July 26, 2015
COMMENT: I cannot disagree with Zainah Anwar on the issues she raised in her article. Spot on, but we have reached beyond the pondering stage since the rot started long before Najib became the 6th Prime Minister in 2009.
Who was the Prime Minister who brazenly stated that our country is an Islamic state and who played the race card? Let us not forget that he came to power on the back of ultra-Malay nationalism and Islamism. Who destroyed our system of governance to leave as his legacy a powerful office of Prime Minister and a UMNO President who cannot be challenged.
He now is the man who is leading the charge to overthrow Najib from high office. He cannot conveniently say that he is not good at picking his successors (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak). He eliminated some outstanding UMNO leaders like Tun Musa Hitam, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and created UMNO Baru so that he could govern without opposition from his party and Parliament with the help of a compliant Judiciary and a civil service which he could manipulate to achieve his political goals and perpetuate his rule (he did it for 22+ years).
Today we have become a failed nation led by a kleptocracy under the leadership of a weak and corrupt Prime Minister Najib Razak. UMNO is beyond redemption. In stead, we have to ponder whether UMNO of pagar makan padi types should continue to govern our country.
For me the answer is clear: No, UMNO which is trapped in a culture of patronage, cronyism, and corruption cannot be expected to revamp itself and govern differently. But what is the alternative?
Right now, given the fact the political opposition is in total disarray and UMNO is without a replacement, we have no choice but to endure the pain and agony of Najib’s transformational leadership for a few more years. The Economist could be right in coming to this conclusion. May God save Malaysia.–Din Merican
Malaysia: Questions to ponder
As issue and more issues made the headlines, will there be an implosion of all the things that Malaysia had built over the years?
I AM beginning to feel as if this country and its rakyat are being crushed and pummelled by wrecking balls.
These concerns are nothing new. What’s new is the breathtaking scale, the endlessness of it all, and the shamelessness with which the perpetrators display their unscrupulous, destructive and criminal behaviour, in words and deeds.
I was in Geneva two weeks ago and UN officials and activists I met were asking what was happening to Malaysia.How did things get this bad? We were once a model country that others looked up to as a prosperous, progressive, politically stable, multi-ethnic society. We are a high middle-income developing country, not a basket case.
Now we are looking more and more like another banana republic, with scandals galore making global headlines. The deep concern many feel that these wrecking balls could lead to an implosion of everything that we have built over the decades is real. And what is scary is that there are people who are priming for trouble to break.
The Low Yat plaza riot will not be the last in their scheme of things. Thank God, the IGP and his forces acted fast in nipping the problem in the bud and stating the facts clearly and unambiguously. It was a crime; not about one race trying to cheat another.
Lessons must be learnt fast if we want to stop those determined to destroy the country in order to remain in power and preserve what they believe are their lifetime entitlements – on nothing but the basis of birth.
As desperation over the inevitable closing chapter sets in, there will be more attempts to ignite fires of racial conflict.
The truth is the ruling elite is becoming more and more beleaguered – under the weight and scope of allegations of misappropriation of public funds, plummeting popularity and finding itself devoid of new blood and new ideas, and certainly bereft of courage and will to bring the transformation needed to win back public support.
Let’s manufacture more threats to add to the standard “Malays under threat”, “Islam under threat”. Now it’s “national security under threat” as more and more damning evidence of mind-blowing brazen sleaze and corruption is revealed.
Who is really threatening whose survival? And what has happened to the warnings given at the UMNO General Assembly last year that UMNO must “change or be dead”? It looks like the choice UMNO has made is very clear.
Unless a new breed of young far-sighted leaders come forward with the will and courage to change the system – political and economic – to become more inclusive, more just, more honest, more transparent, we are really seeing the end of a long era in Malaysian politics. Time has run out for this old form of authoritarian politics and rule by a privileged elite.
In their book Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson argue with evidence across history and geography that authoritarian “extractive” political and economic institutions designed by elites in order to and perpetuate their power at the expense of the majority of the people are bound to run out of steam.
The pride we have in our beloved country is that was NOT our history. That was not how Malaysia began. But today this is where we are heading.
Just look at the alleged Mara scandal. An agency set up to redress a historical economic injustice against the Malays ends up led by people cheating the very group they are supposed to help, pocketing millions in barefaced shenanigans.
A policy vehicle pumped with hundreds of millions of taxpayers money to eradicate poverty on the basis of race gets abused by the privileged elite of that race.
This is yet another case of pagar makan padi. Those entrusted to protect you, instead betray you. And there are many more such scandals, just waiting to be surfaced.
Let’s ask some hard questions here. Why after decades of rigorous development planning, 40% of Malaysian households earn only about RM1,847 a month?Why after more than four decades of the NEP, 75.5% of those at the bottom are bumiputras?
Why in spite of the billions poured into education and boarding schools, 64.3% of the bumiputra workforce have only SPM qualifications? Why some 90% of the unemployable university graduates are bumiputras?
Why of the RM54bil worth of shares pumped to bumiputra individuals and institutions between 1984 and 2005, only RM2bil remained in bumiputra hands today?
And why oh why should the bumiputras continue to raise a begging bowl and ask for more of the same kind of handouts from the same ruling elite? The bottom 40% get crumbs. Let’s focus our attention on these priorities.