Saturday, March 29, 2008

Would You Kill A Nation To Save One Man ?

Hantu Laut

"Remember democracy never lasts long.It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet did not commit suicide" John Adams (1735-1826) 2nd President of the United States.

Translated in simple language it means no democratic government can last forever and a time will come when it has to go. In a true democratic system that would be the case. In a pseudo democratic system a government can last much longer as in the case of Zimbabwe where a bad dictatorial rule has left the country bankrupt and on the brink of anarchy.

In a continent shrouded in poverty it was once a shining example of prosperity and economic growth. When the blacks took over the country from apartheid driven Ian Smith's government after years of civil war against white rule, it has functional infrastructures, a working economy and a currency almost at par with the US dollar.

Today, hyperinflation runs in unbelievable six digits, the infrastructures broken down and the currency worthless currently exchanging at US$1.00 to 53 million Zimbabwe dollars. Robert Mugabe would rather destroy the country than give up. The damage he has inflicted on the country would take generations to repair

Where the democratic process has completely failed the only option available to remove a bad government is by way of the guns as was the case in some African countries where every successive regime led by selfish and corrupt leaders unwittingly takes the country deeper into the abyss.

Nigeria and Angola are oil producing countries and are examples of states that have failed democratically and economically in spite of being significant oil producers.

Angola is in a shambles after 27 years of civil war which ended in 2002.The war had killed 1.5 million and displaced 4 million people.It produces about 1.26 million bbl/per day of crude oil and with a population of 12 million it is still a poor country. Oil production contributed almost 85% of GDP. Its per capita income is not a true reflection of the actual income distribution.Lots of oil money are going into personal coffers of corrupt politicians.Nigeria shares the same faith or even worse as it has much bigger population. The economy is heavily dependent on oil whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement.It also produces and exports the highest number of con-man in the world.

At the other side of the scale a different ball game is played. This is where oil revenues had been put to good use, in the United Arab Emirates particularly Dubai.From an impoverish region of small principalities 30 years ago, it has been transformed into a modern state with high standard of living.It has successfully diversified its economy and oil is now only 40 % of GDP as compared to Angola's 85 %.

One have to visit the city of Dubai and the port of Jebel Ali to see how oil money had been put to good use to develop a poor region into a modern country with first class infrastructures. Its per capita income (PPP) is currently at US$55,200.

Malaysia is a country with different success story.It has been transformed from a mosquito- infested tropical backwater into a modern nation with good infrastructures, diversified economy and a pluralistic society that have worked together well.

Although it is an oil producer, it is considered small in comparison with Opec members and oil is not the mainstay of the economy.Malaysia is a multi-sector economy with bigger component of its GDP in manufacturing and services. Export of crude oil is a small portion of the GDP. It has journeyed economically well due to good fiscal policy, a fairly efficient civil service and moderately industrious population.

Over the past few years there were rumblings of discontent among Malaysians with the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The euphoria of 2004 has turned to dismay, despair and dislike.Although the economy shows impressive growth rate of over 6 % in 2007 it has not benefited the people directly. The rising cost of goods, petrol, corruption in government and rising crime rates have destroyed the people trust in his leadership.

Although Abdullah should not be totally blamed for things beyond his control, most Malaysians were under the impressions that he can at least lessen the impact as not to burden the people.

The poor showing of Abdullah's ruling coalition (BN) at the just concluded elections was the result of the people's anger at his lack of leadership and some of his ministers' unnerving arrogance and unjustifiable racialist remarks against minority ethnic races in the country. Their imperious and impudent remarks had left deep-rooted resentment among ethnic Chinese and Indians. Most people believe he has no control over his men and they took advantage of his weaknesses.

The Chinese are the economic engines of the country. Malaysia has much to thank this industrious people who have contributed immensely to almost every sector of the economy. Government must be seen to do things for the greater good of all the people in the country and not just for one particular race. The NEP, an affirmative actions for Malays and bumiputras had overstayed its welcome. It has not benefited all Malays, most of it have been used as a gravy train to enrich a few.

