Missing the point on the Terrenganu Merc purchases

by Vijay Kumar Murugavell

Much has been said regarding the purchase of 14 spanking new Mercedes E200’s for the use of Terengganu Exco.

MB Ahmad cited cheaper maintenance, DPM and PM declaring that they themselves use Protons, the press interviewing workshop mechanics, Proton Holdings defending their cars, ACA getting into the picture and many offered punditry and cost comparisons to entertain the rakyat with this dog and pony show.

Almost everyone is missing the point,the PM, ACA, The Terengganu exco and Proton Holdings.

The Treasury has sent out a circular which was blatantly ignored, this is the main issue.

Why are those who ignored this directive not taken to tas ? The policy is clear, so the PM should initiate disciplinary action. The next question would be how can the Treasury who is the one holding the purse strings not check whether policy was being followed.

If a system is open to abuse it should be revamped.

Why is the Treasury silent on this issue ? Makes me wonder what other directives are being ignored draining precious financial resources.

Ahmad Said’s rationale that Mercedes are cheaper to maintain is irrelevant, he had no authority to make that decision. Its akin to running a red light, getting caught then telling the traffic cop: that the reason you did it was because you observed that the road was clear so why waste time following the rule.

Pak Lah’s statement that selling the cars now will incur a loss and they should be used only for shuttling foreign dignitaries is incorrect – for 2 reasons.

Firstly ,how on earth can keeping 14 Mercs for this purpose be justified?

Do we have that many visiting dignitaries coming to Terengganu?
Are we to believe that it is fiscally prudent to maintain 28 cars when half of them need to be maintained but are hardly utilized?

A mistake has been made and instead of rectifying it further nonsensical suggestions to save face are being suggested.

Secondly, The Mercs were purchased free of duties and taxes, if sold at prevailing market prices or even at auction prices , the government stands to profit. I don’t even need to do detailed calculations to know this.

The Prime Minister has missed a golden opportunity to show his decisiveness and wisdom on this issue, involving the Cabinet to discuss it and then coming up with an untenable solution has just cast aspersions on the Prime Minister and the entire cabinet.

This does not augur well in building the confidence of an already cynical rakyat let alone foreign investors.

To restore confidence I suggest the Prime Minister issue a warning to those who flouted Treasury Policy and auction off all 14 Mercs.

  1. #1 by Loyal Malaysian on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 5:24 pm

    The PM will not do it for he has not shown till now that he has the stuff to be PM.
    So, the Little Napoleons of Terengganu will get to enjoy the use of the Mercs which will then be sold off to them, dirt cheap after 4/5 years.
    In theirs minds is what is RM4 million when billions have been siphoned off the country’s coffers?
    Yes, we need to voice our unhappiness over the matter as KIt Siang has highlighted above but really those fellows will in all likelihood still do as they like.

  2. #2 by badak on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 5:36 pm

    Every one should thank the MB of TERRENGANU.With this blunder he had open a big can of worms.If this can happen in one state.What about the rest.
    Don,t forget Proton,s agent are also implicated in this fiasco.This is only the tip of the ice berge.Proton is defending its image.The X MB had even said he is going to sue the present MB for making statement which claims that there is underhand tactics.
    Will this thing also blow away.Like so many others which is only hot for that moment.

  3. #3 by AhPek on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 5:41 pm

    How could anybody do anything to anybody who choose to ignore directives if he or she is also tainted?

  4. #4 by taiking on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 5:48 pm

    The policies are clear.
    The directives are clear.
    The laws are clear.
    The rules are clear.
    The regulations are clear.

    The Treasury is in the know.
    The PM is in the know.
    The public now is in the know.

    SO WHAT.



    Dont be surprised if someone else got into trouble instead.

    Remember the “sex with underaged girl in malacca” case?

