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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Old vs.New School.


The age of government knows best is over. This is new school. The old school insists on having an elite vanguard leading progress.

One characteristic that Dr. Mahathir has is he does not suffer fools easily. If by saying the age where government knows best means that Dato Najib will abandon the idea that the catalyst for progress is always the political elite in this country, then I am afraid, Dato Najib will be clashing with Dr. Mahathir.

This would at once suggest that when Dato Najib uttered those words, he was ill advised. That's why I say, what Dato Najib said was revolutionary. At the other extreme, what he said can be regarded as blasphemous to the leadership tenets of Dr Mahathir. To Dr Mahathir, the catalytic ideas for progress must originate from the creative minority.

What Dato Najib proposes is in direct contrast to Dr Mahathir's ideas. His PR people and advisors created catchphrases and buzz words but were careless by not thinking through the concepts properly.

What Dr. Mahathir intuitively knew all along, is the potency and necessity of a political elite as a benevolent originator. That this mentally loose idea of empowering the masses to become a collective catalyst for progress is all nonsensical and will take up inordinately long time. It is a good slogan for uplifting the spirit, but lacks self propelling substance.

In the last years of his premiership, Dr Mahathir as president of UMNO was given to very public displays of teary speech endings. He was frustrated at his inability to restructure the mentality of the uncreative Malay majority. He admitted the failure. Finally he realised the futility of banking on the masses to move themselves.

If there is to be any movement at all, it must be initiated, led and directed by a creative minority. The rest is just the uncreative majority whose vocation is to practice and imitate the initiatives of the creative minority.

If this very crucial point is missed by Dato Najib, then the clash with our own helmsman is inevitable.

Dato Najib's idea of abandoning the old school is workable if Dato Najib does and is not willing to compromise on quality leadership and talent. Every organisational level must be fitted with talented leadership. At the village level for instance, the chairmen of the village surau and mosques must be appropriately qualified people. The school's PIBG must reject as candidates the village loafers and those who do not have any inkling about educational standards. The ubiquitous UMNO cawangans must rid themselves from the leadership of the village layabouts and bullies. They must replace them with leadership materials that are as anxious as Dato Najib in bringing about the transformation of society. If the cawangans and bahagians are filled with weak kneed and lily-livered 'gauleiters' ( German for entry level leaderships) who are more interested in their own welfare instead of national interests, Dato Najib's ideas will be stymied and frustrated.

We do not compromise on quality talent by apologising its ok to accommodate below average leadership. It is below average leadership that has created jackassadaisical accomplishments. The below average has a role to practice and imitate the leadership of the creative minority but never as stewards themselves.

Dato Najib's advisors must recognise the differing needs of leadership quality between top and lower levels; between the leadership needs of the creative minority and the uncreative majority. The creative minority needs leadership qualities while the lower levels need qualities of cohesion. The uncreative majority must be turned into highly civic minded ad responsible citizens imbued with self respect and attuned to the greater good of society.

All these require leadership from a creative minority and if the new school thinking that Dato Najib speaks of is the opposite of this, we are back at where we started- change means no change. It will then be a situation of the car being the same, only the driver has changed.


Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 09:44  

Are we to vote and call for a nationwide referendum on every other major issues? Off course not. What do would we need leadership for?

If the leading minority is unable to provide that leadership (which include in the absence of ideas and innovation to solve problems, is to fill that void), who are we to rely on?

Thus your discussion is rhetorical and it doesn't jive with both leaders background and orientation.

Is Najib, coming from a political pedigree, becoming more democrat and socialistic ie people focus?

While, humble beginning Mahathir preaching eliticism?

Mahathir does not suscribe to feudalism and blind loyalty. He is likely to believe in Jebat's idea over Tuah's.

In fact, he liked Najib's idea of "rakyat dan parti menguasai kerajaan" on the last day of UMNO GA.

YOu shouldn't make to much out of the claim that it is the end of Government knows best. As I see it, Najib's positioning is merely political tactic towards voters, and UMNO.

We have to see the whole plan of this "graduate" in Industrial Economic from Nottingham University.

My biggest fear is that he is a mere trend follower and copy and pasting idea. The most dangerous is to blindly follow templates from consultant.

Y1 14 April 2009 at 09:58  

An elite group of TRUSTED leaders who are not only selfless and seen to be selfless in serving the people might be the answer but alas, with politics as it is, self serving people will take advantage. That is the reality of the falleness of human nature.

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 11:14  

Elite leadership as practiced by Mahatir and Badawi did not really work. There is plundering and corruption on large scale. If this course is not reversed, Malaysia will end up as a dysfunctional state.

