Monday, 30 June 2008

THE MALAY ECONOMIC DILEMMA AND THE RISE OF THE MALAY FINANCIAL MAFIA.

Because of that intellectual development, many business tools were discovered which could be used to measure efficiency of businesses enterprises. We are not opposed to these ideas and business tools because they are good. There is nothing wrong or ashamed in adapting our own management styles with that of successful business entities. Some of the more famous tools were a set of indicators known as Key Performance Indicators and Speed-to-market (STM) responses.

When the new economic policy was launched in 1971, the principle engine for Malay economic advancement was the state owned enterprises(SOEs). The government set a target for the Malays to achieve a 30% share of corporate wealth by 1990. By that date, Malay share in the nation’s corporate wealth was about 19%. Malay corporate wealth grew at an average rate of 0.85% over 20 years. Dismayed at the speed of growth, the government switched from reliance on state owned enterprises to Malay private corporate vehicles to speed up Malay economic advancement. From 1991 to the present, we have seen extensive privatisation of state owned assets.

In 1971, the government launched the New Economic Policy( NEP). This was an economic blueprint to unite the Malaysian races by eradicating poverty and dissociating particular race with particular economic activity. The NEP was a blueprint which came into being after the racial clashes in 1969. That dark episode in Malaysia history exposed the wide disparities of income between Malays and other races, especially the Chinese.

The principal reason for this disparity appear to be the entrapment of the Malays in the traditional rural economy. The Chinese on the other hand dominated the modern capitalist economy. The Chinese dominated the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy, where the returns were higher. As a result of this association, Malays lagged behind in economic prosperity.

To rectify this situation, the strategy chosen was to create a number of state owned enterprises to carry out wealth creating activities. The strategy was essentially a sound one. Individual Malays lacked the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to do well in business. Malay companies were hardly existent. Therefore the government stepped in to form their own business companies. Their aim was to engage in business emprises where Malay individual and business participation were under represented.

Unfortunately, the GLCs have not been able to act as catalyst for Malay economic advancement. Indeed many folded and had to be bailed out on a continuous basis by state governments. Why is the performance of these state owned companies ever so dismal? Why have they accumulated huge losses? What has their management done about these performances? Why is the quality of their management so mediocre? We can only conclude that it is such because of the poor returns. Why should we then continue their existence?

But perhaps, my biggest question that was never asked was: is the performance of state owned businesses dismal because the management is largely Malay? These are questions that I seek answers to.

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THE MALAY ECONOMIC DILEMMA AND THE RISE OF THE MALAY FINANCIAL MAFIA.

But the alternative suggestion and proposal is not uplifting either. First, the spirit of the NEP must be reincarnated. Malays are mistaken if they believe the readiness of the government of the day to rejuvenate the NEP mean easy pickings for them. I can assure them, it will never mean, that the boys at the UMNO branch level, the bigger boys at the division level will all be given concessions, exclusive licenses, quotas, privileges and so forth. They may well remember the old adage which says- fortune favours the brave- only that the word brave is a symbol of many things. It will mean political connectivity, it will and must mean your own merits. Do these boys have what it takes to succeed?

The principal agents for Malay economic advancement, the state owned enterprises must be empowered. To ensure maximum results, the GLCs will be managed by professional managers comprising of accountants, former investment managers, stockbrokers and the like. Professionalism will be maintained as these managers, hired on contractual basis, are measured against some management indicators. Meanwhile, the general population will be inculcated with the right values, skills knowledge to represent the new human capital.

The main thrust for Malay economic advance seems to be the GLCs. Instead of widening liberal economic policies to unleash the potential of the general population, we rest our hopes, preponderantly on the GLCs. Because they will be managed by well intentioned Malay professionals, trained and skilled and highly educated, our future is assured. The targets of the NEP will be achieved. As to the upgrading of human capital, we have no serious disagreement there. There is the unquestionable need to upgrade human capital in the form of better education, skills, internalising positive values, desire for achievement and all that. Our bone of contention and a cause for concern, is the unquestionable trust we place on the GLCs as the panacea for Malay economic inertia. Let us analyse the issues further.

What is it that we have not found in the last 30 years, that we are now re-discovering that could propel the Malay economy? For the first 20 years after the NEP, we have relied on state owned enterprises to steer the Malay economy. The rate of growth in the Malay economy was faster in the 1980’s that the 1970’s. In the 1980’s faster rate of growth rate was achieved by liberal economic policies. Critics find it easy to denigrate the achievements of the 1990s and extolling the results in the first 20 years of the NEP. There is no mystery there, if one cares to analyse carefully. First we started from a very low base- 2.4% ownership of corporate wealth. Any increases add easily to make it appear very fast. During those years too, we invested in the real economy. We actually grew something, produced and manufactured real things and so on. From the 1990’s onwards, believing we have learnt enough, we go into the money economy- speculating in the market, buying over companies without actually increasing productivity. The wealth created was mostly paper money and this, it turned out, can easily burst and did. Therefore, if people start growing panicky about the direction where the Malay economy is going, I would advise them to take it easy. We are just on the learning curve and probably, we are at the bottom of growth cycle. Business as many people know, has it ups and down.

It will signal the rise of a new Malay financial mafia comprising of the much touted but untested, new breed of Malay professionals, accountants a.k.a the bean counters, alumni of the stock and money market, ex investment bankers and men of their persuasion. In their days, all of Tun Daim’s men were hailed as the new breed. Yet many of them failed. Will the same fate befall the new emerging anointed chosen few?.

I have several objections against the new collectivist tendencies. Not so long ago, the principal management idea to expand efficiency was to adopt best practices management style. Professors in many universities synthesised the management practices of successful companies and summarised them as best practices management. The idea was, if these practises could be replicated inside our own organisation, we shall reap the same wonderful results. Management practices of successful companies such as McKinsey, Du Pont, General Motors and whatever were hailed as the new business tools. If we have a readily impressionable mind or we are exposed to the ideas only recently, it will be easy to be mesmerised by such ideas. If we have the opportunity, we would want to translate these ideas as a generic policy. Will the adoption of this set of ideas enshrined in whatever National Economic Policy or New Economic Agenda we adopt later, be able to push the Malays and the country further up the economic scale?

We are not talking about increasing the performance of a group of private companies but the national economy as a whole. Why do we think, in the early 80’s we wanted to adopt the Look East Policy? Because we want to adopt a wide range of institutional and cultural values to move an ENTIRE nation not just a few companies. Why also, did we adopt economic liberalisation? Because we want to move an entire nation not just a few individuals. If these individuals later on failed, their weaknesses were failures of the individual, but we must never falter from the road to liberal democracy.

