Najib’s reforms in ‘dribs and drabs’, says Ku Li

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 08, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah criticised the pace of reforms in the country today, saying that it was too inconsistent and there appeared to be no overall plan to transform the country and society.

The Umno veteran and president of newly registered civil society NGO Amanah (Angkatan Amanah Merdeka) said that while there have been initiatives such as the National Key Result Areas (NKRA’s), they were currently too fragmented.

“I don’t know actually because everything is done in dribs and drabs,” he said at a press conference when asked about the government’s reforms. “There is no overall plan as to how they are going to transform our country or society.”

He added that it was “very difficult” for him to gauge what is going to happen in terms of transformation unless there is “a complete reformation.”

Since taking office in 2009, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has initiated a reform agenda which included a government and economic transformation programme to be driven by the special purpose performance management unit, Pemandu.

While the prime minister has won praise for the bold move of proposing to repeal oppressive detention laws and relax media licensing laws, his reform efforts in terms of overhauling the government machinery and transforming the economy have been met with a less than effusive response from the public.

Critics say that the lack of radical reforms effectively amounted to policy tinkering that would deliver only lacklustre results.

Many members of the public also say that they do not feel any marked difference in their lives despite shiny statistics released periodically by Pemandu showing achievements such as a reduction in the crime rate and billions in new investment.

Government officials and some economists, however, have pointed to Malaysia’s rise in rankings such as the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index and the World Bank’s Doing Business Index this year as proof that Najib’s reforms are working.

The prime minister, however, is also perceived to be constrained by hardliners in his party who would be opposed to widespread economic reforms that would entail levels of liberalisation that could threaten the rice bowls of politically connected businessmen.

Some corporate and political leaders also have said that the government is so set in its ways that Najib faces an uphill battle to break bad habits that have taken root over the decades.

“In corporations you can hire and fire fast but to take disciplinary action in government is extremely time consuming,” said Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon last week.

Some analysts say that the prime minister could be holding out for a strong mandate from the 13th general election before embarking on more sweeping reforms.

The Wall Street Journal, however, said on September 28 that Najib would need to commit to reforms if he intends to propel Umno and Barisan Nasional to victory in the next general election as many members of the younger generation of voters do not feel beholden to the ruling coalition.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 10:24 pm

    You don’t need to know much to know Najib’s ‘tranformation’ is a failure. IT SIMPLY WAS NEVER POSSIBLE TO WORK – not in the way that matters to the ordinary rakyat including the Malays but especially those, like Indians, Sabahans, rural & urban poor, that have been marginalised before will continue to be so.

    The substance of Najib’s plan can be described very simply “don’t screw up too badly and just ADVERTISE like crazy”. It completely ignores the biggest elephant in the room and has none of the system needed to make the necessary LEAP in change for actual ‘tranformation’.

    When Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and HK made the leap into higher productivity economy, they found self-determination very very tough going. They executed plans after plans but the changes were slow coming if purely driven by their own effort and economy. What enabled them to make the leap with everything they have done eventually still was the major growth in major economies including rise of China and BRIC countries.

    The outlook for global growth is bad and our effort is pathetic. There is no likely chance of ‘transformation’ for most of us. We would be lucky if don’t get worst and stay the same relatively as the world rushes forward.

  2. #2 by dagen on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 10:27 pm

    Is that so? I thought it was more like when kicked and pushed jib delivered his reforms in dribs and drabs, if at all he did so.

  3. #3 by Ordinary on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 10:56 pm

    At Orange Flyer is telling us about reform of Polis, Anti Corruption, Judiciary Independence, etc.

    I have never seen Polis in our town walking by foot (Kulim) around. They often were seen driving around by bikes and car. Passing by a place quickly would not prevent crimes. Polis Msia has to walkaround town like we saw at Hongkong movie.

    Today, MCA president SWEET TALK about funing Chinese secondary school like Jit Sin in Penang. Erection is coming so if Chua Sooi Lek lost, his words are gone.

    Already decades about this SWEET TALK by MCA and UMNO and MIC and Gerakan. Don’t fall into their cunning traps!

  4. #4 by Ordinary on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - 11:00 pm

    So, Koh Su Kun is fired by Penangites. People of Msia are to fire the managers (MCA, MICA and Gerakan) and those managing directors (UMNO)of Malaysia Company.

    They could not fire their members, so we ordinary fire them for not managing Malaysia Company well: too much wastage and too much corruption.

