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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

An Afternoon with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah(7)

TRH on Economics.

Even though I am tempted to write something on the RM60 billion stimulus package( spread over 2 years), I promised myself to complete my talk with YM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. But briefly though, if RM30b is slotted to be spent next year, wouldn't it be part of next year's budget?

Tengku please....can I ask you this direct question I have been waiting to ask you for a long time?

Do you not feel it a personal defeat having been sidelined a few times from becoming the PM of this country? To you- a personal defeat, to this country, a great loss. I mean, back in 1987, the whole country knew you had won. At that time in 1987, I was working at Shell Malaysia- I heard that Daim Zainudin was already acting bizarre for he knew Dr. Mahathir had lost.

And then way back you were the most senior VP of the three then. But you made way for Dr Mahathir. Why Tengku?

True I was the youngest among the three. After Tun Razak died, Captain Hussein Onn wanted to appoint Ghazali Shafie as the deputy PM. The three of us went over to see Captain Hussein to discuss the matter. We told him, if none among the three of us VPs is chosen as deputy, we will resign from UMNO.

Hussein Onn accepted the robust stand by the 3 UMNO VPs. He asked who among the three of you are suited to be the deputy. Tengku Razaleigh gave his opinion.

Ghafar Baba was the most senior in age but lacked sufficient education to become a suitable deputy PM. As he himself was younger than Dr Mahathir, he told Hussein Onn Mahathir would be the better choice. So fate intervened to deliver the decision.

It is part of Malay tradition that the elder one is given earlier passage over the younger. I am a firm believer of (Malay) etiquette.

I did a little research on TRH's explanation. The above sounded so simple to me. I felt there must be some other compelling reasons. I would discover the following story.

Days before Tun Razak died, TRH was summoned by Tun Razak at the hospital in London. Tun Razak told TRH that he has made arrangements which he hoped TRH would come to terms with. The so called arrangement was to have Dr Mahathir be the next deputy en route to becoming the PM. The tacit understanding was after Mahathir,TRH was to become the next leader.

After the 3 VPs saw Captain Hussein, TRH doubled back to talk with Captain Hussein. TRH relayed the entrustment which Tun Razak made to him. I can only guess that TRH must have agonised greatly for having to give an unverifiable story. How could he prove that Tun Razak actually said that? A man and a politician at that can either be a complete liar and an opportunist to do that or he can be absolutely truthful. I do not doubt, that for TRH, he is honour bound to tell the truth. Honour and integrity defines the man.

Tengku, let's talk about economics.

I am very surprised to not see any response from our leaders on the speech you gave at the ASLI forum. I believed you have outlined some economic measures to shield us from the economic downturn. I specifically remembered that you cautioned the government from being over optimistic about the rate of economic growth.

But the government is adamant about having growth in excess of 3.5% kan? Just look at the grown in Q4 in 2008. It was 1%? Now do you think that decreasing rate can be pulled back?

I responded. Tengku- the incredulous thing is the government is not forthcoming about the real facts. They have access to figures, they have access to data from all over the world, yet they have chosen to be duplicitous about it. Don't you find it deceitful that the leaders are now asking us to brace ourselves for hard times? From over optimism to a sense of hopelessness, that would suggest that government does not have a plan to tackle the economic downturn.

Tengku- we have had 2 stimulus [packages actually- the first one on Valuecap, the other the RM 7 billion package.

The first thing I want to ask you- stimulus for whom? Or stimulate who?

Well you know, the other finance minister just announced that they had only spent close to RM600 million only...that would suggest what?

Before he could finish, I asked...Tengku, in your estimation, do we have the money to finance our stimulus?

I believed there's NO money. You have to finance your spending. We have borrowed money from EPF and Tabung Haji, or Khazanah. We can't be borrowing from external sources. We most definitely can't tax our way through.

No money. That can be the only plausible explanation why the government has been slow to spend. What are we waiting for? As you know, there's always lag time from government expenditure to fruition of the effects. Implementation takes time so on and so forth.

Where do you find the money? Our income has been hard hit. Our economy is export driven. Look at the earnings from petroleum. It's now USD 50. Look at our palm oil prices. That too has dropped.

We have a combination of two evils now- dropping revenue and income and stubborn consumer prices. It was a mistake to allow consumer prices to rise. You know prices are sticky downwards. Even as the cost of oil is dropping, prices of consumer products are not falling as fast as falling commodity prices.