  5. #5 by Loh on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:13 pm

    We should thank Ahmad Said for bringing up the issue of excessive cost of maintenance of government owned vehicles. The Trengganu government is elected by the people, and they will be judged by the people how they handle the use of vehicles. Do they have to follow the directive of the Cabinet on what vehicle to use?

    The fleet of 14 Benz at 3.4 million ringgit is a fraction of the hundreds of million spent on the Monsoon cup, which was almost a complete waste of money. The Benz are not Rolls Royces, and they are used by ordinary well to do people. The decision to restrict government servants to use Proton was meant to support ‘national’ car. But what so ‘national’ about Proton?
    Malaysians over the years have been made to pay not less than RM 100 ringgit per head to allow Proton to breath. Proton is now more than 20 years old, and if it cannot survive on his own, it should be allowed to die a natural death. Of course AAB has not the balls to go against TDM.

    It is unfair to other makes of cars when there is unfair advantage for Proton, and the cabinet decision is against WTO regulations.

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:27 pm

    Frankly, I doubt AAB’s suitability as PM.

  7. #7 by madmix on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:29 pm

    The PM has already lost round one of the Trengganu war to Ahmad Said on the appointment of MB. Now he has lost round two. Round three will be to scrap or not to scrap next year’s Monsoon Cup and the likely winner is?

  8. #8 by madmix on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:31 pm

    I forget he lost another round: the Wang Ehsan thing.

  9. #9 by FY Lim on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:31 pm

    Yes, the high powered cabinet had met to discuss the Trengganu
    mercedes fiasco. A directive had been issued for the state exco not to use the mercedes. Ahmad Said has blatantly disregard the directive. They had showed it to Malaysians and the whole world that they are defying the orders . So what can the PM and his toothless cabinet do ? Nothing !

    So the next step is to get ACA to confiscate the Perdanas as a saving face for the cabinet. Why ? To provide a reason for the state exco to continue using the Mercedes otherwise the PM and his cabinet will lose face.

    The PM was challenged by Ahmad Said to open up ACA investigations on the Monsoon cup and Trengganu Islamic civilisation centre. Sadly, there is no response to this challenge.
    I agree that this is only the tip of the iceberg. You cannot fault a person when you yourself is in the wrong.

    Ini lah kebudayaan kerajaan BN.

  10. #10 by AA234567 on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:39 pm

    Uncle Kit & DAP,

    We were told to break and smash the ‘back-bone’ of UMNO while attending your ceramah before the GE. True enough we smashed half of it and now UMNO is crawing and using the last straw to play with PAS.

    And the other half of the UMNO ‘backbone’ is waiting to be smashed with the rising of Anwar’s popularity.

    PAS will never rule this country simply because the majority of the rakyat esp. the non-Muslim and also a large numbers of Muslim is dead agaisnt the Islamic state & Hudud laws.

    While the PR is struggling to unite can you please ask Karpal to keep his bloody mouth shut? He always jump the to show he’s the lion of Jelutong!
    Most of the statement he made is helping the BN media to run down the PR and implicate DAP is anti-Malay & Islam.
    I think he should spend more time with his grand-children instead of making unnecessary remarks!!

    See what is reported in the MSM today and I wont be surprise Karpal will retort that DAP will breakaway from PR in tomorrow’s newspaper!!!

    Handle UMNO first and then settle with PAS later.
    I still respect you but…. pls lah Karpal learn to play politcics too..

  11. #11 by Godfather on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:44 pm

    “Draining precious financial resources?” What’s RM 3.4 million compared to the billions that were siphoned off over the past 30 years by the den of thieves ? Start with the Bank Bumiputra scandals of the early 80s to the ill-conceived “cornering” of the tin market, to the bailouts of Bank Pertanian, Bank Pembangunan, Bank Rakyat, to the RM 12 billion of FX losses, to the more current bailouts of Tajuddin Ramli and the Port Klang Free Trade Zone.

    There are simply too many red herrings in today’s politics and we should keep everything in perspective. We have had enough criticism of Mohd Said on this issue which is overshadowing the more important issues of sodomy and the Altantuya murder.

