Friday, 24 April 2009

On Overspending and Self Deception.


 

Is the PM overspending his political ammunitions? His advisors must counsel him from moving too fast in too short a time. He does not need to be caught in Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening's:-

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The PM marches to the beat of his drums. He has so far shown himself as nimble footed. But he must also be surefooted. But if he announces too many before they are even digested, then he will have overspent the arsenals in his munitions store. If he doesn't pace himself, he won't last 20 years as PM.

Take the case of One Malaysia. No one has yet provided a coherent exposition of what the concept of One Malaysia is. The Information minister has done nothing except cajoling people to understand the concept. What is there to understand, if it has not been outlined in detail?

If it's everyone to his own one Malaysia, then we have 26 million versions of One Malaysia. Will this mean the supremacy of the rule of law and democracy? That will mean, no one is accorded any inbuilt privileges. Does it mean the supremacy of Malays over other races? What about the constitutionally guaranteed position of Malays and their interests? These contentious issues must be ironed out. Until it is spelt out clearly, the concept is unnerving to Malays.

Will it mean, under the concept of One Malaysia, the government is committed to equality of opportunities? Seems to me, we have been belabouring ourselves demanding equality in outcomes which to me, is inherently wrong. Will the government then take the bold step is stating explicitly that equality in opportunities does not mean equality in outcome? In other words, the outcome of one's efforts will now depend purely on merits and not on enforced legislation.

As it is, One Malaysia is like the Islam Hadhari concept. Everyone knows Islam as do everyone, Malaysia. But the Hadhari and One are nebulous concepts. The PM can't expect people to interpret liberally what he means unless his ideological putar-alams come out with a clear exposition of what it is. Otherwise the concept will be like Siberia; everyone knows where and what it is, but no one wants to go there.

He has just announced the scrapping off a 30% almost mandatory requirement of Bumiputera participation in certain sub sectors of the service industry. That industry is a big contributor to GDP and perhaps the most accessible to Bumiputeras. Now that is opened up, it means Bumiputeras have to compete with others.

Is relaxation of the rule a sign of things to come?

When he announced the dismantling of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Development, it was met with general disproval from Malays. It wasn't just a question of the abolition of a ministry, but one that is charged with assisting and developing Malay business community. The scrapping off was seen as de-emphasising of policies specifically aimed at the Malays and is seen as a step disowning Malay interests.

The boldest step yet is the liberalisation of the 30% rule in 27 services sub sectors. Investors do not require the mandatory 30% bumiputera participation anymore. MITI secretary general, Tan Sri Rahman Mamat, said the liberalisation was done in consultation with the players who expressed their readiness to compete in an open market.

Hurrah to that. Ok we will accept that. But just out curiosity who are the players? The big boys who made it good during the unfettered and jolly good days of NEP? Are they the putera bangsawans and UMNO puteras? Mukhriz is at MITI- his string of hotels will certainly benefit because he is ready to compete. He will enjoy a captive market.

The statement by the MITI Secgen must be scrutinised in more detail. While saying that the big boys are ready, he has also stated the liberalisation needed to be done because Malaysia has no choice. So which is it? Was the relaxation undertaken because the Bumiputera services industry players are ready or because MITI has no choice?

Was it a precondition to allow Malaysia in its trade negotiations such as the free trade agreements? That one of the loose ends the ministry needed to tie is this Bumiputera requirement. That if Malaysia does not liberalise, Malaysia cannot enjoy market access?

Eventually, the smaller bumiputera players will be reduced to peripheral participants in supplying the requirements of foreign firms based here. Yes, maybe they will supply trained masseuses, blind and not blind, maybe supply, as one sardonic commentator said- just nasi lemak to bigger industry players.

I hope we are not singing songs of praises forcing ourselves to accept the lie we are ready to compete in the services industry just because baby Mukhriz is there. That is the impression I get from reading some bloggers.

23 comments:

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 09:52  

Mukhriz string of hotel?

He has a minority share in Reliance Pacific. They have a few hotels.

I sure hope you share with us where Mukhriz's string of hotels. is.

Just coz KJ is going down, it doesn't mean you should be vindictive.

Raison D'etre 24 April 2009 09:55  

"Was it a precondition to allow Malaysia in its trade negotiations such as the free trade agreements?"

