Leading the laden


Feudalism is legacy of the past practices and norms, being brought forth to the future regardless how ‘constitutional’ and ‘democratic’ this nation has been designed and perceived to be. Just because it is there, we should tolerate and allow it to go on as if it is acceptable.

Johor, which was named after ‘Jauhar‘, which literally means ‘jewel’ is a land of plenty. Until the middle of the 19th century, it was known as Johor Riau Empire. So many societies migrated to the state for economic reason, which was once during pre-colonial times was the richest state in the Malay peninsular. Father of modern Johor Sultan Abu Bakar transformed and developed the state to be the most progressive in the region in last quarter of the reign by the most powerful woman in the world and longest serving British monarch, Queen Victoria’s of the House of Saxe-Coburg.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, Johor was already having diplomatic relations.

Sultan Ibrahim succeeded his father and carried the transformation further. A constitution was drafted and adopted and a full fledge Whitehall-styled civil service was effectively put in place. The Johor Military Force was the most modern Malay armed forces, then. Its history is at least 50 years ahead of the current Malaysian Armed Forces, formed by the British Army in 1933.

Johor is now home to 3.3 million people and the position and role of Johoreans in Malaysia politics have been strategic and instrumental. It is where UMNO was born and since the struggle against Malayan Union, the state has been the most important bastion of Malay political power. Since UMNO found firm footing on 11 May 1946, there have been two UMNO Presidents, one Prime Minister and four Deputy Prime Ministers who are proud sons of Johor. Once, 25% of the Cabinet Ministers are Johor MPs. The first Army Officer rose to the rank of Jeneral and first Navy officer to reach Admiral, are Johoreans.

Unfortunately, Johor has been burdened with far too many political and corporate scandals, which is more apparent in the last five or six years. So many unanswered issues been cropping up in the open and all these have compounded into serious complication. Some are ‘open secret’, especially in the ‘inner circle’ of the more affluent pockets of society around Johor Bahru.

First was the ‘Flip-Flop’ decision of unilaterally canceling the ‘Scenic Bridge’ to replace the Johor causeway, almost six years ago by then Prime Minister ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. In the same year, the notorious ‘Level Four Boys’ concocted and incepted the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) and was launched by then HRH Sultan Iskandar of Johor in November 2006. His Royal Highness even expressed his deep displeasure of the cancellation of the ‘Scenic Bridge’ in his titah at the dedication of Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

During the 12 General Elections of 8 March 2008, Johoreans expressed their displeasure of the political developments the past two years. Not only DAP won substantially by Johor’s standards, PAS unprecedentedly managed to have two ADUNs in the state assembly. 100,00 spoilt votes were recorded in the state.

Then the ghastly stories of personalities like Dato’ Lim Kang Hoo who has been perceived as being allowed to the ‘buffet line’, did not come down well when Johoreans talk about their state over social gatherings such as weddings, Hari Raya outings or even teh tarik sessions. Not only within the borders of the state, but also amongst Johoreans who have found their ‘permanent’ home here in Klang Valley.

The Johor Corporation Bhd (JCorp) episode is still fresh in the minds of many. The conglomerate group records RM 14 billion in turnover and almost RM 1 billion in profits the last financial year. The manner how JCorp Supremo Tan Sri Ali Hashim quite almost instanly as rumours about the State Government playing a more active role in the micro management of the most successful state economic development corporation at the times the flavour is about Federal Government is in the process of rationalizing its role in business, is a controversy with a life of its own.

On top of the successful stories plcs in the likes of Johor Land, Kulim, KPJ and Sindora under the group. JCorp as a GLC has been commended for the work of promoting entrepreneurism amongst its managers. Ali Hashim’s entrepreneur program developed over 100 businesses being managed and partly own by Malay professionals. Some demonstrated termendous growth. One of the notable success story is Metro Parking where MD Halmi Jasmin managed to develop to be a company managing over 200 car park sites in six countries, over the last 20 years. However, Halmi was unceremoniusly ‘shown the door’ last August.

