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Sakmongkol ak 47

ariff.sabri@gmail.com

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Measure of Najib






The Reasonable Man Guide to Economics


I recently wrote an article menilai Najib. It was reproduced in Free Malaysia Today.  People send comments to FMT. Many of the comments were not objective. Indeed most were irrational rantings. 
I think most of the commentators don’t read the original article on my blog. They prefer instead to read the stylised FMT version. Accordingly most of the comments never debate the issues I raised but chose instead to violate my person.

The points I raised were (1) what made Najib a bad PM and (2) what made him a bad FM. I was hoping for a more robust counter. Instead it’s the usual ad hominem attacks.

They are commenting on the article re-written and interpreted by FMT. They vent their anger. They asked who am I to assess Najib. They accused me of repeating what my tokongs say. Fortunately I am immune to that kind of insulting riposte.

So don’t be angry if I refer them as mental gnomes. These include the die-hard UMNO supporters and the uncle-tomming non Malay supporters.

No one can stop anyone from saying Najib is the best PM we have had thus far. I don’t have a problem with this belief. Please continue. Najib needs support from the pliant crowd. He has an army of apple polishers and media minders to ensure the hallelujah-ing from the balcony and the gallery keep on coming.  

But please accord me the freedom to also believe the opposite. And as to the claim that he is the best PM and the best FM, I can only suggest these people who make such claims, to have their heads examined by a psychiatrist.

Fortunately I know Najib more than most of these people. I make it my business to criticise Najib’s leadership.

When I say that Najib has failed as a PM, I put up my reasoning. When I say Najib fails as a Finance Minister, I also do the same. The rejoinder and retort to my statements would acquire more credibility if they are in the form of reasoned arguments.

Dismissing my arguments by snide remarks and sneering do nothing to advance the credibility of counter arguments. I know for a fact that my reasoning may not be sound, but unless they are demolished by reasoned counters and rejoinders, I will maintain my belief that Najib is the worse PM we have ever had. Politically, Najib has performed worse than Pak Lah according to Dr Mahathir.

So those pro UMNO and BN people, whether you love it or hate it, learn to accept the fact that the PM is mediocre.

Leaders provide leadership first.

They articulate first and clearly about the objectives and vision of this country. Do we want a country with 2 legal systems? One for the Malays and Muslims and the other for non Malays and Muslims. You don’t run a country like this unless some parts of Malaysia were ruled by another power for almost a century. Malaysia is not Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Najib has failed to provide leadership to this country, give our country a clear vision and articulate the vision; he has failed to give content to this vision other than a smorgasbord of acronyms.

His grand vision of 1Malaysia has not found resonance with the people. No one understands what 1 Malaysia means. To Malay firsters, 1 Malaysia means Malaysia under Malay rule.

I have often asked this question; if the population of Malaysia were all Malays, there will still be differences. It’s the inability of this government that doesn’t know how to deal with the differences that is the crux of the problem.

Consider the economy of the Malays. For every single Ringgit earned by the Malays as a whole, 65 sen will go to the top 20%. I am not even sure if it’s even the top 20%- it can even be the top 1-2%. In that case, the majority of Malays will never accept and kowtow to that kind of arrangement.

The presence of 24% Chinese and 11 % others is both a bane and way out for the UMNO people. It’s an excuse to scare the rakyat from seeing the problem as it really is. Which is, the problems we have now with social relations, breakdown of political institutions, the mess with the economy are caused by leadership incompetence and bad management of the economy.

What are the threats to 1 Malaysia? The chief threat will be the unwillingness of the government to act tough. Najib hasn’t got the political will. You look at the government statistics on the population census, they clearly show that almost 90% of the towns have Malay majorities. So the reservations and objections to having local elections are misplaced and simply wrong.

The problems as I see it are two. One -UMNO cannot secure the confidence of the entire Malay community. Two, MCA cannot be depended on to secure Chinese votes.

