Welcome Dato Salehuddin Hashim

Soon Li Tsin

April 11, 2008

Salehuddin Hashim’s first brush with politics was at the age of six. The newly appointed PKR secretary-general was seated on his father’s shoulders and waving the new Malayan flag.

salehuddin hashim interview 110408 inverted commasToday, Malaysiakini met the ‘Ipoh boy’ – as he fondly describes himself – to better understand the man, his plans and visions.

After offering an apology for being late, Salehuddin admits to being a “virgin”… as far as interviews are concerned.

The father of two is another product of the prestigious Malay College of Kuala Kangsar and studied alongside activist Hishamuddin Rais and PAS leader Kamaruddin Jaffar.

“(PKR de facto leader) Anwar Ibrahim was my prefect,” he recalled with a smile.

After MCKK, he was in the first batch of law students in University Malaya and did his masters in the United States before immersing himself in the corporate world.

Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I’ve never been in politics. I joined PKR in 2001 but I was with the party since 2004. I was working as the supervisory secretary then. That was a backroom position, there was no need for me to come up to the front until 2007. Then I was appointed to look after the federal territory divisions as the elections director.

I helped run Nurul Izzah (Anwar)’s campaign (in Lembah Pantai). Then suddenly I was called up to be the secretary-general. So this is a real political position and I’m not a politician and I have no intentions to be one but somebody’s got to do it. I thought it would be fun because the last time I was involved in politics was when I was six, sitting on my father’s shoulders raising the new Malayan flag. Fifty years later, I’m back (laughs).

Was the recent elections your first hands-on experience in campaigning?

salehuddin hashim interview 110408 neutralOh, I was the campaign manager for my father when I was 18 and my father was running in Parit as a PAS MP. It was the only PAS victory in 1969. And that was my last experience as a campaign manager. We spent RM600 and the other spent about RM40,000 then. That is about RM400,000 today. It was satisfying.

How different is it in 2008 compared to your experience in 1969?

The difference is huge in terms of campaigning and all that. In 1969, the people still believed their politicians. The Alliance then was a government that was well respected by the Malays especially those in the rural areas. The RM600 was able to bring down the Utusan Melayu chairperson Hussein Nordin (in Parit). If he could be felled, it means the people found fighting for their struggles more important.

We didn’t pay our campaign workers, and we asked for donations. People gave us coconuts and rice and I would bring it to Ipoh everyday to sell. We had no money to make posters so supporters would take zinc boards used as walls for outdoor toilets and flatten them. They reattached it back to the toilet and painted them with the moon (PAS’ symbol). There was such a strong spirit, it was easy to defeat the Barisan Nasional government then.

periasamy lembah pantai independent 040308 shahrizat posterThere was a lot of wastage in the 2008 campaign. I don’t understand why the need to hang banners and posters all over. This is not 1957. Parties today are spoilt by money. I’m curious as to why Shahrizat (Abdul Jalil) can afford to print 5,000 pictures of her on those high-quality plastic posters and hang them on every single lamp post in the constituency. I don’t understand the meaning of this, by having more pictures, does it mean she is the better candidate?

For PKR we put up posters of our candidate (Nurul Izzah) only at strategic areas to introduce her to the public. She had more reason to do so (put more posters) because she was new. And the posters were not pasted but hung so we could remove it after the elections. Everybody knew Shahrizat. We’re all now sick of spin doctoring. We felt uncomfortable with the pictures of her kissing babies and old people. I know her, she was my classmate in the law faculty.

periasamy lembah pantai independent 040308 nurul izzah posterYou see, the pictures of Nurul Izzah was not easy to do. We went though a lot of processes in order to make it pleasant, unique, nice and acceptable to the people. We gave it to advertising agencies and they did what they thought (was suitable), they are not politicians. But (Shahrizat) made it like some Hindustani movie star poster, coupled with the Tamil writing at the bottom. She looked like she wasn’t sure what she was doing.

In the olden days, you would go for all the ceramah whether it’s Umno or PAS because there was no intimidation. But now, BN people go for their ceramah and we go for ours – we end up preaching to the converted and that is a waste of resources and hard work. It is not quite the same, it is very different. I felt it on the ground.

Will your leadership as the sec-gen be different from past sec-gens?

I wouldn’t say there are outstanding problems, I think it is work in progress. I want to continue the good work done before. Maybe there will be a slight change in style. I’m a bit brash and more outspoken and I’m a man in a hurry.

We are a government in waiting. There is no question about that. You cannot fulfill that desired reality if you’re not ready to take on the various responsibilities. We don’t have political problems in our party. We do have – as in any other parties – personal disagreements. We are a rainbow coalition and I say that with pride because this is the first time an attempt is made in the political history of this country for a party to try and bring everybody in, in real terms.

Problems in the party are not that big. We’re still a new party and we may not have enough money. At one stage, we were even short of leaders. But we have no problem now, we have an influx of people who were previously worried about being persecuted. But after crossing the threshold, they think it is okay and I can imagine that our membership will double.