What we really need is a New Competitive Policy or New Competitive Agenda. Then the bulk of our resources can be channelled to cultivating a team of Malay business persons with the right gumption, tenacity and instilled values who can compete openly, domestically or internationally. We need to practise Value Economics which evaluate the value of the end product we create and not only the production process.

An example of a clear lack of understanding of value economics is in the field of education. Many students are sent to study religion overseas. The reasoning is the cost of sending students to study religion in middle eastern countries is cheap. We must realise that the cost is cheap initially but expensive and costly later. When these students come back armed with degrees in religious studies, they cannot find employment. It may have been cheap to send them in the first place, now we have to tolerate the existence of a new breed of scholared lumpenproletariat. Many are soon absorbed into radical politics which threaten our democratic way of life. These outcome could have been avoided if we understood the concept of Value Economics, i.e. looking not only at the efficiency of the production process, but also at the value to society of our produce.

Malays and Chinese in Malaysia lived under the same system of government. We can assume, that comparing the two races economically, in an almost controlled system would yield similar results. As we know, this is not true. While Chinese are able to expand their economic strength, Malays appear to remain stagnant economically. My answer to this dichotomy is that while the Chinese are more or less allowed to prosper under their own liberal economic system, the Malays lived under a regime of subsidies, regulations, quotas, special privileges and so on. We have left the Chinese basically alone, to develop their own brand of best practices business tools, allowed them to adopt skills, experience and values that have proven to be the best assets expanding their economic dominance. Chinese are not hampered and hindered by theoretical ideas as how to develop economically- they just do it. Whatever the regime we imposed on them, they can prosper because they have developed the right cultural melange of values to prosper. Malays on the other hand lived within a sheltered cocoon preventing them, as a whole from internalising the values so necessary to prosper. Hence, any ideas that we want to adopt as policy, must be of a nature, that can move an entire race. Not a few companies. It is ridiculous to accept that what is good for ECM Libra is good for Malaysia.[1]



[1] Mr Kalimullah Meesrul Hassan and Mr Khairy Jamaludin are both inside ECM Libra( formerly BBMB Securities).

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THE ANWAR IBRAHIM SAGA. LET US HAVE CONSISTENCY PLEASE.

I am no fan of Anwar Ibrahim. Since my university days. I regarded him as a master of hunting with the hounds and running with the hares. He and his party started well this year. Winning 31 parliamentary seats.

Three months ago, he took in a young aide. The lad’s name is Saiful Bukhari Azlan. He is 23 years old. Young and nubile perhaps. That decision to take the young man in, was his biggest mistake.

Perhaps, the tide has turned. Will 2008 become annus teribilis ( dreadful year) for Anwar?

This lad Saiful Bukhari made a police report. In it he said his employer had sodomised him. His employer is Anwar Ibrahim. Now, was. He made the police report from his hospital bed.

We saw a photograph of this lad with his fiancée on a bed and in a bedroom. That shows that he is a man with male inclinations. He is not a beautiful boy who fancies another beautiful boy. He is 23 years old. He is not a small boy. He says his employer brought him to a condominium and there committed the despicable act.

For god sake! You are 23 years old. You can desist the advances of an alleged homosexual cant you, you twerp.

It is the conduct of the police that is at issue here. When the report became public everyone seems to focus on this. Who is this Saiful Bukhari to receive honours from the director of the CID? I was told that any report on sodomy can be investigated by an ordinary policeman. Apparently, the report by Saiful Bukhari Azlan merits the attention of the CID Director.

The law enforcing institutions seem to have found a renewed vigour. Their focus more intense. There appears to be a real sense of urgency. It would seem that right now, Anwar Ibrahim must be incarcerated. Perhaps given a few kicks at some strategic locations. Maybe this is why he has sought and given refuge at the Turkish embassy. Maybe he is enjoying Turkish bath there no?

The same intensity however was not present in the case of investigating the statutory declaration by that many times removed Bugis descendant. RPK is the name of that rouge blogger. Why doesn’t the police issue an arrest warrant against this man?. He is said to have committed criminal defamation which is a very serious case. In this case alleging that certain people were present during the C4ing of the Mongolian whose name, like Macbeth cannot be mentioned by theatre actors. Can anyone enlighten this law ignorant economist as between an SD and a police report, which one has more legal force?

Two out the three people mentioned in the SD have filed for defamation against RPK. The Lt. colonel and his wife. They are suing RPK for a mere RM 1 million. Chicken feed when compared to an imputation that you are part of a murder conspiracy. Surprise surprise, that case didn’t merit the attention of the CID director.

Then there is the ongoing case of the murdered Mongolian. Could the police be guilty of malfeasance? They appeared to have failed to do the one thing that is most crucial. Getting confessions from the accused. I though the police will be thorough in securing confessions. They have caught the accused murderers. When your investigation reports are faulty, justice will be delayed. Justice delayed is justice denied. And it would appear so. The case before the court now is taking an inordinately long time to come to a conclusion. We have plots within subplots until we are not sure why we went to the court in the first place.

A person has been murdered. It would seem comical to suggest that the deceased before the person moved on, shot herself, tied herself with explosives and bombed herself to kingdom come.

Are we pursuing justice?

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Sunday, 29 June 2008

THE MALAY ECONOMIC DILEMMA AND THE RISE OF THE MALAY FINANCIAL MAFIA.

During the 2005 UMNO general assembly, we seemed to be moving backwards in our economic thinking. In the 1980’s we liberalised the economy. We encouraged and supported private initiatives to expand the economy. This was in line with the ideas of liberal democracy, where the initiatives of the individual can be counted on to make the country prosper. It was also the time where we saw extensive privatisation of our economy. Government sold its assets to selected few Bumiputeras hoping to give them the platform to launch their businesses further.

Suddenly, we appear to reverse our economic policy. We are ready to adopt what can only be described as collectivist tendencies. We are urging control of assets be brought back and be concentrated in the hands of public companies. We readily blame the failures of the NEP to rapacious business persons who were greedy. We said those individuals who benefited from government largesse, were not bright or were not imbued with the required doses of patriotism and nationalist pride. The failures, the collectivist proponents say, can be solved by expanded government control of the economy.

Many of us who support the idea of liberal democracy are actually advancing collectivist ideas without knowing it. We accepted the basic idea that people and individuals are the real agents of change. In order to create the people, individuals with private initiatives, we need a regime of liberal democracy. We said we intended to build a large stock of human capital, which is good. Because we accept that through individual initiatives, by each pursuing the interests that fancy them, will produce the greatest good for society. The question we ask then, is how do we create such a regime, when we are now advocating a retreat from liberal democratic ideas? Moving towards collectivist ideas is certainly a retreat from liberal democracy.

