By Din Merican
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is truly beyond repair. This is someone who came into office in 2003 as result of Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamad’s “folly”. He ran a convincing campaign and received a resounding mandate. After four years in power, he has proven himself and his administration to be incompetent and as a result the state of Malaysia is rotten. What a big letdown!
Our country is now the butt of jokes at cocktail parties and in the pubs around Bangsar, not to mention across the OIC, the United States, Europe, Japan and China and ASEAN. He lives in an insulated world. Except for himself, nobody believes a word he says anymore. Even his predecessor is actively working to ensure his political demise.
Badawi is a man who has lost touch with reality. He has forgotten that in November last year he said at his own party’s convention with the regard to the BERSIH March to the King’s Palace, “saya pantang dicabar”. Instead of being cowed, 60,000 Malaysians, mostly Malays, defied him. He is that same UMNO leader who allowed Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn (at Khairy Jamaluddin’s behest, of course) to project the worst brand of Malay nationalism by condoning his keris kissing antics. Hishamuddin has stoked the fire of racist politics in the climate of mounting inter-ethnic and religious tensions.
Badawi’s heavy handed actions against Indians who took part in the Hindraf rally and subsequent use of the ISA against five Indian leaders who are in Kamunting, Perak, galvanised the normally timid and compliant Indians into political activism which now threatens the MIC and Samy Velu’s political future. After acting tough, he has since backed down and suddenly he is talking about national unity and appeasing the Indians with imaginary programmes launched just in time for elections. Do you believe that this snake oil salesman?
Badawi promises everything yet he accomplishes nothing. Here is a “leader” who acts not on the basis of firm convictions or set of well founded beliefs, but out of expediency and duplicity. His four year rule– he is now desperately pleading for another five to complete his mission– is a story of mismanagement of the economy, poor public service performance, rampant corruption, rising crime rate and unemployment, inflation, wasteful public expenditure and a humiliating judicial scandal. It will be a major catastrophe for the nation if voters are again deceived by Badawi’s promises.
What of the man himself? If we can believe the New Straits Times (February 9, 2008) and The Star, we know that he has a rather inflated view of himself. He is quoted by both these pro UMNO-Barisan Nasional papers as saying: “I work very hard. I mean it and you know it. It is the will of God that I have become the Prime Minister and it is my responsibility to work and serve the people”.
As if such boastful arrogance is not enough, he goes on to claim, “I have not benefited one sen from anyone for what I have done. Some people want to give me money, but I do not need it. The government takes good care of its Prime Minister.”
Believe him? He is falling back on his image as Mr. Clean, a charade which got him votes in 2004 but is unlikely to prevail this year given the dismal record of his administration, the ailing economy and the Anwar factor which is never mentioned but talked about often within UMNO circles.
Mr. Badawi hardly strikes us as a hard worker. His era will certainly be remembered as the Sleeping Prime Minister.
But far worse than sleeping on the job is stealing from the purse. One really wonders how an UMNO leader swimming in a sea of corruption, cronyism and patronage who has done nothing to combat endemic corruption is really not on the take.
As Minister of Finance, Mr. Badawi is directly responsible for the management of our nation’s tax revenues and it is therefore fair game for the people to ask him a few very important questions.
- Why, Mr. Badawi did you purchase an Airbus Corporate Jet costing RM 200 million for your own personal use? How much taxpayers’ money did you spend refurbishing that luxury jet to suit your expensive tastes? The Royal Malaysian Air Force owns planes to fly VIPs and Royalty. Aren’t they good enough for you?
- Second, how much of taxpayer’s money did you spend on renovating the Official Residence of the Prime Minister after you took office in 2003?
- Third, on what basis did you, as Minister of Finance, award the RM25 billion project to redevelop the Penang Turf Club land to Patrick Lim of Equine Capital, or the monorail project costing some RM3 billion to Scomi, a company controlled by your own son, Kamalludin Abdullah.
- Fourth, how much subsidy has been given to Rapid Kuala Lumpur to run a bus service? Who are the real owners of this company, which is also running Rapid Penang?
- And, fifth, why do you have to spend PETRONAS money to host the annual Monsoon Cup? More questions can be raised, but that is enough.
You said some people want to give you money. Why did you not report this to the Anti-Corruption Agency so that action can be taken against them for attempting to bribe the Prime Minister?
You have plenty to answer for. It does not surprise me that you are unable to deal with Zakaria Ideros, Khir Toyo and even your Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Defence for earning through his cronies a total of nearly RM1 billion as commissions from the purchase of two French made submarines and Russian fighter jets. You are also not able to explain what happened in the case of the RM 4.7 billion Port Kelang Free Trade Zone project where UMNO and MCA leaders are involved, inter alia, in a land acquisition scandal, raking in nearly RM1 billion in profits.
These are not mistakes at all, Mr Prime Minister. They are come under the category of “dereliction of duty” and the buck surely stops at your table as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister (as First Lord of the Treasury). The state of Malaysia is rotten under your stewardship. The voters should know that. Unfortunately, your Government controls the media and they barely know the facts.