Now, lets ask and answer honestly why MCA cannot get the confidence of the Chinese. Because the Chinese by and large see the MCA as a party driven by people who just want to secure businesses and contracts and the Chinese perceive MCA as a corrupt party. They are thus willing to reject MCA although it’s a 100% Chinese party. The Chinese know how to object against corruption and a party whom they see as being part of the problem.

So what do you have? You have the Chinese majority who are convinced they don’t want to be part of a corruption culture.

How is Najib’s lack of political will manifested? It is reflected by his romancing and flirtations with the various extremist pressure groups.  They appear to dictate the government's conduct.

Najib is just flirting with concepts without giving real commitment.

Where is our country going? The pro UMNO people and the uncle-tomming non-Malays are ignoring the fact that the Malaysia is fast becoming the sick man of Asia. What does it mean to be Malaysia? Investors are running away from Malaysia because they dont have confidence that the present government can handle good governance. The various financial scandals plaguing the Malaysia economy are making investors nervous about putting money into Malaysia.

Najib has failed as the finance minister. We shall elaborate on this further.  

Najib likes to demonstrate the soundness of the Malaysian economy by pointing out at the KLCI numbers. In his October 2014 Budget Speech, he likes to differentiate himself from his predecessor. Thus he starts by reminding the people that when he took office the KLCI was 884 points and in July 2014 after 5 years of taking over- the KLCI was 1892 points.

 What he failed to own up was during the very month he read the Budget in Parliament the index was 1855. Now in January 2015, it is 1750. The numbers are going down.

Public sector debt which is debt incurred by the government which consists of official debt as stated in the 2015 Budget, contingent liabilities which are loans taken by GLCs and other government owned businesses that are guaranteed by the government, financial letters of support which carry with them financial obligations or pure financing of projects which are not documented or not captured in any documents may well reach 80% of our GDP. I say may well because, the government is not forthcoming and transparent when it comes to owning up. I hope the FMT journalists can discern such nuanced argument. We are not sure for the simple reason, this government hides from us , its liabilities.

In 2014, the cumulative public debt is around RM570 billion. Contingent liabilities amount to some RM170 billion. That’s RM740 billion already. Add to this amount, the value of support letters carrying financial obligations and pure financing that are not documented- we can only assume to be another RM150 billion. That’s RM890 billion. Given an economy of slightly more than 1 trillion- we have a public debt level of almost 80%. This is a plausible proposition appreciating the fact that household debt has already reached 87% of GDP. We are a nation of debtors- the household and the government. 
Then this was this bozo who wanted to act smart by repeating that our assets are worth RM50 billion, our liabilities worth RM47 billion. Father mother asked you to go to school, you run away- those are figures quoted by Najib about 1MDB la- not public debt. That is another financial horror story. 

We may well be staring at a government which will be printing all the Banana tree money which I used to play when I was a kid.

20 comments:

Anonymous,  25 January 2015 at 23:57  

Assalamualaikum Datok.
Lets see what these people would say when comes April 1st, when they have to pay everything for more.

rahman jpc 26 January 2015 at 00:28  

yb what u described n analysed abt d economy n d alarming debt ratio is very sound n credible. we r in a terrible mess.when I was a budget officer, our tasks then were much easier n straight forward bec most of d time d demands 4 financial allocation were pre planned.however of late demands seem 2 come from all over d 'off budget' agencies that claimed 2 get their various programs approved by d pm/fm .some even made commitments wthout first discussing wth d treasury making budgetory control very difficult. I got 2 know that govt truly has difficulty in finding d money now ( kesian pegawai2 kat treasury).d recent budget re alignment shld b more drastic.this is in line wth tun m's views also.
Wel najib is stil d pm n fm. presently his performance does not look 2 impressive. time wil tel whether he is going 2 b praised or cursed. he wil not want 2 tarnish tun razak's positive legacies. I wil reserve my judgement n wait a little bit longer.

Anonymous,  26 January 2015 at 05:02  

Sir,

I do agree with your points and I'm glad to know we have people such as yourself to provide some insight and balance to the otherwise one sided narrow opinion by our mainstream so called 'media'.

