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Sakmongkol ak 47

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Azmin Ali or Khalid Ibrahim?

Azmin or Khalid?
I am writing this article purely from the point of a political observer. This is how I look at the contest as a keen observer. This is not a DAP official stand on the leadership issues in PKR. PKR is a member of Pakatan Rakyat and an important ally just like PAS is. The DAP leadership has its views on PKR leadership. Their main interest is to see PKR remain strong to be on the same side to displace BN and UMNO.
I shall write in the most general terms hoping the message here is understood. It is hard to write on or against colleagues. There will be a second follow-up article to state the issues clearer. That will be for the benefit of people who prefer brutal candour as opposed to less robust reasoning.
If I were to have a wish list, the top question is, what kind of leadership do I want for PKR? My answer will be: since PKR is a political party not a corporate entity, or a management-centric organisation, I will want a political leader.
The aim of politics is basically that of organising efforts, material and resources to obtain political objectives of securing and retaining political power. The other overriding objective is to have a leadership with the resolve, dedication and discipline to defeat BN. That to me would require a different kind of leadership than one that is required to run a business corporation for instance.
Business leadership may one day find it more profitable to be in mainstream politics and so can decide it is of strategic importance to be in BN. But political leadership sees no profit in linking up with BN because it is driven by different values, namely to stay the course and remain true to its own political objectives. .
I have a problem, with the continued promotion of business success as a qualifier for public office.  Therefore while Khalid’s achievement in obtaining cash reserves for Selangor for RM3 billion is laudable, that to me isn’t a qualification for him to be a deputy president of PKR. Success in the market is not an automatic disqualifier for public service, but it is a far different undertaking with different purposes and different values. And to suggest that government needs people experienced in business reminds me of the old feminist saying that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. In fact, business and government -- while there may be skills involved that are translatable and useful as one moves from one sphere to another, are in some ways polar opposite undertakings.
The business of business is business and the goal of business is to earn a profit in the provision of goods and services. The business of government is service -- well managed, one hopes, and not wasteful, but never at a profit.
As to the money, we must remember there is no such thing as government money. Governments have no money; they have only what they take from their citizens, either in taxes or by inflation and what it gives back in terms of wellbeing of the people. And if government accrues profit it can only have done so by taxing too much or eroding the value of the citizens' income and savings -- in either case doing harm, not good, to the people.
Businesses seek maximum efficiency; governments seek sufficient efficiency. Suppose we desire security of the nation. We can save a considerable amount of money by delegating our national security to mercenary armies drawn from other countries as opposed to keeping a high-cost standing army and paying them wages, thus erasing the need to maintain a perpetual and costly military infrastructure. Zahid Hamidi can always ask the human traffickers to bring in the Ghurkhas from Nepal, serve as our army to achieve maximum efficiency. State governments could close Jabatan Kebajikan offices and require that all transactions with government be conducted electronically, with no recourse to potentially sympathetic human beings. These are choices governments make reluctantly but businesses make routinely.
Politics and Business operate on different ethics. Consider the question of earned merit. In business which is very much a merit-based enterprise, one's employment is continued so long as he or she maintains sufficient production. The productive ones continue to receive pay checks; non-productive workers are cut loose. That may seem unfair to the bleeding-hearted, but it is productivity that provides profit and insufficient productivity that drains profit and therefore survivability. Distinguish that ethic from the commitment of government to provide a safety net for those who are, quite often due to no fault of their own, non-productive members of society. How do you deal with them?
In business, the non-productive are sacked or have their employment terminated; in government, the non-productive are not treated that way.  That is because the society as a whole, believes single mothers, orphans, the mentally or physically infirm deserve sustenance and protection. Men and women whose careers are in business may also share in the value of compassion, but it flies directly in the face of a belief in maximizing profit and winning bonuses. They may say, it is nothing personal, just business.
So PKR has to decide, what kind of leader do they want? Business or political leader?
To be fair to Khalid, I do not mean by this to suggest that the corporate experience is, or should be, an impediment to elective service. It does mean, however, that candidates for public office should not hold out that expertise in business as a primary qualification for election. Yes, okay, so you've run a company and you've made money; it'll look good in your CV. Three cheers, hip hip hooray.
But it is important to spell out how that experience translates into meaningful preparation for service in government. Granted, it may curb the temptation to be profligate, and that's a definite plus, but government is about helping to ensure that the government's economic policies are not inimical to others making a profit. It is not about slashing spending but about meeting society's obligations with efficiency and accountability. For business, forests exist as a source of lumber; for society, forests exist as a source of pleasure.
Business and government are not opposites, but they are distinct; the mind-set is necessarily different; the understandings are different; the obligations are different. Whether you cheer for Khalid Ibrahim and others like him, to win or lose in this coming party election, we should demand of them a downplaying of the business credential and a focus on how they would meet the actual challenges of governance on the specific terms of public, not private, service.
The most keenly watched contest will be for the deputy president’s post. The contest will essentially be between Azmin Ali and Khalid Ibrahim. The withdrawal of Tian Chua is seen as a measure to shore up support for Saifudin Nasution.  This plan may not work.
Votes are not transferable as one would like them to be. Those who were rooting in for Tian Chua who have decided not to support Azmin, may not necessarily vote in Saifudin. Although he is the PKR’s secretary general who has the opportunity to go all over the country and who has the opportunity to cultivate support, members may want to support Azmin. In the end, I think the presence of Saifudin will not derail much of the Azmin’s juggernaut. As to the other contestants for the same post, I don’t think they carry much weightage.