The only course is to reverse this policy.What Najib said was not wrong. This is the only course.

The only issue is he is not going far enough. He should take the elites out and shoot them. Or maybe he is starting to do that, see the news of people being charged for cheating.

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 11:43  

Honestly, I think what DSN meant was to also look at the elite from other groups particularly the business/commercial group for now before expanding to other groups. Remember his immediate attention is on economy. Didn't TDM do exactly that during the crisis in the late 90's?

TDM failed to change the mentality of the Malays who sell their APs, contracts etc to others. The basic objective of the NEP doesn't really need much creativity to work. It takes hard work. The other option of course is to remove the NEP and subject the Malays, the elites and the non-elites alike, to the hard reality of life called competition. Like the old Malay saying goes 'dah terhantuk baru nak tergadah'

We shall see which Malay leaders dare talk about it in public.

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 13:31  

While the creative few in government may be the catalyst that initiate ideas, but there are other clusters of creative few outside the political realm. DSN must embrace/engage them.

And I think that's what he meant by "the days of government knows best were gone."

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 14:27  

Anon 11.43

Removing the NEP is not an option. The Malays might be up in arms. Already there are Malays saying that the 60% of the population should have more than 30% of corporate wealth. Also others asking why not other forms of wealth as well.

There may not be very many speaking up. But that's because Malays by character and adat are a polite, speak-when-spoken-to lot. Especially in the rural areas. Many have merajuk or shown their anger by voting the opposition or spoiling their votes.

A few have in recent times cursed the Melayu who started the discussion on the NEP and the others who ridicule it by using words like tongkat and crutches, and saying they feel like Red Indians living under protection.

As you have suggested, it would be extremely daring for any leader to start talking about doing away with the NEP. I hope that will never happen. I'll join the others in cursing any one who does.

The Malays have tried in business and wealth accumulation. The 1997-8Financial Crisis brought them back several notches. What more without NEP. It's not a level playing field; even in golf handicaps are given to the new players. The competitors have thousands of years of business experience and expertise. No such thing as open competition under those circumstances.

The pseudo-liberals should start dishing out their wealth (a lot ill-gotten, anyway) to the multitude of the less fortunate Malays before they talk about doing away with NEP. Or shout out on top of their lungs the many non-liberal acts of the Westerners, including US, that they learn liberalism from. Or get rid of money politics and corruption that many of the so-called liberals themselves engaged in or are involved with, taking the main bulk of the benefits of the NEP for themselves.

I'll support the new school if it continues to promote the NEP and change the method of its implementation. Get rid of corruption and spread the benefits out.

Raison D'etre 14 April 2009 at 14:31  


Agree with your general gist, but still thinks that your using the word elite might just step on some toes.

During my study years, I did one paper on paternalism, and true enough: it's remindful of the so-called Mahatirism.

It will no longer work when the developing country matures.

Perhaps NTR thinks we have reached that stage?

Leaders lead, and for all their faults the great ones do not flinched in having to take tough decisions for the good of their nation (or dynasties).

We need those for the former instead of the latter here but don't think NTR is the one to do it.

I will galdly be proven wrong, but even from the start he has already faltered by allowing politics to rule in his Cabinet appointment.

mCrossings 14 April 2009 at 14:49  

We have certainly seen the effect of half-past-six, in say Perak for instance. Leadership quality of the minority is proven not just here but elsewhere.

When we have a red-neck ruling America for 8 years, the whole world crumbled.

And putting things in the directive of the people may not be so wise .

Idzan Ismail,  14 April 2009 at 16:44  

Are you pitching Najib against Tun M?
Do you want to see the grand old man fighting Najib at every turn like he did to Tun Abdullah.
Much as I love and respect the old man, I still feel he is the one who weakened Umno.
I pray that Tun M will not meddle but call Najib in private to voice his dissatisfaction in any of Najib's move.
Najib is just bringing the Hovernment does know best line for the feel good and Wow factor.
You think he will just pander to the minority thinking and not have a mind of his own?
This is also to show that though he is of the aristocracy or bangsawan lineage, he is at one with the people and mindful of their needs.
That shows the vintage Najib who is a strategist.
He is a man of the time.
Old or new school does not really matter.

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 17:20  

To Anon 11.43... Please don't mislead people with your distortion of facts.

