Monday, November 3, 2008

Reversal Of Fortune: 'Melayu Cepat Lupa'

Hantu Laut

Most people especially the Malays would probably still remember Mahathir's famous or infamous lamentation of 'Melayu cepat lupa' (Malays have short memory), depending on how one wish to interpret, it can be taken as an advice or an insult.

Judging by the going on in UMNO politics with the soon to exit Abdullah Badawi, his controversial remark may not be off the mark.They seem to have a knack for 'cepat lupa' and Mahathir knows best because he had been in that position after he stepped down from power.These are facts of life that politicians have to accept especially those that have held long unbridled power.As the popular Anne Lennox's song 'Sweet Dreams' reflects in some of the wordings of the lyrics of the song.

"Everybody's looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused"

For some going down can be very unpleasant and for those forced to go down is even worse, it is excruciatingly painful and shameful.

It looks like the Malays in UMNO have already started to abandon the Prime Minister even before he handed over the helm to Najib, blue-eyed boy of the former prime minister and one he said he favoured to be PM instead of Abdullah but he chose Abdullah as his successor because of age and seniority. Mahathir places loyalty above everthing else including merits.

The former premier also wrote in his blog that not only Abdullah had to be gotten rid of but all of his men too.

Sometimes, no matter how angry we are, things are better left unsaid. Abdullah might have not been the ideal prime minister but like all of us humans he has feeling too.His bitterness against
Abdullah has clearly muddled his thinking and make him sound terribly unreasonable.

Abdullah's biggest mistake and one that brought his downfall is his complete lack of nastiness.His character is such that he is constrained by his conscience.Many leaders have gone down either for lack of conscience or over-conscientious.Those overtly nice can be construed as sign of weakness.

The former premier might have forgotten that when Abdullah took over from him he also took over all his men and none of them had been removed.All those with Abdullah were his men before and they would have to toe the line of the leadership similar to when he was the prime minister.Are these the men he wanted to be removed?

This 'cepat lupa' syndrome can be seen in the nominations for the Youth Chief.This unexpected reversal of fortune is a clear sign that in UMNO the power to give wealth is the only consideration.The moment you lose this power you are as good as dead.The prodigal son-in-law would have fared much better if Abdullah had not announced or delayed his time of departure.

As we all know in politics there are no permanent enemies and friends.Who knows,one day, Mahathir may have to use Kahiry Jamaluddin to remove Najib if he is not happy with him.

One thing I agree with Mahathir, Najib must not make the same mistake, he must dismantle the 4th Floor.Tutup kedai (close shop).

The 4th Floor had been another one of Abdullah's biggest mistake.

22 comments:

Pok Kam said...

Dear HL,

If Najib decides to be nasty to get things right, that's fine by me. I only hope the "openness" we are experiencing now will not be closed by him.

Anonymous said...

UMNO has forgotten that Mahathir stepped down in 2003 beacause he could see an electoral disaster missle heading directly for him. Now UMNO has forgotten that it was Mahathir's resignation and Badawi's clean image in 2004 who gave BN its greatest win ever he intends to be back in control of UMNO. Mahathir seems to not uunderstand that while he may eventually be able to control UMNO. There are no more 'Untainted Badawis' to save UMNO at the polls come the next general election. The secret of UMNO's success has always been its ablity to rejuvenate itself by putting in a President untainted by corruption and scandals. Najib cannot be considered untainted by any stretch of the imagination. Mahathir has forgotten that it is he who has made it impossible for a clean man to become President of UMNO. In all of history the fall from power of any political entity starts the day there are no more clean leaders left to helm the organisation. Even political Islam was felled by this weakness.

Jed Yoong said...

Hey,

I like the cepat lupa attitude.
Better to bersyukur than to remember all ur "great" achievements, etc.
Every day is a new day.
Politics? Politicians? All the same-lah on each side of the divide.
Some good ones on both sides, with the bad.
Even the "bad" has some "good" in them. And even the "good" (teresa kok) can have a streak of "bad" in them
Everyone is just human after all.
=)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever encountered a nice man with ugly,nasty dogs? Well,he 'lost', despite his nice look, because he kept nasty dogs. Worse, they were unleashed on unsuspecting businessmen, politicians and patrons, even on the rakyat. Methinks you can always judge a man by the pets he keeps. Don't let the book cover deceive you. Incompetent leaders have survived longer than him.

In Malaysia, politicians and businessmen are same bed fellows. Their relationship is symbiotic. Under PL it almost became non-symbiotic and a seed of rebellion was sowed or sought.

'Melayu Cepat Lupa'....nay, across the globe politically inclined people dump failed politicians or businessmen rather quickly like lepers. It is not a trait peculiar only to the Malays. Nice article. Cheer.

whispering9

kluangman said...