The flavour of the month word is government linked company. Some have even advocated the word UMNO Linked Company and Politically Linked Company. What these terms mean, is really a call to concentrate wealth generating assets in the hands of government companies. Why? Because then the government can distribute the wealth to deserving Bumiputeras who will add to reducing the wealth gap between the ethnic groups in Malaysia. We are given promises that these companies will be managed efficiently by intelligent and highly skilled and motivated Bumiputera professionals. We are further promised that when these companies become profitable, their wealth will be distributed fairly. So far, we are only given assurances and promises.

We appear to accept the view that we must empower state owned enterprises as the principal agents of Malay economic advancement. We implored the delegates to resuscitate the NEP. We seem to accept as good, the idea to form a secretariat monitoring the performances, regulate or otherwise control the newly re-constituted SOEs. Will technically sound politicians be opted into the secretariat? Or will it be a shadowy organisation ensuring the placement of strategic partners in the economic pie? Let us see where this kind of argument takes us.

A few years down the road, the particular GLC managed by a particular team show good results. At the end of the contractual period, out of gratitude for the good performance, we say let us divest this business to the team. Surprisingly, after a few years of competing in the open market, without the safe government cocoon, our brainy boys fail in their various businesses. Then, it will be back to square one for all of us. The very same outcome of our economic policies implemented in the 1980’s which we decry, are now the fruits of our labour.

We profess to uphold the idea of liberal democracy and the free enterprises system but at the same time become the intellectual proponents of disguised collectivist tendencies. Yet despite the unimpressive record of Malay economic advancement, if measured by corporate equity ownership, we have actually made the right step of carrying out liberal economic ideas. Which, if allowed to continue, will prove to be the only system that could create individualistic Malays and Malaysians capable of pushing the economic frontiers further. Let us stop for a moment and recognise this fact. The Malaysian Chinese economy did not and never depended on protective government policies to grow ever faster and larger. Therefore, why must we Malays have government protection to do well? What we actually need is a New Bumiputera Competitive Policy (NBCP) to create the pool of Bumiputeras who can propel our economy as a whole.

Thus, I am suggesting caution before we accept wholesale, the idea to empower state owned enterprises, now known as GLCs to steer the economy on behalf of the Malays. The outcome, I am afraid will be the same situation of excesses and of crony capitalism which were criticised. The liberal economic policies of the 1980s regarded as being responsible for those excesses appeared to be abandoned by the present leadership at the UMNO General Assembly in 2005.

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The solution to poverty

The world has prospered.

Today, the world is much more prosperous. World national income has increased. The health of the citizens of the world in general has improved by leaps and bounds. The threat of debilitating diseases has been reduced to the minimum. People can expect to live longer as a result of advances in medicine and health care. People eat better quality food. Agricultural output has also increased. Industrial output has gone up. When all these are taken into consideration, the world has indeed turned out for the better.

How has humankind achieved this state of affairs? We will say at the outset that all this has been possible because of our acceptance of the system of market economy. Some thinkers refer to the system as the ‘extended order of human cooperation’. In simpler terms, we call it capitalism.

Many people are appalled by this system. They oppose it- sometimes vehemently so. They accuse the system as being avaricious. They accuse it of tyranny. Many people are impoverished because of capitalism. One writer stated that the market economy has marginalised and impoverished thousands of people. He has written a book with an accusing title- what the market does to poor people.

Unfortunately, these critics are silent on the following facts. It is this. All countries that have adopted the capitalist system have prospered. Those that operate the socialist system or centrally planned economic system have all failed. On a smaller scale, the individual who has adopted market economy principles have prospered.

To us, the choice is very clear. If we desire to reduce poverty, if we want to enrich people, we must build and improved our market economy. This now, is our proposition. Why must we crack our heads debating the merits of this or that system? The realities of life are much more important to us than academic debates. Yes, debates indeed can show the quality of our powers of analysis and so on. But as we have said, debates and speeches do not solve poverty.

How do we improve the management of our assets? How can we reduce the subsidy mentality? How can we avoid issuing out xenophobic statements as to the causes of poverty? For example: Some say our country is poor because the people speak Bahasa Melayu. Our country is poor because the Bumiputeras are poor. Our country is poor because all the Chinese has exploited our sources of wealth. If that is so- then it becomes excusable to say that our country is poor because we are Malays?.

Sometimes we are thinking how much more stupid and banal we become to listen to mentally challenging statements coming forth from some second rate intellectuals and pugilistic politicians and so forth. We must realise that economic advancement depends of a whole range of skills- managerial, organisational, trading, industrial prowess and so forth. We need quality human capital. We can never become rich through speeches.

The capitalist system is good because of the following reasons. It is a system that is based on the freedom of the individual to pursue what interests him. It is therefore a system that accommodates human instincts. The system is based on two important principles. Firstly, everyone is free to pursue economic activities which interests him without any form of artificial and arbitrary restraints and constraints.

Secondly, it is a system that is based on the rules of the law. The most tyrannical form of constraints on human freedom come in the form of central planning or from any of its variations such as state owned business enterprise, the giving of monopolies to special interest groups and so on.

We will understand that any other system regarded as being able of being ‘thinkable’ by the human brain can never be better than capitalism. In his book, The Fatal Conceit, Friederich Hayek[1] stated clearly and convincingly that the socialists and those pandering for more central planning are misleading us when they say that our lot will be improved via central planning.

The facts from which we cannot run from are that the system that teaches us the paramouncy of the profit motive has revealed itself to be the best for humankind. It has been responsible for the great advances in technology, science and wealth creation.

Prosperity is linked to liberal democracy.

The system which honours the human initiative and his freedom spills into the political arena. People are exposed to the ideas of freedom from arbitrary rule cry for participation in the political system, to determine their future. Today, as the extension to the economic prosperity given birth by capitalism, people desire constitutional liberal democracy as the system by which to manage society. All over the world, we are indeed witnessing the end of history.[2]



[1] Lihat F.A.Hayek, The Fatal Conceit- The Errors of Socialism. University of Chicago Press: 1988.

[2] Lihat buku Francis fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man,

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Saturday, 28 June 2008

SAVING DATO NAJIB.

BELLUM DOMESTICUM?- war among family members?

We cant help but notice that Dato Najib’s body language lately revealed emotional insecurities. The latest signal from him is that he is considering challenging Pak Lah for the UMNO presidentship. We can expect internecine war if that is to happen. It is all part of UMNO’s - war among UMNO family members.

But is it too late and too heavy a burden for Dato Najib- a man given to easy life? Has he got the amour propre to wage war? If your soldiers are not convinced of your political and moral credentials, Dato Najib is doomed.