    So, we see UMNO dares not fire Taib of Sarawak. So we see Mahathir let Taib to be super rich and no big fishes caught during his 2 decades of authoritairan ruling of Msia.

  5. #5 by Ordinary on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 12:01 am

    In Kulim, UMNO losing member Aziz (who wanted to burn Chinese Town Hall), gave free cattle for slaughter. I wonder where did he get this money from.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 2:06 am

    Rakyat n VOTERS r d MASTERS n must FIRE fast incompetent n corrupt servants (UmnoB/BN) n HIRE new servants (PR) – long overdue simple solution/reform 2 our diseased state, ABU

  7. #7 by monsterball on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 2:28 am

    I will not trust Tunku Razaleigh.
    He is a very selfish person.
    Just trace the past events of his life.
    This so call NGO party of his is trying to be the “THIRD FORCE”…the decision maker between BN and PR in the coming 13th GE.
    No one wants him…so he form his NGO to get attention.
    After all. .he is not like RPK or Harris who are not financially sound..having the same idea.
    Razaleigh is no more important.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 7:56 am

    ///The prime minister, however, is also perceived to be constrained by hardliners in his party who would be opposed to widespread economic reforms that would entail levels of liberalisation that could threaten the rice bowls of politically connected businessmen///. This is the crux of the problem. This also implies that that in order for him to reform the political economy of the country, he must first successfully reform his own party. Can he? Here the first problem is how to change their mindset and political culture. Many a party member look at politics as a means to riches derived from power and patronage based on championing race and religion. Most identify their privileges and vested interests with ‘Ketuanan’ diametrically opposed to his 1 Malaysia and Economic Transformation Programme requiring piecemeal deconstruction of the more debilitating aspects of the NEP.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 7:57 am

    What more, office bearers –posts of president, deputy & vice president position- are elected not by all party members but by delegates/division heads whose support is given in exchange for patronage, largesse and contracts (money politics) rather than ground breaking ideas or talent of the candidate. The PM has yet to do something about burdensome nomination “quota rule” (a Mahathir legacy) as well the equally damaging Mahathir no-challenge “tradition” for the 2 top positions. He is not expected to do much on this to shoot his own foot when his own apex position now depends on this tradition continuing. Neither is he in strong position to push for reforms when he has (i) entered office without his own mandate of an election, (ii) weighed down by a baggage of swirling allegations and (iii) constrained by what is widely speculated as a power sharing arrangement/succession plan brokered by a predecessor defensive of his legacy. He can’t reform when his own political survival depends on goodwill and support of warlords pushing an agenda contrary to and opposite to that advocated by him.

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 8:48 am

    The difficult situation as regards any reformist in this context may be likened to an old man with spinal cord injury on a wheel chair whose erotic thoughts and vision could only be ventilated via sexual braggadocio. Reform isn’t just about legislation or repeal of ISA/EO etc It is bringing together and persuading people (both party members and warlords as well as constituencies) that one’s reform platform is right and the way to go. One has also to set the right tone of grit and resolve and send the signal that one is willing to use all powers at one’s disposal to see it through and not waver, backtrack and flip flop in the face of resistance and opposition. What is dangerous about talking in the manner spirit is gung ho but flesh unwilling – especially when such reform talk strikes at the root of prejudice, privilege and vested interests – is that it will elicit an opposite strong reaction from those with prejudice, privilege and vested interests to unite, strike back and doubly entrench more extremely the very existing policies one talks of reforming!

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 8:55 am

    D problem with M’sia is UmnoB/BN kaki2 view d nation as their personal BANK 2 enrich themselves; n every time we hv a new PM n management team, they want 2 get super rich
    So, now we hv 3 grps of PARASITES (each led by MMK, AAB, or NR) sucking away our $$$$
    Ppl like LLS, CKC r just tips of the iceberg

    Bcos d previous PM n his parasites had cornered some big fat contracts n projects, each new PM has 2 come out with some creatif NEW mega projects 4 him n his grp of parasites 2 siphon off d gravy train
    Hence we constantly C trumpeted NEW projects with fanciful names (doomed 2 fail but great 4 parasites 2 b super rich)

    Dis is d SAD REALITY of Malaise Sia n every year d AG Report confirms d sad state of abuse of $$$, BIG $$$ by ppl who r supposed 2 safeguard d $$$

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 9:08 am

    All d reforms r just different versions of NEP (Never Ending Parasitism) 4 UmnoB/BN

  13. #13 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 9:25 am

    Najib is hoping to obtain maximum output using little input – but the rakyat are not stupid.

