Obtuse

This posting is to sum up Berita Publishing Supremo and former GEIC for the NSTP Dato’ A Kadir Jasin’s take on Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s leaderhip as the 7th UMNO President.

Over the weekend UMNO concluded its 64th Annual General Assembly in its 67 years history. It is almost by far the blandest UMNO annual meet (with the exception UMNO in the 6 times of Annual General Assembly under five and half years of dark modern Malaysian history under PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi).

As a start, Prime Minister Najib gave more weightage on UMNO instead of the Malays, the power-base which provided UMNO the continuity to remain in power all these years. More over in the 13GE concluded seven months ago, which demonstrated more than 51% of Malaysian voters did not vote Barisan Nasional.

Interesting enough, the Malays rallied around UMNO where it faired 11.4% better in form of Dewan Rakyat seats and formation of nine State Governments including Kedah and Perak compared to the previous GE, where PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah led as the Chairman.

Generally, the Malays did not vote UMNO because their love for the nationalist party and confidence on Prime Minister Najib’s leadership. In fact they grouse about how Prime Minister Najib pandered too much towards the Chinese with seemingly the over bearing concessions. Example is provisions for Chinese schools and bending backwards to Chinese Chauvinist organisations like Dong Zhong.

Prime Minister Najib was also seen as soft against the anti-Constitutionalists like the BERSIH 2.0 and 3.0 demonstrators and those who continuously challenge and insult the Malays, provisions accorded to the Malays enshrined in the Federal Constitution, Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia and even position and role of the Rulers.

On the eve of 15 September 2011, Prime Minister Najib announced the abolishment of the Internal Security Act and the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance. So many were actually appalled by it, including Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

The reality is that on 5 May 2013, majority of the Malays voted UMNO because they had little choices with the other options.

Another glaring point is that between April 2012 and May 2013, Prime Minister Najib went around the nation twice to meet the people. The ‘Jelajah Janji DiTepati’ events, where no less than 30,000 people converge to hear him out in each of the rally to convince the voters that Federal Government under BN honoured their promises and pledges.

However, since forming the Federal Government with his own mandate post-13GE, Prime Minister Najib failed to go around and thank the voters for their support. It is almost he is completely oblivion that he has the politically moral obligation to go back and meet the people, they same way he met them to ask for their support.

Conveniently, he even failed to thank the Kedahans for voting UMNO back into power in his Presidential Address at the opening of the 64th UMNO General Assembly.

Bumiputera Economic Empowering Plan, revelaed in UiTM on 14 September 2013

Bumiputera Economic Empowering Plan, revelaed in UiTM on 14 September 2013

Under tremendous pressure of being seen not doing enough for the Malays, Prime Minister Najib announced the Bumiputera Economic Empowering Plan in the heart of Malay higher education institution, UiTM. However, critics view the program as being hastily concocted and not properly thought through, for effective roll out and eventually meaningful strategic success.

That is not with standing his own strategy of making Malaysia a more liberal and centrist society, complementing his agenda to make achieve a high value economic nation. The fact that it was his instruction to de-Malay-nised Petronas despite of the proven success of the New Seven Sisters corporation all the while under the watch, operation and planning of 95% Malay professionals.

Prime Minister Najib is seen as the hard working leader who makes a lot of effort and time to be on the ground, to do walk-abouts and meeting people from diverse groups ever so often. He is also seen as making the prompt decisions, to alleviate the needs of the special interest groups that he meets.

However, so many don’t see the strategic effectiveness of all these ‘gifts’ and ‘handouts’ that he has been dishing out except for tactical purposes and pandering the gallery. That is a mark of a populist rather than a leader with strategic thoughts.

It is almost as if that he hears but doesn’t actually listen. It is true a lot of committees are formed and as the Prime Minister he chairs them but the strategic follow through is doubtful.

Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the investment arm for the Federal Government where he sits as the Chairman is behaving like a capitalist organisation which is focused on ROI, increasing value and market capitalisation, strengthening profitability and liquidity rather than serving the needs of Malaysians.

A good example is that Khazanah is more interested in investing for healthcare in Turkey instead of growing a local healthcare group like KPJ, a proven Malay managed and controlled plc, into a regional and eventually international healthcare provider.

TERAJU, an agency incorporated to address the Bumiputera Commercial and Industrial Community is bent on creating 1,000 corporations which are centred towards eventually being listed in the stock market. The added policy is the facilitation  to ‘carve out’ from mega projects undertaken by GLCs, for qualified Malay contractors.

However, Prime Minister Najib’s leadership failed to re-strategise and consolidate existing various agencies to ensure that the development of Bumiputera SME/Is should be the nucleus to ensure that more BCIC developed as successful entrepreneurs and play a more significant economic role in the post-Vision 2020  industrialsed Malaysia.

A quick reference  is that of the 60,000 professional accountants in the nation, there are only 7,600 Malays with professional accountancy qualifications. This is a good indication how the existing BCIC programs would have a strategic impact for success.

