Muhyiddin’s Myths & Make-Believe

Bolehland’s economy is Stagnant, Shaky, Startling & Sliding
by Martin Jalleh

Deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin tries very hard to make sense of what he says most of the time. When he fails to make sense he makes fun of those whom he criticises. He then constructs (make believe) his preferred reality of the country and ends up making the fool of himself.

In a report on Malaysia released at the end of January, the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) warned: “Events of the past month give the impression that pressures are building and the entire situation is becoming much more unstable”. Malaysia was “veering towards instability” (Malaysian Insider, 10 Feb. 2010).

The PERC reported that the impression that Malaysia has given since New Year’s Day was that the situation in the country is becoming increasingly unstable; a group of elite minorities were dominating the national agenda to the extent that it was hurting Malaysia’s attractiveness to investors; and it is “probable” that no other Asian country is suffering from as much bad press as Malaysia.

Among the developments that caught PERC’s attention were the theft of military jet engines; detention of terror suspects from a number of African and Middle East countries; warnings that Islamic militants were planning attacks on foreigners at resorts in Sabah; renewed ethnic and religious “violence” that included arson at some churches and desecration of mosques; and controversy over the integrity of key institutions like the judicial system in the sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Lim Kit Siang (LKS) had then asked for Najib’s response to the PERC’s “blistering” report and the prospect of Malaysia becoming even more uncompetitive internationally because of the PM’s failing strategy of (what the PERC called) “trying to be all things to all people, but in the end he might satisfy no one”. But the PM preferred to be silent.

It was Muhyiddin who believed he had something to say that mattered. The report was “nonsensical”. They must be “talking through their nose” and they “know nothing about the country…Maybe those guys are sitting at a table somewhere in a remote corner of Hong Kong. They have to come here and we will be happy to bring them down here and see what is stability, what is security, what is war, what is trouble.”

Muhyiddin claimed that the report appeared to be part of a hidden agenda to destabilise the country. Malaysia is “not asking them to help us anyway. We are helping ourselves and we don’t need their comments because I think a lot of other people know and evaluate ourselves very objectively. We are not basing it on emotions but facts and reality.”

So let’s look at our “self-evaluation report” (that Malaysia is sliding down the slope of becoming even more uncompetitive internationally), made last Dec by our very own Second Finance Minister Husni Ahmad Hanadzlah, who revealed the following shocking facts and reality:

  • Malaysia’s economy has been stagnating for the past decade (in the wake of the 1998 Asian financial crisis)

  • It is now trailing badly behind its neighbours like Indonesia in the race for foreign investment.

  • It’s export-dependent economy has been hit hard by the global recession, contracting by a forecast 3.0 percent in 2009 and jeopardising its ambitions of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

  • Malaysia is trapped in a low-value-added, low-wage and low-productivity structure.

  • Among its peers China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, Malaysia’s economic growth over the past three years was second-lowest.

  • It has lost its competitive edge to remain as the leader of the pack in many sectors of the economy. Its private investment has been steadily in decline. (When the country achieved nationhood in 1957, Malaysia was the second most economically-advanced country in Asia after Japan.- LKS)

  • While Singapore and Korea’s nominal per capita GDP grew within the last three decades by 9 and 12 times respectively, Malaysia grew only by a factor of four. (Today, South Korea’s GDP per capita is US$16,450, Singapore US$34,346, Hong Kong US$29,559 while Malaysia is still at US$7,469.)

  • The services sector is underdeveloped, private investment is half the levels before the 1997-98 Asian crisis, and the manufacturing sector is suffering from lack of investment.

  • (In Oct. Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed admitted that the Thai auto industry had surpassed Malaysia’s despite entering the game at a later stage.)

  • (Malaysia fall three places from 21st to 24th ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2009-2010 and a drop of two places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2010: Reforming Through Difficult Times from 21st to 23rd placing).

Muhyiddin also declared: “The fact is that Malaysians are happy and are not facing any major disaster and there is no racial trouble in the country or war among us. So what are they talking about?”