Recently, to complicate and makes matters worse Menteri Besar Dato’ Hj Abdul Ghani Othman endorsed the appointment of four personalities, which include the infamous whipping-boy of ‘Level Four Boys’ Dato’ Zaki Zahid and the 28 year old grossly inexperienced but idealistic Wan Firdaus into the Kulim Bhd BOD. Now that Ali is no longer around to be zealot as the ‘custodian of JCorp’, so many that even Non Johoreans fear that QSR which hold super brands such as KFC and Pizza Hut would be dissected and sold away.

Then there are rumours going about being bitched from mouth to mouth and spiced further, like a certain GLC land being privatized and then flipped to a Singaporean businessman. Although in general Johoerans have a long tradition of symbiotic relationship with Singapore, these sort of stories don’t come down well especially when it is repeated in the tone of challenging the pride of an average Johorean.

Iskandar Malaysia

Federal Government agency Iskandar Region Development Authority (IRDA) and Khazanah Holding Bhd controlled Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) have been plagued by a series of report of misconduct and corrupt practices. These are not really helping the perception whenever the word ‘Iskandar’ is mentioned, it almost automatically form the already bleak big picture, even though as the story progress and promises great success.

‘Iskandar Malaysia’ (then Iskandar Development Region) promised incredible figures and exponential growth, with investments from Singapore and the GCC states got Johoreans excited. Ghani as the MB sits as the co-Chairman along with Prime Minister of Malaysia. Johoreans would naturally look up to Ghani, to deliver all these big promises. The very least, pressure the Federal Government to inject and infuse more direct infrastructure investments, which include the much needed for Johor ‘people development’ programs.

The transformation did happen at the hype and speed that the rakyat expected it to be.

The truth is, even though many of the projects within Iskandar have been announced and some taken physical form, the trickle effect to the rakyat has not been felt. Some of the world class institutions such as our old alma matte Newcastle, Southampton, Nederland Marine and Marlborough College, Legoland and the brand new Johor Premium Outlet brought in and operating, are not providing the much needed trickle down effects to the many local businesses. Hence, the benefit from these mega and super luxury projects to the Johor SME/Is is not really present and tge multiplying effect to the local economy is marginal.

In the final analysis, the buck trickling down to the pockets of everyday Johoreans within the Iskandar Malaysia has not been seen and worse still, able to realised in the local economy.

All these is not withstanding the RM 50 billion Petronas petroleum hub project of Refinery and Petrochemical Inetgrated Development (RAPID) along the south east corner of the last bit of the main continent of Asia, all the way to Kota Tinggi. Some people believe that certain select few are already ‘carving out’ the parcels using the cover of ‘protecting Johorean interests’ within the new mini economic corridor that is expected to be bigger as compared to the Gebeng-Kerteh corridor.

Why has this ‘cover’ been capitalised for the interests of a selected few certain few, simply to ensure that they determine who gets footing within RAPID? The ‘bogeyman’ from the across the board failure of Iskandar Malaysia to actively get Johorean based businesses, especially the Malays, to be actively involved even in the second or third tier jobs and business opportunities. Realistically, some of the strategic positions within Iskandar Malaysia have been filled by Non Johoreans.

Kota Iskandar: The new Johor administrative centre in the heart of Iskandar Malaysia

Confidence is something that Menteri Besar Ghani seriously need to solidify, if not restore. For a seasoned MB, he should step up and demonstrate his leadership. Once, he earned the trust of the Sultan, strong mandate of the rakyat, iron clad support of JCS and close interests of the Federal Government. Those were the times when UMNO Johor played the spinal role in Malay right wing politics. During the challenges of ‘Refomasi’ and many young Malay sought exodus in KeAdilan, Johor UMNO boast the strong membership 0f 500,000 members which then translated to one-sixth of the nationwide membership.

