Use the EPU in stead of PEMANDU

Washington DC

vietnam-memorialVietnam War Memorial, Washington DC

MY COMMENT: PEMANDU has done a lot to promote Najib’s Transformation agenda. But what has it really achieved apart from talk and spin by Minister Idris Jala?  There is a huge gap between rhetoric and reality. ETP is all talk. If  we judge Jala by results, PEMANDU is a failure. It should, therefore, be disbanded.

In the past, we have relied on professionals in the Economicdin-merican5 Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department, to do the job and they did a very credible job, judging from what was accomplished in terms of economic growth and development. What can PEMANDU and its external consultants do that the EPU cannot do better in terms of dealing with macro economic challenges we face today? EPU should be asked to get the job done.

I have been talking to some friends in Washington DC after the East-West Centre forum on June 27, 2013, and they tell me that it is important that Malaysia undertakes a thorough review of the revenue and expenditure sides of our national budget before introducing the GST and other new taxes, and develop a realistic plan for structural reform. The economy must take top priority since things are likely to get worse in 2014.-–Din Merican

Use the EPU in stead of PEMANDU, June 30, 2013

One lingering criticism against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, following the disappointing performance of the Barisan Nasional in GE13, is how he has allowed government thinking and the election strategy to be outsourced to PEMANDU and consultants.

Minister JalaWithout much encouragement, UMNO politicians and even those in the PM’s inner circle of businessmen can rattle off the names of those whom they believe Najib relied on too heavily in the last 24 months before the general election on May 5.

These include Datuk Seri Idris Jala of the Performance Management Delivery Unit, or PEMANDU, a government outfit whose collection of highly-paid consultants were unsuccessful in persuading Malaysians that the crime situation had improved and that jaw-dropping economic statistics were not pie-in-the-sky hyperbole.

Then there were the likes of Omar Mustapha, his brand advisers, his media strategists including some highly paid former members of Tony Blair’s election team.

Since May 5, there has been mounting pressure from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Daim Zainuddin and other senior UMNO personalities for Najib to get rid of all his strategists and take control of government decision-making.

They and other critics in UMNO would not have been pleased with what happened two Wednesdays ago, on June 19, when the Prime Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and the Chief Secretary of the government sat through several hours of presentation by Idris and a collection of individuals being shaped up as the government’s new brains trust. The next day, the experts’ panel appeared before Deputy Ministers, Secretary-Generals from 21 ministries and other senior civil servants.

The brains’ trust includes Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, fernandes-tonybanker Stephen Hagger, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Air Asia’s Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. Their brief: to discuss issues that affected BN’s performance in GE13 and suggest ideas and policies to help regain support for the coalition.

The Malaysian Insider understands that at the workshop on June 19, Idris Jala did an analysis of the GE13. He also touched on the issues raised by the public before the polls and looked at the trend of voting among Chinese and urban voters.

He also looked forward to GE14. The brains trust identified racial polarisation, distrust in public institutions, the different education streams, rising crime and corruption as issues that may have affected BN’s performance.

The main takeaway from the session with Najib and the Cabinet was that the government must:

  • strengthen its fiscal position and should implement the Goods and Services Tax;
  • continue the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) payments, and
  • Do more to meet the expectation of the rakyat in fighting crime and corruption.

The general feeling was that the Najib administration must do a better job of communicating its policies and getting the same message out to the public.

This observation will invite chuckles because more than any otherNajib-PM2013Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib has surrounded himself with several local and foreign media advisers; has embraced social media tools and has an army of cybertroopers and bloggers at his disposal.

Word about the existence of this new group of advisers and Najib’s continued reliance on Idris and PEMANDU has already started making its way around, earning the ire of some UMNO bloggers.

They have started sniping about the individuals on the brains’ trust panel – Omar and Idris – pointing out that they are likely to infect government’s policies with more liberal ideas like abolishing the Internal Security Act and more grand-sounding policies which will undermine the position of the Malays in the country.

