Archive for October 29th, 2007

50-50 whether next general election this year or next year

With Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi celebrating his fourth anniversary as the fifth Prime Minister in two days’ time, which also marks more than 3 years and 7 months after his unprecedented landslide victory in the 2004 general election, the question everyone is asking is the date for the next general election.

There are three possibilities for the 12th general election in Malaysia:

1. This year, with November 25 as the “hottest” date, with Abdullah in this scenario announcing dissolution of Parliament at the end of the Umno General Assembly on Nov. 9;

2. Before end of next April with the “hottest date” in mid-March, 2008 before Anwar Ibrahim regains his civil liberties to stand for elective office; and

3. After April next year as there appears to be growing support in Umno for the school of thought that the next general election should “exorcise” the Anwar factor and not allow it to haunt Umno after the next general election on the ground that the election outcome would have been very different if Anwar had been allowed to contest — and based on the confidence that Umno is enjoying a very favourable political climate in the Malay heartland and the Umno constituencies.

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Another Promised Change!

by M. Bakri Musa

In a recent meeting with media representatives, Chief Secretary to the Government (its topmost civil servant) Sidek Hassan assured the public that civil servants must now “perform or face the music.” He also revealed the demotions of senior officers, including a few in the “super scale” grade and a Director-General.

Sidek’s assurance was undoubtedly in response to the damning indictments in the recent Auditor General’s Report. (What else is new?) The Chief Secretary went on with promises of more actions. Let us hope that his pledge is for real. We have been through all these promised changes before, so citizens’ cynicism is understandable.

The civil service cannot be improved merely through edicts from high above. No less than Prime Minister Abdullah had made many similar pledges before.

As the top civil servant, Sidek cannot effect meaningful changes until he knows the details of the various operations under him. Not all of them; he needs study only two or three processes in some detail, identify the problems, and then solve them. With that he could teach others and replicate the success elsewhere.

All too often our top civil servants and ministers are content only with mere utterances: “Be productive!” “Compete with the best!” Unless they know the details of the operations of their departments, identify and eliminate the redundant processes, they could not hope to improve their services. These senior officers should not expect their overworked line workers to come up with innovative solutions. Besides, they lack the necessary knowledge or skills. Read the rest of this entry »


PM boycotts Law Conference (updated)

“Bar Council’s conference scores double firsts” was the Sunday Star headline report for the three-day 14th Malaysian Law Conference 2007 themed “50 Years of Merdeka” at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre beginning today.

The Sunday Star headline was right but the “double firsts” will be for completely different reasons.

Last night, I learnt that the de facto Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who in a lengthy New Sunday Times interview yesterday asked “Where got crisis of the judiciary?”, will not be closing the Conference on Wednesday as announced in the Conference Programme.

This morning, I learn that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, will be boycotting the Law Conference, although he is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the opening session from 9.40 am – 10.30 am after the opening by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

Where got judicial crisis? Where got constitutional crisis?

Postscript – The Prime Minister is inviting all participants of the Law Conference to an unscheduled dinner at Hotel Renaissance tonight.

Malaysiakini reported that Abdullah will read his keynote address meant for delivery at the Law Conference this morning at the dinner.

Malaysiakini also reported that Abdullah “cancelled his appearance at the opening ceremony at the eleventh hour to officiate the launch of the East Coast Economic Region project” in Kuala Terengganu.