Archive for July 27th, 2008

Proton/Mercedes fiasco – Big Ears’ Dilemma with Terengganu’s “one ear in, one ear out” defiance

“Defiant act – Exco men use Merc despite Cabinet order” – this is the screaming front-page headline in today’s Sunday Star on the latest twist in the Proton Perdana/Mercedes Kompressor fiasco, viz:

JOHOR BARU: At least four of Terengganu’s eight state executive council members are using newly purchased Mercedes-Benz E200 Kompressor cars despite a Cabinet directive against doing so.

Several of them were seen travelling in the cars to official functions and meetings.

Those who were seen taking rides in the car said they were waiting for Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said to make an announcement at Wednesday’s state executive council meeting on when to give up the cars.

Terengganu Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Za’abar Mohd Adib attended the Malaysian Flora Fest here yesterday in his gleaming new black Mercedes-Benz.

What is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who prides in having “Big Ears”, going to do in the face of the “One ear in, one ear out” defiance of the Terengganu State Government?

Is he going to crack the whip to impose discipline or is he going to close his eyes and ears and pretend such defiance does not exist? Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah buying time with 2010 quit plans

From the Economist Intelligence Unit

JULY 26 – Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s July 10 announcement that he plans to step down by mid-2010 seems an attempt by the prime minister to buy time – both for his own (probably doomed) leadership and for his party, Umno.

By sacrificing the second half of his current five-year term, the prime minister may hope not only to save the first half, and thus to stay in the leadership for two more years, but also to reduce internal feuding that is undermining the government’s stability.

Abdullah’s move comes as pressure continues to mount on him to step down to take responsibility for the political crisis as well as for rising inflation. This pressure is coming both from within the highly factional Umno – where some elements regard Abdullah as an increasing liability to the party or see his problems as an opportunity to make their own power bids – and from the parliamentary opposition, which has been emboldened by its gains in the March 2008 general election.

Although the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, of which Umno is the dominant member, comfortably won the election, the loss of its two-thirds majority for the first time in nearly 40 years was a humiliating setback. Read the rest of this entry »