In law, the axiom of those proffering equity to seek redress is that those who plead equity must come with clean hands. Dato Najib’s hands are dirtied by many filths that will be systematically released after this.

It’s already too late for Dato Najib. When the prime minister and Khairi denied having any knowledge about the statutory declaration from the anarchic Raja Petra, the signals from there are as follows:- what Pak Lah and Khairi said is that they can have access to utmost confidential information from the intelligence establishments. New evidences can surface as to change the whole scenario.

QUI NON EST HODIE ERAS MINUS APTUS ERIT- he who is not prepared today will be less so tomorrow.

Hence Dato Najib shifting stance is a trifle too late sir. You are like what the Latin description- gladiator in arena consilium capit- the gladiator is making his plan in the arena( i.e. too late my dear). Dato Najib has not prepared for war.

In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote that Dato Najib’s strategy have similarities like the American strategy of détente. This was what I wrote:-

Najib’s strategy is like what the west adopted during the period of détente. It was assumed then that a particular action by the west led by the US would draw forth a parallel reaction from the soviets. Thus if we wanted peace, we should not prepare for war, if we wanted security we should not threaten and if we wanted cooperation we should compromise. Najib wanted peace so he will not prepare for war, he wanted security of his position so he will not threaten and he wants cooperation from the various groups in UMNO so he will compromise. Making deals is second nature to Najib- as long as it profits him.

Dato Najib’s strategy like that adopted by many US administration during the period of détente was entirely wrong. Writing about this strategy, Margaret Thatcher stated:- When the United States were led by administrations which were intent on compromise with the soviets, the soviet union expanded its military arsenals and intensified its military interventions. But once there was an American president who openly proclaimed his aims of military superiority( read assertive leadership), systematic competition( read resoluteness) and the global roll-back of soviet power( read dismissal of certain personages in UMNO), the soviet union cooperated, disarmed and finally collapsed.

Cito fit quod dii volunt- what the gods want happens soon.

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Thursday, 26 June 2008

Its a subsidised world!

ON PAYING SUBSIDIES TO FISHERMEN.

The government is shooting itself in the foot over this one. It proposes to pay 10sen per kilogram of fish landed. Has anyone been to a jetty lately? Are all the catches going to be landed on one centralised jetty or what? My fishermen friends are agitating for the payment of subsidies.

The government is bound to crash headlong with problems. Receiving payments from Pos Malaysia is impractical. The fishing boat taikos have no time to be queuing up at post office counters.

Perhaps the biggest difficulty is in operations. Where will the fish be landed?. On one jetty alone, there may be several landing points. The jetty at Kuantan for example needs to have a least 10 officers manning landing counters to weigh the fish. Now who does the weighing or will the officers be instructed to accept what the fishermen tell them in good faith? We are giving too much personal discretion to these officers. What is stopping them from colluding with the boat owners to fabricate the quantity of fish caught?. If I were an owner of 5 boats, I will not mind paying the officer RM 1000 per boat if I can make a profit of RM1000 per boat after deducting diesel costs.

The sheer impracticality of manning the landing points and controlling possibility of abuses will endanger the government’s good intentions. Then what about landing points made elsewhere? In Kuantan some fishermen land their fishes on the beaches in Beserah, or in Tanjung Lumpur, even on Pantai Sepat. Will the government then set up shop in these places?

Perhaps, the government does not understand the fishermen mentality. These people think without borders. You know, everyday they go out to see with nothing separating them but the vast ocean. They have long mastered managing a borderless world. Their mindset has also been defined by their surrounding. They are a most uninhibited lot easily given to expressing their feelings bluntly and not always in ways beneficial to the government.

Next is the proposed payment of RM 200 each to the anak kapal. Who is to monitor the nationality of these fishermen? Most of the men are Thais working in Malaysia. Each boat tekong can pakat pakat with the Majuikan officer and certify all 28 men on a particular boat are Malaysians. Why not if I were to receive RM5,600 per boat?. If I have 5 boats I would receive RM 28,000. I will give my campanero RM 3000 per month and RM 10,000 to be shared by my crew. I still have in hand RM15,000 cash everymonth.

The government will be bankrupt in no time.

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THE LAW MINISTER AND HIS FROLICS.

Malaysia has not got a law minister proper. She has a minister in the PM’s department who is in charge of the law in Malaysia. His name is Dato Zaid Ibrahim. He is head of the largest law firm in Malaysia, Zaid Ibrahim and Co. Azalina Othman the minister for Tourism once worked at Zaid’s firm.

He was appointed a minister by Pak Lah after the 12th general elections. Many were surprised at this appointment because he did not contest in the elections. if he had, he would have lost because I heard the Kota Bharu folks were after his scalp. The person chosen to take over his parliamentary seat, one Dato Fatmi Salleh who served as Dato Najib’s political secretary also lost.

Unfortunately, Zaid himself has a chequered past. He was found guilty by the UMNO disciplinary committee for money politics. Money politics is simply defined as securing votes from another by offering the voter any form of pecuniary benefits. Be it kain pelikat, trip to perform umrah or those trips to get away from the missus to places such as Medan, Batam , Phuket or anywhere. In the case of Zaid, his method was simply to pay out money. Perhaps it has become second nature to him, this business of paying out money. Such is his predilection with paying out money, he has extended the practice of paying the dismissed judges RM1.5 million each. The leopard indeed does not change its spots. He has not absolved himself from this practice.

Lately the de facto law minister has attracted unwelcome attention. He was most vociferous in pushing for an exorcism of collective guilt over the dismissal of the lord president and some other judges. He has been hyperactive in matters not directly rekated to the state of the law itself. Is he out on a frolic of his own?

When Dato Zaid was president of the Muslim lawyers society, he supported the government of the day in dismissing the judges. Therefore he is part of the collective guilt that he is now attempting to free himself from.

Why must we have a society for Muslim lawyers in the first place. I am not sure and have certainly not heard a society of Buddhist lawyers, Christian lawyers or Hindu lawyers. Lawyer are lawyers, Muslim or otherwise and they are not a group of people liked by people. The dismissal of the judges including Tun Salleh Abas himself was done through a tribunal and Tun Salleh has the services of formidable lawyers led by Raja Aziz Adruse. So we can argue until we are blue in the face and the cows come home about the justice on the day of the dismissal. I was watching the interview done with Tun Salleh Abas the other day and was struck by his pomposity and hand waving flippants about something. I heard him say that he does not wish to argue back and forth about the state of the judiciary. If he had not wanted, why was he undertaking a continuous crusade to crucify Tun Mahathir? The most honourable thing to do is to decline the RM1.5 million and give them to the poor in Trengganu and Pekan. Why are we wasting tax payers money to pay the judges ex-gratia payment. The public doesn’t care two hoots what happened at the state of the judiciary. Judges have led a protected and comfortable life anyway. If we want to split hairs over the payment, let us calculate the opportunity costs of paying the judges RM 1.5 million each. Dato Najib can use the RM 8 million or so buying all life needs for his voters in Pekan.

