-year old Malay party and its BN coalition were swept away by the “tsunami Malaysia” after being in power continuously since independence in 1957.

The self-proclaimed Bugis warrior, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, had finally steered his Bugis pinisi into the eye of the storm and sank.

Remember his famous heroic cry? "Saya ingin mengulangi, setelah layar telah dikembangkan, apabila sauh telah dilabuhkan, pantang ketua kapal dan anak-anak kapal menoleh ke belakang.”

Literally translated, once the sail had been raised and the anchor dropped, the captain and its crew would not look back.

Unfortunately, Najib the sailor wasn’t like his seafaring ancestors. He got his command wrong. He asked for the sail to be raised but ordered the anchor dropped.

The mast broke, the sail torn and the ship sank. The BN lost the federal government and eight out of 12 state assemblies up for grabs.

It would appear that Najib really believed that it would be plain sailing for the BN until the counting of votes commenced in the evening of May 9.

The first sign of trouble was when older voters in the 1st and 2nd streams did not all sided with the BN.

In the past, voters in these two streams, who are made up of pensioners and older people, overwhelmingly supported the BN. But it wasn’t the case this time.

It soon dawned upon the BN representatives at the counting centres that they would fare worse when ballot boxes from the streams comprising of younger voters were opened and counted.

Their fears became a reality and the people soon got wind of the ouster of the BN when television stations were slow in broadcasting the results.

The pro-government Election Commission went an extra mile to delay the announcement in the hope that the postal and early votes would lift the BN’s fortune. But the BN was in such a deficit that these votes did not help.

By early morning of May 10 it dawned upon Najib that the BN did not have enough seats to form a government hence the phone calls to the Pakatan Harapan’s Ketua Umum, Anwar Ibrahim, through the good offices of the latter’s good friend, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

They were futile calls. Why should Anwar want to cooperate with the Bugis pendekar (martial arts exponent) when his party and its coalition partners had won more than enough seats to form the government?

It was clear that Umno and the BN did not expect the shift to be so large that it could not be made good by early and postal votes.

The rest is history and now the once belligerent Najib will have to face the music. Umno and the BN had gotten rid of him. He said he resigned. But I would like to believe that his position had become untenable.

Tomorrow he would have to report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Putrajaya to have his statement recorded.

For several days now the police have been carting away an extraordinary amount of cash, gold bars, fantastically expensive wristwatches and handbags, and documents from Najib’s Taman Duta residence and hideouts said to be owned by tycoon Desmond Siew Choon of the Pavilion fame.

A preview of what is likely to happen to Najib can be based on the case involving his good friend, Mohd Isa Samad - the disgraced chairman of Felda.

On August 15 last year – incidentally also a Tuesday – Isa was arrested at the MACC headquarters after having his statement in relation to the purchase of hotels by Felda was recorded. The following day he was taken to court and was remanded for five days.

The same could happen to Najib. But unlike Isa, who was not charged for his offences, Najib may not be so lucky.

The whole world knows that there is a case pending against him – the SRC International Sdn Bhd’s money that allegedly went into his personal account.

So, the Bugis pinisi had not only sunk but its master now faces the risk of being charge with piracy.

As for the crew who survived the May 9 tsunami, they have to decide if their “Javanese” first mate is good enough to take them to the stormy seas once again.


About Me

My photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).