One of the challenges of this job that I thought about was to ensure that there would be some kind of discipline in our disagreement. There will be order in our protest. There will be clarity in what really matters.

Where are your new members from?

They come from nationwide, West Malaysia especially but more from the states we won. All kinds of people – different races, different strata of society. Maybe the public doesn’t know but I will tell you, there is no turning back. We have caught the imagination of the people. The dissatisfaction has always been there but it’s latent.

anwar permatang pauh polling day 080308 anwarIt took Anwar to ignite – in a positive way – for the people to understand that they have been shortchanged. Then there was Bersih and Hindraf. Then people started thinking that it is okay to disagree with the (BN) jokers. The elections came one year earlier, how stupid was that? They could’ve reinvented themselves in one year. So now they are knocked down and they are struggling to package themselves to look different. They have come to the end of their shelf life. The new Cabinet is like the (washing detergents) ‘new Fab’ or ‘new Breeze’ but there is no intrinsic desire for change.

We have a lot of Umno members coming into the party. I have no reason to doubt their sincerity but there will be parties within the party that call this infiltration. Infiltration could mean two ways. One is severe infiltration to destroy the party or two, one could come in to replace a leader but that happens in every party. This all depends on the wisdom of the party leaders to combat this.

At the end of the day, the person seen to be doing this is the sec-gen and I see that as a very heavy responsibility but personally I am ready to do this because I have no political ambition whatsoever. I am here to remind everybody of our struggles.

Do you know why Anwar picked you as the sec-gen?

Ha! (Laughs) There are probably a thousand reasons that you can speculate. We’re old friends. We went to school together and I think it is known within the party circles that my emphasis has always been on party organisation and discipline.

Now that many of the senior party leaders are politicians and elected representatives, they should concentrate on politics. So somebody’s got to do it. It is well known in the party that I’m the guy who goes around screaming when things are not working right. I think now with the victories that we’ve achieved, people need to see that we’re more organised. It’s not like were not organised but we want to be more organised.

Then I think the fact I am a lawyer, management consultant and turnaround manager specialist – I could possibly do this, not better, but faster. Since we’re a government in waiting, time is a factor.

As sec-gen I will be most directly involved in recruitment and that happens to be the area that harbours my real intention in politics, that is the political socialisation of the youth. It is incumbent for us to change the political landscape for the young people to inherit. Delve into matters that matter to them.

How do you plan to solve the problem of having many PKR divisions without youth wings?

salehuddin hashim interview 110408 peningI will ensure that the youth wings will grow and carry out their duties as social and political activists to become the catalysts for change and critical thinking. I admit there are shortcomings in the youth wing but it can be fixed. Even though the youth wings are not the best right now, what is surprising is that it was the young voters who helped us win the elections.

How would you rebut accusations that you are sec-gen because you are Anwar’s friend?

I don’t think people become friends by accident, you become friends because you have shared views. People who are in this struggle with Anwar are his friends. That is basically the team spirit between people. I’m not Anwar’s friend, we don’t go for coffee together, if that’s what you mean. We are comrades.

11 thoughts on “Welcome Dato Salehuddin Hashim

  1. The good Sec Gen should also look into the pathetic state of the party in Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor. There is an urgent need to break BN’s stranglehold in these three states where the PKR did not perform well. What say you, Din?
    Mr. Smith,

    Dato Sallehuddin earned his reputation as a no nonsense manager trained and schooled in the traditions of the late Tun Ismail bin Mohamed Ali, the legendary Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia and Chairman, Permodalan Nasional Berhad. He was with Malaysian Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) and is a turnaround specialist and leadership/motivation expert with a legal background. I think, PKR is lucky to have such a person in charge.

    Yes, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor—they need to whipped into shape for the next elections— and lots more. PKR will be professionally run and managed and an example of good governance in practice from here on. This change at Anwar Ibrahim’s initiative is a timely one since PKR is now a national party.

    I said to Dato Sallehuddin when he came to my office in PJ that I would be happy to share my thoughts about the party and will back his efforts 150%. Thanks, Mr. Smith.—-Din Merican

  2. Dgn adanya Dato’ Saleh sbg SUA, saya percaya PKR akan lebih tersusun dan bergerak jelas ke depan. Tahniah!

    Betul, Amin. Era baru untuk PKR sebagai sebuah parti nasional dengan agenda dynamis dan berani.—Din Merican

  3. Perak is proud to have two outstanding Perakians in PKR – Secretary-Gen Sallehuddin Hashim and the other PKR State Exco(Selangor) Elizabeth Wong, and the irony is, PKR is hardly noticeable or known in Ipoh and/or its surrounding suburbs, why?
    Perak or not, Elizabeth Wong must now demonstrate she can perform—activism is fine but she is now an Exco Member and a lot is expected from her. She should get cracking right away, especially in her Bukit Lanjang constitutency. I know, Ms. Wong will perform as she has the full support of our party.—Din Merican

  4. kuihbakul,
    i think the political ideas that mould PKR as for now very much experience by urban areas, where the plurality and economy in terms of business are much concern. soon enough, PKR ideas will be very loud and clear, i believe!