If Najib liberalises the economy or inks the controversial Pacific Trade Agreement with The United States or adopts any ideas pushed forward by these “new advisers”, he will come under renewed pressure from those who believe the way forward for him and BN is simple: focus on the Malay vote and on what UMNO wants.

Dr Mahathir.They believe that throwing money at Malaysians is a discredited strategy, given that 51 per cent of the electorate voted for Pakatan Rakyat. What they truly want is a return to the days of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who basically charted the way forward for the country with his own brand of economics, often against conventional wisdom and most certainly without a battery of consultants.

A recent online poll conducted by an UMNO blogger showed that more than half of the respondents wanted Dr Mahathir to govern the country, with Najib nowhere close. Expect the Maharistas to sabre-rattle and pressure Najib with the UMNO elections due in October.

So much ‘pressure’ is being put by the federal government on the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact to accept the outcome of the May 5, 2013 general election if the latter is serious about ‘national reconciliation’.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has even gone on to say that Pakatan’s acceptance of the 13th general election result is the ‘main premise’ for reconciliation.

– See more at:

So much ‘pressure’ is being put by the federal government on the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact to accept the outcome of the May 5, 2013 general election if the latter is serious about ‘national reconciliation’. – See more at:

19 thoughts on “Use the EPU in stead of PEMANDU


    Hmm….. looks like I mentioned in recent threads on this blog, the Mahathir brand will return ……….. this is good and bad new.

    The good news is SOMEONE has got to take the bull by its horn.
    The bad news is Mahathir had bullied every one, the judiciary, the council of ruler etc.
    Mahathir’s definition of corruption is his own really. Soros said TDM is a 20% man using lots of proxy and in totality made his richer than sultan of Brunei. But some sources said TDM himself is a proxy for Malaysian wealth by parking money in places he can use for national interests through other proxies. Looks like there is a complicated web of proxies. In this sense TDM is “CLEAN”. SO where the line stop?

    The chances of TDM return seem to be raising huh? Its Umno’s calling. If Umno want him in, there is NO STOPPING.

    Then what do we do in Pakatan to deal with this old fox guarding the chicken coup?

  2. “A recent online poll conducted by an UMNO blogger showed that more than half of the respondents wanted Dr Mahathir to govern the country, with Najib nowhere close. Expect the Maharistas to sabre-rattle and pressure Najib with the UMNO elections due in October” – TMI report June 30 above.

    This clearly goes to show that UMNO is still very much under the strong influence of the Mamak – a rapidly growing number of the Constitutional Malays in Malaysia.

  3. Things get worse in 2014? There must be water under the bridge and these waters will surface for UMNO GA and the severity depends on who say so. If DAIM or TDM then almost all will listen to their experience for they remember some of the ballsy policies TDM did that sounded right. TDM seems to be the man of the moment not Kuli who has kind of mellowed while the old foxy goat seemed having kind of renewed strength at 87!

    Maybe its because he doesn’t golf like all PMs do ?

  4. Dato Din, Logic don’t matter and does not apply with the Malaysian government. If logic is of any importance why would a government:
    1. Ignore the massive leakages through corruption and rampant abuse of procurement through rigged and clearly overpriced equipment, goods and services from unqualified contractors and suppliers ?
    2. Ignore the consequences of fiscal mismanagement?
    3. Ignore the available expertise and skills of its own EPU?
    4. Ignore the calls and need for a fair and transparent government?
    5. Implement racial based policies instead of promoting harmony, developing talent and skill base of all Malaysians?
    6. and a zillion of other reasons…….

    Thieves and insincere leaders do not think logically. Their thought process is driven by greed and that of people that has too much unchecked power.

    The issue of Pemandu versus EPU is a symptom of a government gone awry, one unchecked and rampant of abuse, corruption and outright evil. Until the government becomes answerable for its actions, Malaysians will just see more of all the wrongs a government can do. For those who prescribe that we wait another five years, you will get another five years of all the ills and sickness of corruption and thievery.