You claim NEP must stay cos' "The competitors have thousands of years of business experience & expertise". Any educated person (perhaps not in Malaysia, as our history books now are grossly distorted) knows that the VAST MAJORITY of these 'competitors', were uneducated peasants & indentured laborers with neither business experience nor expertise whatsoever when they came to M'sia ... they did all the dirty work the locals did not want to do! Their sweat & toil helped modernised & brought wealth to this country. They bettered themselves & created a brighter future for their kids through hard work and education. Having no tongkat to support them, they had to either swim on their own or sink.

Unless and until the majority of Malays can admit and accept this truth as a historic fact, stop blaming others and harping that it is still "not a level playing field" here, Malaysia will never and can never became a first world nation... worst, we may even end up one of the least progressive countries in ASEAN!

walla 14 April 2009 at 18:00  

We know how it is when governments make decisions.

When it's not straightforward, it's a phone call and a helicopter drop-down, and if that over-shoots the runway later, it will be made to end in a VTOL lift-off.

And when it's straightforward, someone will say something to liven things up, then someone else will be asked to put up a position paper with whatever pros and cons he can think up in a jiffy, with a set of recommendations and appendices at the end. In most cases that someone will do so in a hurry and with little but a hard prayer.

The paper so produced will be tabled, clarified, discussed and then a decision will be made for implementation.

One of two things will happen after that. It is implemented well and completely; the results are either good or not so good; it is implemented not well and incompletely; the results are either not so good, or worse.

Sometimes what is considered good or not good depends on other factors. Like whether the end-user or customer, or in this case, the rakyat, have bought into the idea and rationale of the project in the beginning. And in this case, whether they are able to buy into or otherwise an idea or proposal that affects them, the society they live in, the country and so on, will depend on the lens they use to read its objectives, and the differentiating factors which go into their acceptance or otherwise of what is portrayed to be achieved, and what they perceive to be not achieved. In short, the hidden agendas.

Take the latest as a hypothetical downturn. Hamidi has just made mindef. He launched Tentera Wataniah. That's putting a rela-type presence of some three hundred semi-trained skull-cracking soldier-types in each of over two hundred constituencies in the country. People hear this, see what is happening in Bangkok, and their perception is already not so good.

For a number of reasons. One, the speed at which it is briefly declared. This means it has been on the table for a while. Two, the opacity of the idea. They wonder - has it been discussed and debated long and hard in terms of resources and commitments inasmuch cost, suppliers, objectives and performance measures? Three, the nagging suspicion that there's more to it than meets the eye; people ask - perhaps it has to do with postal votes, and if that is so, then by the speed in which it is launched, it only suggests that the postal voting system could have been compromised. Before. Which means what? That it wasn't just Perak? Four, they are disinclined to think there could be other objectives; if to reinforce Rela, why not reinforce Rela itself? If Rela has been running after illegal workers, then how big is that problem and how effective has Rela been in that function? Five, if children can even be kidnapped in gated properties these days, why spend billions on something under mindef when more should be done under moha? Especially when the last of the two boats from Lumut at inflated prices have yet to be delivered? And, six, if it is to reduce unemployment, aren't there better and more justifiable ways to do so, considering, at the same time, we have cause for celebration, finally, for being higher ranked than Burundi, but it seems, not Mongolia?


So, what could have started as a testosterone exercise with perhaps some good intention is already strung up on piano wires for the next archery session...all because of non-transparency.

Therefore, one of the reform measures to be debated should be on transparency. That means transparency as an embedded must-do from the very-start. Of everything. No point doing it only on that hill in jalan duta with accounts three years old.

Otherwise, like prices, perceptions can get sticky very fast and, once stuck, they will be as undetachable as UHU.

Where does this notion of transparency sit in the spectrum between a rakyat-inclined referendum system on one end and an elitist creative lookdown-shootdown skunk-works at the other end?

By webifying all position papers and by opening to full public preview all policies about to be designed, transparency will enable (a) citizens to learn, (b) governments to know, and (c) decision-making to be enhanced by differing views dovetailing to common ground.

The flip-side is that some policy-makers don't want people to know because they are fearful problems will be generated before a program is initiated. That is however a manifestation of short-termism defined as time is short, let's do it first and worry later.

And because of that, how many today are not worried, here?

If one can contain all the rakyat from day one within an unbreakable canopy, those of today will likely not have views different from those of yesteryear. It is because of interaction with the world and exchanges with one another that individual worlds have opened up to suggest there are many paths to the same destination, and with each learning cycle, the traveling gets easier, less wasteful, and more cohesive. If you want integrity, for instance, transparency is like the x-ray body scanner at the airport terminal.

That's also why telling the long-suffering media to be constructively critical is not enough. They must know how a decision or idea or conclusion was arrived at and be given enough latitude to tell the rakyat so that the rakyat can offer their views that will offer back the longitude so that latitude and longitude in concert will pin down the state of this nation precisely.