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DATO NAJIB AND HIS ACCUSER.

RPK of Malaysia Today fame, the blogger who seems to have a death wish, has done it again. This time, he has let published, his statutory declaration. That alleges that Datin Rosmah Mansor, wife to our DPM was one of several persons at the scene of C4ing the Mongolian Altantuya.

Many people would have unkind things to say about Datin Rosmah. This SD however borders on incredulity and can only be despatched by a thorough finding by the police. Both Dato Najib and Datin Rosmah should allow the police to investigate the authenticity or falsity of the SD.

The trial for the murder of the Mongolian is still in court. Any interference by way of comments can be regarded as sub-judice. The public has an interest to see this trial come to a speedy conclusion. The public is amazed that the trial is taking an inordinately long time to finish. The trial has cast aspersions on the effectiveness and efficacy of the police. Under normal circumstances, they can easily offer findings through thorough police interrogation. I have heard a senior police officer said that just by having the accused wear a helmet and then knocking the helmet with a small hammer, will make the accused reveal everything under the sky. So why aren’t they doing this. They have arrested the alleged perpetrators and yet can’t seem to elicit information from the accused. Are the police treating their own kind with kids gloves?

We can’t fathom what motivates RPK from letting his SD be published. It could be a figment of his imagination made dignified by a statutory declaration. It is very incredible for a person who is normally very diligent and careful about his writings to make an SD based on hearsay and information from a third party. Unless the 3rd party was there at the crime scene.

The question is what must Dato Najib do? His reaction was expected. This SD he says is part of a concerted plan by some people to taint his political image. Even our Prime Minister has come to his defence denying that he has received confidential information from our military intelligence. Khairi Jamaluddin who is said to have also obtained a report from the military intelligence has also denied that he has received any.

The police must come up with a speedy conclusion on their investigations. A person’s reputation is at risk of being severely tarnished beyond repair. The UMNO elections are just around the corner. The latest aspersions on our DPM’s character and reputation can be an issue to demolish him. In the interest of justice, this sordid affair must be concluded one way or the other. By the way, will the police be interviewing the Malay ruler who is said to be another recipient of the SD?

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Friday, 20 June 2008

malays and their economy-part 2

Setting the Malay economic mindset.

The problem with the Malays is that they lacked sturdy leaders resolute enough to speak to them bluntly and frankly. The only way economic prosperity can be achieved is first and foremost through hard work and use of the material between our two ears. But generally speaking, the average Malay is like Dato Najib, who prefers the easy life. No hassle, go to London, Singapore and Paris. Other people will slog for you. Have people carry your luggage , polish your shoes and not to be outdone, make sure people arrange for some containers for Datin Rosmah to bring back her shopping. But it is a different story for genuine hardworking Malays. They know they have to work and be smart. Even if Malays are accorded protection under special rights and privileges, they still have to sweat and grease their elbows. They still have to compete among themselves without cutting corners to get ahead. Once people see others can advance by cutting corners or by virtue of having special relationship with political leaders, they pull back their efforts. Why should they do their best if rewards are not commensurate with their efforts?

Instead we have leaders who are weak in the knees mollycoddling to the preference of an easy life without competing. Class F contractors for example literally camped outside all district offices waiting for jobs to be given to them. At the end of the day, you create not a class of competitive Malay contractors but pitiful supplicants.

First, Malays must get out of the ascriptive mentality. Sociologists have long identified the characteristics that differentiate between modern and traditional societies or progressive and backward societies.[1] In traditional societies like the Malay society, social practices are characterised by ascriptive norms, particularism and diffuseness. Thus the average Malay will look at who you are to infer potential. For example, the new AP king Shaharin Zahari( I know the late Zahari personally- ex customs officer who later did law at UITM and Australia) was given the APs to bring in 1200 cars into Malaysia based on him being an exco member of Putera UMNO( read Mat Rempit United), son of late Zahari, and close friend to Khairi Jamaludin. People at the ministry of finance and MITI would instantly infer good credibility in Shaharin because of who he is not what he can do. Has he achieved some outstanding things? Has he got good grades? Has he done some sterling work for the government?



[1] See for example, The Achieving Society- David McClelland.

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malays and their economy

THE MALAY ECONOMIC AGENDA

To build a united country, we must have the right economic foundations. The link between economic prosperity and unity is unmistakably clear. We cannot unite people if they are mired in poverty and misery. Under that situation, what we have is a time bomb waiting to explode. How to create economic prosperity, that should be the number one priority of any country. Economic development is the absolute number one priority of any government or people. Otherwise we could ask the stupid question of what is government here for? If we were to ask people what is it that they want, almost invariably their answers will be they want jobs, medical facilities, schools, housing facilities, and so forth. They are not here to take part in some cryptic debates on some nebulous ideas of Islam Hadhari or whatever. Of government, they will ask, is this a government that promotes economic development or a government that puts in place a system that encourages everyone to strive hard for themselves and their families?

Especially so for Malaysia which is made up of several racial groups. The problem is compounded by the fact that the different races in Malaysia differ widely in their economic progress. Chinese in general earn twice as much as a Malay does. The Indians earn more than the Malay even though, the disparities within the Indian community are most pronounced. Certain sections of the Indian community have pulled themselves way ahead of their other brethren. It is incredible that Dato Seri Samy Velly has blamed others for the Indian plight. What has he done to the Indian community?

We need first to build an economy sufficiently prosperous so that the various races can benefit equally. Equally means equality in chances. I for example want an equal chance to participate in owning a share in Pos Malaysia Bhd so that I too can make money when our government assigns Pos Malaysia to pay out the subsidies to motorists. Boy oh boy, I too want to manage the RM 1 billion that the government has already placed with Pos Malaysia to handle the rebates. Suppose the RM 1 billion earns interest, where does the interest accrue to? And I too want an equal opportunity to make money when our government assigns somebody or anybody to pay subsidies to the fisherman. I want to create ghost fisherman and ghost fish harvests. And I can only foresee horrendous abuses in the payment of subsides to fisherman when we cannot even control the current subsidy on marine diesel. My fishermen friend make more money by buying subsidised diesel and selling it on the high seas. Oh, before I forget, maybe the DPM can give me some slice of the air transport business, you know the same as the favour he gave to Gading Sari Air Services. Surely being your ex ADUN and former Ketua Penerangan, DPM can do me that favour.