Ghani got to aggressively take charge of the whole situation in Johor. His wisdom via ‘elegant silence’ and academic-approach of resolving issues simply would not do anymore, at the times where the rakyat actually demand to see some action. In fact, they would be glad if some ‘heads were to roll’.

Too many at stake here.

Johor is the perfect example of ‘Malay Three-nity’; Ruler, Executive and Civil Service. One cannot move and be succesful without the other two. The rakyat democratically gave the Executive very strong mandates in each of the past twelve GEs. The Executive in return got to play its role of adviser, strategic manager and co-ordinator role up and above the planner and executer, for the good of the Ruler, rakyat and the state, jointly and in sundry.

At the moment, with the strong current mandate from the rakyat and confidence and loyalty of the civil service, the Executive should really sort things out before the mess gets untangled into the web of complications.

In the current times, it is not that easy and straight forward. But it has been done before. Its time to go back there again. Return the to legacy of the Johor glory. Its time to lead the laden. We cannot change history. However it would be negligent and deemed that we would be damned by the generations to come, if we fail to learn from it.

Published in: on January 6, 2012 at 02:00  Comments (27)  

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27 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Howcome IRDA never mentioned about the job creation from the Iskandar Project so far. Instead, IRDA kept on bragging about the billion dollar investment. I wonder whether that is actual investment or just on paper.

  2. Indeed Ghani has to pull up his socks. There have been quite some ramblings on the goings-on in Johor. He cannot take things for granted. When a few seats were lost in 2008 in an otherwise solidly pro- BN state.

    He cannot assume that the DAP versus DAP, the PKR versus DAP and the PAS and others squabbling for seats among themselves would mean the Opposition is breaking up and it would not lead to more seats lost. He has to be sensitive to the situation on the ground, in the economic and the political sectors.

    I hear he is. But is he doing enough. He has to work doubly hard, even treble his efforts, not just to get a firm hold on the seats now held by BN, but also to get back the seats lost in 2008. He has to ensure really reliable team members who can put aside personal interest for the greater good – of the Malays, of the state, of the country.

    • That’s right.

      Be a man. No point having a black belt in Aikido, when it is used only for self serving.

      Ghani must have the discipline to discipline of others in the state, without exception. That’s his job & what the rakyat hope he do.

      Standing up against wrongdoings should be in his blood. Ghani’s family hv an illustrious heritage as pendekars & grandmasters of the silat sendeng Muar. Its time for him to show that the pendekarhood is an integral part of a man with balls!

      Too much time & opportunities wasted. Its time to bite the bullet!

  3. Johor rabak beb kali ni ……kulai pontian kluang gelang patah johor jaya skudai muar maharani sg balang sg abong bakri nusajaya.segamat dun mahkota kluang..huh…tak pernah johor akan serabak ini dlm next election…


    • Apa buktinya, Mat? Kalu banyak sangat tu, bunyi mcm tipu helah, dakyah popaganda Pembangkang saja. 1-2 tu masuk akal le.

      • Dari ‘bunting bunyi’ di akar umbi kita boleh tahu. Org dah mula menyampah dgn Ghani Zapin ni, SEBAB tak da progress!

        IRDA dok la terima berpuluh consultan dari KL buat ntah apa apa study & blueprint. Berpuluh juta Ringgit dah habis. Penghabisnya tak satu hapah pun Rakyat nampak!

        Rakyat Johor memang sayang UMNO & Kerajaan. TAPI Kerajaan pun kena sayangkan Rakyat Johor dahulu. Bukan sayang kroni cam Lim Kang Hoo, Peter Lim, Daing Malik, Rahman Shariff dan semua konsultan konsultan yg pergi Gelang Patah, Pekan Nenas atau Masai pun tak pernah tu!

        Ini reality!

  4. Beb

    Lanun yang tibai RAPId tu pakai baju kuning. Gani patut tegur, jangan jadi penakut.

    Jangan sampai rakyat marah. Nanti kembara jadi bara api.

