Why only Najib can lead us out of impending doom

The slogan 'Malaysia Boleh' was coined by Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he was the prime minister is now a joke. Ironically, the good intent of the overly farsighted Tun to inculcate confidence among Malaysians was the beginning of the decline or fall of Malaysia as a progressive society. Malaysians became bubble-headed when Mahathir commenced a series of ego-boosting mega-projects culminating with a journey into space.

I am not interested to outline Mahathir's achievements that had helped to cultivate a 'super-ego' amongst many Malaysians today who had made it rich or powerful irrespective of their paths or their ways. Under Tun M, Malaysians from all walks of life and race adopted a 'Bolehland' style whereby nothing stood in the way of determination and will. The Machiavellian theory of 'the end justifies the means' has been practiced and adopted by all and sundry from crooks to bigots.

The value system of Malaysians had been destroyed when the pillars of the judiciary were tampered with. The skepticism of the general public on our value system has led to a gradual disintegration of our social order, legal structure and administrative culture. We were so obsessed with success that we failed to uphold the basic decency of truth and justice. We became so arrogant that we thought the world is beneath our feet and is for us to conquer.

Our 'Bolehland' allows us to justify any amendment of the constitutions, the law and even interference with state institutions with little regard for tradition, convention and the implications. We were so arrogant that many politicians, government officials, businessman etc claimed that the rules, laws and everything else could be changed. And indeed changes were made and the rules of the games changed when it suited the masters. We have little regard or respect for fundamentals or ground rules.

Instances of businessmen who had failed in their projects or business ventures and who were rescued by the stroke of the pen were rampant. Whenever there was a political struggle, money in cash or in any form became the sole factor that determined the level of support and the ultimate victor. The line between statesmen and businessmen was erased when Tun M blatantly advocated the pride of being rich or super-rich with a special emphasis on 'capital M'. Unfortunately, although Tun M is a good public speaker, he has failed to emphasise the right manner and approach in acquiring wealth.

The virtues and ethics of business was not well-articulated. Many approached business as a 'who-you-know' rather than a 'what you know'. Playing golf or pulling the right strings or 'cables' became the rule of the day. There was relatively lesser emphasis on productivity or delivery compared to the emphasis on opportunities to profit. Projects were created or launched not out of need or necessities of he majority but only to facilitate or create an opportunity to make a small minority wealthy.

In all fairness, it was Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who brought Malaysians to their senses. Abdullah had admitted that he may not be smarter than Tun M but he did tried to remedy and rectify the mistakes and right the wrongs. He may have been accused of many things such as 'flip-flops' , 'Sleeping Beauty' etc but he is definitely sincere and genuine in trying to bring Malaysians down to earth to the reality and inability of the Malaysia Bolehland. It was Abdullah who allowed a greater transparency and democracy in our Malaysian political sphere.

Abdullah's liberal approach towards the opposition allowed Mahathir to interfere and influence the people to return BN to power with a smaller majority in the last general election. It was Mahathir who had promised not to interfere with the administration if and when he retires. It was also Mahathir who had openly and defiantly advocated that BN be returned with a lesser than two- thirds majority prior to the 2008 general election.

Abdullah's sincerity and good intent was untimely and he was not given sufficient time to leave his mark. It is now up to Najib Abdul Razak to right the wrongs and correct the mistakes of the past leadership.

Unfortunately our economics fundamentals are facing gradual disintegration with the exhaustion of our natural resources with particular reference to the oil. Politically, we are becoming more 'barbaric' where we are becoming less civil to one another. Even the man-on-the-street is becoming nastier and more rebellious.

DAP, PAS and PKR struck the political jackpot in the March 8, 2008 general election and they are getting bigheaded now. All their energy and efforts are now orchestrated towards bringing about the downfall of the BN government. They will stoop as low as they can go - .they will distort, twist or spin. They will play the racial or religious card to the hilt. This is the moment they have been waiting for....