  12. #12 by zak_hammaad on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 6:57 pm

    We need leaders who lead by example! Either they drive a Proton or ride a bicycle :^)

  13. #13 by MPSPK on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 7:07 pm

    I think Karpal is just like Hadi Awang… doesn’t know how to play politics…. Nik Aziz is more like YB LKS….

    Leaders of Pakatan should focus on strenghtening the pact!!!! DONT LET US DOWN!!!

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 7:17 pm

    This is the continuing saga of small corruption and big corruption. Anything that Umnoputras touch will be transformed to a means of corruption – rule or no rule. Semua pun boleh, Malaysia boleh!

  15. #15 by nyghtsky on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 7:36 pm

    The Terengganu State Exco defies Bodowi and uses the Mercedes despite public outroar! It would seem that they have come to term with the fact that the state is lost, so might as well go out in style for the remainder of their term! Their intentions, transparent!

    Then we have Najis who goes and make a ‘press statement’ that he and Bodowi uses Perdana… Intentions?????? Anyone???

  16. #16 by zak_hammaad on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 7:37 pm

    MPSPK , what makes you believe that Pakatan would be any better at leadership than BN? Knowing the amphibious nature of Anwar and the secular agenda of DAP and the Islamic agenda of PAS, do you not think that the BN has more synchrony amongst their various parties than Pakatan? And despite this struggle to find a common vision to move Malaysia forward. Change for sure is long over-due in, but I doubt it will come via BN or Pakatan; your views will be much appreciated.

  17. #17 by grace on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 8:30 pm

    Also he knew that Pak Lah is too weak to discipline him now. otherwise Trengganu would nominate tengku razaleigh ot muhiddin for president.

  18. #18 by wanderer on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 9:06 pm

    This is typical of behavior of BN, to lie and then, try to wrangle out of a lie. Is’nt Anwar situation the same? They try to lie to the public and when the medical report contradict their lie (even stated in black and white, no sodomy took place on Saiful), they still insist to carrying on with the investigations, that Saiful was sodomized by Anwar. The motive of these scums behind this evil plot, is quite obvious, just to fabricate the police report and fix Anwar.

  19. #19 by Tantech on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 10:38 pm

    Not only I disappointed with PM’s decision, I am slao disappointed with how all BN states officials swandered the tax payers’ money for luxury living.

    There have been much talk about Terengganu buying 14 Mercedes for the Excos. In fact the public is not satisfied with PM’s so-called solution that they are meant for taking VIPs.

    On 28th July a Malaysian Chinese Daily, Sin Chew Jit Poh, gives us a shocking report. The CM of Sarawak, Taib Mahmud, is using a Rolls Royce. His Excos are using all sorts of luxury foreign cars, including BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar.

    No wonder people said Taib is the riches man in Sarawak. No one knows his wealth. He could be ranked the top 50 riches people in Malaysia. And why he wants to squander the state treasury by driving luxury cars. A Rolls Royce? Come on! Even PM doesn’t ride it. Only the King uses it. Taib wanted to live a life of a king. Many people can’t even cope with survival. If not because of the down-turn of BN, who will know all these compulsive spendings by BN puteras?

    Please see photo at

  20. #20 by AhPek on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 10:52 pm

    We have become a pariah in the eyes of the world and here you are asking,zak, asking MPSPK whether he believes PR would do any better than BN?
    There is one thing we can be sure and that is as long as BN is in charge this country will never have a chance to turn around the rock bottom pit that BN has brought this country into.At the very least there is hope with PR.
    Besides the rights of citizens can be best protected by a two party system, not a monolithic system that we have for the last 50 years!

  21. #21 by zak_hammaad on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 11:51 pm

    AhPek, I understand what you are saying but S’pore is a good example when a one-party rule has done wonders for the Island state. PAP does not tolerate opposition because too many chiefs…

    As LKY said recently: “In five years, you can ruin this place, and it’s very difficult to pick up the pieces” – Not that Malaysia has much else to lose, but it is not proven that 2-party system can protect citizen rights, this is a misnomer.