In order to build a strong economy, we need to create the appropriate economic environment that educes equally appropriate economic responses. For example, in Malaysia where free market economy is practised, people must be trained to respond in the right manner. This of course presupposes, that the people who are economically active are sufficiently schooled in free market economics. To mould the various economic participants who can respond positively to the prevailing economic system is the number one challenge of the political leadership.

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Saturday, 14 June 2008

najib and his UMNO

Najib and his tradisi.

Why does Najib not want to challenge Pak Lah for the president’s post? Because Mr Najib says he prefers the traditional way. Well, the traditional way of the French aristocrats making money was to force the poor peasants make money for them. In the meantime, the French aristocrats enjoyed their silk stockings and fancy dress parties. They want money to be handed to them.

Like the French during the reign of Marie Antoinette, Mr Najib of the Pak Lah reign wants power to be handed over to him. The traditional way means not having to contest for the post. Mr Najib further says that it is not a question of being a coward or otherwise. It is a question of core values. Now, it gets more interesting.

The tradition that is so very dear to Najib is the unquestioning subservience of UMNO members to accept his ascension to the post of UMNO president. It is a tradition based on meek and muted acceptance of what has been set by the UMNO leadership. Obviously, the continued muted acceptance is the bedrock of UMNO tradition. If that tradition is abandoned, his own position as deputy UMNO president and the prospects of being UMNO president, becomes untenable perhaps. Najib has no alternative but to continue pressing and hoping the UMNO masses acquiesce.

The issue before us is not whether Najib succeeds Pak Lah or not. The issue is UMNO needs leadership. Competent, dedicated, determined and resolute leadership. Mr Najib, because he is spineless cannot lay claim to adhere to tradition because, he has no understanding as to what is tradition. The true tradition of UMNO is not to be blindly loyal to transient leaders but a tradition of dedication of oneself to the principles held to be both permanent and universal. And what are these? These are the inalienable rights of the Malays by which UMNO has pledged itself to uphold and cherish. Malays are endowed with certain inalienable rights upon which UMNO was created to secure them deriving its powers from the consent of all UMNO members and Malays. Pledging itself to uphold and cherish requires leadership. Securing these require leadership. Leading the Malays by persuading requires leadership not retreating to some nebulous verbal contraption like Najib’s tradition and filial piety.

If Najib does not offer UMNO members the leadership required he is doomed. If we were to draw parallels to similar concepts during the cold war between the west and the soviet union, Najib’s strategy is like what the west adopted during the period of détente. It was assumed than that a particular action by the west led by the US would draw forth a parallel reaction from the soviets. Thus if we wanted peace, we should not prepare for war, if we wanted security we should not threaten and if we wanted cooperation we should compromise. Najib wanted peace so he wont prepare for war, he wanted security of his position so he wont threaten and he wants cooperation from the various groups in UMNO so he will compromise. He will not defend the enduring principles which we talked about above. Najib has no permanent friends only permanent interest.

Pak lah’s people know that Najib is spineless and once Najib adopted a retreating strategy, they will go after him after this. Najib’s strategy like that adopted by many US administration during the period of détente was entirely wrong. Writing about this strategy, Margaret Thatcher stated. When the united states were led by administrations which were intent on compromise with the soviets, the soviet union expanded its military arsenals and intensified its military interventions. But once there was an American president who openly proclaimed his aims of military superiority( read assertive leadership), systematic competition( read resoluteness) and the global roll-back of soviet power( read dismissal of certain personages in UMNO), the soviet union cooperated, disarmed and finally collapsed.[1]



[1] Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft. Pp 14 Words in parentheses are mine.

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Friday, 13 June 2008

najib and his UMNO

Assalamulaikum and salam sejahtera.

Readers can access my blog at sakmongkol.blogspot.com and mattomoi.blogspot.com.

NAJIB A TRUE UMNO MAN?

Najib says he won’t be challenging Pak Lah for the post of party president. He says he is an UMNO man. A true one. Perhaps truer than true, eh Najib? He says he is not the son who will destroy the party that his father helped set up. So it is all about preserving what the father has bequeathed. That is why I say Najib will be as much a disappointment as Pak Lah- he regards the party as a family heirloom. He wants to remain loyal because this is the party set up by the father. Is that rationale a defensible one? It has not got deep roots. Belief not based on conviction will later waste away. Like his father, Najib is currently the deputy prime minister just as the father was when another Penangnite was the prime minister then. He has seen so many deputy prime minister became casualties when they became restless. Being the coward that he is , he wont go to war. He does not mind if the party disintegrate because of incompetent and inept leadership. He is by his own admission, someone who values tradition.

Naturally, Najib’s statement from the one time metropolis of imperialism, the land of fish and chips imperialism, raises more questions than it answers. What is the tradition that he so extols? What response shall we adopt of someone who says explicitly, that because this was a party that his father helped found, he must be around to guard it. Margaret Thatcher once said- …we must go on to assume that anyone who claims special powers, rights and privileges on the basis that he or she is the only person that be can be relied upon to be altruistic ..must be viewed with extreme suspicion. I can only persuade others to adopt this attitude. Najib is very similar to those sycophantic supporters of his who believed that only Najib has that special talent to solve UMNO’s problems. That optimism is perhaps ill founded. We must do everything to stop a recurrence of treating the party as a personal property. That sums up all about Najib tun razak. It isn’t for some gimmicky effect when Tun Mahathir says Najib is a coward. I have long held the belief that Najib is a political invertebrate.

The most recent statements of Najib made during a visit and a much needed holiday in UK, must not be allowed to pass without being challenged.

First, we must examine the choices available to Najib. Second we will examine his implicit belief that UMNO is the same party as that one the father helped set up. Najib’s future hangs on the balance. He is betting his future on the premise or even faith that the present UMNO is still the same UMNO that fights for Malay nationalism.

Najib cannot afford to say the wrong things. He is but a step away from the party president’s post and with that the premiership. He must exhibit unquestioning loyalty and subservience to Pak Lah otherwise Pak Lah’s horsemen will come after him with their scythes.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Quarrel in UMNO- beginning of its decline

I was rummaging through my previous writings and came across this article. That was written way back in 2005 when UMNO appeared to self implode. It started when members of the current administration were pouncing on Tun Mahathir. When the systematic denigration took place, I was thinking that it was the beginning of UMNO’s decline. I reproduced here my preliminary thoughts about UMNO then.

On reading tea leaves, chicken entrails.