However I am also disheartened by the fact that our rural Malay folks will never understand what you and others like you are trying to achieve. Staying in a kampong myself I know first hand of their utter dependence to UMNO for every little things. And it's deep rooted this dependency almost like a drug that it's hard to make them see the bigger picture.

Fairplay, equality,justice,transparency all these values are mere words to them and often ignored. Until someone somewhere is able to wean them away from this drug of dependecy from UMNO then UMNO will always have a solid base to build on to keep their tap of abuse,corruption, greed and cronyism running for the foreseeable future and that is to me a scary thought.

In my kampong everything runs through UMNO by their stooges in the JKKK including the Ketua Kampong, Imam etc. You need welfare assistance? These people are the ones you have to see....and the rot continues on to the Majlis Daerah right up to the D.O's office and this must end if we want to see the changes that you talk about taking place in this generation.

I stand with you and wish you all the very best on this seemingly impossible endeavor and as a Rakyat and a patriot I thank you for keeping the spirit of humanity alive.

Zaini

Anonymous,  26 January 2015 at 07:45  

People who says that Najib is the best PM is like saying that Nero is the best emperor in the history of the Roman Empire.

These people are definitely blind apple polishers and not knowing that they and their families are sitting on a fire. To us, they are just clowns who just brighten our day with laughter.

A PM who hardly attends Parliament sessions, keeps quiet on important issues, likes to travel and recklessly spends Rakyat's money, never keeps his promises and a lot of things I should not mention ... is the best PM? April is still very far away.

We all know that there are millions of Malaysians who will do a much better job if given the chance to become PM or FM.

bruno,  26 January 2015 at 08:17  

Dato,what the Umno supporters and commentators known as Uncletommers meant and assumed is that Najib is the best PM material Umno had at present among the crowd of wannabe's PM.

Mahathir chased Badawi out because he was considered useless.And Malaysians ended up having Najib.Now Mahathir again wants to chased out Najib,because he considered Najib useless too.This time if Najib is chased out,Malaysians will end up having a cow or donkey for PM.This is a no brainer because like Mahathir said,the smart and brilliant Malays are chased out or not allowed to join Umno.The cows have finally decided to come home sweet home to Umno.

bruno,  26 January 2015 at 08:39  

In New York,USA,seventy years old Shelly Silver,the speaker of the state assembly and the second most powerful politician in NY state,after Gov Cuomo was arrested for corruption.

The AG got wind of this corrupted politician and many other big fishes to come after Gov Cuomo abruptly shut down the Moreland commission,a commission he set up to fight public corruption.When the Moreland commission was shut down,rumors were going around that Cuomo was pressured by the speaker to shut it down.Well,what goes around comes around.Beware corrupted politicians.Especially after the eunuch AG Uncletommer has been chased out by Mahathir.

Anonymous,  26 January 2015 at 08:48  

Will we come to the stage where our currency will need to be "dollarized"
i.e. the legal tender used within Malaysia is foreign currency such as the American dollar because the local currency are essentially worthless pieces of paper?
As in Zimbabwe where its economy was saved by a very capable Finance Minister from the opposition political party MDC?

Phua Kai Lit

rahman jpc 26 January 2015 at 10:58  

yr description of d mca is more appropriate if it covers d whole Chinese community.it is in their DNA n culture that they r more materialistic than d other races.i know it bcos 1/4 of me is them.( just like dato jj - mp rompin).it is not wrong though as long as it is legal n ethical.sometimes d ethical lines become blurred in their haste 2 achieve success.
on yr part ,I quite understand yr reluctance 2 rope in n criticize d Chinese in d DAP as it wld b suicidal.
I stil believe very strongly that d concept of power sharing led by d majority race is stil d best model 4 Malaysia. bcos of this proven n workable arrangement, d MCA is severely handicapped as compared 2 d DAP that can continue 2 deliver false promises n play wth racist emotion.their true colours wil emerge once they r convinced of political success.u need 2 ask d malay DAP members in penang on how they were treated b4 n after d GE13.as 4 me I hv experienced d racist Chinese behavior b4; during n after d may 69 riots first hand.i hv penned my short anecdote of d events in eddy's blog 'just my thoughts'.feel free 2 read it.
Yb, as I hv mentioned honestly b4, u r malay leadership material but unfortunately u r wth d wrong crowd.fight from wthin n who knows GOD WILLING u might d next national leader coming out of Pahang. wassallam.

flyer168 26 January 2015 at 14:09  

"The Measure of Najib"

Dato',

Yes indeed.