  5. Din.
    Najib was using every mean to protect his position as PM.I was told by my senior Bukit Aman,while playing golf with him that Rosmah brought in seven Indian priest from India on the 1 of May and they stay in Putra Jaya until after elections.
    I am not suprise now,Najib look like a confuse PM.His is not sure of himself.
    He started appointed people like Dato Azzez as Tabong Haji Chairman,Annur Musa as MARA chairman,Ali Rustam as LADA chairman and Bong Muktar as FELCRA chairman.
    Ghani Othman as Sime Darby chairman.
    He need Ghani to deliver him votes from Johore UMNO delegates.

    Many more suprise is coming.

  6. YB AK47 pointed out that the Malay votes were split by half and that it was also a Malay sunami. The hard core Malay politicians do not want the truth and so the next thing is go the kaka way and gag the medias. The glory days of high handed action is what they want. The reality is nasi sudah jadi bubur, and the enemy is not the non Malays but the PR s Malay base itself. Now the ball game is changed and people will go to greater length to drive home their points. Those days everything can be classified as anti Malay and let loose the leech of the police to go hard on the trouble makers. The Chinese controlled and pacified by the tokay party will toe the line but that has changed dramatically and the new Chinese voters are bolder and aligned with the anti UMNO Malays. Any force on these people will bring dire results unfamiliar to the Police force. With this scenario kakas methodology will bring Malaysia into unchartered territories.

  7. Don’t forget, other than the Pemandu, there is NEAC, as well, together with various Economic Regional Corridor authorities etc. Singapore created the EDB in 1957, never needed anything else and did better.

    Najib is not just outsourcing economics and govt policies to Pemandu, he is ousourcing politics too. Even in the wild frontier west, they don’t hire hired guns to run their town, they hire them to fix a problem.. Najib has basically given up responsibility of well his job..

  8. Let’s face it. The shots are called by UmnoGA. Like it or not, no one has any say if UMNO GA wants TDM to lead so we better get use to it ok and like what Din said, we have to check him i.e. SCAN him daily?

    Perhaps for the betterment of all, we should invite TDM to redo CEPAT, BERSIH AMANAH – II. This time he better do it accurately if he wants to ensure his legacy and that of Umno and BN.

    So Pakatan and Young Malaysians has got hard work to do to check him daily.

    How about BRIM? Hm…..maybe discontinue?

  9. Dato, personally I don’t think EPU has the competency, nor the desire, to do the job Pemandu have done. Much of EPU’s work involves economic planning alone – unlike Pemandu, they have not been involved in policy implementation. Also, much of the planning that they have do involves allocating budget priorities, not structural transformation programs. The Malaysia Plans are effectively blueprints for the government’s development budget over each plan period.

    In short, the output of all this planning is to throw money at problems, never mind the results. In all my years following the economy, there has almost never been any mention of results in Malaysia Plans. Malaysia Plans are big on planned “targets”, but results? Hardly ever.

  10. Hishamh,
    Although I always know that you are from the establishment, I kinda likeo engage with civility. Hehe, perhaps, you are smarter & more eloquent than I am & has the ability to reason with the facts however wrong the end result may be
    Judging from what say about EPU, shouldn’t EPU be redundant? Allocation of budget priorities. Hmm……Isn’t that the job of a Finance Minister? Would you prefer to follow the british style? Creating a treasury commission? You have

    1) First Lord of Treasury (Prime Minister)
    2) Chancellor of Exchequer (Finance Minister)
    3) Chief Secretary to the Treasury — (Deputy Finance Minister)
    4) Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury — (Chief Whip)
    5) Financial Secretary to the Treasury —
    6) Economic Secretary to the Treasury —
    7) Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury —
    8) Commercial Secretary to the Treasury —
    To be continued

  11. This is again a very good documentary although I have posted many many times. OMG! BBC does produce good documentaries. Again, Fuck you buddy is a game board developed by a team in Rand Institute. One of the key person is none other that John Forbes Nash Junior. Don’t believe everything transpired in the “Beautiful Mind”. Nash was disillusioned because he kenna harrassed by Aliens instead of Commies. He wanted to be the emperor of Antartica. Don’t laugh at him but just admirre his wonderful works that he produced

    Here comes the documentary

  12. So can we close down the much-vaunted PTD Service. It has long ago outlived its usefulness and is more parasitic than providential. Most of them are just bag carriers and glorified clerks anyway. Some only shine when it comes to shunting visitors, ministers and their family members, royalty et al, pretending they are doing important work.