In ancient times, the village savant, medicine man, soothsayers will interpret the significance of certain events by using several mystical methods. Some read tea-leaves to divine the future or elicit some meaning from occurrence of certain events. In other societies, they took to reading chicken entrails. Other common reasonable men take their pronouncements as articles of faith. Village savants, medicine men, bomoh, soothsayers and their like are regarded to possess special powers to communicate with the supernatural world. What actually separates this select group of people from common folks is possession of certain training and skills not learned by others. If only the common folks interest themselves on learning some basic information and skills, the relevance of medicine men, soothsayers, savants will be greatly reduced.

In like manner, modern day political events are interpreted by political savants, soothsayers, sages and the like. Just like in the olden days, their pronouncements and prognoses are taken as articles of faith. In part this is created by the belief that these people are in communion with the spirit world of politics- the corridors of power, the secretive tete-a-tete at exclusive clubs and coffeehouses, clandestine rendezvous and so on.

As usual, our more eminent political luminaries interpret political events in this country. By this, we mean the usual band of ministers, politicians of some national repute and astute political observers. They take readings of the political temperature of our nation and offer a variety of prognoses. Their personal take of political events engulfing the nation is an amalgam of direct personal experience, some usage of intelligence and choice of intended consequence. I use the phrase- choice of intended consequence to signal to our dear readers that our situational reading and the subsequent interpretation issued forth, actually depends on what we intend to achieve. For example, if we intend to discredit a particular person, our version of the story will be managed or to use a phase of immediate currency, spun to emphasise that particular desired effect. Take for example, when the current prime minister and the former prime minister were in Japan about the same time. A writer from the mainstream newspaper wrote that our prime minister was in the middle of his meal whereupon he had to end it because Tun Mahathir wanted to see him. This piece of writing produce a negative rung to our reading, suggesting that Tun Mahathir has no respect for our prime minister who was having his meal. Or it can be used to suggest that displaying an unbounded piety, Pak lah was willing to end his meal to look up Tun Mahathir. In reality, the facts of the matter were that, Pak lah met Tun Mahathir for a brief moment, exchanged pleasantries as both were slotted for different engagements.

The slant of the story telling was of course intended to add to the ever increasing demolition of Tun Mahathir's stature. It is another example of the systematic destruction of Tun Mahathir's legacy. Discrediting Tun Mahathir would make the trivialisation of Tun Mahathir's views easier. Indeed that was the desired aim. For example, criticisms by our beloved former prime minister were regarded or shall we say relegated to the level of musings of a person suffering from a severe bout of post prime ministerial syndrome. (PMS) Every one is confronted by the same facts of the matter- but because we desire to discredit Tun Mahathir, we stage-manage the facts before us to achieve the intended effect. In other words, the message is, criticisms of Dr. Mahathir are not worth our attention.

The dismissal of Tun Mahathir’s criticisms to the dustbin of political garbage was done by Malaysia’s greatest political savant- Tun Musa Hitam. Once described as a political animal, he has since adopted the preferred role of the political scavenger eagerly waiting to pounce in on other peoples’ kills. Of course, lesser mortals regarded Musa Hitam as the quintessential politician, possessed of political experience and qualifications of high repute. As if on cue, Musa Hitam opened the floodgates of open and indeed offensive and derisive, strident combative denouncements against Tun Mahathir.

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China's economic development- learning from China

It is easy to be seduced by the idea that race has something to do with the phenomenal growth rate. It is also true that cultural habits, work ethics, acquisitive tendencies are all cultural practices that can be inculcated and turned into socially desirable behaviour. This means positive values can be transcribed onto any social set up. Thus it is not entirely correct to say that cultural habits are intrinsically constituted in one’s biological set up. In other words, success and prosperity are not unique to any one race.

Among the many factors, three can be singled out as the more important. These are the quality of human capital in china, the establishment of free market institutions and practices and finally, the advantage of being a latecomer to the technological scene. The last factor enabled china to evaluate the best technology in the world and to avoid costly mistakes. Since the last factor is universally available to all developing countries, it is by no means unique to China.

What does the quality of human capital mean? It means more than the number of schooling years. Economists are reluctant to admit the influence of the quality of human capital on economic development. They prefer the establishment of institutions and systems which are more permanent in nature. But as has been demonstrated widely elsewhere, the lack of a good system can be compensated by the high quality of human capital working on that system. On the other hand, a good system can be negated by poor human capital.

Other than the number of years schooling, the quality of human capital is greatly affected by the education instilled at homes, by society’s cultural heritage and so on. In other words, cultural factors play a very important role in augmenting human capital. By cultural factors we mean the values that are practised in society that enhances economic activities. For workers it refers to the discipline and work ethics. For entrepreneurs it means resourcefulness and energy.

China has a long tradition developed over thousands of years, in supplying high quality human capital for the benefit of its society. In the past, scholars vie to get official appointments to serve society. Competition to get jobs with the government were very intense. Aspirants had to pass stringent imperial examinations. This means that those occupying official roles often represented the more intelligent portion of Chinese society. The impact of high quality human capital has been demonstrated throughout history quite amply. Even though countries lack physical capital, whatever meagre resources have been augmented by the quality of human capital. The economies of Japan and Germany were devastated following the war. But the high quality of human capital was able overcome deficiencies in physical capital.

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China's economic development- learning from China

WHAT ARE THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO ECONOMIC GROWTH? LEARNING FROM CHINA.

China practised central planning for 25 years. This took place from 1953 to 1978. Today China has one of the most impressive economies in the world. Without beating round the bush, this achievement resulted from China adopting the free market economic system.

It began in 1978, when Deng Hsio Peng took over as the leader of China. He then took steps to introduce capitalism to China. The introduction of the free market system saved china from economic downfall which resulted from the development that took place under central planning. The effects of central planning for china during that period were well documented. The economy suffered badly. People were very poor. Famines occurred. Immense hardships occurred during the great leap forward. The great leap forward, was a slogan used by the communist leaders in china at that time to industrialise china. Under this movement, the leader of china at that time wanted to catch up with the industrialised counties in the west. The rural population was forced to produce industrial output. Furnaces at people’s houses were made to produce steel. This caused farm output, especially food to drop drastically. The result was widespread famines. Many people died.

Mao Tse Tung blamed the failure of the Great Leap Forward on people’s attitude, old customs and entrenched thinking. He blamed the failure of the great leap forward because the Chinese people practised counter revolutionary ideas. Chinese thinking failed to support the great leap because, it was dominated by old style thinking and bad culture. To demolish these devils as he called them, Mao Tse Tung, introduced the Cultural Revolution. The aim was to change people’s attitude and mindset. This caused great upheavals. The population was encouraged to rebel against anything. The message from china’s rulers provided the irresponsible elements in Chinese society with absolute discretionary reasons to dismantle anything and everything they thought were counter revolutionary. College students turned against their professors. Children against parents. Many people were forced to wear dunce caps and were paraded humiliatingly in the streets. All forms of authority and hierarchy were savagely attacked. Rebels rule was the battle cry.