Talking about Bolehland's DEBTS, 1MDB, etc & Banana money...!

We are almost there...!

Just to share this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvg55YveGfI

You be the judge.

Cheers.

flyer168 26 January 2015 at 14:18  

"The Measure of Najib"

Dato',

Also to share this…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7InlN2x08Q

You be the judge.

Cheers.

bumi-non-malay 26 January 2015 at 14:29  

Kalau orang melayu selalu focus pasal Raja, Agama dan bangsa......dan sentiasa terima segala kesusahan hidup, Kelaparan, kesakitan, malapetaka, banjir, ribut petir sampai semua rumah kampung dibakar sabagai takdir ALLAH dan tak berani Soal, maka minda awak dah dibasuh UMNO-BN dengan izin S&A selama 60 tahun.......

Jangan soal, jangan cuba cari jawapan sebab ALLAH UMNO akan secara SILAP Mata buat satu Keluarga gembira, durian Runtuh, bermakna 1,000,000 keluarga sudah diperbaiki Allah UMNO Ajiab!! TOLONG Satu Keluarga UMNO Melayu dalam banjir...BERMAKNA 1,000,000 dah berada dalam rumah mewah/baru kerana MEDIA ALLAH UMNO dah tanyangkan 1,000,000 kali...SATU Keluarga melayu Gembira dan setuju dengan cara UMNO Takbir Negara!!

Nak Keluar Basuh Minda Awak....Hanya perlu kata "ALLAH untuk Semua...Siapa Keliru Dia BODOH".....Bermakna semua Hakim yang buat acara Kalimah ALLAH itu Bodoh dan Korrupsi Minda dah sampai ke MAKAMAH!!..... Esok Bangsa/agama Lain tak boleh panggil bapa mereka Ayah....Sebab akan KELIRU anak2 UMNO melayu muda yang belum dibasuh Minda UMNO....seminggu kemudian, bangsa dan agama lain tak boleh guna perkataan emak sebab akan Keliru lagi anak2 muda UMNO melayu Islam... sebulan kemudian...tak boleh panggil Abang....lagi keliru anak2 muda UMNO Melayu!!! @#$%^&*! Bangsat betul begitu mudah manusia Malaysia cepat diKELIRU!!!

Anonymous,  26 January 2015 at 15:14  

Dato, your detrators can read this by Reuters: "Red lights blinking on Malaysia's economic dashboard".
here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/20/us-malaysia-debt-analysis-idUSKBN0KT2EL20150120
Ask them to go attack that writer, or may be spit into the sky.

Anonymous,  27 January 2015 at 09:28  



The situation in Greece should be followed by all concerned Malaysians:


Left-wing, anti-austerity political party Syriza has come to power.
But Frau Angela Merkel's Germany "stays firm" and wants the Greeks
to continue with their austerity policies.

German banks and French banks loaned money to previous Greek governments.
The money is stolen by corrupt politicians and there is a lot of waste through extravagant spending e.g. Olympic Games construction.

Then the ordinary Greek people are forced to undergo severe austerity,
so that the German banks can be repaid.

I would say that it is only fair that the banks should also be punished for
imprudent lending by taking some degree of financial losses. This will teach them to be more careful
about lending to kleptocratic regimes in the future.

So-called lending from Germany to help the Greeks "recover" = using German public tax payer money to bail out the private German banks via a circuitous route.

I am wondering if the Malaysian people will also suffer a similar
fate in the future because of massive corruption by our UMNO Baru-BN kleptocrats and gross mismanagement of the economy by Najib. We may be forced to repay hard currency foreign loans by having austerity imposed on us by foreign creditors.