Abdullah has lost his credibility and integrity with the people and at least two sultans are at loggerheads with him, two appointees for deputy minister have declined his offer, one deputy minister has resigned, two menteri besar were appointed by sultans in defiance of his choices and the rank and file in his party have lost direction.Some are with him, some are not and some are undecided.

Is there any other good reason that Abdullah has that he should not resign from his Prime Minister's post and also that of President of UMNO ?

Additonal reading:
Nuraina A Samad's Borrowed Time

19 comments:

supa said...

HL said:

"Although it is an oil producer, it is considered small in comparison with Opec members and oil is not the mainstay of the economy.Malaysia is a multi-sector economy with bigger component of its GDP in manufacturing and services. Export of crude oil is a small portion of the GDP. It has journeyed economically well due to good fiscal policy, a fairly efficient civil service and moderately industrious population."

Do you have solid data or is it just your personal impression?

Total export (Jan. 2008): RM53.0billion
Electrical & electronic products-39.6%
CPO & products-8.8%
Petroleum, LNG & products-16.3%
Timber & products-3.6%
Others-31.7%

Total imports (Jan. 2008): RM43.2billion

Trade surplus-RM9.8billion


Sales by manufacturing group (Jan. 2008):
a. Refined Petroleum Products- RM8,901.4million
b. Basic chemicals-RM3,908.5million (40.07%)
c. Office, accounting and computing machinery-RM5,427.2million
d. Basic iron & steel products-RM2,337.5million
e. Electrical & electronic products-RM1,637.3million

I do not think crude oil and its associated products are a small portion of Malaysia's GDP. The rest of your sentence are also debatable.

supa said...

Small correction:

Sales by manufacturing group (Jan. 2008):
a. Refined Petroleum Products- RM8,901.4million (40.07%)
b. Basic chemicals-RM3,908.5million

kittykat46 said...

"Is there any other good reason that Abdullah has that he should not resign from his Prime Minister's post and also that of President of UMNO ?"

The residual worry I have is the alternatives. Najib as PM scares me more than Bedol as PM. Bedol is sleepy, incompetent, out of touch and out of control, but at least I don't think he's personally a bad person.

NAJIB ????

Ku Li is just another expired salesman, like the other medicine salesman who keeps barking from the sidelines.

Hantu Laut said...

Supa,

It is.I don't pluck figures from the air.

Unfortunately,many Malaysians think crude oil is our biggest export, it is not. Manufacturing of electric and electronic products and other manufactured goods are still the biggest export earner.Crude oil is less than 6% of total export.In 2007 the value may have increased due to high crude prices.

I can't lift the statistics table on to this little comment box,it get all garbled.I will do a link later just to satisfy your curiousity.

Hantu Laut said...

kittykat46,
True Abdullah basically is a good man and I have said it before.

Najib,I am not sure what to make of him other than his alleged involvement in the submarine deal and his association with Beginda.

Would he makes a good PM, I am not sure, but he certainly has better personality and a better speaker than Abdullah.

Lee Kuan Yew is a nasty man but highly capable and did wonders for S'pore.He has also thrown political opponents in prison during the early days of S'pore independence.

There is a serious crisis of confidence in Abdullah's leadership which is not good for the country.A change of leadership is imminent.

kittykat46 said...

Have you heard of the RM 5 Billion scandal with the Kedah-class patrol boats? Amin Shah was the darling of UMNO in those days, and PSC Naval Dockyards got the contract - they had never built anything near that complexity before.
A few weeks before the GE, I was talking to a retired naval officer who was a member of the commissioning acceptance team for the 1st ship - KD Kedah. He was one of the officers who refused to sign off the ship as acceptable, even under political pressure to "close-one eye".

Needless to say his navy career was finished from then on. He joined Keadilan after his retirement.

Also, are you aware 50% of the RMAF's MIG-29's are no longer in flying condition ? The aircraft maintenance was previously contracted to "connected" parties and they made an awful mess of the job.

I'm not sure how much Najib is personally involved in all this, but Kementerian Pertahanan has become a den of corruption under Najib.

If Malaysia suddenly found itself having to defend against a foreign aggression, we are in Deep Shit.

No thanks to Najib.

supa said...