  14. #14 by Godfather on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 10:08 am

    It’s typical human greed. You see that I am getting something from all these contracts. You see that my wife buys US$24 million diamond from her savings. You see she buys Birkin handbags that cost hundreds of thousands of ringgit. You see my mansions in Perth and London. My vineyard in France.

    Now if I say the music has stopped, and there shall be no more “contracts” to be awarded to up and coming UMNOputras like me, do you think I will agree ? Some may not just disagree, some may decided to become “suicide bombers” and spill everything to the press to make sure the music really stops.

    So to keep UMNO happy, I have to make promises that the contracts will continue, that competitive tender is just a term that you can bypass or ignore and worry about the consequences later if exposed either by Pakatan or by the Auditor General. “Violation of MoF rules”, or “Award without tender” – these are terms we can manage. We just keep quiet, and there is nothing anybody can do to us. You are happy, I am happy.

  15. #15 by k1980 on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 10:14 am

    Koo Lee is only trying to play good cop to Jibby’s bad cop

  16. #16 by dagen on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 11:09 am

    Reform? Nothing is impossible, as they say. For umno, reform too is not an impossibility. Except the reality of reforming umno is it is pretty close to impossibility. Corruption is a crime. Take it one level higher and we see organised crime. Here umno has institutionalised corruption and turned it into an organised criminal activity. This is where the crime of corruption stops for most governments that engage in corruption. Several goverments of the world took the crime of corruption a further level higher and turned it into a culture. Umno has graduated from this practice. Corruption is now more than a culture in umno. Umno is now leading the world in this field. Umno gave that rotten culture a legal basis by claiming it as a right. Umnoputras (as malays) have an unquestionable right and untouchable privilege to be corrupt. This is a first in the world. No corrupt governments in the world has ever gone that far. And this is not far enough for umno now the lone runner way out in front of the corrupt pack created a further first. Umno now claim that corruption is in fact their constitutional right. And all criticisms of their constitutional rights would be deemed as anti-agung, anti-sultan, anti-islam jenis umno, anti-melayu (actually umnputra), unpatriotic, ungrateful, terrorism, communism etc etc and therefore ISA-able.

    Umno to reform and impossibility? No, but pretty close to it.

  17. #17 by k1980 on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 1:22 pm

    Another one of Jib’s reforms?

    Pempena’s venture of opening a Malaysian restaurant in London also brought dismal results, raking in only £13,000 in 2007, falling far behind its annual target of £520,692. Pempena has yet to get any returns from its investments worth RM3.73 million.

    “To date, the Coca Restaurant has offered to buy over the restaurant for £52,000, but the offer was rejected by Pempena as it was too low.”

    Today, after more than a year of bringing shortcomings to the notice of the powers-that-be, the problem has yet to be solved. No one seems to be interested in looking after the assets of the country and they seem to be oblivious to the fact that they have to account for every sen. Even the AG’s report has not jolted them into action and the rejoinder has been: “Investigations are still in progress.”

    If this is the case, can someone tell us when investigations will be completed? And shouldn’t the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) be making a trip to London to get the facts?

    Doesn’t Section 66 of the MACC Act empower the investigation and prosecution of offences committed abroad? If officials do come, they are sure to open a Pandora’s Box which should keep them busy for a few weeks. By the way, could someone tell us whose bird-brained idea it was to get Tourism Malaysia involved in business when its primary objective is to promote tourism?

  18. #18 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 9 November 2011 - 4:03 pm

    From the beginning and in spite of misgivings reservations and objections of Supreme Commander Lord Mountbatten, the British Colonial Office mandarins were in complicity with UMNo to write the Constitution in a manner that promoted Ethnocracy that has in the face of MCA’s & MIC’s impotence evolved to present day’s Ketuanan. Lord Mountbatten advised the Colonial Office with remarkable prescience – ” I cannot help feeling that in the long run nothing could perhaps do more to perpetuate sectional antagonisms, to the risk of which you pointedly refer in your letter, than the giving of special recognition to one race.” “I feel that our objectives should be to break down racial sectionalism in every way open to us, politically, economically and socially, and to endeavour to substitute for it the idea of Malayan citizenship.” His advice was not heeded.

    Today after 50+ years of Ethnocracy are we to believe Najib’s reforms to substitute it for Democracy is that easy? The joke is the critic (Ku Li) and even the opposite side’s head (Anwar Ibrahim) had each played a significant role in entrenching this ethnocracy when they had power and say in UMNO. Now when they do not, they say these things. And we are to believe all these?

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