SM,

If I am not mistaken, NTR said so: something along the lines of the Asean Concensus. He also mentioned that what we are doing is better than the others.

I think that its just one of those things which could no longer be held back anymore.

A shock to the system as it is should be a good herald of the things that needs to be done for other biggers jolts.

Query: Did you read about Opcom securing TM's RM395m contract? Cable job... (pun intended)

kuldeep 24 April 2009 10:30  

Damned if one is to do it and damned if one does not do it...
Its a balancing act between whats good for the nation and whats right for the Bumis..

Under the current circumstances whereby if the economy tanks the issue of racial disparity is a moot point anyway..the choice is less hazardous.

The question then is would those steps really boost the economy?Investors are cautious and the "cashing out" mindset is prevailing.

I hope there's much more rigorous analysis of the what,when,why and hows before decision was made.

Its the right move going forward but the execution of the idea remains an issue.

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 10:36  

KJ ada string of high end restaurants... liberalised tak?

NeedleInTheHay,  24 April 2009 10:40  

Anon 9:52,

If I'm not mistaken, Mukhriz owns / major holder of Hotel Sri Malaysia



L

Ree,  24 April 2009 10:41  

Najib is moving fast. Latest is the cabinet's decision on child conversion.

How will the UMNO grassroots react?

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 11:14  

hahaha

datuk sak

OPCOM baru je dapat contract dari Telekom....ratusan juta la jugak

satu satunya bumiputra yang buat kabel fibre optic lah katakan

itu menunjukkan bumiputra tak perlu lagi equiti 30%

so kena la hapuskan equiti tersebut sebab kroni lain seperti vincent tan nak jugak projek tambahan

jibam

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 11:35  

Datuk,

How appropriate you should come oome out with this article. I do have lots to say about it as I am directly involved with MECD as a support institution to look into building bumiputra entrepreneur via the franchise.

We are not ready to compete. It has been a long haul for the franchise industry. For the last five years we were just doing nothing else but building up the bumiputera franchisors. Do not talk about franchisees yet as that is the next phase.

What happened? PM dismantled MECD. Then transferred Franchise Department to Domestic Trade whilst at the same time the GLC who is supporting the industry by providing financing which is PNS was taken under his Ministry which is MOF. What kind of meaning is this? It is really stupid whoever was advising him.

We were having tough time cleaning up the image of the industry and finally when we do get he momentum going he put the brakes on. We are already having problems with Franchisors screwing up the Malay franchisee. The Non Bumi Franchisors (mostly Chinese)were screwing the Malay franchisees by giving bad location, old stocks and inflating equipment prices and the Malay Frnachisors themselves by their inept management skills and therefore unable to support the franchisees adequately.

Creating the middle class Malays through franchising is one of the fastest way to build the numbers and yet when PM's advisors split up the MECD they were stupid not to take all these factors into considerations.

I will continue more about this later.

Keturunan Jebat

Idzan Ismail,  24 April 2009 11:39  

My sentiments exactly
A man in a hurry. He's going too fast, too soon.
Steady does it Datuk Seri Najib.
Dole it bit by bit and in long stretches.
You are going for the long-haul. Not just a one-term PM.
Enjoy some honeymoon days.
We do not want you to be like Barack Obama.
A hero cult but just 100 days, there were already rumblings of anger among the Americans.
But i uderstand why Najib is doing the populist approach.
When you are bombarded left and right and your party is under seige, you have to act speedilyu.
But are the people appreciating it?
Judging by some of the PKR simpaticoes blogs, indeed no.
They are still harping on the personal character assassination.
Only the frontal-challevged leader is making noise inciting the Malays on the ease on equity etc.
The Umno, Prowaris people are rather quiet.
Let there be no one who falls into the Anwar trap.
Some see this as erosion of Bumi rights. And Najib said more is in the offing.
Thank to the Malays for their
1) understanding,
2) as usual being laidback,
3) apathy
4) not greedy.
6) accepting like true gentlemen.

sakmongkol AK47 24 April 2009 12:00  

yb mukhriz's name was mentioned as a condiment only- not the main menu. the more important issues here:
(a) elaboration of One Malaysia concept and ramifications to Malays
(2) readiness for Malays to accept equality in opportunities and not equality in outcomes.
my apologies to Mukhriz.
lets not miss the woods for the trees.

