Friday, May 29, 2009

In defense of the Prime Minister [Up-dated]

The economic figure just posted a gloomy first quarter GDP forcast skrinkage by 6.2%. The market forecast is a contraction by 3.5%.

As expected, there are parties pre-empting Putrajaya's response to basically point their nimble finger at the Finance Minister cum Prime Minister.

For that, it is not fair. The PM should not be blamed. He inherited the problems from his predecessor.

Dato Seri Najib assumed the MoF post on September 17th, 2008. Tun Abdullah basically announced he is not running for the UMNO Presidency in mid October 2008. UMNO General Assembly ended on March 28th, 2009. Najib swore in as PM on April 3rd, 2009. He didn;t have much time to avoid the global economic downturn.

Before the real intention of this posting is expressed, let's allay the blame the opposition is setting to blast the PM.

After all, it is them that diverted national attention to the endless politicking with the 916 charade, Perak constitutional crisis, and endless political provocations. When Najib offered an olive branch to work together to focus on the economy, Anwar answered in Parliament arrogantly accusing Najib as offering olive branch by throwing thorny durians.

When Najib tookover the finance portfolio, the GDP growth for the quarter, Q4 2008 was at 0.1%. Thats down from 4.8% for 3Q 2008 growth. By referring to the chart below, the economy was in a down trend from Q1 2008.


The general election was held on March 8, 2008, in which Barisan Nasional was handed it's worst performance ever and losing 5 states to the opposition coalition. The economic figure for Q1 2008 seemed prime pumped to prepare for the general election.

But throughout 2007, our growth was unimpressive; quarterly growth was ranging from 5.4% to 7.2%. The macronumbers were one thing but the indicators and experince on the ground were another.

In fact, one of the main grouses with the previous PM was the poor economic managment of the country. There is no need to go over that again, but understand that it is inherited. But, there is a need to discuss on defending the PM.

The manner to defend the PM is also to help, assist and remind him from making mistakes that could become ammunition for the opposition. Before one can strategise and pursue an offensive on the political opponent, the priority is to make necessary preparation for ones own defense and make pre-emptive steps to avoid any lapse in defense line.

The Prime Minister is faced with a multitude of tasks and inherited problems from the past administration to solve and overcome. The immediate responsibility is prepare for the difficult situation the people, nation, and party will be facing in the near future.

When he said in his closing speech at the UMNO GA that leaders should be better listeners, he is much aware that he needs all the help from all of us who still believe in the current leadership and government. There must be voices, opinions and viewspoints of ideas, cautions, and warnings for him to train his ears to listen.

It does not serve him to have claimed supporters praising every words of his like everybody was mimicking "Cemerlang, Gemilang dan Terbilang" and "Islam Hadhari" in the immediate past. The PM can't afford dishonest praises and sweetened words to lull him into a lullaby.

To defend the Premiership institution, one can't be blind loyalist whose claimed loyalty do nothing but lead the PM to make costly mistakes one after another without a word of caution and preemption.

One will hear their claimed defense with attacks on the vocal ones with accusation and labels of disloyalty, trouble maker, and even personal character attacks. One blogger expressing opinion was demonised with accusation of self interest securing of contract.

Instead of presenting fact and argument, they believe that defending the PM is by shallow denial and argument that the PM knows best. Where were them when PM delivered his closing speech at UMNO GA? Our PM acknowledge that the PM does not necessarily knows everything. He is truly asking to "work with me."

Returning back to the issue of the economy, the PM had laid out his Stimulus Package which will be supported by a Credit Guarantee Corporation. Today he announced the need for new approach in economic managment or a new economic model.

For this effort, he should be supported. The people, supporters and defenders of the PM has to ensure he is able to achieve what he set out to achieve. He need to be alerted on areas that need extra caution and needs delicate balancing. And, he need to develop an Economic Model that is for social justice and not "sama rata, sama rasa."

The desire to develop a new economic model was expressed by our previous PM, in which yours truly was present in that closed door session. What models that strive towards social justice did he came up with in 5 years?

For the PM to derive to that economic model, he should pick the right person for the right job. In areas where an economist is more appropriate, putting a banker with sheltered and play safe experiance of the economy will not meet the objective. In organistions where tradition of professionalism, independence, and corporate governance is of utmost importance, there must be no room for negotiation, justification and compromises.

Taking a "tak apa lah" attitude and excuses like "dulu pun lebih kurang" as justification will only be suicidal for the PM, especially when the ruling party is in its most vulnerable state from opposition attack.

In turning around the economy, the PM have to make a bold, out-of-the-box and ungeneric moves. He need to create a one swift step that awe and impress the people that instantly renew public confidence in the national leadership.

Among other things, the PM must take charge of the national debate. He should not allow opposition or activist dictate the direction of public discourse.

The PM should preferably be the first to express an opinion on any issues. His view must be sought after by the press and all. His feedback is something everyone take heed. He should be capable to anticipate any public's negativism and pre-empt with confidence building and clever remark.

