The banter between Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak on several strategic issues, gets different perception from different people which include professionals below thirties.
7:54AM Apr 14, 2015
By Goh Wei Liang
I believe Dr Mahathir Mohamad had noble intentions when he raised a few questions publicly to the prime minister. At his age, what else could he possibly want? Dr Mahathir spent three decades of his life in government (22 years as PM) and continued to give advice on issues even after his retirement. He only wants what is best for the party and the soil that we stand on today – Malaysia.
I believe the prime minister still has the highest level of respect for Dr Mahathir, judging from his tone and angle during the Soal Jawab. The sacrifices and contributions Dr Mahathir made in developing unity and growing our economy throughout his years as prime minister are engraved in the hearts and memories of many of us. He gave the good years of his life to this country.
I believe Dr Mahathir’s questions on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) were fair. Many are confused with what’s happening. But the confusion stem from the complexity of the topic (money markets and corporate finance are dry topics to many) and further complicated by the many statements out there. There have been too many contradicting statements including those from the Treasury and 1MDB CEO.
Let’s not forget the fact that people also read Sarawak Report and The Edge’s stories on this topic. I wonder why the government or Treasury hasn’t setup a 1MDB Taskforce (Comms) just like we always do with other issues. If we are gonna talk, shouldn’t we have just one source, one voice and one storyline with solid facts?
I believe that the RM50 billion assets and RM42 billion liabilities are on the table as audited. But we must understand also that 1MDB is losing money with these assets and investments. Soon, the net assets will become net liabilities if we do not restructure not just the debt but also the subsidiaries and the operating procedures soon enough. We cannot depend only on monetising some of the ‘idle’ assets quickly, such as Tun Razak Exchange.
We must never forget those companies and transactions that cause 1MDB to be in the red. Otherwise, profits from TRX will just end up covering the losses elsewhere. I know we have the expertise in government, Treasury and other investment arms to help turn around this into a success and I believe we can.
I believe the prime minister has taken bold steps and was being transparent in his actions on 1MDB. He made the right move when he ordered the auditor-general to verify 1MDB accounts after which the report will be passed on to the Public Accounts Committee which comprises of opposition leaders like Tony Pua. Let’s be fair and honest here. Did you expect the prime minister to make this move? Surely not if you think he has something to hide.
Whatever reasons or explanation the prime minister gives on 1MDB will never be accepted by critics now. As supporters of the government, the party and as concerned citizens, we should wait for the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB before we comment further.
Table audit on 1MDB fast
I believe we should applaud the prime minister when he agreed with Umno Youth’s request that the audit should be thorough and completed as soon as possible. This is the single, most credible piece of document that could answer all questions out there, hopefully, and we must have it on the table fast.
I believe the Economic Planning Unit of both the federal and state government of Johor should come out publicly to share and explain the cost benefit analysis for the proposed crooked bridge (within the borders of Malaysia). The government can afford a bridge but the benefits must far outweigh the costs for anyone to invest in it. Besides environmental and legal issues, of course. Surely someone has done some studies on this project, no?
We have heard the argument that the bridge will allow ships of certain sizes to pass the Straits of Johor and it could boost the shipment volume in Tanjung Pelepas, Pasir Gudang and perhaps Kuantan. But there might be other issues and challenges that we don’t know and the agencies should not leave the prime minister in the shooting range. Speak up!
I believe the prime minister when he said that he did not order anyone to kill Altantuya and he has never met or known her. Swearing on the Quran is not a small matter. It is a grave and heinous sin if the truth is otherwise. And there is not a shred of evidence which links the victim to the prime minister. The closest we have seen was the doctored photo by an opposition leader.
I believe Dr Mahathir still cares for the prime minister and perhaps wanted to see a different side of him. The prime minister and Barisan Nasional must enter into the combative mode – attack and not backpedal to defend ourselves all the time. We must make a stand on policies and key issues, make it loud and clear. We need to focus on the details in whatever we do and whenever we communicate.
After all, in this age of digital and social media where information flows freely and perception is key in politics, we should be detailed, fast, strong and articulate or risk falling behind.
I believe with Dr Mahathir’s vast experience in politics and government, if both could still work with each other, Barisan Nasional will be at its strongest when that happens.
GOH WEI LIANG is a senior analyst at a government agency. He blogs at http://manifestogwl.blogspot.com
This is a letter published in Malaysiakini by a young man who grew up and benefitted from the nation building and growth during Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure. He has since looked up on the Statesman.
Mr. Goh is an economics graduate from Australia and crunch up numbers, for the purpose of measuring up and strategic planning in Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s transformation plan and agenda.
Mr. Goh’s letter makes most sense as compared to all the “We fully support the leadership of Prime Minister and UMNO President Najib” calls, almost daily events now being featured by mainstream media especially tv stations.
It is a good time for UMNO leaders to wise up quickly and learn something from young Mr. Goh.