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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday 31 December 2009

An afternoon with The Oracle of Syed Putera-Part 4/4

Part 4.

How would you think, UMNO should treat its past Presidents? Tun Dr Mahathir in particular. He is a larger than life figure

You know, Singapore has got it. After all is said and done, Singapore has got it right. It knows how to take care of its former PMs. It cost then little but the benefits are much more. It gives you a sense of continuity and certainty. Certainty implies dependability. Investors like it. Other governments appreciate it. It implies no major changes in policies.

Seriously, I think it's all for the better if the PM calls on TDM regularly. You know, once a month. Have tea with him. Maybe inform him, I am doing this and that. Consult him and engage him.  Consulting does not mean getting his consent. He is not looking after honours any more. He has done everything. But he needs to feel appreciated.

I am thinking O Oracle; wouldn't it be a good advantage to Malaysia, if we appoint TDM as a roving ambassador? He is after all a brand unto himself. He is the master salesman. That would be profitable for this country. We get the additional advantage of having TDM on our side instead of him taking pot-shots which get bigger and increasingly voluble.

It bodes ill of the country. You have discontinuity, uncertainty, volatile policies.

Certainly, it would be advantageous. I was happy to hear of the idea of making TDM a roving ambassador. Tun Daim told me he spoke to Mustapha Mohammad about this. A proposal was made to formalise such a position with an annual budget of a few million. TDM could help achieve for Malaysia much more than any price can reflect.

Unfortunately when the proposal was placed before the cabinet, I am told there were some jokers who shot down the idea. They say it's too expensive! I said what? You want to scrooge about a few millions a year? TDM is someone no money can buy. Yet some jokers adopted a penny wise pound foolish attitude.  See PKFTZ.  Losing billions is OK!!

You can't keep a person like TDM down. He is fuming mad at the current administration. Luckily our friend Tun Daim is around to console Dr Mahathir. I hear Tun Daim telling TDM- perhaps it's better to tone down his criticisms. We may have an imperfect office holder, but this country must tolerate some deficiencies…  Give the man a chance.

What do you make of the spat between Nazri and TDM, O wise Oracle?

If the PM is not careful, the whole thing may backfire with a vengeance. People can interpret it as something which is endorsed by the PM. People can say –there is the hidden hand of the PM. He wants to avoid confrontation, but he lets his hangman cast the noose.

All these things said about BTN would have been more effectively tackled quietly. Within closed doors perhaps.

Nazri is causing self inflicting damage. I am afraid he gains nothing out of his defiance which he has mistaken as heroism. In fact, his outbursts and diatribes cast long shadows of aspersions on the PM…certainly so unMalay. Malay here means UMNO and unMalay can easily translate into loss of votes.

What can you do to heal UMNO? I am sure, if we know Tun Mahathir – when he wrote  that UMNO is rotten to the core, he is also thinking along the same lines. That UMNO is indeed rotten to the core. You know Dr Mahathir's style.

Very difficult. It must start from the top. You know they say, the fish rots from the head. The PM must take the lead. He needs a new team. He needs a team of robust advisers. Not those who think they are beholden to him.

I had an opportunity to discuss these matters with the PM. He is reluctant to make radical changes citing this loyalty thing. PM says the people around him have been loyal to him.

Yes, I say. Loyalty has its merits. But it serves at a certain level. Loyalty doesn't automatically translate into competence or good advice. You need these. As PM you are operating on a different level where loyalty is junior partner to competence and ability. I will have to talk about these matters again with the PM.

I was also talking to the PM the other day. UMNO's next battle front is cyber war. It must take possession of the ground. But UMNO doesn't seem to go on the offensive. They seem to underestimate the impact. True, the general population doesn't access the internet.

But the educated and the intelligentsia do. And they expand on the material they read. The multiplier effect is tremendous.

Look at UMNO HQ itself. They don't reorganise with emphasis given to new technology, to the internet. UMNO is not going to dandily walk through the park this time.

Again it must begin from the top. The way I see it, most UMNO leaders and others are behaving as though they know they will lose the next elections. So everyone looks out for their own interest. Sad, isn't it.

Oracle Sir, what do make of the MCA crisis?

You are handling it the wrong way. Ideally, both should go away. But now, that is no longer an option. UMNO seems to be taking sides. That is not the way out of the problem.

The way UMNO handles it, as leader of the BN is treating MCA as a subsidiary company. Just look at it…. Your suggestion for fresh polls was rebuffed twice. You call for meetings; the MCA President says he has stomach ailments. Twice? With the same ailment? Certainly a subject for jokes.

I think it's a matter of giving face. You know, giving face is a very strong cultural trait among Chinese. You can't embarrass MCA that way. MCA loses face means the Chinese lose their faith and trust with MCA.

I bumped into the MCA president a few weeks ago. He was asking me, how does he respond to UMNO's tactics? UMNO must give face to him and allow him to sort things out. People forget…MCA is the only party that sets a time limit for its leader to hold on to office. Some UMNO ministers won't retire until they are dropped or voters reject them.

So give face to MCA to sort things out. Each faction has its followers. We are doing the greatest disservice to MCA and to BN if we make MCA leaders lose face. Hope UMNO knows that Chinese Press is anti MCA and anti BN.

By now, I think I have exceeded the Oracle's hospitality. We started at 4.30pm and its approaching 6pm. I need to stop.

You want to ask any more questions?

No, thank you O Oracle. Thank you for your time. It has been a fruitful session. Have a good trip tomorrow. The Oracle has to take a flight at 4am in the morning. He has been invited by a very VIP on a trip. He will come back on the same day.

I rose to my feet, took the Oracle's hand to kiss it. After the usual Muslim salutations, I excused myself. On the way out, I tap on Madam Secretary's glass door to thank her and said bye bye.


Anonymous,  31 December 2009 at 04:54  

You should ask this Oracle,since he seems to have the answer to everything why doesn't he offer himself to lead the country. He & Mahathir would be the glimmer twins of politics.

To be honest I don't hear anything new out of this Oracle. Same old story, same old argument. But maybe it is just me. Maybe I expected something more, something befitting the name Oracle.

Neo Jln Kg Pandan

Anonymous,  31 December 2009 at 08:21  

great comment neo.really great.hv coffee with me.ali,012 206 1596...m at taman tar

Anonymous,  31 December 2009 at 11:59  

TDM said he will not follow in the footsteps of LKY. He even claimed that when he retired as PM he will not interfere with the new PM like LKY. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Anonymous,  1 January 2010 at 11:55  

You are right, Neo.

I have met this Oracle several times in private.

When I raised an issue, he consciously said "What do you expect me to do"

I was shattered, good thing I ain't a man in the mirror.

Panji Hitam.

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