    • Raja adil, Raja disembah
      Raja berjiwa rakyat, Raja bertuah
      Tugas Memanda untuk persembah hujah
      Sebelum jadi Raja yang disanggah

      Nanti akan jadi bahan sejarah
      Generasi Melayu kelak akan parah
      Kembalikan seperti asal bukan mudah
      Salah seorang, ketamadunnan temu noktah

  5. Big dog/Dr Muzi

    Gosok-gosoklah pipi, Gani …UMNO Johor complacent la …Nampak sangat di Tenang

  6. UMNO/BN is like a sinking ship. Better get out while you still can……

    • Bagi opinion, kalau ganjil, kena kasi alasan atau justifikasi lah. Kalau melampau, tepat lah dengan nama ko gilogilo.

      • Isa,

        My opinion is free, and as an opinion, it is mine alone…. if you don’t like it, just ignore it. Or if you want to take it further, argue about it.

        But resorting to name-calling?

        Tsk tsk…. you, sir, are very childish and immature.

      • Et tu brute.

        Hope you read Shakespeare.

      • An opinion which has no argument deserves no argument.

        Only whatever it takes to disabuse that abuse.

      • While I’m in the mood to write, I’ll say some more on the right of giving opinions and the similar right of putting down the less than responsible ones. In the interest of seeing meaningful comments in here – comments with “alasan atau justifikasi”, like I said in my original response.

        You see, I like UMNO/BN. You might even say that I love them. True, they have their weaknesses. But PR also have their weaknesses. Even just 3+ years of administering some states. If longer, their list of weaknesses and misdemeanours might even be miles longer than BN.

        So, when you say it’s like a sinking ship, it’s equivalent to my saying your mother is an old hag and you should abandon her while you still can.

        And you give no arguments at all for giving your opinion. Ever heard such things as “responsible opinions”? Or “qualified opinions” Or “opinions with justifications”?

        I’ll have you know that freedom of expression is never without limits. It’s never absolutely free. Others can give opinions to hit you back. At the cost of your integrity or the name you use to blog being compromised. Comprende? Wakaru?

  7. Salam BigDog,

    While you lament corporate misdealings in Johore, isn’t only confined there.

    Since flop-flop Pak Lah, there have been a slew of successful corporate captains being shoved aside.

    MAHB is another possible target.

    The adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is being replaced by “it ain’t broke, lets get some of the fix”

    Nice touch at the beginning with brief Johore bio and interesting info. Let’s hope it will also have a happy ending.

    Johore is indeed the bastion for UMNO/BN and must always remain that way.


    “You see, I like UMNO/BN. You might even say that I love them”

    Haha.. well said and ditto for me.

    That being said, there needs to be some serious house cleaning of the weaknesses.

    Not only for GEs,I must add.


  8. Isa,

    At least you are man enough to admit UMNO/BN has its flaws (corruption, power abuse, conflict of interests, crony-ism, scandals, racism).

    Instead of highlighting the Opposition’s flaws as your counter argument, why not highlight about how to make UMNO/BN serve the people better i.e. eradicate those malpractices? Isn’t that a better way to spend your mental energy?

    If you truly love UMNO/BN, that is what you should do. Harping on the Opposition’s flaws is just going to create a bigger divide between both camps, and doesn’t solve the original issue.

    This is what “responsible opinions” are all about. You did not even bother to ask why someone like me could say UMNO/BN is like a sinking ship. Instead, you chose to equate my opinions to something of a more personal nature. Is UMNO/BN your mother, or anybody’s mother for that matter? I’ve made no such equation, but you did. Your own comments (again) have proven that you are arguing this in a very immature and childish manner.

    My opinion has no malice. Any organization that practices corruption, power abuse, crony-ism, nepotism is bound to fall. History is littered with all those examples. But what I would like to point out is that UMNO/BN’s fall will be all the more worse and devastating, since UMNO/BN is the ruling party. Its fall will also bring about the downfall of our beloved Malaysia.