The correctness of view or accuracy is not the primary concern. The keyword here is take charge. A PM that takes charge create good political perception.

Criticism, pre-emptive warnings and expressing expectation on the PM should not maturely be viewed as an attack on the PM. It shows concern and brevity to put right to wrong and avoiding costly mistake. It shows true supporter willing to express sincerely, even if criticised by the pembodeks around. It is easier to defend before a mistake is made than after it is done.

The party can't afford any more silly decisions and new mistakes. One senior politician used to caution that when a Malay reached a point described in Malay as meluat, no amount of persuasion or discourse or scare tactic could turn him around. Of late, this term is constantly heard on the ground.


The PM can't afford to be too deliberative in deriving a decision. He must be able to derive from his own observation, experiance, and knowledge into an instinctive decision. Leaders must be decisive and not flip flop like before.

The people and voters are expecting nothing less in a decisiveness. If it means heads rolling off the judicial guillotine board for corruption and money politics practices, be that as it may. Only then, could they be convinced change is forthcoming.

If the party delegate system is the problem, nilly dilly on the delegate numbers is seen as procrastination. All members want to be eligible to vote. And, if warlords and gatekeepers are the perenial problem in the party, there should not be any over balancing act to maintain them.

The expectation on the PM is a lot. He needs to solve problems, adminster the nation, and provide the leadership sorely missing in this country from half a decade of sleep. He has to do the needful and not trying to please everybody.

Bloggers like yours truly will play our role to defend him when he needs to be defended, will remind and pre-empt him when he is heading in dangerous territory, and although rarely do, will praise him when he did something truly worthy.

That's what defending the Prime Minister means to yours truly.

Note: The PM studied at University of Nottingham and the pictures are of Nottingham Forest FC supporters.


* Up-dated 6:30 pm

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

AFTER READING YR POST, I THINK IT SHOULD BE RE-ENTITLED ' REMINDING THE PM' THAT HE HAS LITTLE TIME TO MAKE MISTAKES WHICH UNFORTUNATELY HE HAS BEEN DOING SINCE BEING APPOINTED THE PM. DSN HAS CLAIMED TO HAVE NEARLY 30 YRS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE BUT HIS PERFORMANCE SO FAR IS INDICATIVE OF A LACK OF DEPTH WRT POLITICAL ACUMEN N JUDGEMENT. THERE IS NO HARM IN NOT KNOWING EVERTHING. THERE IS VIRTUE IN LISTENING TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW N CAN ADVISE. BUT , DSN ACTED MORE LIKE A YOUNG MAN IN A HURRY TO PROVE HIS MANHOOD ON THE WEDDING NIGHT. MY IMPRESSION OF THE UMNO LEADERSHIP IS AKIN TO THE GROUP 'BOYS TO MEN' ESP THE 3 VPs.

HERE ARE SOME MAJOR FUMBLES:-

1. 1MALAYSIA. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? TO THE MALAYS, THEY FEEL THEY ARE LOSING THEIR POSITION IN THE CTRY. TO THE NON-MALAYS, EVERYBODY IS EQUAL. TO THE OPPOSITION, 1MALAYSIA= MALAYSIAN MALAYSIA. DON'T BLAME THEM FOR INTERPRETING ACCORDING TO THEIR INTERESTS AND FEARS BECAUSE DSN HIMSELF DID NOT CLARIFY WHAT IT MEANS.

2. FUMBLE NO, 1 IS SIMILAR TO FLIPFLOP PM BIGGEST MISTAKE = ISLAM HADHARI. IH WAS NOT DISCUSSED THOROUGHLY BY THE UMNO AND RELIGIOUS EXPERTS. IT LED TO PAS USING IT AS THE BULLET THAT LED TO THE DISASTROUS PRU12. DOLLAH BADAWI THOUGHT HE HAD A WINNER. IN THE END, HE GOT SHOT.
SIMILARLY, DSN WILL FIND HIMSELF IN THE SAME BOAT SINCE HE HIMSELF DO NOT KNOW ENOUGH OF WHAT 1MALAYSIA MEANS TO EVERBODY.

LESSON NO. 1: TO BE A LEADER, BE HUMBLE. LISTEN TO THE RAKYAT FIRST, THEN MAKE UP YR MIND. NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND N EXPECT THE RAKYAT TO SUPPORT U IN THE NEXT PRU13. BYE, DSN.

LESSON NO. 2: U CAN ONLY MAKE ONE MISTAKE. YR MISTAKE IS 1 MALAYSIA.

Parpu Kari said...

Hmmm, i am still waiting for our PM to do something that will impress me and the Rakyat especially!

Takpe belum cukup haul lagi ni...kita tunggu dulu, he he he

Anonymous said...

kind of funny, when bloggers are the only entity in malaysia that seemed to defend PM.
whatever happen to the rest of government machinery?

Anonymous said...

Voice,

No Need to Tegak Benang Basah.