  22. #22 by pjboy on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - 11:54 pm

    MB Terengganu has made a good marketing & advert for Merc. Maybe ACA should investigate how much Merc may have paid him for it.

    Why & how was it approved in the first place? The question should be did the MB made a decision even without the knowledge of the cabaret gang? How unprobable is that? Who issued the cheques to Cycle&Carriage? or was it one of those 3rd party transactions BN is so fond of?

  23. #23 by procol on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 1:24 am

    Zak, Ah Pek is right, it is reasonable to suppose that BN would not change for good. The point is, many quarters are sick of BN’s corruption and greed already, which explains why certain fresh and new candidates were elected instead of the supposedly experienced and capable candidates from BN. PR may not be fantastic but do we have a choice here? Perhaps akin to choosing between the lesser evil. I’m willing to give PR a shot at it considering all the excuses given by BN for the past 50yrs. You want to compare S’pore and Malaysia. Would would be more capable,competent and knowledgable, LKY or AAB? Try to compare Hsien Loong and AAB as well. LKY or LHL don’t go….”er…er.. apa ni…apa tu…..” as they speak, as though their brains are trying hard to send signals to move the mouth. Look at the substance of what they say then u compare. AAB never fails to give generic or cliche answers e.g., “The economy is good. Investors prefer M’sia. Everything is under control. We have plans. Good plans. I’m confident M’sia won’t be affected” Don’t you see? He only states the what which is so darn obvious. If only he cared to back it up with facts, figures or research. Same old politician speech that might work 50 yrs ago, not now. So still wanna compare?

  24. #24 by AhPek on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 2:13 am

    Zak, if one were to scour around the world looking for well managed states (and by well managed states I mean states whose per capita GDP is not only strong but its Gini index and Human Development Index is good with a good degree of freedom enjoyed by the populace) one would invariably find that these states almost always have a 2 party system (ie any of the 2 party can be the governing party).Examples are Finland,Norway,Denmark,New Zealand, Australia,Canada etc
    However if one were to go looking for failed states or banana republics (states with low per capita GDP,highly unsatisfactory Gini Index and Human Development Index with the populace not having any degree of freedom), one would invariably find these states governed by despots or military dictatorship.Examples are Haiti, Sierra Leone,Zimbabwe,Burma, North Korea,Republic of Congo,Sudan,Somalia,Eritrea plus many Muslim states etc
    Singapore which you have cited is perhaps an exception and that is because LKY is what I would term a benevolent dictator a dictator who works for the good of his country and place the nation’s interest above his own self interest.If it is not Singapore would have gone to the dogs long time ago. It was once remarked that had Lim Yew Hock become the Prime Minister of Singapore, he would have sold Singapore to Frank Sinatra for a song!!
    So Zak that a two party system being a far better protector of citizens’ rights is certainly not a misnomer,it is an established fact if you care to look around the world.

  25. #25 by vvick on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 8:36 am

    sell the cars (Mers)and build up the clinics and health services in Terengganu ! Habis cerita and escape to get votes from the rakyat!

  26. #26 by blablowbla on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 9:11 am

    grace,phaklah is not weak,he is actually extremely strong!

    see the ways he was bombarded n intimidated by oppositions,tdm,,bar council,sultanate(perlis n t’ganu),few umno leaders,n the Rakyat now,he still remains as pm,u know why?

    ok,i will explain soon!

  27. #27 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 9:11 am

    Is it true that Federal Govt treasury has authority to set fiscal policies of State govt? I understand they have audit and money management authorities but actually has authority over fiscal policies of State govt? This is not a good idea and put to much power in Federal hands…

  28. #28 by rainbowseahorse on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 10:29 am

    Now the ACA is kept extra busy investigating who was responsible for maintenance of government vehicles and Proton also investigating, and defending, that their cars do not cost that much for maintenance…This case couldn’t be better for the PKR as it pitted UMNO against UMNO..dirty laundry hung out in public for all to see!

