In the realism of whichever perspective, PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s poor and weak leadership made Malaysia weaker than what it was. Unfortunately, pro Former-abuse-of-power-convict Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim would try their intellectual best to portray otherwise.
The Riong Kali newsportal story:
Pak Lah’s legacy — his “weakness” made Malaysia strong
BY RITA JONG
SEPTEMBER 16, 2013
LATEST UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 10:44 PM
Dr Bridget Welsh (right) and James Chin with the ‘The Awakening’ books at the launch today. The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, September 16, 2013.
Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi’s “weakness” made Malaysia stronger with its people becoming more vocal and pushing for more democratic reforms.
“That is his legacy of strength,” said Dr Bridget Welsh who co-edited “Awakening: The Abdullah Years in Malaysia”.
“Malaysians became more critical,” she added.
Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim who was also present at the launch of the book at the Bar Council headquarters this evening, pointed out that Pak Lah had big shoes to fill after he took over as prime minister from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Pak Lah is a decent and good man. He wants politics to be on an open path. He was not interested in dominance,” he said, adding that Abdullah would have accomplished more if he had more time.
Perhaps, Zaid said, Abdullah should have strengthened his team when he came into power in 2004.
Instead, he chose to keep a lot of Dr Mahathir’s men.
“He was the one who said there should be an interfaith commission. So we must give him credit for that.
“But he was not prepared to fight. He was not going to get involved in a bloodbath. I had told him that he had to be harder and sack a few people, but he said that was not his style.”
Zaid was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform from March 18, 2008 to September 17, 2008 when Abdullah was premier.
James Chin, who worked with Welsh on the book, pointed out that it was during Pak Lah’s tenure that the nation flourished with new ideas.
“Cyberspace, bloggers, newsportals were actually established during his time as prime minister.
“Even the newspapers were freer then,” he said. “He genuinely wanted to bring reforms. Although he did not accomplish a lot of things we wanted, he had done a lot of things we see today.”
Former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar said it was during Abdullah’s tenure that there was a change in the judiciary and it was in better shape after a long time.
“Sure there was a change and I am referring here to the acquittal of (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim.
“At that time, you will see the two male judges on the panel had the scrotal gumption to do the justice that the law required them to do,” he said.
The Federal Court had overturned Anwar’s sodomy conviction in September 2004, just months after Abdullah came into power.
The book is a collection of 37 articles by an array of contributors, including scholars and practitioners.
Abdullah had last month said that he did not write the book and that he had no intention of attending the book launch. – September 16, 2013.
What Welsh and Chin claimed during the launch of this book based of misconstrued and skewed analysis. The reality is far from their biased perspective. For starters, as pro-Anwar Ibrahim academicians both never had anything positive and constructive to say about Malaysia.
Instead, very consistently biased.
Let’s start with international relations and diplomacy. It was in the brief 65 months stint as the Fifth Prime Minister, PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah poor and weaked ‘out-sourced-leadership’ lost the Pulau Batu Puteh, cancelled the Scenic-Bridge (which will replace the Johor causeway) and invited Singapore to be part of the planning of then Iskandar Development Region.
US Navy nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines started to berth in Port Klang, as part of their technical stop over when plying the Straits of Melaka.
He made himself as an international idiot and became a diplomatic laughing stock when he did a state visit to Venezuela. In that visit, he called Venezuela as “Vietnam”, “New Zealand” and “Bolivia”. Even in the presence of his host Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
PM “Flip-Flop’ Abdullah despatched Home Minister Dato’ Seri Azmi Khalid to Beijing to ‘Apologise for the mistreatment on a Chinese national, in the ‘Nude-ear-squat-in-lock-up’ case’, after DAP MP for Seputeh lied about it in Parliament. Later, it was discovered that the woman is neither Chinese national nor Chinese ethnic. A diplomatic embarrassment, unimaginable even for a very careless leader.
On a personal problem, how could a Prime Minister who keeps dozing off on the job which include in public and live on TV, is good for the country?
On the corporate side, he allowed his close friend and personal confidante Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan and son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin to violate several security and capital market laws which include Company’s Act by hiving off Avenue Capital Resources Bhd. to a smaller stock broking firm ECM Libra in mid 2006.
Pantai Holdings was hived off to a Singapore group. Part of then Telekom Malaysia shares were sold to Temasek Holdings for no real benefit to Malaysia.
It was this administration that allowed the national car project Proton to slowly die. Upon the deal made by the hidden hands of the dreaded ‘Level Four Boys’, Proton hived away motorcycle brand MV Agusta to an unnamed benefactor for a very meagre sum of one Euro. The new owners later hived off one of the brands under MV Agusta, Husqavarna to BMW for Euro 65 million.
As the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, he started the process of Malaysia Airlines being devoured and reduced when he allowed for the ‘Airline Rationalisation Plan’ also in mid 2006, where 39 of MH routes were handed over to AirAsia. This include the Rural Air Service (RAS), which Tony Fernandes undertook under Fly Asian Express (FAX).
It was a corporate con-job. Not only Federal Government had to spend RM 250 million for it on subsidies, FAX did not service the interior Sabah and Sarawak and eventually forced the national carrier to take back and operate the RAS. These extra routes he used to justify the expansion for Air Asia, which was listed in Bursa Malaysia. Later, Fernandes used FAX licenses and changed to Air Asia X, which served his low cost carrier model for intercontinental routes.
The Federal Government of doing things were undone with the outsourcing and franchise-management of the nation by the ‘Level Four Boys’. The culture of appointing consultants especially foreign based to do civil servants and traditional macro planners suddenly emerged.
During his tenure, the Federal Government spent more money and actually achieved nothing. In his five years, Petronas paid the Federal Government RM 260 billion in dividends, royalties and taxes compared to RM170 billion in 22 years tenure under Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Yet there was no new ‘mega projects’ started or undertaken during that 5 years and 5 months.
Probably what is apparent are spending such as the RM200 million per year Monsoon Cup, the RM200 million ACJ219 delivered for PM ‘Flip-Fop’ Abdullah’s used in December 2006 and the 50 years Merdeka celebrations Soiree in Seri Perdana, where George Benson and Al Jarreau were paid to perform for only 200 private guests.
Welsh and Chin are by-far wrong about it was more democratic under PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah’s poor and weak leadership. Various UMNO outfits nationwide cancelled 14 of their invitations issued to Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, because of harassment by the authorities which include the Police and party leadership.
Former UMNO President and Kubang Pasu Division Chief Tun Dr. Mahathir’s attempt to be elected as a delegation was sabotaged by corrupting the branch delegates in August 2006.
Journos and bloggers were harassed the By Police, which include the use of the dreaded Internal Security Act (ISA). Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Sin Chew journo were detained under ISA in September 2008. So were bloggers Syed Azidi “Kickdefella” Al Bukhari and Abu Bakar “Penarik Beca”, who spent a few nights in Police lock up.
Let us not forget the arrest and detention of Sri Lankan born businessman BSA Tahir under ISA, under ‘instructions’ of powers from outside the country in 2004. He was released in 2008.
Even without aggregating all these and each of these cases analysed as a stand alone, it could easily proven Malaysia was weakened when PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s poor and weak leadership and ‘outsourced and syndicated’ the management of the nation to the ‘Level Four Boys’. Sleeping in the enemy, does not make the country stronger.