    If the Opposition also practises the same, it too will fall. There should be no doubt about it. But the Opposition is not the ruling party. So how can their flaws and scandals have a major impact on Malaysia? So why harp on their scandals on the first place? The Opposition are not the ruling party, UMNO/BN are.

    Instead of ridiculing me, why not ask yourselves, why do I think that UMNO/BN’s leadership is bringing Malaysia to a precarious state? Isn’t that what “responsible opinions” are about?

    Why did I say UMNO/BN is like a sinking ship, and why should we get out while we still can? My answer: because the corruption, power abuse, conflict of interests, nepotism, crony-ism etc. will bring UMNO/BN down. And because it is the ruling party, it will also bring our beloved Malaysia down. I see no way for UMNO/BN to eradicate these malpractices. How could they, when all the UMNO/BN leaders are guilty of them? (Remember Sharizat’s own responses in response to NFC scandal). That’s my justification of my original opinion.

    Be an adult, and start fighting against these malpractices in the organization that you love, instead of harping on the other party’s weaknesses. Please, by all means, come up with a solid and intellectual retort. I welcome it with an open mind and heart.

    • I’ve seen this kind before – make wild accusations then simply ask readers to “ask why someone like me could say UMNO/BN is like a sinking ship …”

      What The F…

      Only after a walloping would he give some explanation on his original opinion.

      No wonder he ceased practising law. Or so he claimed.

      I also don wanna deal with this kind. Just a one-shot response.

  9. Nono,

    I don’t think gilogilo has responded rather elaborately because of the ‘walloping’. On the other hand, it was in response to the argument put forth by Isa who has indirectly accepted the challenge by gilogilo when the latter stated ‘Or you want to take it further, argue about it.’ However, resorting to something personal is in bad taste.

    Giogilo is not the only one who has expressed his resentment over the continuous attacks against the weaknesses of the oppositions. There are a few pro-UMNO bloggers and commenters who do the same, not because they hate the party but rather to see the party regains its strength and influence by not being oblivious to a series of controversies and scandals affecting UMNO itself.


    • ZMS,

      Thank you for your understanding. Alas, people of like-minded thinking such as us are a fast-dwindling race in this current political climate that is full of hate, disharmony and divisiveness.

      It’s an appaling shame, really, that most pro-UMNO people love to look at the Opposition’s “dirty laundry”, rather than trying to clean up UMNO/BN’s own “dirty laundry”. Even when a scandal such as the NFC fiasco is plain for all to see how UMNO/BN leaders have acted horribly, most pro-UMNO people would rather: a) labelled it a “wild accusation” and treat it as a non-issue; b) highlight about Opposition’s wrongdoings instead.

      It’s this kind of mental retardation that has been cultivated by the UMNO/BN leaders for decades long that contributes to the downfall of UMNO/BN, and along with it, since they are the ruling party, our beloved Malaysia.

      Is it still so difficult to realise that all those malpractices within UMNO/BN is hurting our beloved Malaysia’s future?

      This is what a responsible Malaysian should stand up for. And what better way to do so by abandoning the sinking ship i.e. UMNO/BN. I urge anyone who could argue (in a constructive manner) otherwise to state their case.

    • ZMS,

      You clearly are “like minded thinking” as the fler goligilo, to use his own words.

      For the life of me, I simply can’t understand how a bloke (and if you think this word is derogatory, do look at the dictionary) who

      began on January 6, 2012 at 10:55 by saying nothing else but

      “UMNO/BN is like a sinking ship. Better get out while you still can……”

      then got told by Isa at 14:08

      “Bagi opinion, kalau ganjil, kena kasi alasan atau justifikasi lah.”

      then at at 18:33 gilogilo said

      ” if you don’t like it, just ignore it. Or if you want to take it further, argue about it”


      And when Isa whacked him with a series of 3 comments, HIS FEELINGS FOR UMNO/BN DITTOED BY FREDDIE KEVIN, only after that, the fellow goligilo – on January 7, 2012 at 13:12 – tried to justify his original unacceptable one-line opinion against UMNO/BN.