JS Yeap,  12 April 2014 at 21:00  

An impartial viewpoint distinguished by wisdom & intelligence. A rare thing in the hyped-up world of political blogging. My compliments, Dato'!

Anonymous,  12 April 2014 at 21:18  

I don't like Azmin. He still has not shed his UMNO genes.

But since Anwar is going to jail and BN is hell bent on using all institutions in Malaysia to destroy Pakatan, I supposed we need crooks like Azmin to help ward off the evil.

Anonymous,  13 April 2014 at 00:23  

already with the present post, not yet ascending to a higher position, azmin with the umno dna, has caused too much trouble, will then derail PKR..
a sure sign of an anaconda, is he stares blankly in pretence of innocence.

GreenBug 13 April 2014 at 00:36  

If I could vote in PKR, I willgive my vote to Saifuddin Nasution. Khalid Ibrahim is good in managing the state in terms of the "commercial side" Dato... but when it comes to handling the royalty, the JAIS adventure and political hotspots the likes of Noh Omar etc, he is too soft and not able to deliver a solution... Azmin, I don't like and I don't trust... so Saifuddin is a choice for me and I think many PKR voters might make the same choice based on the same reasoning.. let's wait and see...

bruno 13 April 2014 at 02:37  

Dato,if there are only two candidates to choose from,and if I am asked to choose one,I will definitely choose Khalid.

Why I will choose Khalid.First of all Azmin has shown his true colors and have played his cards.When Khalid was choosen over him in his first term Azmin's face was bloody red.In the Hulu Selangor by-election,even Umno was shocked that their tambi won.And Zaid Ibrahim lost to a nobody.

Then before the Kajang by-election,Azmin and then his protege Rafizi was out creating all sorts of problems and attacking Khalid in public.

Azmin has shown his Umno cloned colors,that if he and his cronies cannot have the bigger half of the cake,nobody shall.They have shown it in the Hulu Selangor by-election,Sabah and the recently concluded GE.

Internal sabotaging and back stabbing is worse then facing the enemy head on.Because one do not know who the real enemy actually is,always hiding in the dark.

In the last GE Umno was at it's weakest and begging to be kick out of Putrajaya.But when the fight was finally over it was PKR the taikor of PR,who was knocked out and lying face down on the ground.And who was the election director who chose all the un-qualified crony candidates of his.

If the master can bypassed his protege for someone else,that speaks wonders for the protege.It is a well known fact that action speaks louder then words.Well,if Azmin was un-qualified then what makes him or his supporters think that he is qualified now?

the gaffe guy who know's,  13 April 2014 at 05:46  

Nurul Izzah for deputy and later president of PKR.Nurul is the one who can really rally the grassroots and fence sitters.And also the Umno/BN supporters too.If it is about winning elections Nurul is the one.Not forgetting that she is young and has lots of potential to be a good leader.