If Malaysians are so happy then why are more people leaving and intending to leave and what about the PM vow to bringing home talented Malaysian diaspora? Was he also talking through his nose? Let’s look at our “self-evaluation” and the following shocking facts and brain drain realities provided in Dec.2009 in Parliament by Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pillay:

  • A total of 304,358 Malaysians left the country between March 2008 and August 2009 for better education, career and business prospects

  • This works out to some 630 Malaysians leaving the country every day – a big leap from the 139,696 Malaysians who migrated to other countries in 2007.

  • The number of Malaysians who surrendered their citizenship almost doubled in 2009 – about 3,800 Malaysians have given up their citizenships to date compared to 2,000 in 2008.

  • (“Kohilan has the knack to criticize the Penang state government for not being able to guarantee 1,000 electrical engineers but said nothing about the federal government’s role in pushing away more than 300,000 highly skilled Malaysians with its racist policies, tolerance of corrupt practices, incompetency and inefficiency. – Khoo Kay Peng)

Ugly Umno

The PERC report also said that while Islamic activists who are “threatening Malaysia’s secular credentials” are getting the widest coverage, it was the Umno elites, described as “a fringe group of insiders who have been able to profit disproportionately from the policies of the ruling coalition” that deserved the most attention.

“They are threatened with a loss of political power that could also impinge directly on their substantial business interests. Malaysia’s future will be determined largely by the tactics this group of insider elites resort to in order to stay in power and the success of those tactics. Their commitment to democracy is a major question mark. If they blatantly manipulate the system in order to remain in power, the public backlash could be worse than anything Malaysia has seen in its modern history.”

Could it be this part of the report that prevented Muhyiddin to see beyond the end of his nose. Perhaps the he took umbrage to the ugly things that were said about Umno. Alas, there is really no need for him to be hard-nosed and to turn his nose up at the PERC report. Why, all he has to do is just look under his nose and he will find a very honest self-evaluation in Umno itself by its very respected member, Tengku Razaleigh!

Tengku Razaleigh recently called Malaysia a sham democracy, one which existed only in name but grievously compromised in substance, reality and fact (how about this fact Muhyiddin?) He added that reforms could not be expected from the incumbents in power.

Launching Ideas, a new think-tank set up to promote democratic ideals, at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial, the veteran Umno leader added that the original founding ideals laid down by Malaysia’s first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman had become warped and the “founder” would not recognise today’s Malaysia because it has been replaced by a domineering style of leadership with the “cult of the great leader”.

“We have left it to the deranged for too long …To expect change from the incumbents (Umno/BN) is to expect, in the Malay saying, the mice to repair the gourd…‘Bagai tikus baiki labu.’ ”

It is crucial for the well-being and economy of our beloved nation that the deputy PM who is still wet behind the ears not to be too quick to open his mouth or thumb his nose and accuse others of speaking through their nose. He should get out of his remote corner of Putrajaya and be all eyes and ears on what is really happening in the country.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 11:28 am

    If Muhiyiddin replies is about burrying his head in the sand, then its no cause for worry. Why do we need him to believe in us for change?

    The problem comes when Muhiyiddin BELIEVES in what he said. If he really think there PERC says is nonsense THEN he thinks that those like Razaleigh and IDEA, and along with them basically most non-Malays in this country, are traitors and by default in cahoots with foreigners and ARE foreigners.

  2. #2 by -ec- on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 11:29 am

    Drop Anwar charges, Australian MPs tell Malaysia
    The Australian, Feb 12.

    MORE than 50 Australian members of parliament, including frontbenchers from both sides of politics, have signed a letter demanding that the Malaysian judiciary drop charges of sodomy against former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

    Michael Danby, chairman of parliament’s foreign affairs subcommittee, delivered the letter to the Malaysian high commissioner, Salman Bin Ahmad, yesterday.

    The letter says: “It should be made known to the Malaysian government that in our opinion global esteem for Malaysia will be affected by these charges against Mr Anwar.”

    The letter further states: “Many friendly observers of Malaysia find it difficult to believe that a leading opposition voice could be charged with sodomy a second time, and so soon after his party made major gains in national elections.”

