Thursday, July 5, 2007



Why are Malaysian, especially, those from the bumiputra community are so easily ruffled by what other people say ? Making a storm in a teacup seems to be a common phenomenon in this country.

Most of our politicians aren't hardy enough to take criticism in their stride and, more often than not, they came out looking like they have a serious inferiority complex. Full distinction should be given to our Minister of Information, Zainuddun Maidin.He has lambasted anything and everything from local bloggers to BBC to the Indonesian press. Do we have to react like little children every time the foreign press or foreign leaders said something about Malaysia.

A recent statement made by Singapore Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew caused an uproar and started tongues wagging particularly with the Malay community. The remark by Lee wasn't, a tongue in cheek, but a serious advice to Singaporean investors to be extra careful and not rush to put their money in the Iskander Development Region (IDR), in view of numerous objections from Malaysia, particularly from Johor.

It was the Malaysian side that first run the gauntlet by admonishing the Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he and his counterpart from Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong suggested the formation of a Joint Consultative Committee to overlook the development of the IDR.Political writers, politicians from both sides of the political fence and many smart-arse bloggers jumped on the bandwagon and made scurrilous attacks on the Prime Minister, accused him of selling out to Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew, known for not mincing his words said "On one side Pas is trying to topple the Prime Minister but when UMNO leaders, particularly from Johor are doing the same, Singaporean investors must seriously ask themselves when this attitude will change and when they welcome us in IDR". I would say it was a very profound statement coming from a veteran statesman.A man, even at his ripe old age, can be so meticulous in his perceptions of the political situation in this country.

Who can deny the fact that there is a concerted effort by certain group in UMNO to remove Abdullah as Prime Minister.How serious is the threat to Abdullah's leadership is at best, a guessing game.Whether the plotters will succeed is a million dollar question.The only one honest about it was Mahathir.He publicly declared that he had made mistake and deemed Abdullah not suitable for the job. Although, I don't agree with him, I respect his honesty. There are those who pretended to be nice but worked secretly behind his back to sabotage his policies and his support within the party. Some, from the bloggers community, out of control and in overdrive, with their smear campaigns and uncalled for attacks on his personality was proof enough that some politicians are working behind the scene to weaken his power base.Even his new wife was not spared the unkind cut.

Those who are most worried and against the proposed collaboration with Singapore are mostly UMNO politicians. Their worries and objections had nothing to do with national pride but more out of preconceived fear of missed opportunities if greater part of the project were given directly to foreign investors without inclusion of the compulsory bumiputra equity. The habits of making it easy and taking it easy are too deeply entrenched in the their psyche. For them, that's the only way they know, how to make money.

Singapore, is the devil that we know. The tiny island nation can only survive by being competitive.There is no room for complacency and passivity.We have dealt with them for over forty years and should by now know their strength and weaknesses. If they can still outdo us than we have only ourselves to blame.

'Forewarned is forearmed'. Lee Kuan Yew wasn't wrong when he forewarned Singaporean about the danger to their investment, he was just being honest about what he perceived to be true. His opinion stays his and have no serious impact on ordinary Malaysians.

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