Next, the government has to look at what type of industry they want to spend on. Look at specifics. Do a proper analysis. Prioritise them.

Tengku: can we cut down on implementation time, if we insist on transparency and open tenders and what not? That would cause inordinate delays. The other alternative is to choose winners. But that would open you up to charges of cronyism..kan?

You know, we can still have open tenders and apply above board selection process. How do you think, this cronyism started? You must begin eliminating cronyism from yourself first. It must begin with the top decision maker. If you yourself have vested interest, then you condone and even support cronyism. What do you get then? You get a system where the top decision makers select those who can in turn feed them. I know this is a harsh term, but that's how it is.

Unless you eliminate vested interests and hidden personal agenda in yourselves, you will have cronyism. FDR's new deal gave rise to worries of corruption and abuses. But the new deal worked because there were oversight apparatuses.


Dhahran Sea,  11 March 2009 at 15:10  

Salam Tok Sak,
The more TRH talks, the more convinced I am that pak lah, sil&co. HAVE TO GO RIGHT AWAY!!! Before the whole country sinks into the black hole! Let kj & his cronies hang around politically, then, it would speed up the sinking ship!!

mamasita 11 March 2009 at 18:00  

Dear Dhahran Sea,
why do you hate KJ so much? Honestly, what has he done to you and the country that others could not have done much worst? Do you consider him to be the most powerful person in the country who have destroyed the country single-handledly and only him alone is to be blamed? Tell us whether you have a personal vendetta or grudge against him that will make us all mothers believe hes not going to kick the door opened for our ordinary sons to become potential Ketua Pemudas Of UMNO Malaysia later on.Tell us truthfully why you despise him so much?
Thanks so much.
Tapi you jangan gaduh with me ok? I just want you to substantiate your serious allegations.

Anonymous,  11 March 2009 at 21:16  

Rm 60 billion is a big number...but looking at the components ( guarantees,PFIs,Khazanah 10 billion free ride etc ) and the timeframe of 2 years >> we will not see much impact for 2009.

5.5% unemployment?thats pretty low...u hv 400,000 coming to the job market annually plus 300,000 retrenchments >>well it might be closer to 10 % soon.

- 1 % GDP >> no chance for that. With our exports of 6 ringgit to a ringgit local consumption...and the global market shrinking by 30 to 50 % we need immediate impact of Rm 20 billion from the stimulus pkg in 2009.We will be lucky to actually see Rm 8 billion...thus I guess its -4 % GDP decline for 2009...tho upsurge in commodity and oil pricing maybe in the offing in the second quarter that shld moderate our financials.

Thus in a nutshell..the stimulus package is a nice glossy beautiful package but the contents remains questionable. It failed to catalyse the immediate free cashflow generation to boost consumer spending.Rakyat needs help...

kuldeep 11 March 2009 at 21:30  

KJ has been the most controversial figure for the last 6 years or so..he seems to be involved in anything and everything.

And every project,top govt post,GLCs acquisitions or even Umno candidates must get his seal of approval.

He is blamed for everything under the sun ( myb the eclipse too?)..such as Umno March 2008,corruption,Air Asia Labu,Maybank acquisitions,pantai,IJN etc etc..even the soccer fiasco.

I hear his name whispered ( and cursed ) in Mas Golden Lounge as well as the staircase at Pudu Raya.

Its remarkable really to have such an impact over the general public,in politics,in business and even in entertainment.

But I guess myb 97 % of those guys who are talking about him as if they know his underpant size, have not even met him up close...and that includes yours truly.


Are You Gonna Go My Way,  11 March 2009 at 23:16  

PR exercise went wrong actually…it worked before with the FIL. You know, The Mr.Clean thing..that won him the position as PM then won him the biggest victory for barisan…

The PR for SIL tried to create a powerful image of him (succeeded), intelligent image (succeeded halfway), great idea (failed), midas touch (failed miserably)

If our economy flourish at this moment, if BN won handsomely in last election, if there is no social problem now, if NEP is successful, if we won batu puteh, if Malaysia go to the world cup, if there is no Hindraf, etc ..etc….

And since he has a hand in everything, wouldn’t it create euphoria among the people that will see him as The One with demigod status and persona. People wouldn’t want to wait until he is 40, he should be PM now….. only if……

Anonymous,  12 March 2009 at 00:01  

Why are u defending KJ blindly... I have proof that he screwed up the country !!!!