    Most of the 50 signatories are Labor members, including two frontbenchers, parliamentary secretaries Gary Gray and Laurie Ferguson. The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anna Burke, also signed the letter.

    On the Liberal side, environment spokesman Greg Hunt is the most senior signatory, along with former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.

    Mr Anwar was first charged with sodomy in 1998. He was convicted, but in 2004 Malaysia’s Federal Court overturned his conviction.

    Mr Anwar was a former deputy prime minister and finance minister under Malaysia’s long-serving former leader, Mahathir Mohammed. The two fell out bitterly in the wake of the 1998 Asian financial crisis. Since he was released from jail, Mr Anwar has become the leader of the Malaysian opposition, which made sweeping gains in Malaysia’s last federal and state elections.

    Such a strong pro-Anwar intervention by so many, and such senior, Australian politicians could well once more inflame the Australia-Malaysia relationship, which went through turbulent times when Dr Mahathir and Paul Keating were their countries’s respective leaders. Since then Australia has trodden softly to ensure Malaysian co-operation on trade, military and intelligence, counter-terrorism and regional efforts to stop people-smuggling.

  3. #3 by dagen on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 11:46 am

    “Just be happy”, muhideen said. Kampung talk for kampung folks.

    “U happy. I happy. We sama2 happy.” Yes how sensible. “U pakai basikal happy. I naik private jet sama happy juga.” “U jaga lembu happy. I jaga berlian 5karat sama2 saja. Happy semua.” “Kita semua happy.” For good measure he added. “U makan nasi goreng dgn telur happy. I makan pasta dgn cream sauce dan lobster. Sama juga.” “Selepas makan kena masuk tandas juga. Warna tahi pun sama.” This is a powerful logic for you see “Nasi goreng or pasta, rupa tahi sama.” Of course “Bau mungkin lain sikit.” But “itu tak penting.” he elaborated. “Yang penting tahi dari nasi goreng telur dgn tahi dari pasta dan lobster pun sama kena flushed away. Jadi sama juga.” Jadi jelaslah kami semua sama.” “So just be happy.” “I memang happy.” “Just dont ask me to eat nasi goreng telur.”

  4. #4 by rahmanwang on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 11:54 am

    All BN members are telling the truth.They do not feel the erosion of our purchasing power as they are making tons of $$.All I know is that when I went to Singapore in the 70’s our Ringgit can be used as par with Sing dollar.Now its only worth 40 cents.Well just a few years back RM is also buying more of Chinese RMB and Thai baht.Then Mukhriz said we are flooded with Chinese goods.Just for your information can the general Malaysian consumer (BN politician excluded)afford any other goods apart from Chinese?Please wake up.If nothing is done to stop corruption,Malaysia will end up like Zimbabwe.

  5. #5 by yhsiew on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 12:12 pm

    Though Deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin argued that there is no war in Malaysia and people are living happily, yet he failed to see that what matters all is foreigners’ PERCEPTION on Malaysia. Once they develop a negative perception on Malaysia, the country will suffer and go downhill.

    It is the job of the PM and Deputy PM to make sure that the country is in proper order in order to convince people and change their perception on Malaysia.

  6. #6 by vsp on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 3:04 pm

    Why worry? Boleh jual Johore, boleh jual Sabah, boleh jual Sarawak, boleh jual Perlis, boleh jual Kedah, boleh jual Kelantan, boleh jual Terengganu.

    These were formerly not our lands; they were gifts from the British overlord that we served so well.

  7. #7 by Godfather on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 3:28 pm

    Did someone say PERCEPTION ? The kampung perception is good….nobody in the kampung knows that there is a den of thieves operating in Bolehland in broad daylight. Nobody in the kampung worries about missing jet engines or that our first submarine cannot dive.

    Why change a good perception amongst the kampung folks ?

  8. #8 by limkamput on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 4:00 pm

    In all fairness, I think moohideen knows exactly what is happening in this country. If we understand what insider elites is all about, then surely we can understand whatever he said is perfectly “rational”. Can change ever be effected without pain?