From what has been seen, heard and read in the last few days after the cabinet formation, that state of this nation seems a bit unknown. Adrift, even. Perhaps. Blame that unknown x on non-transparency to all.

Old school or new school, it's time for the rakyat to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us X-files. Knowing the facts from another committee commissioned to commit costs after the project has already dissipated with the funds absconded is hardly something one should expect the rakyat to continue picking up the pieces in the end. After all, it's their money in the first place.

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 18:15  

Anon 17:20

You not only distort but mislead people to further your own interest. You are even a dangerous kind.

You conveniently avoid mentioning the Chinese towkays in Penang who know about mining operations and running the business (admittedly, the Chinese in Mainland China had been mining ores for thousands of years), to whom Long Jaafar went for expertise in running his mines in the mid 19th Cent. Of course, they brought clan warfare, secret societies and gangsterism, too, menacing the mines, and those towkays asked the British Resident to intervene to protect their business interests, leading to British rule in Malaya, more Chinese businesses prospering, no help for the Malays in business, very little in education.

Can't it ever get into the figment of your imagination that at every major road junction in the settlements of Larut in the 1880s onwards were Chinese provision and other shops, no Malay shop or business of any kind? That Honda Tan Sri Lee Boon Siew started his bicycle repair shop and C & C Bintang grew from a workshop that began at a time when no Malay knew about the glue for tyre puncture repairs or had any knowledge/ inclination for business? Or you simply refuse to think along those lines but just want more, more and more, say anything you like, including accusing others of re-writing history when, in fact, you yourself are trying to do it?

I think I know you from previous posts and my standard response is, after setting the record straight as above, ignore your incorrigible kind.

kuldeep 14 April 2009 at 19:35  

Rakyat knows best..but can only do something when PRU comes meanwhile the elites still knows better.
how often and how easily can a common guy with a great idea be able to present his proposal to the PM?
so..its mainly rhetoric ..a balm for the depressed and depressive.

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 19:42  

The late Tun Dr Ismail said that there should not be a deadline for the end of NEP because according to him the Malays will one want to see it go because it is slur on their ability to compete. Now what kind of creativity do we need here to remind the Malays or better still make them accept that NEP is a temporary tool to help them compete and that there is no reason for Malays to fail in this country either in education or in the field of economy. At least TDM has the sincerity to admit that he failed.

Anon @ 11.43

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 20:40  

Anon 19:42

I don't understand why you sign off as "Anon@11.43" when I was the one who wrote that 11:43 and the 18:16 comments. Are you trying to milead people into believing that I wrote your 19:42 comment? If so, you also are the dangerous kind.

I assume you are the same or in the same category as Anon 17:20 and would not bother to react any further after I have pointed out the above. Further comments would only distract Sakmongkol's readers from the issues being discussed.

Anonymous,  14 April 2009 at 20:47  

Ability, integrity and honesty are the three most important things in government. Any of the three goes and the faith people have in government disappears. It is a disservice to everyone concerned if the people are perpetually second guessing their government. Are they sure they know what they are talking about?

Anonymous,  15 April 2009 at 10:29  

‘You conveniently avoid mentioning the Chinese towkays in Penang who know about mining operations and running the business (admittedly, the Chinese in Mainland China had been mining ores for thousands of years), to whom Long Jaafar went for expertise in running his mines in the mid 19th Cent.’

The guy who wrote this like to read history as he like. Alternatively, he only read one-sided history, perhaps the BTN type.

- Long Jaafar discovered tin in Perak? Please-lah. When u reached this part on that history book that u were reading, used yr gray matter-lah!

‘…to whom Long Jaafar went for expertise in running his mines in the mid 19th Cent.’

U sincerely think those poor Southern Chinese whom Long Jaafar alleged turn for expertise, had that expertise? Bloody hell, a proponent of weak/strong culture apologist!

‘….Of course, they brought clan warfare, secret societies and gangsterism,..’

Let me tell u what gangsterism is; yr famed hero Maharajalela was a slave trader, who got the bulk of his income from capturing and selling Orang Asli as slaves. He killed Birch, who had no understanding of the Malay psyche then & who tried to stop this practice, thus stopped that ill-gained income of Maharajalela ! If this is not gangsterism to the extreme, what is?

‘…those towkays asked the British Resident to intervene to protect their business interests, leading to British rule in Malaya,’

What happened to the interest of Long Jaafar? Was he now the running dog of the Chinese? There were more Malays in cohort with the Chinese, for their common interests, than u r willing to admit.