It was obvious that the rulers of china at that time did not know how to approach economic development for china. Intuitively they knew that mindset change was necessary to carry out economic transformation. They also knew that the rate of growth was influenced by people’s attitude. Any economic transformation requires some sort of ever questioning attitude or to rebel against established rules. Joseph Schumpeter coined the term creative disruption. It refers to the necessity to destroy existing and older structures to make for the new. They failed to realise that these things can contribute to rapid economic transformation only if free market institutions were established and laws instituted. Hence fro 1978 onwards, the previous condemnation of capitalism was replaced by the new battle cry. It was- to be rich is glorious. Deng Hsio Peng said, he doesn’t care whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice. He asked the people to seek truths from facts. Market institutions and practices were introduced.

During the next two decades from 1978 to 1998, the Chinese economy grew at a very rapid rate. The rate was around 9.6%. From 1998 to 2002, the growth rate was around over 6%, still a very good record. Given this rate of growth, china can equal the economy of America in the year 2020. what are the factors responsible for this phenomenal growth?.

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Anwar the Greek.

We must always retain a deep suspicion and scepticism about the motives of those who seek powers over others. In politics, we became conscious of this fatal conceit of those proselytizing their altruism when those countries adopting socialism imploded and later voluntarily embraced capitalism. People are very gullible to the likes of Mr Anwar Ibrahim of their high mindedness to regulate and plan their welfare. Do we place our trust in Mr. Anwar? Perhaps he is the proverbial Greek bearing gifts that we all should beware of. Back during the financial crisis I was dumbfounded to discover what a babe in the woods was Mr Anwar in economic management. Der Doctor was more competent in this field. In Economics, there has emerged a branch in the study of that dismal science that seeks to unravel the vested interests that lurk behind every executive act. This is called Public Choice Theory economics which was started by Professor James Buchanan and the Virginia School.

The great virtue of market economics is that most of the material benefits can be secured through voluntary pursuit of self interests, and hear this- without the interference of government and coercive attempts by others. It is sufficient to rely on the most basic human instinct of pursuing self interests. It is through the natural propensity to truck, barter and exchange , the invisible hand operates to shape an economic order. In that economic order the pursuit of individual self interests where you offer something of value to acquire value, leads to the material benefit of society as a whole.

I have before me several books written by F.A Hayek.[1] Hayek is another great thinker who says that it is our duty to ensure that we preserve the continuance of the extended order of human cooperation. He refers of course to capitalism. Our civilisation indeed depends on the continuance of such an order. The political upshot of such a system is that a society based on such an economic order does not require the interventions of some omniscient and omnipotent central authority so favoured by Mr Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters. I count Azmin Ali as Anwar’s Himmler. Unfortunately there are many within UMNO too who favour such approach, conferring upon themselves an innate monopoly on altruism. Dato Seri Najib certainly falls into such a category. He has succeeded to mould the majority in Pekan into mindless and pliant supplicants.



[1] F.A. Hayek, is an Austrian economist who was also a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Among his books, The Constitution of Liberty and Fatal Conceit.

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anwar ibrahim and his market economics

Anwar Ibrahim’s’ acceptance of free market economics is like the present crop of UMNO leaders belief in the UMNO system or UMNOism. Just because it has worked for so long does not put down deep roots and acceptance of it because it works is dangerous. What is more important is to have the inner resources to become stronger. In the case of UMNO, it is high time for UMNO to have an ideology. If the only reason for accepting free market or in the case of UMNO, its longevity, is short-run pragmatism, sooner or later when political storm clouds and tsunami gather , everything crumbles. It has already happened to UMNO and its leaders stood high dudgeon.

So what is free market economics or for want of a readily recognisable term, capitalism? I must warn however, this short essay is not meant to an exhaustive discourse on free market economics. The subject has been extensively written by technical writers of different persuasions from time to time.

Of course the father of free market economics was Adam Smith, the Scottish preacher. Actually, he was a moralist first before he was an economist, and this fact seemed to escape many. According to smith, any present prosperity is not the result of willful planning and outcome of deliberate involvement of a supra body. Rather, it is the outcome of a natural propensity of all humans to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another. This natural propensity is an application of self interest. Everyone wants to better his lot. This propensity is the underlying principal of all economic endeavors. Because it facilitates and encourages trade between two people who are unrelated at all. Thus in this system, everyone must be able to offer something of value to another so that through exchange, everyone is better off than he was before. Like Adam Smith says 300 years ago, it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. In the 20th century, another greatly admired economist, Milton Friedman said- there is no such thing as a free lunch. Politically this means that everyone undertakes a personal responsibility to better his lot. He must be able to offer something of value to get value back. Unless you are an invalid or are really incapable of being productive, the government steps in. but it must never be the business of government to care for us from cradle to grave. That strategy would have utterly grave consequence, the chief of which is that it robs the individual of his personal responsibility.

The formulation of the principle of self interest never ceases to make many people uneasy. It could easily lead to the conclusion that the only way to satisfy human wants in the market is through selfishness. Now, everyone hates the idea of selfishness. It is morally reprehensible to ignore the plight of those wretched of the earth. But capitalism does not intend sidelining the poor and the really unfortunate. Adam Smith himself, as we have said, is a moralist first before he is an economist. The perfection of human nature he said comes from the feeling much for others and little for ourselves—to restraint our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections.

What is the basic idea behind Smith’s moral preaching? The idea is that while be say we believe that market economics is the better and reliable way of creating wealth, we are certainly not saying that there is no place for altruism. But what we are saying really is that under such a system, everyone must shoulder a personal responsibility to be an active participant in the economy. The abandoning of personal responsibility or in cruder way, being lazy should not be rewarded. Unless you are really sick and old, invalid and debilitated, market economics call for active personal responsibility. In my short stint as a wakil rakyat, I never ceased to be appalled at some perception by many people, that the government is responsible for them. All they need to do is to fornicate and reproduce and send their children to school. The government according to them takes over as soon as their children go to school- providing everything free. My question is, where is your personal responsibility? Anwar Ibrahim wants many like this to be on his side so that he can manipulate them. I am telling you, leadership has no place for ambivalent people.

Margaret Thatcher who once likened Anwar Ibrahim as a good football team captain has an equally apt description of people like brother Anwar. Anwar Ibrahim wants total power. On this kind of people, she said, we must go on to assume anyone who claims, privilege, special powers and rights on the basis that he or she can be relied to be altruistic rather than selfish, must be viewed with extreme suspicion.[1] Anwar Ibrahim is not a selfish person- right? RIGHT?



[1] Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft- strategies for a changing world. Pp414

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