Anonymous,  13 April 2014 at 07:17  

Some wines age better with time, others turn rancid. Khalid has done a marvellous job so far. Just compare his tenor with his predecessors from BN. Where can PKR find a better business cum politician than TSK?
Azmin need to focus on the Federal govt. and other BN controlled or lost states like Perak and Kedah. Does he has the nuance and gumption instead of sucking up to DSAI all the time?


yoko ono 13 April 2014 at 08:27  

we need pakatan to balance BN.without pakatan,BN will squander this nations wealth without check n balance.we need anwar to hold pas and dap together.without them theres no pakatan.we need azmin to ensure no pakatan mps and adun leave pakatan.without pkr,dap and pas will fight for their seats.BN will is best that pkr unite.anwar must trust azmin that he will grow pkr.a strong pkr is a strong pakatan.after all,goh chok tong was trusted by lky to pass the baton to lee hsien loong.

walla 13 April 2014 at 11:55  

The bigger question is not who but what. What is it the rakyat of this country want?

But for gerrymandering and blocked access to media, Pakatan would have won the last two general elections hands down. Now even with a popular majority, it has to suffer the attempted decimation of its leadership by Umno using the very federal judiciary organ that is supposed to uphold justice without partisan fear or favor.

Therefore if everything is stacked against Pakatan except the will and wishes of the rakyat, why are we focused on who is the better man when doing so is exactly what Umno wants - internal discord to create chances for sabotage and cross-overs that will win back for Umno the very target it craves constantly - Selangor?

It is easy to see why. Not just because the state is strategic, progressive and rich but also because to go to Putrajaya each morning, the Umno political leadership will have to pass through Opposition territory as a stark reminder how irrelevant they have become in the eyes of the rakyat. So stay focused on what matters the most.

Now, what are we to do with how to operationalize Pakatan leadership in Selangor? If we say Khalid is just a corporate guy who can't win points at the feet of His Highness, then there are two questions that the rakyat can ask. One, can't an Azmin or someone else go along? Surely in this age of open democracy, giving audience should not be limited to title of position? Two, what is the role of our Royalty today? If it is to be symbolic of statehood, then it can't be partisan to the extent of invited dependence on any party for politically-empowered allocation. The rakyat already know. So there exists an opening to re-earn honor which can come from standing higher than all but still reaching out to the rakyat where it matters - good clean administration free from excesses, incompetence and confusion - because only when the country's administration is corruption-free will progress be sustained. Has Umno in living memory ever stood on record as having that?

We are now in grievous danger. What are the asset classes in the world today? Shares? down. Bonds? down. Property? bubble. Commodities? Down. Cash? losing value at the printing rate of 30-40 percent per annum. Gold? down. Yes, investment to leverage capital growth per se is getting harder.

Meanwhile we are losing billions each year just servicing loans taken for toxic projects that do not benefit the rakyat directly. The future generations will have to pay for such excesses through higher taxes and lower subsidies, furthermore in an economy where real investments will not be coming because the plane tragedy has opened the eyes of the whole world to how incompetent and self-deluded the Umno-run government really is behind its portrayed veneer of cavalier nonchalance, juvenile behavior and self-wrought obfuscation.

walla 13 April 2014 at 11:56  


Let us ask ourselves what does our economy depend on? Manufacturing? hollowing out, at best a total dependence on foreign labor whose cost is increasing, furthermore moving currency out to weaken the ringgit while capital production goods will still have to be imported wholesale at higher prices because after half a century, we still don't have people with brains to design and make them. Agriculture? we control nothing in the entire supply chain. Our wages to foreign workers are dependent on their own country's slowness to adopt their own minimum wage increases. Just as large corporations can play us out on fertilizer and chemical prices so necessary to beef up yields and productivity, we also don't control commodity prices. Neither can planters prevail upon state not to tax them so much so that they will have more to reinvest in replanting when it is already obvious tree age has matured to the stage where replanting will be needed en masse soon. And during that time - no income.