Btw, u seriously think that the British Resident could be so easily persuaded to interfere in the Perak politic by the Chinese towkays? The British Resident must be really thick in the head! What about the interest of Britania? The elite Malays played no part?

‘….no Malay shop or business of any kind? That Honda Tan Sri Lee Boon Siew started his bicycle repair shop and C & C Bintang grew from a workshop that began at a time when no Malay knew about the glue for tyre puncture repairs or had any knowledge/ inclination for business?’

Perhaps this nicely sum up yr twisted understanding of strong/weak culture. U probably think those whom u mentioned got their fortunes from the sky. They worked like hell & get little helps here & there & re-learn.

Wasn’t there’s a saying that God only helps those who help themselves?

Anyway, I should have follow yr advice & ignore u. U write craps, supplemented with one-sided stories. Worst, u don’t use that piece of meat between yr ears to analyse those craps. U just absorbed like a dry sponge takes to the water, perhaps swallowing wholesome is easier? No?

Anonymous,  15 April 2009 at 14:04  

Thousands of years of business experience advantage ? Wonder where the Ali Baba businessman learned his trade, from his forefathers ?

Please-lah, the only way of succeeding in anything you do is hardwork, blood, sweat & tears not thousands of years of experience from your ancestors. It is all about opportunity and how you make use of that opportunity. Do you do it yourself or the easy Ali Baba way ?

How about university education ? You may get priority to get into university through NEP, but it is not going to guarantee that you graduate with flying colours. You still need to put in the hardwork to get a first class honours or did the rest also have an advantage from thousands of years of experience from their ancestors ?

Get Real

Kamal,  15 April 2009 at 19:49  

The hardworking ones tu tok nenek moyang korang je, bukan korang, org cina muda skang pemalas, sama je cam budak2 melayu. Suma nk easy money, loves to complain, whine and brag abt silly little thngs. Welcome to the new era of generation CrapALot

Dok perabis duit mak bapak je, you spend hours reading political blogs, whining and complaining abt ur nasib

Think ur gonna get rich like that? U thnk everythngs gonna change just because ur party won and a new ruling system will change ur fate? While ur busy voicing out ur opinions like an a$$hole, everyone else is moving forward towards success. Dream on losers

Anonymous,  16 April 2009 at 11:09  

Kamal, don't talk cock like sing song. If org muda Cina sekarang pemalas then it is a level playing field what, sama macam adik kau. Then why are you complaining like an a$$hole about orang punya nenek moyang's pengalaman ?

Anonymous,  17 April 2009 at 09:34  


Hope U can bear with this. This is my LAST reply to those choir boys of dn, who like to sing its chorus.

When dn uploaded V.T. Sambanthan & Tan Siew Sin's speeches way back during his singsong day (not the current one), I wrote to his site;

The MIC & MCA politicians were playing to the audiences. MIC & MCA's political relevancy was hanging on the line. They had lost their base supports & knowing that they would be decimated in the coming '69 election. They needed the Malay electorates for their members to be elected. Thus the speeches.

Keeping in mind that these speeches were quoted by a third party & NOT in their OWN biographies! Misquoted? I don't know! They r just politikus to the extreme!


I can do a dn by quoting T Dr Ismail's speech about the 'purpose' of NEP & its proposed limited duration. This record is official & in HIS own writings. Do refer to the records that now kept in ISEA Singapore.

Now who is not grateful?


The last I visited USA, during Obama's election tours, many of his speeches were translated into Hispanic, Mandarin(?) for the other minorities to understand.

BTW, many of the US govt official documents have multiple languages too!

What takes?

My god, US of A has been overrun by pendatang!


U read & write history like yr own creation. Nothing wrong with that.

History is written by the victors. Yet there r also a lot of third sources which r not officially censored. That doesn't mean that all these sources r irrelevant!

The truth is lying in between these sources. As a reader (r u?) one MUST use the brain to analyse these sources & filter out the craps.

If one takes to the one-sided facts like dry sponge to the water, then GIGO. Just like yr interpretations of that two speeches.

This is yr site for u to do yr own singing. If I don't like it DO tell me to f**k off.

And NO ad hominem arguments, please. It seems that u like to do that a lots. What takes?

Someone said that there r four types of people in this world; 1st class - with intelligence & principle, 2nd class - with principle & no intelligence, 3rd class - not intelligent & no principle, & the MOST despicable 4th class - intelligent BUT totally not principle.

Or u have a VERY difference interpretation of what PRINCIPLE is?



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