Poor Najib! He is in the least admirable situation. His '1Malaysia' plan is facing resistance from within. His attempt to hold the country together is seen to be a sign of weakness instead.
Meanwhile, 'Malaysia Bolehland' is now seen as the 'Tak Bolehland'. We are unable to do menial, labour, house chores etc. We are no longer able to be a waiter or a waitress to serve each other. We are more of rent-seekers - no longer producers. Malaysia is no longer competitive and attractive for investors.

There are more drug abusers than baby boomers. The baby boomers grew up with privileges and affluence. They expect the country to grow and improve in time. Unfortunately they are in for a shock. So it is time for us to pull up our socks and join forces to overcome the many social, political and economical bubbles that are about to burst. There are going to be more losers than winners.

In the meantime, let's take a deep breath. Najib is the man with the experience and astuteness to bring us out of this gradual path to doom. He has outlined the path and the solutions for us to walk together. Believe it or not. It is your choice or your funeral.

Najib's 1Malaysia economic model worries racist Malay groups

By G. Manimaran
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 - Worries about an impending “overly liberal” New Economic Model has prompted nearly 80 Malay groups to form the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) to push the government to maintain affirmative action for the country’s dominant race.

A Malay leader revealed that the MPM wants the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government to maintain a “guided” New Economic Policy (NEP) that protects the Malays and Bumiputras, saying the community was worried about moves to abolish subsidies and other forms of aid.

“We don’t want an economic model that is overly free or overly liberal... we want a model that can lead the interests of the Malays,” the leader told The Malaysian Insider on condition of anonymity after attending the MPM launch in the Sultan Sulaiman Club yesterday.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the MPM is disappointed with the government for not having comprehensive discussions with Malay groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) about the New Economic Model (NEM), to be launched next month in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia concept and global economic trends.

There were also several Malay NGO leaders who felt the current problems are due to a weak government that was meeting the demands of other races in the economic sector. Najib had freed 27 economic sub-sectors from mandatory Bumiputra participation last year and also reduced quotas for Bumiputra equity in initial public share offers.

The MPM felt that Malay political leaders themselves are sidelining Malay interests, the leader said without identifying these politicians.

It is understood that while MPM was formed to defend and protect Malay rights and Islam, it will initially focus on the economy.

Among the prime movers in MPM are Perkasa, ex-Umno lawmakers council Mubarak, Peninsula Malay Students Confederation (GPMS), Malay Professional Thinkers Association and Cuepacs.

The MPM will organise a round-table conference for its members on Mar 7 to discuss the future economic direction of the Malays and an introduction to the NEM which Najib had promised would lead to higher income based on innovation and creativity.

“Yesterday’s meeting was focused on protecting Malay interest in the economy, we don’t want the Malays to continue being sidelined by open economic policies.

“To ensure that the NEM has affirmative approaches to help the Malays and Bumiputras because we hear this element is missing in the new model ... this was the emphasis by the NGOs supporting the MPM,” he added.

The leader said a majority of NGOs in the MPM had disclosed that Malays and Bumiputras feel their position was threatened as the country’s economy is still being controlled by minority groups.

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali yesterday said MPM’s role is to protect and be the frontline against quarters that continuously try to undermine the rights, privileges and economy of the Malays, position of Islam and Malay Rulers in the country.

He said the MPM will play its role as a pressure group to the government to ensure it does not stray from the core principles in the Federal Constitution, particularly Article 153 that protects the Malays.

Earlier this month when opening the 1 Malaysia Economic Conference, the prime minister had asked local industries to accept changes that are occurring without expecting much protection from the government.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, is battling to reduce deficits and steer the economy out of the recession.

He announced last week that the country’s economy grew 4.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009 with overall growth shrinking 1.7 per cent against earlier gloomier estimates of 3 per cent.

However, the Najib administration is also battling to keep the economy afloat as foreign direct investments continue to fall.

International Trade and Industry deputy minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir promised last week that the NEM would make appropriate concessions for the Bumiputras in line with previous policies, including the NEP.