Phua Kai Lit


Greenbug 27 January 2015 at 22:51  

I can understand all those people - Malays and non-Malays - continue to polish Najib's cajones and kiss hiss hands because they get some crumbs...

But tell me Dato Sak... why are there still so many others who suck up to Najib and even defend him publicly when they are down at the bottom of the food chain, poor and deprived and gets RM5 or a bag of rice if they are lucky... why are there so many of these?

walla 27 January 2015 at 23:39  

All these years, Umno has been putting the cart before the horse - 'give the Malays more and then hope they will transform themselves'.

Many of those who didn't transform themselves are now making more mischief. Those who did transform themselves are now cowered by the props set up to spawn more of those who didn't transform themselves.

This situation is not sustainable. It only serves to divide and polarize the force that has been building up to fight the corruption of government, institutions and society that is the biggest malaise of Malaisie.

In the past, oil came to the rescue each time the economy went into a crisis and spin permeated an artificial feel-good mist in the land.

Today, oil is passe. We were already a net oil importer last year. Since oil takes millions of years to build up, we can't depend on it as a lifesaver anymore. The resource curse has finally hexed.

Commodities are in the doldrums; bad weather and low yields compound with more competition and lower prices.

Services as tourism has also nosedived, and with the ringgit falling, bonds are no longer the default money source for a government already mired from red to purple in debt.

Manufacturing has long hollowed out. When was the last time the media had trumpeted a major manufacturing investment project? Yilek and zilch.

Today, Najib's government is only preoccupied with finding ways and means to tax the rakyat more. Even the city and town councils in Umno-run states are milking their urban voters, many of whose middle class members will soon be falling into borderline poverty.

To keep the rakyat from seeing how things are costing more without any means to match higher prices with higher earnings, more mischief is being made to deflect attention, create bogeys and tar the voices of real conscience.

It has become a premeditated and official onslaught against the national conscience of all right-thinking Malaysians whose moderation is tested everyday to its breaking point.

Najib must surely have known all this. If he doesn't, he has no cognitive faculty let alone a conscience to match that of the lowliest ordinary man.

It is because all know he already knows that all can conclude he is deliberately ignoring all the mischief and malfeasance which have created a breakdown in true governance in this country.

Perhaps he is himself paralyzed by fear of what will next happen when people already see the writing on the wall.

A court dismissing the need to call up his aide-de-camp to testify who could have ordered the hit on Altantuya. How could they possibly know what he will be testifying if they don't call him? Is it because they already know beforehand what is underhanded?

A magic carpet in the case of Sodomy II. Is this nation to achieve Vision 2020 as the laughing stock of the world?

The non-transparency of 1MDB whose repute has already been sullied by the resignation one after another of its auditors, what more buying expired concessions at bale-out prices.

The timidity of Pemandu with regards Permata embedded in a PMO of pentagonal size in manpower and budget yet in a country about to implode as the Greece of Asia despite all outward appearances of sundry days ahead.

The magisterial mansion, the multitude of aviation movers, the malvern science centre with labs possibly to identify 96-hour spermicidal DNA's.

walla 27 January 2015 at 23:39  

2/2

The list goes on whose length is only matched by the growing endless possibilities of 1Malaysia, 1Malay, 1Umno, 1Umno Supremo's.

With the offshore accounts and massive funds outflow, the globalization of Umno Incorporated.

That, folks, is Umno's greatest contribution to the history of this nation's development.

Meanwhile, a healthy diet of kangkungfication and amokfication for our hoi-polloi Malay cannon fodder. After all, what more should they digest? No more beras? How about some creme brulee?

Which leaves one to ask - much money did his father leave him that he and his wife can spend so much so fast to achieve so little if any for the rakyat he has taken an oath to serve in the only democracy championed as the best in this world where local elections can yet be denied on the presumption they may raise racial riots to be caused no doubt by a race that has only been taught to ride carts before horses but that's only because magic carpets are a myth except for those with bamboo telescopes?