Dhahran Sea,  12 March 2009 at 00:44  

Dear Mamasita,
Thank you for taking note of my views about kj... you've asked some pretty direct questions indeed & for that I owe you some direct answers: why do I hate kj so much, what has he done to me and the country that others could not have done much worse,.. personal vendetta or grudge... why do I despise him so much.
"Kuldeep" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way" have answered some these... thanks.
To answer your questions, perhaps I should ask those people who hate Bush so much (including yours truly), Why do they hate/despise Bush so much - he seems to be an ok type of guy, right? Obviously they do not know him personally and in all likelihood haven't met him not even once (if they could get through the securities). Well, I hate Bush because of what he's done (to the Iraqis, Afghans, etc.), directly or indirectly, in his capacity/position as the commander-in-chief of the US government. Obviously he didn't kill all these people by his own hands, but by his position of accountability. As the saying goes, "by their fruits, we shall know them".
The same thing about kj & his FIL&Co. I despise him & them because to me, he & his FIL&Co. have abused their positions of accountability/amanah for the past several years to plunder the country, directly and/or indirectly. I can see the fruition of kj, FIL&Co. actions on the country's economy, stability, pride, etc. these past few years. Of course, as in the case of Bush, and any leader for that matter, it is their gurkhas who carried out the plunder. BUT the accountability ultimately rests on the leader & his merry men (SIL included). To me the position of leadership goes with accountability (that is why it sickens me to death to see the CEOs of the currently bankrupt banks in the US & UK, GM, etc. blaming the economy for their problems and yet took hefty golden parachutes, without any feeling of guilt! Where's the accountability of being leaders of these corporations?). Do I have personal vendetta/grudge against kj? Nope. But it also sickens me to death to see a SIL yang mengada2, melebih2 & tak ada segan silu to use his position as the SIL to bulldoze his way through. E.g. I know it for a fact through my good friend "A VOICE" of kj's bulldozing in the case of ECM-Libra; I've indicated to Tok Sak about kj's 4th fl boys' meddling in the running of the country (he wants "proof", what can I say? Its something like 2+2=4, and you want proof of that? Its beyond me); to me his ultimate arrogance is probably getting elected to Deputy KP without a contest... knowing fully well he is the SIL, yach! Muka tebal! What has he done to me? Menyakitkan hati! What has he done to the country? Too much! For the wrong reasons! To me kj is the classic character from my boarding school days of mamat yang menunjuk pandai tak bertempat... in his case menunjuk pandai by leveraging on his SIL position. Yes, he's oxbridge educated, but personally, his actions & character fall well short of the oxbridge's "brand promise". In short, I believe it is people like kj, FIL&Co., through the abuse of their lofty positions and the amanah of the people, that have brought Malaysia to its current dire straits. And that, Mamasita, is why I so despise him and people like him. This, coming straight from my heart! Salam.

Anonymous,  12 March 2009 at 01:23  

kj has his finger in almost any money hole,,,and this is for real !
He has robbed the aviation service contract with Shell/Carigali in Sabah/Sarawak without undergoing any tender process,,,yes they kicked out MHS Aviation which had provided 15 years of matured aviation support service. kj's associated construction company has now undertaken an aviation contract without any aviation background experience !,,,a very dangerous and risky business but the money is too good for kj to resist !.
There are other supply and service contract with the Oil and Gas or better known as EP business where by kj has now got involved and as an example a drum of special chemical that only cost rm4k is sold/bidded to the EP companies at rm34k per drum by kj's associates !. And this is for real !,,,,politically positioned i guess and not to be challenged. We are aware of these activities but just have to bear with it to remain in the business.
o.k,,,,i rather rest my case about kj cas. its sickening, and am not joking about the accusations mentioned above !.
just get rid of kj for the good of our nation !. he is greedy and teramat terok ! ,,,,man he and his associates, is robbing the rakyat blind. is this the kind of young Malay leaders that we should support ?.
sorry, am sick of this young fellow and i had never met him as yet but hopefully will one of these days, so that i can directly ask him why so greedy ?.

just me.

Anonymous,  12 March 2009 at 11:58  

Well said, dhahran sea.
I like your comparison of KJ and Bush.

Dato Sak, here is the beef...I very much enjoy your writings on economics but your political analysis saks!!!

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