Combined, petroleum products is the second largest export. Very significant in any sense.
Anyway, I'll prefer Badawi. He's more good-looking than Najib. At least Badawi can give foreign dignitaries a good first impression.

Zawi said...

We are in deep shit no matter who among the present crop of UMNO leaders is in power. A change of government is the only option as of now.

SM said...

Zawi,

As much as hate to admit it, you are RIGHT bro!

Anonymous said...

HANTULAUT,
I do not need to like my Prime Minister, I only want him to do a good job running the country. In this respect, nice guy Abdullah has failed, so has crony man Mahathir while nasty Lee Kuan Yew has succeeded. Leaving behind sound government institutions and capable successors are hallmarks of farsighted leadership. Malaysia's Prime Ministers have failed miserably in this respect and the people continues pay the price for their ineptitude.

Mr. Smith said...

"The Chinese are the economic engines of the country. Malaysia has much to thank this industrious people who have contributed immensely to almost every sector of the economy."

This fact was never appreciated by UMNO.
How often have they been rudely told, (in the august house we call Parliament,) to return to their country of origin ?

Put it this way - what would this country be today without Chinese presence?

Will Hashammudin be able to own that RM 1 miilion ringgit car?

Mr. Smith said...

Najib is a washout and a colourless politician. He will make even a bigger mass of the country should he succeed Abdullah.
The only Malaysian today with an international standing is Anwar.
After his 'baptism of fire' he has been accepted by all races as the only credible person to lead the nation to greater heights.
I hope he takes over the premiership this May.

Anonymous said...

Fellas, as much as I can agree with much that has been said concerning how wretched UMNO is, please remember that Malaysia has yet to cough up a leader who can save this country from tragedy. Yes, AAB is weak and indecisive. But Najis is corrupt beyond measure while Razaleigh is living in the past. There is no one within the ranks of UMNO that can take over -- not that I care about UMNO. Anwar Ibrahim? Well be careful. Many of us believe that he has changed for the better and that the mantle of leadership should be his. I am not too sure. His past is a tainted one - Malay racist in MU, metamorphosing into a great Islamic youth leader and then blue blooded UMNO politician and now reformer. Good heavens, even a chameleon would be hard pressed to emulate him. Now he is using whatever means to entice Barisan Najis M.P.s to jump ship to join him so that he can become P.M. Remember comrades if you require support from scoundrels to gain power you forsake the rakyat because these same scoundrels will demand a price for switching over. Never gain power by dirty means because the whole political process will be dirtied. Over weaning ambition is dangerous as it will warp any man's character.

Hantu Laut said...

kittykat46,
There were many government project scandals under the BN government,Amin Shah was just one of them.

In Sabah if you care to come here and drive around the state, you will find huge schools and hospitals built in the middle of nowhere, not only lacking in trained teacher and doctors, they are also ridiculously lack of students or patients.These are all Federal funded project decided by people who sit in Kuala Lumpur.

One big project costing over RM200 million to build headquarters for the GOF (General Operation Forces) was given to a Filipino migrant, a strong supporter of UMNO and a friend of the present PM who can't add, subtract or divide properly let alone read a balance sheet.The project is now abandoned.

All the man did was bought 2 new 2Ferraris and bought some new wives.

One Ferrari was supposed to be given to Siti Noraliza on conditions she marry him.Clever girl, she rejected him.She probably has more money than him now.

He has squandered all his money and the banks are after his arse.

That's UMNO for you mate.

Hantu Laut said...

supa,

On combined basis maybe.Palm oil is as big as crude oil and under GDP sectors, manufacturing 1st and services 2nd.Processed oil probably comes under manufacturing.

Hantu Laut said...

zawi,
You have a strong point there.They say old habits hard to die or diehard.

They are not likely to change their old habits.

Hantu Laut said...

anonymous,

You are right.We need a change of leaders.

Hantu Laut said...

Mr Smith,

Can Hishamuddin afford the RM1 millon
car ?

I would say no, not without using the gravy train.

Hantu Laut said...

anonymous 8.46AM,

Yo may be right there but if we don't try a change of leadership, we would never know.