PM ONLY NOW Just Announced The Appointment of Chairman for NEAC...The Economic Task Force to Tackle the Downturn>
Why Only Now!!
Because he was too busy entertaining Saiful and Zambry and the Three Frogs....

If he was really interested in Tackling the Country's economic Problem, he should have Kicked in The NEAC upon coming into Office..

Joe Black

A Voice said...

Anon 4:06 pm

Reminding the PM is also defending the PM. It is a preemptive move.

Wenger J Khairy said...

Mr Voice,
Why blame Pak Lah? PM inherited the portfolio in Q4 08, and then proceeded to destroy his credibility by claiming "no recession" imminent when even a school kid would have told you otherwise.

In Finance world, the single most important thing is trust. Look at the back of most bank notes - there it is inscribed clearly or alluded to - the concept of trust. So when the PM makes a major fumble like this, people look and think to themselves, whats he smoking?

Whats a -6.2% GDP year on year mean. Approximately a loss of about a nett loss of RM 15 billion of economic value compared to its base last year. Which actually is good considering that the period in question included the low cycle of the commodity prices. So I honestly thought, thats its perhaps a 1 quarter thing - but now they are coming and saying its gonna be for the whole year. For a good part the commodity prices are on the upswing, unless, my hypothesis that there is permanent closure of factories comes true.
I think its a bit of spin - if we are going to contract for -5% for the whole year, we are very very very screwed up. We might as well demand a RM 41 billion refund cos the Government is incompetent.
My take - PM is just setting a low base to outperform.

Anonymous said...

Well done, bro.
A very balance report.

I have written an article on MAS and I will be very honoured if you can post it your site.

Salam.

fazilogic said...

Dear A Voice,
a good reminder to the PM. It's our fervent hope he'll listen to some if not all.

Dear Joe Black,
Has Najib not taken any affirmative action at all on the economy? I thot i have heard a stimulus package or two have been implemented. We don't need to wait for an NEAC to do that, do we?

A Voice said...

Wenger

Thats why you fail to realised that ALL politicians and leaders in the world try to tone down bad news or lie a little to avoid market panic.

That you do not learn at Harvard Business School or Oxford or Ethos or ECM Libra.

If that is Najib's mistake, its no big deal.

You should not forget a sleepy idiot used to make an unconventional claim that our economy is fine coz we have RM1 trillion total trade and forecast growth for a budget with 0.5% range.

Why blame Pak Lah? I ask why not? What did Pak Lah do worthy as a legacy? Islam Hadhari?

A FRIEDLY REMINDERSince you are here, your blog was given good mentioning in a recent bloggers forum few weeks back as being mature and analytical.

But why do you have to screw up your blog by going personal on another blogger in your recent postings?

A posting dedicated to attack another blogger is low class act and with such titles is just childish. Grow up, Wenger!

Brunt Council said...

Wenger

Nampak sangat over eager macam Khairy dan Omar Ong.

Ini article bukan dedicated on economics lah.

Show off!

Macam dia sorang pandai.

Anonymous said...

Voice,

fazilogic said;

"Dear Joe Black,
Has Najib not taken any affirmative action at all on the economy? I thot i have heard a stimulus package or two have been implemented. We don't need to wait for an NEAC to do that, do we?"

Itu lah... Siapa Nak monitor Billions worth Stimulus Package....
Nak harap Government Servants? Nak monitor diri sendiri pun tak mampu..

Now NEAC supposed to monitor and ensure spending of stimulus package is in the right way/places!!
Yes.. but they have to meet First!
Did we all see the horses bolting out of the Stable....
What horses? All 6 horses (-6%)
Now have to put in New Horses!!


Joe Black

Wenger J Khairy said...

Hi Mr. Voice,
I've taken note of your reminder. Direct and straight to the point, and on balance, I think your right.

So its inexcusable so to say. I'll keep this in mind for the future. I'll also be the first to admit that standards have been slipping, and I'll try to address that in the future.

Anyhow back to some of the points you raised. The concept of "spinning" / toning down bad news. Fine - the argument you put forward makes sense, provided, that the end effect could be somehow mitigated. For example, if we projected +3% and settle for -5%, the swing is tremendous.

I guess my question is this. If indeed the economic intelligensia in the Finance Ministry did forecast a contraction of lets say -5% for Q1 and full year of between -2 to -4, would it be wise for the PM then to say that growth would be positive and Malaysia will avoid a recession?

Or the contrarian view that if the Finance Ministry had predicted that we would indeed be spared a recession, having growth between -0.5 to +1%, thereby mitigating the PM's optimistic forecast, should we be more afraid that our economic intelligensia gets things wrong by such a wide basis?

A Voice said...

Wenger

Every month, analyst and economist make all sort of economic forecast, most are wrong.

But I will admit our forecaster went to far astray not to be able to see 6.5%.

We are in deep shit, but our politicinas are not willing to sit and work together but relentlessly agitating the people for a "revolution".

We shouldn't fall for that.

My Say