  5. There’s talk that PKR has more generals than soldiers and their recent wins in Perak was the result of support from DAP and PAS supporters. If this is the case, Sallehuddin Hashim needs to focus this direction.
    True, Jong. We can only get better as the BN starts to unravel due to corruption and incompetence.—Din Merican

  6. Alamak look at his pix above, Din Merican pass him some Panadols!


    He is a Yogi and a Yoda in one, He needs no panadols. 🙂 —-Din Merican

  7. Salleh is a turnaround manager. He was my boss in midfccs. He can do it then as how he turnaround MIDFCCS/Kedah Marble etc.. He is a man with results. Encik Salleh, this is your project. Turn PKR to be “the peoples’ choice” and I know you can do it..Syabas…

    Zaimuddin, in my book Dato Sallehuddin is a very good man and dynamic leader of men and women. He is an excellent motivator. I listened to his presentation on Leadership at the Asian Renaissance 2 workshop in December, 2007 at Lembah Impian Resort, Kota Kinabalu. He kept his audience charged up at the end of his 90 minute session.—Din Merican

  8. Dato sallehuddin
    weve crossed paths when you were at mckk, well anyway how can i contact you as i need some advice turning around my business. Its good to see you inthis blog. I remember yr nick name was salleh bomb or something like that; please tell me how to get in touch with you.

    Ex GEGS

  9. It was nice to read about you my friend. I agree with Zaimuddin above. You are the ultimate turn-around manager.

  10. I have worked with Datuk Salehuddin as a consultant in MIDFCCS and know him pretty well. Datuk Salehuddin is held in high regard for his leadership, intellect, vision, fairness and loyalty to his staff. Pakatan Rakyat has certainly picked the right person as its Secretary-General. When Pakatan Rakyat forms the next Government, I believe Datuk Salehuddin will be a key player to bring about improvement in race relation between the ethnic communities and to lift Malaysia to compete in this competitive world arising from globalisation. Datuk Salehuddin’s training and experience as a management and turnaround consultant and his legal background will certainly hold him in good state for meeting and resolving these challenges ahead.

  11. March 5, 2010
    Mari Kita Kenali Siapa Dato Salehuddin a.k.a Broker

    En. Amin Al Rasyid (Class of 68), En. Abdullah Hamid. (kelas 69) dan En. Zaharuddin Alias (kelas 70) dan bersama-sama dengan Dato Sallehuddin Hashim adalah semua pemegang saham Turnaround Management Incorporated Sdn Bhd (TMI).

    Mereka semua telah ditipu, dianiaya, digunakan dan dimanipulasi oleh Sallehuddin yang mereka gambarkannya sebagai ‘penjahat jenius’ dan seorang yang menggunakan kecerdasannya untuk membuat kerosakan.

    Salehuddin tidak hanya berbohong kepada para rakan-rakannya bahawa ia dibayar kurang daripada separuh daripada RM40 juta oleh konglomerat, tapi Salehuddin tidak membayar keuntungan yang sepatutnya kepada para pemegang saham dan membiarkan hutang syarikat tanpa diselesaikan – itu lah yang menjadi kemegahannya!

    Salehuddin adalah watak yang berbahaya kerana dia pernah mengatakan dia tidak takut pada sesiapa pun. Salehuddin berkata, “Mengapa saya harus (takut) sedangkan aku tidak takut pada Allah”.

    Salahuddin adalah seorang penjudi dan dilaporkan telah kehilangan ratusan ribu dolar di Las Vegas dan telah menjadi orang miskin selama bertahun-tahun. Itu sebabnya dia sangat memerlukan pekerjaan di Selangor tetapi ditolak oleh Menteri Besar yang telah lebih mengenalinya .

    Dia adalah seorang badut, seorang pelakon dan seorang penglipur lara….. Dia tidak tulus memperjuangkan prinsip-prinsip parti. Bagaimana dia mampu sedangkan dirinya sendiri adalah busuk sebusuk-busuknya?

    Teman-teman baik dari MCKK yang kenal rapat dengannya tidak pernah ingin terlibat dalam perniagaan apa pun dengannya. Bahkan mereka tidak mempercayai walau seringgit wang mereka dengannya.

    Nama julukannya adalah Chandran kerana daripada seratus kata katanya, mereka hanya percaya kurang daripada sepuluh yang merupakan tragedi bagi seperti orang yang brilian dan punya bakat luar biasa dalam berkata-kata (baca pandai kelentong).

    Pekerjaan terbaik untuk orang sepertinya yang cerdas dengan licik bengkok , fikiran dan dengan sifat pendendam patologis adalah pekerjaan kotor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.