Istilah Mahathir ialah 'mudah lupa' dan bukannya 'cepat lupa'. Dua perkara yang berbeza dari segi maksud dan makna serta terjemahan.

Anonymous said...

HantuLaut,

What exactly about PM's 4th Floor do you have a problem with. I have dealt professionally with many of them before and find them well meaning and smart.
They certainly are not corrupt as Mahathir makes them out to be.

These young officers may lack some wisdom but they were fiercely loyal and competent to the Boss. PM's mistake was listening and pandering to UMNO warlords including the Mahathir leftovers. This had little to do with the 4th Floor. The 4th Floor were pushing reforms which UMNO entrenched interests resisted.

So don't blame the 4th Floor. Those guys tried their best to help PM with the reform agenda. What made PM fail was the fact that no one else, including is deputy and all the cabinet ministers, was on the same page as him.

So Hantulaut, please substantiate your comments about the 4th Floor with a little more detail. Otherwise your criticisms are no better than Mahathir's personal tirades against anyone and anything that crosses his path.

Jamil Abd Ghani
Petaling Jaya Selangor

Anonymous said...

Hantu Laut,

I have to disagree. Although a novice in politics, I just fail to see the correlation between 4th Floor and the Elections Results.

At the end of the day, the senior UMNO politicians should be the ones to blame for the disastrous defeats.

How can the head of UMNO in each State ok the elections?. Its too easy to blame the fourth floor i think

Hantu Laut said...

pok kam,

They can't afford to be nasty.If they do they will suffer at the next elections.

Hantu Laut said...

anonymous,
I couldn't have describe it better than you.I believe things will change for the better.

Hantu Laut said...

jed yoong,
True, but there must be some decorum and respect especially when the man is leaving.

I think Badawi should be given due respect while he is still the PM.If you don't respect the man at least respect the chair.

Hantu Laut said...

anonymous,
I never said it is a Malay trait.Mahathir said that,I only repeat what he said.

It is more a culture in UMNO, not the Malays in general.

Hantu Laut said...

kluangman,
You are splitting hair, mate.In the same context, they carry the same meaning.

Hantu Laut said...

Encik Jamil,

I have nothing against the 4th Floor.You can't run a nation solely on the advice of a group of young people coming from the same college.

Oxford and Cambridge are highly respected institutions but it doesn't necessary mean they produce the best brains.The PM should keep a poll of advisers from different fields and background and keep his options open.

Why do you think the President of the US consult old coots like Warren Buffet,Alan Greenspan and many others.Because these are people with vast experience and proven track records.What kind of advice you expect from an Oxford graduate fresh from college.

Mahathir did not employ or keep a group of permanent advisers specifically to advise him on how to run the nation.That's the job of the civil servants, that's what they are there for.If you have no confidence in your civil servants, you might as well close it down and run the whole nation from the 4th Floor.

He gets feed back and information from talking to all kind of people and develop his own strategy.He would never allow his advisers too have full control of his faculty and listen to them only.

I have met a few people who told me how arrogant those on the 4th Floor are.Whether this is true is not my concern.

One thing I am pretty sure, they must be a useless bunch, otherwise how can Pak Lah be in such big trouble.

He lost his job because of people on the 4th Floor and people like you, who think highly of themselves because of the scrolls.

Of course those in UMNO are equally to be blamed for the bad showing at the last elections.

I stand by what I say, close down the 4th Floor or sack all your top civil servants.

kluangman said...

cepat lupa = mudah lupa
hantu laut = hantu darat

sama sama 'hantu' tetapi peranan berbeza.

Anonymous said...

Sir Hantu Laut,

I don't think highly of myself and I am a firm believer that work experience is important in giving anyone wisdom and sound judgment.

I do, however, find your tirade against the Fourth Floor tainted with bias and based on incorrect information.

From what I know, the myth that those on the Fourth Floor are all Oxbridge graduates is just that, a myth. I was told that the only one who went to Oxford for his undergraduate degree was KJ. Dr Vincent Lim, who recently resigned from the PM's Office, did his PhD at Oxford but he was a political staff. Also there are two officers who went to Cambridge.

The rest, including Datuk Zaki and Datuk Kamal did not attend Oxbridge. So, I think you should get your facts right first because if you can't even get simple facts right and make sweeping assumptions, the more substantive aspect of your analysis may also be flawed.

Also, I don't think the Fourth Floor is a high powered group of advisors like the 'Berkeley Mafia' that advised Suharto but rather support staff that never superseded the functions of ministers and civil servants. They were at best researchers, speech writers and press officers.

