Archive for April 14th, 2008

Pakatan Rakyat MPs will support judicial and other belated institutional reforms

(Speech at the DAP Public Ceramah/Consultation with DAP MPs/State Excos in Sri Kembangan at the Seri Kembangan Dewan Serbaguna on Sunday, April 13, 2008)

During the 2008 general election campaign, the “kingmaker” of the Abdullah administration, the Prime Minister’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin vowed to destroy the Opposition. In the end, he nearly destroyed Umno and Barisan Nasional.

Umno Information chief and newly-resurrected Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Muhd Muhammad Taib, has admitted that the arrogance of some Umno leaders was to be blamed for the Barisan Nasional’s poor performance in the March polls.

In fact, it it not “some” but most Umno leaders who were arrogant while some, like Khairy, were “very” and insufferably arrogant!

The pressure is on in Umno for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to assume full responsibility for the March 8 “political tsunami” and to step down as Prime Minister.

The biggest question today is how long Abdullah can survive as Prime Minister, whether until after the Umno polls in December or whether he will have to step down even earlier, with former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad leading the campaign to demand that his successor should vacate Sri Perdana immediately.

The future of Abdullah as Umno President and Prime Minister of Malaysia will have to be decided by the internal politics of Umno, but Malaysians are entitled to know whether there is the political will to honour the post-election statements by Abdullah and other Barisan Nasional leaders that they have finally heard the voices of the people and would belatedly implement the pledges of reform made in the 2004 general election – that the new 12th Parliament would open at the end of the month with a full parliamentary agenda of wide-ranging reforms! Read the rest of this entry »


Targeting The Biggest Ass

by Bakri Musa

Johore UMNO leaders had apparently told Prime Minister Abdullah that he must have a succession plan that is “structured, smooth and speedy.” This three “S” strategy missed targeting the biggest ass of all, Abdullah himself. The initiative had more to do with saving Abdullah’s “face” than with solving the grave problems confronting the party.

If UMNO members and leaders were serious, they would focus on getting this harsh and unadulterated message straight to Abdullah: He is unfit to lead the party and country. He has clearly demonstrated this through his deeds (or lack of them) and words. The man is a habitual liar; he cannot separate fact from fiction and distinguish reality from fantasy.

Abdullah’s idea of taking responsibility for his party’s electoral debacle is merely to utter that statement. He has no inkling of what it means to accept responsibility.

Abdullah’s pleading that he is needed to “revive” the party is laughable and self serving. If he could not pilot his ship of state competently when it was calm, there is no hope that he would be any more capable when it is now stormy, and threatening to get even more so every day. Abdullah is the problem, and a very huge one at that. Consequently his moving out would be a big part of the solution. It would not solve everything of course, but it would remove a major impediment.

His “leadership” has been nothing more than endless sloganeering (Work with me, not for me!”), like the leader caricatured in Shahnon Ahmad’s short story, “Ungkapan” (Sloganeering).

Having grown accustomed to the perks and trappings of his office, Abdullah will not leave voluntarily, much less gracefully. He has to be literally dragged out. Subtleties and hints will not work on this man. He is too dumb to read the signals. He is also insulated, surrounded by courtiers ever willing to spin bad news. Read the rest of this entry »


Bangalore heart trip – self-inflicted malady of Malaysian healthcare

by GS

When Chua Soi Lek first came to office, he apparently called for a meeting of all senior officers and when asked about the priority of problems at the Ministry of Health, he reportedly was inundated with numerous comments about the dastardly troubles private hospitals had created and how they and their devious doctors were leeching the poor Malaysian public and something had to be done urgently. The gullible Chua, ever willing to show-off the political strongman that he conjured himself to be, wasted no time in implementing the shelved PHFSA and together with his DG, utilizing the BN’s brute but now mercifully clipped majority in parliament, brushing off all objections against the Act just so he can show who’s boss. Needless to say despite all of Chua’s and Merican’s big talk and assurances, the first victim who got thrown into jail was a registered doctor, a stark reminder of the previous government’s callous and appalling methods of governance.

New Health Ministers are almost always a shoo in for our health ministry officials who have become rather slick in cornering incoming, inexperienced and invariably unknowledgeable Ministers into making silly decisions. All Ministers are political animals and make distorted decisions essentially because the minister is fed only half the story or the story he generally likes to hear. And so it is with the new health minister Liow Tiong Lai.

While Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete, was going on an all out war against witchdoctors (read bomohs, sinsehs, etc) who were gorging out eyes of albinos and the Brazilians were calling in the army and possibly Cuban doctors to help battle the mortal incidence of dengue in that country, back in Malaysia, the hapless Liow had thrust upon him a meaningless business turf battle between pharmacists and doctors as his first task. The Brazilians must have wondered about the priority of the Malaysian health minister and cannot be faulted if they thought that Malaysians had indeed licked the dengue scourge and were actually moving on to bigger stuff.

Far from it. The dengue fever outbreak in Brazil had infected 55,000 people, and killed 67 Brazilians so far this year with half of those killed by the mosquito-borne illness being under 13-years-old. But Malaysia’s “Disease Control Director”, Hasan Abdul Rahman reported a proportionately higher mortality ratio of 9,889 people diagnosed, with 26 of them dead for the first three months from January to March alone of this year. Maybe we may have something to learn from the Brazilians or more likely our stats are out of sync.

But these problems will pale into comparison as the new and inexperienced health minister has made a second momentous decision. That of shipping unfortunate children with congenital heart disease to Devi Shetty’s “world famous” heart center 2000 miles away in Bangalore, the Narayana Hrudayalaya. Even Chua, known to be a brusque decision maker refused to take this decision. But the new health minister had no qualms sending these children off….or was he pushed into make this decision.

When the NST published their under-researched cum marketing piece for the IJN on the lack of heart surgeons and the need for critical care for paediatric cardiac surgical patients in a center spread on 2/4/08, they didn’t quite delve into the factors as to why this country has not caught up with the rest of the world or at least India, despite the government spending millions to curb the rising incidence of heart disease. Paradoxically, after 50 years of Merdeka, we are in fact sending off patients overseas for treatment just like the Mauritius, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Bangladesh to the Narayana Hrudayalaya Institute of Medical Sciences (NHIMS) Do we not have the expertise? Elementary. It is just poor management of our resources. Read the rest of this entry »