    Tell me what it is that a PTD officer can do that a senior clerk in govt service can’t. See them strut their stuff in their jackets and ties. Status and style dominates over substance.

    So lets do away with this lot and say, 1/2 the cabinet, and maybe we’ll be on our way to some real savings in the national coffers. God knows
    we need that instead of the imminent GST and its ilk to raise ringgit from hapless Malaysians to pay for these clowns.

  13. Just a little humour with a tinge of truth. Jim Hacker trying very hard to revamp the british education system. Watch the whole series…….Hishamh you too

  14. Mus,

    You sure the indian priest did the rituals? I can quite believe you because Ros had consulted the dark side often. It seemed a Pakatan fongsuay sifu was consulted in the early 2000 about Najib’s fate for PM. This Najib is so afraid of his own shadow.

    Having said that, many bomohs, white and black and all race said TDM needed no bomoh all these while. So he has Allah on his side? If so then why people say he corrupt, cronyism, nepotism, and 20% man? Might be Allah say what he did was right for Malaysia for the time Malaysian is growing up? I dun know man, but what I know is we were ‘ok’ during his time and if the old goat returns and continued the way he did, the young Malaysians will barger him. Either he change or they change him……ie. if he does return………but he is 87 oledi….how long more? till 2020?

    So we will know which way the yelling will go as Oct draws near…..but this we know is the voice of rejecting Najib in Umno seems to have gotten louder and firmer. Time will tell very soon…………….so we better be prepared to CHECK Mahathir as that much we can write here about our wish for better governance.

  15. ….the publicity stunts would not be able to do the damage control …as the ground truth is so glaringly terrible to say the least….unless and when “political lying” stops the current ruling party and Najib will experience decline in confidence given by the citizen of Malaysia especially from Sabah and Sarawak..

  16. looes74,

    I’ve got all the episodes for both YM and YPM. It’s one reason why I have a healthy scepticism of both politicians and the civil service in actually accomplishing real change very quickly – irrespective of who’s ostensibly in charge. There is an awful lot of inertia involved in changing government policy – you don’t seriously think the politicians are actually in charge and create policy, do you?

    It’s one reason why I’m quite taken with Pemandu, as they are not staffed by career civil servants and aren’t beholden to existing power structures in the government.

    Having watched YM and YPM, you should realise why EPU still exists. 🙂 And why for example we have Matrade and MIDA, despite having a ministry devoted to international trade and industry.

    As far as the government budget is concerned, expenditure falls into two categories – operational and development. The operational budget is a year-to-year affair directly under MoF. The development budget however is within the framework of the Malaysia Plans, where long term investment budget requests are submitted to and compiled by the EPU. Low cost housing, utilities, and road construction for example fall under this category.

    To illustrate, the 10th Malaysia Plan (published in 2010) determines development budget priorities for the period 2011-2015. In other words, the development part of the government’s budget is actually set years in advance, and we know approximately what the annual development budget will be for any future year in each Plan period.
    Hishamh, there is no proper review of government expenditure–operating and development–by the government. In a corporation, this is a monthly affair. The same applies with capex. The revenue side is also evaluated by comparing actual with the budget. There are no supplementary budgets. That supplementary thing is peculiar to government.–Din Merican

  17. Agree. PEMANDU is totally useless. What do they do other than keep tabs on projects (they even push that job to the other agencies) and sit in meetings to give their non expert advice on the projects?

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