The Sino-nisation of Johor and how Prime Minister Najib welcomes strategically would not fair well with the Johoeran Malays, one of BN’s fixed deposit.

The Star 3 December 2013:

Published: Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 4:46:17 PM

China-based company buys RM4.5bil worth of land in Johor Baru

BY NG BEI SHAN

PETALING JAYA: China-based developer Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd is buying six plots of land in Johor Baru for a whopping RM4.5bil from the Johor Sultan, making it a record deal.

The investment, comprising high-rise residential units, low-density housing, retail properties, offices, a hotel and a shopping mall, is the Hong Kong-listed firm’s maiden overseas venture.

“Malaysia, with a sizeable Chinese community and favourable government policy attracting foreign purchasers, is well-suited for the first venture of the group outside China,” said the company in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

It also said it came to the RM4.5bil consideration through direct negotiation with the vendor and that its board considered the price to be fair and reasonable, given the market condition in Malaysia, location, development cost and potential of the land.

developers from china chart

The developer said it had paid a RM100mil deposit, which would be deducted from the first installment payment of the consideration.

According to Zerin Properties’ chief executive officer Previn Singhe, the estimated sellable floor area of about 3.5 million sq m worked out to a plot ratio of 7.5 times, which is considered high, given that the land is worth about RM891 per sq ft.

Previously, another developer from China, Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, had bought 22.26ha in Danga Bay for RM376 per sq ft. Comparing both, Previn said the latter’s plot ratio was lower at 5.22 times.

“This is very good for Malaysia. Not only would it spur (our) real estate sector, but there would also be spillover effects in terms of other industries such as education, tourism, agriculture and many more.

“We are now an investment hotspot for companies from China,” he told StarBiz.

Henry Butcher Malaysia director Lim Eng Chong said investors from China were buying property in Malaysia because of the infrastructure, relatively affordable health sector, education facilities and cheaper land cost here. .

He said many small and medium-sized mainland China developers were positive about Malaysia.

“China-based developers looking for businesses elsewhere are seeing Malaysia as an alternative investing destination, as the property prices in the markets that the mainland Chinese were familiar with, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, are beginning to cool down after having gone up considerably,” he said.

Based on his experience, he said, the latest property ceiling price of RM1mil for foreigners had little impact on these investors, as most of them preferred established high-end areas which were selling above that price.

LBS Bina Group Bhd managing director Datuk Lim Hock San said: “In China, people are talking about Iskandar because of its proximity to Singapore. The high prices there have prompted investors to look at Malaysia as a cheaper alternative.”

Property analysts, however, are more cautious on the property market in the Iskandar region now due to high valuations and the possibility of an oversupply.

Maybank IB Research analyst Wong Wei Sum pointed out that developers who emphasised on a fast turnaround and supplied a massive amount of similar products to the market could result in a glut.

“It depends on how they are going to launch it.”

Guangzhou R&F Properties noted in the announcement that its preliminary plan was to develop the land in phases, but did not elaborate.

Analysts also noted that the China-based developers could be targeting mainland Chinese as buyers for their properties and warned of the more speculative nature of such investments.

**************

The civil service has now been subjected to be evaluated and monitored by a purposely incorporated agencies such as PEMANDU, where numbers are churned without the political and strategic social impact considered. The arguments for ETP and GTP are almost like some of the Federal Government agencies are acting stand alone in economic experiments without having the entire government machinery working in tandem, right from the strategic planning right through the roll out.

In the recent budget, his approach to address some of the pressing issues such as affordable homes and escalating value of property is a step in the right direction. However, in the realism of the majority of the Malays spiraling deeper into the viscous cycle of he urban poverty trap.

The crux of the problem is that as the Prime Minister he did not manage to provide a strong leadership required for the combined civil service, Malaysian Government agencies, GLCs and relevant tactical operatives to be effective in the roll out and delivery of strategic plans, to meet the complexity of challenges, intricacies and dynamism of the society present time.

His leadership also failed to provide the now seemingly critical engagements, for the many stakeholders to understand the decisions that the Federal Government resorted to make such as the increase in retail price of petrol and diesel, the introduction of consumption tax such as GST, rationalisation of subsidies and the recently announced electricity tariff.

In his zest for Malaysia to be an industrialised nation with a high value economy, it is almost concluded that Prime Minister Najib’s government is even willing to concede to liberalising the economy as a open market. The Trans Pacific Partnership even drew displeasure of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Prime Minister Najib cannot go on like this, on the same track and approach and hoping to retain support from the people in four years time. Especially the Malays. More over when he has been seen as not having his own sensors on the nation’s pulse, despite having a stream of aides and special officers serving his exalted office.

In essence, it is undoubtedly as the Prime Minister, Najib has been insulated by so many layers and obtuse.

Published in: on December 11, 2013 at 23:59  Comments (33)