He admitted to have received visits from NGOs representing various industries and sectors who had expressed worry that the NEM would be too open and reduce opportunities for Bumiputera entrepreneurs and businessmen.

Mukhriz said that the government would give the appropriate consideration for all quarters in its policies.

UMNO to solve problems of other races


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak today called on his party to adopt a paradigm shift in order to win over the non-Malays, by solving the problems of all Malaysians regardless of race.

“Why are they not looking for Umno to solve their problems? Why are they going to the opposition?” Najib asked when opening the Wanita Umno Convention at the Putra World Trade Centre, here this afternoon.

The prime minister said that Malaysia’s success was dependent on political stability and Malay leadership, in line with his 1 Malaysia concept.

“We must take care of others races so they will respect us.”

He pointed out that in a parliamentary democracy, the people had the ultimate power and that was why Umno needed to gain the support of all races.

Najib called on Wanita Umno to be the catalyst of change and accepted their commitment, made earlier by their chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, to be the pulse of transformation and innovation for the nation.

He commended the determination of the Wanita Umno delegates, whom he said had woken up from the nightmare of Election 2008 when the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lost its traditional two-thirds majority in parliament and five states to the opposition.

He said to be agents of change, Umno needed to start from within by rejecting all that was negative, such as being obsessed with positions.

Najib said there was no point for members to strive to become division, state or national leaders if Umno itself loses power.

He pointed out that, in the past, many have come to him seeking positions by claiming a loss of face if they did not get what they wanted.

“But it’s not about you, it’s about the party,” Najib stressed.

This new culture in Umno, he said, would enable BN to emerge stronger in the next general election.

Rosmah: I am not the hidden hand behind Najib's decision-making


KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of the prime minister, has dismissed a talk that she is the hidden hand behind Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s decision-making process.

“I have not heard about it, but it is not something that I am sensitive about as it is not true. Maybe I am a bit vocal or gregarious... I like to have friends, unlike Datuk Najib, who is a bit reserved.

“But it does not mean that just because Datuk Najib is a reserved person, I am making the decisions... I am the type who voices my dissatisfaction, but once said, it is done. I do not harbour ill feelings,” she said in an interview on Hello Malaysia over BernamaTV at Wisma Bernama here on Friday.

Rosmah said that although Najib was not a man of many words, he should not be underestimated.

“I always tell others not to underestimate Datuk Najib. He is not easily angered but do not provoke him. When he becomes angry, there is no forgiveness for you.

“Datuk does not say much but he registers what is happening around him. If I make a mistake, he will reprimand me. If he ever starts to stomp his feet, I will shudder.

“What is important is that we are close to each other. We can talk things over. We laugh and share jokes. It is important that a leader should not become too stressed.

“So, when he comes home, we watch tv together, we go out to dinner, together. In short, we are best friends,” she said.

Rosmah said that she looked after her husband’s needs such as food, clothes and health.

“When he is at home, I do not go out unless I have prior engagements. I also ensure that Datuk Najib stays fit by exercising at the gym.

“I try to ensure that he is not troubled by having to haggle over petty matters as his thoughts should be on the people and the country,” she added.

On another issue, Rosmah advised parents to get back to basics by passing on to their children the tradition of being respectful and thankful.

Parents should not leave the responsibility of teaching their children entirely to schools, she added.

"I am taking a serious view on this matter. Why do youths nowadays fail to say thank you, do not feel they are indebted or do not have respect for others?

"We need to have an awareness campaign, a programme to teach children to respect others. We may have to return to the tradition of mothers pinching us if we did not say 'thank you'.

"Nowadays, mothers no longer pinch their children. When their children make mistakes, they are not reprimanded," she said.

On the PERMATA Pintar programme, she said that about 400 smart children attended a summer camp held at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia recently.

"Under the PERMATA Seni programme, a children's concert involving an orchestra, a choir and traditional performances will be held at the end of the year," she added.

Najib has 100k Facebook fans

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak now has more than 100,000 Facebook fans. As of 5.25pm yesterday, Najib, who became a Facebook member in mid-October, had accumulated 101,337 fans.