    But we Rakyat knows all too well that government servants are well known for inflating costs so that they can ‘cari makan’ with kick-backs from Suppliers, House rentals, Entertainment allowances …the list goes on.

    If these Mercs cannot be sold off now, then allocate one to each States for visiting foreign dignitaries. Then put a special license plate on each of them and auction them off at E-Bay…should fetch a good sum this way!

  29. #29 by rainbowseahorse on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 10:49 am

    AhPek Says: “……Singapore which you have cited is perhaps an exception and that is because LKY is what I would term a benevolent dictator a dictator who works for the good of his country and place the nation’s interest above his own self interest..”

    Benevolent dictator….the EXACT word used by Tun M which I too subscribe to, and indeed, would recommand for many of our Muslim countries.

  30. #30 by i_love_malaysia on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 12:08 pm

    While all of us were talking about this issue, AAB and his gang are taking a breather to fine tune offers to PAS on forming govt in Selangor & Perak!!! The conspirators are making plan to make the sodomee taste nicer than before, before selling it to the public in the court, as for Najis, he can have more time in the loo to ponder upon what to do next for atan case!!!
    Sarawak CM can have anything by using his “own” money and dont have to depend on the govt for all these luxury!!! But which filthy richman will say that they have enough??? so he will continue to use the govt money for everything!!! He is tamak to the core just like his other BN brotherens!!!

  31. #31 by cskok8 on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 3:58 pm

    Can somebody check the tax free price of a MB E200K. I would have to pay about RM 350K for one but I am sure the taxes would be more than RM 100K therefore it should cost much less than the RM 245K that was paid for them.

  32. #32 by zak_hammaad on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 - 5:32 pm

    procol, I do not disagree with you at all. The point is that BN is in power because the rakyat has gotten used to them and humans generally fear change. It is plausible that with 5 state-win already, Pakatan can lead by example and show how it’s done. Given a good governance model, the rakyat would make BN history at the next GE.

    AhPek, I still believe that a 2-party system impedes rather than helps development and human rights. Muslim lands are moreso vessel states than truly independent entities; those that prosper are hoarded to implement Western-based principles of governance (e.g. Bahrain and Kuwait being). Islamic history has proven that the system of a Caliphate has worked only when it’s people are fine-tuned into understanding and realising the dictates of their faith. Clearly this is not mostly the case today.

    As for S’pore, don’t for one second believe that PAP would not do anything to remain in power; like UMNO, PAP believes that ruling their country is their birth-right and they will do whatever necessary to protect it. Some of LKY’s quotes are interesting, here are sone:

    “Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless.” – Lee Kuan Yew, 6.10.1997

    “If I were in authority in Singapore indefinitely without having to ask those who are governed whether they like what is being done, then I would not have the slightest doubt that I could govern much more effectively in their interests.” – Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 1962.

    “At this rate, the one-man, one-vote system could lead to decline and disintegration” – After the Opposition won 2 seats.

    “The party would withdraw services to the two opposition-held seats of Anson and Potong Pasir” – On Potong Pasir and Anson electing non-PAP MP.

    “If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it.” – Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew evoking the ghost of Deng Xiaoping whilst endorsing the Tiananmen Square massacre, Straits Times, Aug 17, 2004.

    “Without the elected president and if there is a freak result, within two or three years, the army would have to come in and stop it” – MM Lee Kuan Yew on what would happen if a profligate opposition government touched Singapore’s vast monetary reserves.

    “Please do not assume that you can change governments. Young people don’t understand this” – MM Lee Kuan Yew on the results of the 2006 election.

  33. #33 by Rose Fashion on Saturday, 9 August 2008 - 1:40 pm

    Yes I agree.

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