The downturn of this Vision 2020 nation is only paralleled by the avalanche of lunacy in some quarters in our midst. Surely, there must be some space left for enough is enough?

And that is why one is completely disappointed in Najib inasmuch his appointment master, the black mamba mamak, who himself is trying a last-ditch saving of his own reputation, much of which already almost a posthumous memory of the ultimate machiavellian racist of this century, with the ex-mayor of tokyo for companion.

After all, one culprit pointing the finger at another culprit doesn't make the first one more innocent than the second. If not, all criminals would self-erase every other crime.

Even when he already knew he is a flat zero with regards Maxwell's 21 irrefutable laws of leadership (http://is.gd/F9NnMz), he could have searched deep within himself to find the last molecule of mojo to move the nation back to the centre of moderation and progressive right-mindedness.

He didn't, he hasn't, and frankly, he can't. Because he already knows there is no one, absolutely none, below his hierarchy within Umno or in his woolly cabinet of block-headed puppets who can helm after him.

Dried of all spin, out of the washing machine of reality, does anyone rightly believe we are not heading for the vicious cycle of the self-destruction of the Malaysian star?

After all, the measure of Najib is but a subset of the measure of how this nation has degraded.

Which is also why it is impossible to read any comments from any Umno or BN cybertrooper without throwing up last night's kangkung-heavy dinner.

Even a monkey with a typewriter or a cock-eyed camel would have made better sense and with much more intelligence.

While somewhere out there may be a cure for stupidity, there's none for no conscience.

Goodnight, Sakmongkol. Try the STG-44 some time.

Kamal Ismail 28 January 2015 at 00:56  

Too many school failures = too many blind followers = too few comprehending fairness, equality, harmony, simply because "self-regulation and self-discipline" was never taught at school and at home(parents too "busy").

Anonymous,  28 January 2015 at 09:32  

Read this in the Malaysia Insider today:
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said 1MDB was "holding Malaysian banks hostage by seeking a third extension for its overdue RM2 billion loan", citing a Bloomberg report yesterday saying “1MDB is planning to seek another one-month extension” on its RM2 billion loan “to give it more time to sell a stake in its energy unit”.
"This news is shocking as 1MDB has already missed two repayment deadlines for a RM2 billion debt in November and December 2014. Even this RM2 billion loan itself is part of a rescheduled and restructured debt it couldn’t pay in November 2013," he said in a media statement released in Kuala Lumpur today.
He said the loan repayment extension raised a bigger question about the US$1.1 billion (RM3.9 billion) of funds which recently-appointed 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy had announced as “redeemed” from its Cayman Islands investment on 13th January.
"Why couldn’t 1MDB have repaid the RM2 billion loan with the proceeds of the redemption first to ease the pressure on 1MDB?" he asked. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dap-demands-special-audit-as-1mdb-seeks-third-loan-repayment-delay#sthash.JB8gt7Sp.dpuf

I thought the new 1MDB CEO Kandasamy was supposed to inform how the "return" of the US$1.1 billion was made to Malaysia, to which bank, etc. etc. Unfortunately till now, it's been silence all the way from the top.

Anonymous,  29 January 2015 at 14:26  

Dato, Walla, Bruno
Like the way you write, each in his own inimitable style.

Dato, as always not sparing the rod.
Walla, even in your prime years, there's so much to offer us, pls continue.
Bruno, in your ferocious brutal style, I may not always agree but you get the points across.

Anonymous,  29 January 2015 at 15:34  

Interesting read in Malaysiakini today:

" With the Umno president under dire threat from a proven career-stopper, with his deputy as quiescent as an extinct volcano, a No 3 impaled on a sword he helped forge, a No 4 disqualified by dynastic and graver caveats, and a No 5 stymied by geography, who will the party or, what is more accurate, its overlords turn to as interim saviour before a new and younger cast of leaders is rung in?

ANSWER: KU LI ?? provided he still has the fire in his belly to right the wrongs !!

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