Services? What is the biggest service provider we used to have? Tourism. Who will be coming here now? Hotel occupancy has dropped to the critical forty percent level. This means the hoteliers are now eating sand trying to service the loans they had taken to build their hotels. Furthermore, the tourism industry is wide-based. Any drop in the momentum hits right across the entire sector. Transportation is also hit. Food outlets as well. The poorer segment selling souvenirs. The utilities providers which light up places. All these negative effects will come together and push down business and income that will hurt the poor and middle-incomers at exactly the time when those with funds will move them offshore because they have already concluded this country is finished.

So we want to next prostrate ourselves again before countries in the Middle East or Far East? Why should they come again to park their money when they have seen with their own eyes how crazy and no-class is the administration here? Some may say there are strategic reasons. Try telling them that when their own people will be asking why should this place be favored for such exotic reasons when the people here can't even take care of their own.

Yes, the danger is dire and already here.

Meanwhile we want to roll-out GST as the next ATM for Umno. Already starting with rakyat-money pumped into MyEG so near 1MDB, AES, the aborted medical insurance scheme and the crooked bridge compensation scam, we want to roll-out something that only reveals how bad are our federal finances under the thumbs of an Umno best typified by thuggish behavior that would explicitly explain why a popular online and nationally edifying portal can be denied hard copy editions so as not to challenge the incumbent for the role of confusion creator, how an armchair-ridden lawyer can be slammed with a sedition charge not even attested by the presumed victim, for that matter how two kidnappings can take place under the watch of an over-expanded force and for diametrically opposite reasons because one is for money while the other is for religion.

walla 13 April 2014 at 11:56  


Next year all hell will break loose. The gomen has only one-tracked desperate partisan minds. They have not recognized the negative multiplier and non-linear effects of rolling out GST. Can any of them say a word or two, for instance, on its impact on mortgages? When rent and lease go up, cost of business will multiply across the board. Together with another spike in fuel price and in parallel with a weakened currency, prices of everything will go up. If people clamor for higher wages, industries will close down. If they don't, they will have less to spend. Meanwhile ministers and their freeloaders rush to Dubai for golf sama pelaburan. You would think our Arab brothers are not just camel traders not to see that.

Our Malays must walk away from race and religion. Just the other day, someone said the gomen gave thirty thousand to repair a termite-infested chinese school but insisted it must be done by a JKR contractor who promptly patched up and painted plywood for three thousand and collected ninety percent profit from money that's from the rakyat anyway. In any case, the school's trustees went ahead to ask for private donations after realizing that three thousand ringgit work was wasted since the building was still not safe. After much trouble, they managed to get some money which did the real improvement so much so the Malay pengetua from the national school had to say he was embarrased to ask to use the chinese school's premises all the time because the repair work done in his school had also been cacat. That's race for you.

And as for religion, one of our Malay engineers went over to hornbill land to do some work and was invited to a meal at a local restaurant where peoples of all races sat together and were eating together like friends for that matter brothers. The Malay engineer from semenanjung refused to walk in. He had to be coaxed to go into the kitchen. Only when he saw that all the cooks were Malays did he finally relent. Now, that's religion for you. Somehow, you gain something but lose everything inherent in the culture. And let's not talk about the common haplo-genetics of malays, chinese etc. traceable to formosan natives.

Enough? Let's get back to Khalid, Azmin, what have you. It doesn't matter. Get all of them together as a team so that weakness of one can be complemented by strength of another and any excessive strength of one can be supplemented by the balancing effect from the weakness of another.

What the rakyat should demand is unity in political diversity that can knock the stuffing out of an Umno which today is just made of hypocritical thugs good only for trying to arm-twist right-minded citizens by using federal forces which are supposed to defend their right.

If constitutional federals become partisan, what kind of a Malaysia are we allowing? An Umno Malaysia made of feral nincompoops, or a rakyats' Malaysia made of progressive, rational, fair, and right-thinking citizens? And what has Umno become in all but name but just a bunch of craven munafiq's giving a globally bad name to our Melayu's?