  9. #9 by limkamput on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 4:01 pm

    The Malaysian economy is NOT in recession. If our businesses are bad, it is not because of global recession. If our businesses and industries are doing badly, it is because we are NOT competitive – an economy saddled with too much corruption, rent seeking, inefficiency, incompetency, and good for nothing GLCs. We have too many corrupted kampung idiots at the helm

  10. #10 by rockdaboat on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 4:15 pm

    “The fact is that Malaysians are happy and are not facing any major disaster and there is no racial trouble in the country or war among us. So what are they talking about?”

    Self-denial syndrome?
    Overdose of sleeping pills?

  11. #11 by k1980 on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 4:22 pm

    “Just be happy”, Mr Moo said.

    Now if everyone is getting the same pay as Mr. Moo, everyone would be happy. But of course this is not the case. So everybody just cannot be as happy as Mr Moo. A good example is Mr Lah, who was pushed out into the cold by the above Mr Moo.

  12. #12 by frankyapp on Friday, 12 February 2010 - 7:30 pm

    I think Moo himself is talking nonsense. His response to PERC confirmed he’s still living inside the coconut shell. He should come out of the shell,see and look around,the whole world is now being globalised. One needs not have to go to Parkistan to afirming the hundreds of merciless murders by the Taliban sucide bombers.Yeap Moo is getting a pretty fat salary ,he does not care with his eyes and ears but cares through his nose. Now the Australian MPs told Malaysia to drop the sodomy charge against Anwar.Now what Moo would response ? would Moo invite these 50 more MPs to Malaysia and would he bring them to visit the alleged condo where sodomy took place . Would Moo also take them and show them how they managed to match Anwar’s DNA inside Saifal’s annus. Please Mr.MOO,don’t mock malaysia a turning Malaysia inti a laughting stock in this digital and globalised world. Enough is enough,please stop all these nonsense.

  13. #13 by good coolie on Saturday, 13 February 2010 - 12:44 am

    Will Mr. Moo Nudge Mr. Naj over the cliff?

  14. #14 by Black Arrow on Saturday, 13 February 2010 - 2:23 am

    Perception in the international arena is of utmost importance but I guess No. 2 is just not bright enough to know that.

  15. #15 by dagen on Saturday, 13 February 2010 - 11:34 am

    Of perception.

    Picture this – Moo mastubating his ketuanan and feeling shiok all the way. Wait. Wait. Wait. Did I say shiok all the way? Now, how would I know that? But you too know that, dont you? And how do you know? Moo aint no exhibitionist.

    Ah. Perception. Itu dia. That is perception, my friend. Should we bother perception? Tricky question. Look. There is no perception to speak of if truths are known. In which case we will be talking about facts – factual truths. So perception kicks in only when the whole truth is not known. Like the true purpose of the 500m commission payment to baginda, like the real motive for blasting the already dead altan, like the alleged virgin anal rape of siful, like macc’s decision to move its selangor office etc etc. Without facts, perception will rule. Should we be concerned?

    “Ahhhh”. Moo said in an apparent display of bravery; and in denial in the face of trouble. In a private closed-door environment, would he say, “Ahhhh fu_k. We are fu_k real good”?

  16. #16 by lopez on Saturday, 13 February 2010 - 2:58 pm

    face reading is an ancient art , what more apt when an ancient mind goes with it.

    looks are very important this days too especially in realms of western style corporate world…..
    to have eyes like that gives some impression

    in these transition years between westerns and eastern ways , we dont need unfriendly parties from the eastern world.

    Better ship up or just ship out…if you gung ho dive out before the next GE,,,save some face

  17. #17 by lopez on Sunday, 14 February 2010 - 10:11 pm

    Listening is an art, our regime is very good at it, although equally good in their pretentious ways but are best to act intelligent.

    If international statesmen, can opine the obvious, what could our judiciary be thinking……
    i know the civil service would be worrying about pensions or promotions.

  18. #18 by DCLXVI on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 1:29 am

    The bosses of UMNO-BN are trying to spin-doctor their way out of this guagmire which they had unwittingly helped to create.
    They are obviously hoping that all these spin-doctoring will help them gain more votes from the rakyat in the next GE.

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