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 12:14  

but should all communities enjoy equality of outcome first rather than equality of opportunities?

chinese have rm4000+ householld income while malays hv rm2900+ and indians rm3500+

income gap will increase if there is no NEP to regulate the opportunities.

if we use free market or merit, then the bumis will lag further behind if the level playing field have not achieved yet.

only after everyone is at par with each other then we cab start applying equal opportunity method.

just my 2 sen..


TWO SEN MAN.

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 12:25  

two sen man,
you are an engineering graduate. the other fellow is an LCE drop out. he earns RM5000 pcm. you mean, you want and dont mind earning RM5k pcm?
my hats off to you!. he earns according to his efforts.

thinking allowed!

Fatimah Zuhri,  24 April 2009 13:50  

Sak,

1. The 2 decisions made by Najib and the cabinet were right move.

2. It gave BN the upper hand and left the PR speechless.

3. It took Najib a great political will to do the 2 things he did. He is proving his critics wrong. Mahathir was spot on about Najib!

4. Regarding the liberalization of the 27 sectors, I believe it will not kill off bumiputra companies. Bumis status companies will still be there and still enjoy all the benefits and etc...

5. If more investment comes in due to the relaxation of the rule, more jobs will be available to the public and Malays being the majority (60%) will no doubt gain from this.

6. Regarding the conversion thingy, I believe this is a non issue!

7. It was a fair and right move. Hafiz Hassan wrote a nice article at TheMalaysiaInsider. I believe many Malaysian are open minded and will accept the decision.

8. UMNO members should not be emotional. If you go to the street and talk to people who maybe a month ago did not like BN, now they are giving BN a chance!

9. There is no doubt that small taliban minded people in PAS or perhaps PKR, will use either issue for their political gain.

10. But just bear in mind that if they did do this, it will show how hypocrite the PR really is! The chinese, indians and open minded malays will no doubt teach them a lesson.

Fatimah Zuhri,  24 April 2009 13:52  

Sak,

Forgot to add something to my earlier comment :

1. The 'hit' againts Muhkriz was unnecessary.

2. We need unity. A lot of people have accepted KJ as the KP UMNO although they do not like it.

3. There is no reason for us to continue fighting petty fights like this.

Cheers mate

Are You Gonna Go My Way,  24 April 2009 14:10  

Remember TDZ said' do it the quiet way'?

Let the people hear the loud one...while the quiet one is moving faster and unnoticed. Wait for the outcome.

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 14:51  

dear uncle thinking aloud..

alamak.. i didnt mean that way... i thot equal outcome should be the priority vis a vis from the aspect of a community as a whole.

if we use your own logic, then the gap will be more severe. to me, equality in opportunities was practised in British era. By the 50's and 60's, the gap between races became greatly divided.

from my own analysis (pardon me if i am wrong in my analysis, i am just a young guy... i took PMR... not LCE), that was why the NEP started. Just to regulate the opportunities in order to get equal outcome.

last time they were no malay doctors back in the 50's, only the chinese n indians. the non malays could become doctyors coz they have money to be well equipped in their study environment and hav money to go to university. in order to hv equal outcome of doctors among all communities, mrsm was put in place to nurture malays to be in those fields that have no malays. this is what i call equal outcome. i think.

plus, i believe the logic behind qualifications equals income could be wrong. Some lower levels qualification ppl do earn more than masters graduate. But that is on individual levels. I was talking more on the whole community.

shouldnt the govt focus on equal outcome FIRST then only when the playing field is level and fair baru boleh pikir pasal equal opportunities..?

Just my two sen jer...

TWO SEN MAN

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 15:02  

dear two sen man. simply because of the nep policy to increase the number of malay doctors. have u heard of malays who dare not see malay doctors when they are sick?

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 15:26  

Sak

I'm beginning to like your posts more and more, again. And the comments are mostly of substance.

Yes, those questions need to be asked. The answers may not be there yet because the policies are still being formulated, the ideas tossed around, but we need to keep asking them, caution them against being too adventurous.