Let the rakyat see a faster and more intelligent programme to infuse the best of this land into Pakatan. Make use of all state resources at your disposal. Do not relent. Stay focused. Never lose Selangor and Penang.

Semuanya tak ok-lah.

SpShops 13 April 2014 at 12:10  

Langkah Kajang among other measures intended to overcome conflict between Khalid and Azmin. Now both of them are racing for the position of PKR Deputy President.

Now we also have other candidates contesting the same position as the third party. It is worth a third party is given the opportunity in order to reduce the power OF both Azmin and Khalid in the party.
The message need to be sent to both of them that the grass root hate to see non ending politicking between each of them.

For the best solution appoint Saifuddin Nasution occupies the second most important position in PKR. This is a great way to give lesson to Khalid and Azmin.

Anonymous,  13 April 2014 at 15:58  

It's rather obvious whose side you are on, reading between the lines.
You seem to have excluded not practicing cronyism and not having an umno mindset are important.
Why bother if the govt is run like a corporation if the people's welfare is looked into and corruption is reduced. Aren't these better than having a govt that is run like a true political man, but holds cronyism, favoritism and corruption close to the leader's heart?

Anonymous,  13 April 2014 at 17:32  

PKR might end up with nurul zizah to lead and complete the anak beranak thingy. Sounds like dap leadership also. With all your lofty talk of ideals of ousting UMNO with all their cheats, you want rakyat to support a bigger cheat in the name of pakatan anak beranak. And later we have the pakatan entering the houses of the rakyat at night and sleeping and raping your wives and daughters and sons too...why does that coming into the houses. at thing sound so familiar?

Stay focus on selecting the right leaders and stop beating around the bush...rakyat not as stupid as you lot thinks...get to work la and less talk

Anonymous,  13 April 2014 at 17:36  

I agree about what you wrote rgd business and politics. However, here we are also talking about PKR leadership; and therefore Pakatan leadership - and even if Azmin can win PKR grassroot support but does not have the trust of the general electorate, or PR partners (or even PKR president), then what is the point of Azmin? DAP and PAS find themselves able to work with Anwar, Dr Wan, n accept Khalid as MB, but not Azmin - as is with S'gor electorate. So what to do with Azmin?

Anonymous,  13 April 2014 at 18:23  

Dato....politic is about perception and resources so Khalid is he has to go and give it to the younger generation....kalau setakat jaga Gumen punya GLC Aziz mamak pun track record apa yang khalid ada....

Anonymous,  14 April 2014 at 00:44  

I wish the author can have a better writing style and type setting for readers to enjoy his writing.

Anonymous,  14 April 2014 at 00:53  

Anon 00:44
Whats wrong with u? All of are enjoying the article and imoroving our english, here you are complaining. I feel clever when reading the author's articles. Than you sakmongkol

Anonymous,  14 April 2014 at 09:55  

The purpose of business is to provide goods and services to customers and in the process make money. As long as the business offers quality and affordable pricing, customers will continue to patronize. If the quality of service and goods drop or the price of the goods rise unreasonably and if goods become outdated, custmer response will diminish. Businesses will have to make the customers happy first for money to flow to them; and businesses that put their profits above customers will slowly but surely collapse.
The government is similar to a business, except that for the taxes the rakyat fork out, the government is exoected to provide the facilities and services the rakyat need. The facilities and services need to continue to improve for the pleasure of the rakyat for the continued contribution expected from them.
Just as a business requires intergrity in their employees, so do the rakyat in the government and and its employees. The rakyat are both customers to the government as well as stakeholders.
In business it is the duty of a CEO to manage it accordingly and so it is in government where the PM or the MB is the CEO. Not much difference in the duties isn't it? A businessman can be the CEO of a government. What we have to decide as voters is; is he a man of intergrity? has he put the rakyat ahead of his needs? Is he innovative enough to be ahead of the rivals?

Another point that many Selangorians are taking for granted is that PKR hasn't the God given right to appoint the MB. Pakatan Rakyat should decide, in this case PKR, PAS and DAP should agree on the candidate.

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