      And now you try to support his lost cause. Are you people like that all the time? I’ve come across a lot, especially among Opposition blokes. Very strange kind, indeed.

      Look here, old boy. Everybody acknowledges the weaknesses and faults of UMNO/BN – didn’t you people read that being said already? People have pointed out that the Opposition also has all the weaknesses that UMNO/BN have, even just 3 years in power.



      And what “continuous attacks against the weaknesses of the oppositions” are you talking about, man? Didn’t you see, Isa was simply talking about the bloke gilogilo justifying his original one-line derogatory opinion on UMNO/BN?

      Aiyyyo, you crazy fellows.

      • Nino,

        1. Is gilogilo or anyone for that matter always obliged to justify whenever he makes his initial remarks/opinions, derogatory or otherwise, on anybody or anything? The answer is a big NO. Sometime an opinion or a statement is framed in such a manner to provoke for a response from the other side. An angry or highly emotional young/old bloke like you may easily get caught in this provocative statement/opinion and thereby exposing you to further examination how knowledgeable you’re on the issue in question. In the intelligence world, I don’t think you are the right material to become a reliable agent or spy.

        2.OK, let’s say that the initial statement by gilogilo doesn’t fall into the above mentioned category, It is a fact that UMNO/BN are currently embroiled in a series of scandals/controversies and, therefore, it doesn’t entail gilogilo to justify the initial opinion he has formed on the party. It is self-explanatory. However, if there are arguments, to the contrary, they are most welcome. Let’s further argue in a mature manner by not resorting to name calling or anything that is personal in nature.

        3.When I mentioned ‘continuous attack’, I’m making reference to UMNO as a whole. Anyway, if you care to read Bigdog’s latest posting you will come across his statement ‘attacking the opposition is not enough.’

        4.You’re a typical of certain UMNO morons who are bent on making personal attack on your adversaries rather than engaging them intelligently on the issues put forth.

        5.Don’t blame me for using words that may sound derogatory to you. You’re a bad teacher and I’m a bad student.

      • Now, now, now. Where are you going boy? Now talking about “In the intelligence world, I don’t think you are the right material to become a reliable agent or spy.” What a joke.

        ” engaging them intelligently on the issues put forth”? When you write silly, make wild, unsubstantiated allegations? What a joke again.

        And saying “You’re a bad teacher and I’m a bad student”? Even if you perceive me as a bad teacher, two wrongs make one right? How stupid can that be?

        Now you think you deserve more “engaging” than I have done the head knocking above? It’d be a sheer waste of time, boy. Grow up. Read what I said above – and I repeat



        Over and out.

  10. Correction (para 3)..should read ‘if you care to read A Voice’s latest posting………..’

    • Nono,

      1.Apparently the intelligence world is alien to you. When I wrote ‘In the intelligence world, I don’ think you are the right material to become a reliable agent or spy’, I’m making attempt to equate to the fact that you are easily succumbed to provocation as reflected in the manner your responded to my comment and that of gilogilo. This is highly undesiraable to the intel. world.

      2.I did try my best to elucidate when and the need to make any form justification as per paras 1 and 2. Apparently too, you haven’t got it.

      3.In response to your rambling on human relation, may I also ask you whether you are fully aware the principle of effective communication. A positive human relation is built and developed from, among others, an effective communication i.e what is said and how is said. From your comment, you have failed both miserably.

      • Sigh.

        As I have commented earlier, the current political climate is full of hate, disharmony and divisiveness. It’s kind of like “being in trend” to counter valid concerns with irrationality and prejudice. In the end, the original issue is lost in the war of heated words, biased opinions, and unsavoury remarks.

        The basic fulfillment of intellectual banter between opposing sides is lost. The matter now stays dead in the water, and in the end, no action is taken to address them.

        Back to square one. folks.

  11. […] article on the ‘Ghost of Johor’ drew a lot of attention. It started a series of articles written by other bloggers about Johor and […]

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