Pak Lah is in trouble today because the entire system - UMNO warlords, ministers and the civil service - was ossified after two decades of Mahathirsm that they didn't know what to do when Pak Lah introduced his agenda of reform.

The entire system was rotten to the core and rejected the change that Pak Lah wanted to bring. I don't understand how this is the fault of a bunch of speech writers.

I think the Fourth Floor became prominent for one reason; because Mahathir started attacking them. Mahathir attacked them because he could not believe that Pak Lah on his own could have thought up of the agenda for reform. The Pak Lah he knew was compliant and he assumed that Pak Lah would continue to implement his policies and refer to him. Instead the reverse was true. Mahathir couldn't believe it was Pak Lah so had to take it out on somebody/something. Hence the myth of the Fourth Floor was born.

Hantulaut, if you want to criticize someone/something you should try to find our more about what you are talking about before coming to strong conclusions.

I hope we can discuss this further,

Jamil abd Ghani

Anonymous said...

Sir Hantu Laut,

I don't think highly of myself and I am a firm believer that work experience is important in giving anyone wisdom and sound judgment.

I do, however, find your tirade against the Fourth Floor tainted with bias and based on incorrect information.

From what I know, the myth that those on the Fourth Floor are all Oxbridge graduates is just that, a myth. I was told that the only one who went to Oxford for his undergraduate degree was KJ. Dr Vincent Lim, who recently resigned from the PM's Office, did his PhD at Oxford but he was a political staff. Also there are two officers who went to Cambridge.

The rest, including Datuk Zaki and Datuk Kamal did not attend Oxbridge. So, I think you should get your facts right first because if you can't even get simple facts right and make sweeping assumptions, the more substantive aspect of your analysis may also be flawed.

Also, I don't think the Fourth Floor is a high powered group of advisors like the 'Berkeley Mafia' that advised Suharto but rather support staff that never superseded the functions of ministers and civil servants. They were at best researchers, speech writers and press officers.

Pak Lah is in trouble today because the entire system - UMNO warlords, ministers and the civil service - was ossified after two decades of Mahathirsm that they didn't know what to do when Pak Lah introduced his agenda of reform.

The entire system was rotten to the core and rejected the change that Pak Lah wanted to bring. I don't understand how this is the fault of a bunch of speech writers.

I think the Fourth Floor became prominent for one reason; because Mahathir started attacking them. Mahathir attacked them because he could not believe that Pak Lah on his own could have thought up of the agenda for reform. The Pak Lah he knew was compliant and he assumed that Pak Lah would continue to implement his policies and refer to him. Instead the reverse was true. Mahathir couldn't believe it was Pak Lah so had to take it out on somebody/something. Hence the myth of the Fourth Floor was born.

Hantulaut, if you want to criticize someone/something you should try to find our more about what you are talking about before coming to strong conclusions.

I hope we can discuss this further,

Jamil abd Ghani

Hantu Laut said...

Dear Encik Jamil,

I must apologise if I have been harsh with my response.

I don't based all of my assumptions on what have been told to me and on the many adverse remarks that appeared on various blogs from time to time.

Although Pak Lah may not be completely responsible for the bad showing at the last elections, as a leader he has no choice but to carry major part of the blame.It's occupational hazards that every leader has to face.

Bad policies are major causes of failures in any organisation.

Pak Lah doesn't have any streak of badness in him, but it has brought him more trouble than anything else.

His biggest mistake was his promise to bring reforms which he failed to push through due to opposition from within his own party.If he had taken the iron-fisted ways of Mahathir, he would have gotten his ways. As Machiavelli have said "it is more secured to be feared than to be loved"

There is no doubt Pak Lah had brought more openess and freedom of expression but, sadly, at a very high price to him.

I still believe the civil servants should play the advisory roles. All government projects and anything government eventually have to go through them for implementation.

Of course the PM must leave his options open to seek advice where ever he deems fit.

Many thanks for giving me the insight on the 4th Floor.

SM said...

HL,

Yup, Pak Lah should have got rid of Mahatir's men. That was his first mistake. After that it went downhill.
I have always maintained that Pak Lah is a good man but WEAK. He would have been a GREAT PM if he was STRONG but alas...history will put him down as probably our worst PM (well, maybe Najib will have that "tag" when the truth about his past finally comes out in the open one day?).
As for KJ...he is history & good riddance to him! I wonder if Pak Lah has cut a deal with Najib to "take care" of KJ as a pre-requisite for "abdicating" his throne early?!

jazrul said...

Mahathir has forgotten that it is he who has made it impossible for a clean man to become President of UMNO


malaysia seo

jazrul said...

As Machiavelli have said "it is more secured to be feared than to be loved"


malaysia web design

fauzi said...

ya very impossible

malaysia web design

fauzi said...

mabby all people can't try


malaysia web design