DSN should not bother about the incorrigibles - those who would never be satisfied, would find faults in whatever is being done. They are mainly in the opposition parties, a few are in the mainstream. He should concentrate on the mainstream people, especially the disenchanted and misled ones, a number of whom may have voted opposition in protest but are regretting. Are his actions so far in that direction? If not, he might end up yang di kandung tercicir bla bla. Imagine, the Malays are very divided now. If they feel threatened by the recent apparent acts of liberalisation, more Malays would go to the other side.

Yes, reviving the economy, ensuring competitiveness, attracting investment. But what about attention on problems of the Malays like those highlighted by Keturunan Jebat above? We must ask the Government to act on those and be seen to be doing things that calm the Malays from feeling threatened. True, we should give DSN time but we must keep reminding him the need to do those.

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 17:06  

anon 15.02

ada satu cerita satu orang tua ni.. dia takde apa apa nak cakap,... tapi suka sangat menyampuk ckp org dengan benda benda yang tak de kena mengena.. lepas tu dia mati kena kejutan elektrik akibat menaip keyboard terlalu pantas 2 minggu selepas dia menyampuk..

cerita org tu pasal u ke?


just my two sen lah... jgn marah hehe

TWO SEN MAN signing out!

Greene Man,  24 April 2009 17:45  

Mukhriz is not a smart man, he is only a Grade 3 SPM leaver. His university credentials are also poor. Sophia university isnt a serious university, in fact its no better than any of our local IPTA's.

his businesses also extend to TVWA the media company ran by the zecha family that walloped all the Tourism media spend before, and this is true.

Special prefrence has always been given to this Boy. Maybe time to dig deeper and scrutinize.

Greenbottle 24 April 2009 18:00  

as a non umno man myself...my question is this, are the recent populist decisions (one malaysia & removal of 30% bumi quota in several sectors) a means to quickly get the fast eroding support of the non-malays back to BN at all cost or because these are the right things to do?

if the former... than najib is heading for deep water. if it's a 'do the right thing' philosophy it need a well thought out long term approach and not just knee jerk cosmetic make ups because once you get back the non malay support you(umno) come back to to old bad habits .

i don't know the answer...may be first lady rosmah knows...

Shazlin,  24 April 2009 18:12  

SPR baru-baru ini telah membuat beberapa kenyataan yang amat membimbangkan saya.
Tetapi saya baru baca di MStar Online, di mana Tan Keng Liang, Ketua Pemuda Gerakan Kedah menyatakan SPR bertindak secara professional bila mereka meneliti cadangan semua pihak (saya rasa dia merujuk kepada cadangan mereka untuk penalti RM50k untuk ADUN/RM100k untuk MP yang letak jawatan). Adakah ini yang kita panggil professional?

sila lihat alasannya bila menjawab kritikan YB Lim Kit Siang terhadapnya http://www.mstar.com.my/variasi/pendapat/cerita.asp?file=/2009/4/24/mstar_pendapat/20090424095932&sec=mstar_pendapat

Tiga hari lalu, Timbalan Ketua Pemuda Angkatan Muda Keadilan telah menyatakan Tan Keng Liang langsung tidak berakal di Suara Keadilan.

Apakah pandangan kita terhadap SPR dan geng-gengnya?

Sekian dan salam sejahtera.


Shazlin

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 18:27  

sobonar eh, komen2 dalam sini, hanyolah cakap2 org2 yg rasa pendapat dia betul, ado yg benar kasi pendapat membino, lain2 tukang jawab bilo line jadik panas.

Lebih2 tu cakap2 merapu sajo nak jatuhkan apa2 kebaikan org lain buat. Sajor jorlah bikin paneh.

Den tak raso apo2 kebaikan yg timbul. Cumo, laei banyak org marah, laei banyak lah yg dicakapkan.

Lagi tambah banyak pitnah ado lah hai...

Pikir lah baik2, muslim ko non- muslim atau non-malay ko..kalu anda semuo nak aman, bantu membantu, sikit lebih kurang jangan lah pertikai. Takdo do dalam dunia semuo adil saksamo. Boleh minimise kan..tapi tak buleh nak hilang semuo tip top sampei semuo pueh hati.. alahai...

Yg penting usaho nak majukan negara dan jangan gagal usoho murni org.

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