"Dear friends, as of today (Friday), and within a short period, more than 100,000 of you have joined me on this page.

"I am delighted and moved by this response, and by the interest you continue to show in my posts through leaving comments.

"Thank you all for becoming fans and for helping to make this page an engaging forum for discussion. Let's continue this upward momentum!" he said in a brief remark left on the page.

Like millions of people around the world, Najib joined the social networking website to reach out to the masses, and especially Malaysians, hoping to clip the political divide between the old and young generations.

Apart from the social networking portal, the prime minister also actively tweets on another social networking portal, Twitter.

SMEs get a boost from Najib


By Jeeva Arulampalam

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - A masterplan for the years 2011 to 2020 will be developed to synchronise small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development with the new economic model, the prime minister said.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the masterplan would create an ecosystem that facilitated the development of SMEs from all aspects including funding, capacity-building and logistical support.

"The aim is to help SMEs grow from small successful local companies to regional and global levels," he said here yesterday, after chairing the 10th National SME Development Council meeting.

The masterplan will propose measures for SMEs to make a quantum leap in performance and for Malaysia to produce domestic, regional and global champions that can spearhead the country's economic growth.

The SME contribution to gross domestic product remained flat at 29 per cent during the period 2000 to 2004, but rose from 29.4 per cent in 2005 to 31.4 per cent in 2008.

"We've seen that the service sector is the sector that is most progressive in terms of SME development.

"We also want to focus on other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing under the masterplan," said Najib.

He added that stakeholders and other parties were being consulted to redefine the SME.

The National SME Development Council had approved the establishment of a special unit responsible for SMEs at relevant agencies and ministries using available resources to enhance effectiveness, coordination and monitoring SME development initiatives.

The council also encouraged all ministries and agencies to adopt the SME Competitive Rating for Enhancement (SCORE) to monitor SMEs in their programmes.

Under the Integrated Action Plan 2009/2010, 354 programmes will be implemented this year with financial commitments totalling RM6.02 billion (S$2.48billion).

Roughly RM3.3 billion has been allocated for the development of SMEs in the services sector in line with the government's aim of developing Malaysia into a high-income economy.

Najib also urged SMEs to use Bank Negara Malaysia's financial advisory services if they are not able to find financing.

Last year, BNM assisted 253,801 individuals and businesses, an increase of 90 per cent compared with 133,439 individuals and businesses in 2008.

Also, 531 SMEs have received specific advisory services on access to financing from BNM, with 92 per cent of such cases resolved during the period.

Total financing from financial institutions amounted to RM135.5 billion at end of last year involving 635,841 SMEs.

Najib calls on Muslims to take the middle path


By Adib Zalkapli

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 5 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on the Muslim community to be moderate in their religious practices and to be wary of those who want to stir religious tensions by manipulating the "Allah" row.

Quoting the Quran, Najib said Muslims are referred to in the holy book as a moderate community.

"Therefore the concept of moderation, or the middle path, must be encouraged in Islam as any deed which is done more than necessary is considered extreme, but if it is less than necessary it is considered negligence," said Najib.

"Therefore the Muslim community cannot be rigid and extreme and also should not be too free, without limits," he added.

Najib was speaking at meeting with Islamic leaders and scholars here.

He also urged those present to handle the "Allah" dispute wisely, but did not elaborate on the sensitive issue.

"We must not take lightly controversial religious issues. On the issue of the word 'Allah', it has really tested our wisdom in handling it," said Najib, describing the series of attacks against places of worship as an attempt to destabilise the country.

"Please remember, 40 years after the racial riot of May 13, 1969, the Malaysian community has not given up on building a 1 Malaysian race," said Najib.

He also stressed the importance of dialogue in handling differences of opinion.

"Learn from history and remember that major wars started from small conflicts," said Najib.

After the opening speech Najib then proceeded to have a 20 minute, closed-door dialogue with the 600 Islamic leaders who were present.