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Thread: Governance: Incompetency through moronocracy - Malaysia’s authoritarian ways reflected in poor handling of missing MAS plane crisis, says paper

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Mahathir’s evil birds have come home to roost

    Posted on 31/03/2014 - 09:29

    OUTSPOKEN: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dismissed the foreign media for criticising Malaysia and MAS for their poor handling of the missing MH370; but underneath their concern, he must have realised that they are criticising his legacy of corruption. His ego must have been jolted when his accomplishments were exposed in such a terrible fashion.

    Years of mismanagement, incompetency, misrule and false pride, all of which were allowed to fester during Mahathir’s regime, have now come home to roost. Do we feel sorry for Mahathir? No! Our hearts only go out to the families of the passengers and crew of MH370 and the MAS employees who have been let down by their senior management. We also feel for our country, which has been exposed to ridicule, because it has been mismanaged for several decades.

    We reserve only feelings of pity and contempt for Mahathir, but we must face up to the sad fact that we are also to blame. We allowed things in our country to reach this terrible position. We allowed ourselves to be manipulated and we did not do enough to stop evil people from taking away our dignity. Our failure to take control and keep our leaders in check has manifested itself in the behaviour of the crisis management team for MH370.

    Although Mahathir is correct to say that the situation is not helped by people postulating theories whilst the SAR operation is progressing, and that we should wait for the facts, he is wrong to say the SAR is being handled “very well”. It has been a shambles from the start.

    Malaysians cannot avoid the heavy censorship of our papers, but Mahathir must have seen footage on foreign and cable television, or read foreign newspaper accounts of the bumbling and incoherent faces of Malaysian authority. Whilst in the spotlight, they try to wriggle their way out of answering legitimate questions from foreign journalists and relatives. It later transpired that journalists may not ask questions and families were forcibly prevented from speaking to the press.

    Public relations is not our leaders’ forte. This lack of professionalism cannot explain the inconsistent statements, the retractions, the denials or the ‘tidak-apa’ attitude displayed by the chief of police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, when grilled about the stolen passport fiasco.

    Mahathir said, “It is very easy to criticise but we are facing a situation that has never been experienced by any country in the world.

    “If you say Malaysia failed (in handling the missing flight), that means the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and all those other countries (helping in the search and rescue) also fail, why don't you blame them also.” (sic).

    Malaysia is known as one of the main hubs for human trafficking, the drug trade, counterfeit goods and match fixing. The police and related bodies are weak enforcers. The MACC manages to find the small fry but its net has holes which allow the big fish to escape. Mahathir compromised the judiciary and ever since then, justice has come at a price – literally. At least we have the best police force that money can buy.

    Mahathir’s own personality flaws allowed him to be consumed with hate, and his race-based policies have all but destroyed our nation.

    During Mahathir’s era, disgruntled armed forces staff often complained about promotions. They alleged that people were promoted not because they were courageous and distinguished, but because of their brilliance at sycophancy. This attitude neither motivates nor inspires loyalty.

    From the MH370 crisis, we have seen that the chiefs of the armed forces at the MH370 press conferences are an embarrassment. Their pot-bellies make them appear unfit. When they open their mouths, their lack of fluency in English is shocking. If the chiefs of staff exude this air of decay and despondency, how can we have confidence in the lower ranks?

    The British left us an enviable civil service, but Mahathir put paid to that. Today’s civil service is bloated with inefficient people who realise that they have a dream job for life and that no one can get rid of them. Mahathir encouraged tardiness.

    The strongest condemnation of the SAR operation has come from overseas. Foreigners now realise the terrible conditions Malaysians have had to put up with for decades. Mahathir, like all of us, will learn in the coming months how the MH370 incident will affect our tourist trade, our foreign investment and our reputation abroad.
    Criticism is one mechanism which allows us to work towards positive change. Mahathir dealt harshly with his detractors by silencing them with the ISA. Foreign critics working or living in Malaysia were simply deported.

    Mahathir must hate the way globalism allows the easy dissemination of news. If he had his way, he would treat the foreign media as he used to treat the Malaysian press, with censorship and the withdrawal of their permits. Ironically, MH370 has delivered Malaysia’s shoddy administration into the living rooms of every foreigner. Mahathir has no control over international media and he cannot hide from them all the dirt that he does not want others to discover.

    The hallmarks of Mahathir’s governance are lack of accountability, lack of responsibility and the haemorrhaging of taxpayers’ money. MAS has been bled dry. Has anyone in Mahathir’s administration been prosecuted for crimes against the people?

    Malaysians embrace constructive criticism so that improvements can be made. We refuse to hide behind the veil of sensitivity. It is Mahathir who is blind and unable to see what others have seen. He refuses to take personal responsibility and would rather pretend that he has forgotten. The phrase he coined for the Malays, “Melayu mudah lupa”, is more appropriate for him, despite his origins of which he is deeply ashamed.

    Mariam Mokhtar is "a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth."



  2. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    ASIAMissing Plane Will Haunt Malaysia's Future

    APR 8, 2014 6:01 PM EDTBy William Pesek

    President Barack Obama always knew his Asia tour later this month would be fraught with political landmines. The two nations that lead off his itinerary -- U.S. allies Japan and South Korea -- have been squabbling for more than a year over World War II history. Another, the Philippines, is one of Asia's economic bright spots even as President Benigno Aquino's government is locked into a dangerous maritime territorial spat with China -- a country Obama would rather not antagonize.

    But most problematic of all may be Obama's time in Malaysia. Obama's visit -- the first by a U.S. leader to Kuala Lumpur in 50 years -- was meant to celebrate a nation viewed as a high-tech hub of moderate Islam and a democratic contrast to China. Six months ago, Obama hailed Malaysia as “an example of a dynamic economy" and touted its multiethnic society as a model to others. Today, amid the global outcry over the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, such praise sounds naive. The past month has highlighted Malaysia's deepest flaws, and all-too-few of its strengths.

    The international press has pilloried Prime Minister Najib Razak's government for its initial response to the crisis, which was marred by conflicting information, poor coordination with neighboring countries, defensiveness, and an apparent lack of transparency. Fairly or not, since March 8 when Flight 370 disappeared on its way to Beijing, Malaysia has lost a great deal of its standing both in the region and around the world.

    At the same time, Najib's government has been clamping down on internal political dissent. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim once again faces the specter of jail on sodomy charges; Karpal Singh, chairman of the Democratic Action Party, is defending himself against sedition allegations. Local media outlets critical of Najib are on the defensive. The government has by contrast been silent on efforts by Islamic conservatives to limit who can use the word "Allah" -- a campaign that has eroded Malaysia's reputation for religious tolerance.

    What can Najib's government do, post-Flight 370, to improve its image at home and abroad? This isn't a mere PR challenge. The country needs nothing less than a political revolution.

    The Flight 370 crisis has fully exposed the dangers of allowing one party to rule a nation for six decades. Since rising to the top job in 2009, Najib has had to divert his attention from revitalizing Malaysia's economy to maintaining the United Malays National Organization's long hold on power. It's a full-time job: For years populist handouts, gerrymandered districts, and political arrests secured the party comfortable majorities, but in last year's election the ruling coalition lost the popular vote for the first time. Its ethnically Malay, largely rural base is dwindling.

    Early on, Najib thrilled global investors by hinting that he would scrap his party's 40-year-old affirmative-action policies, which favor Malays. But UMNO's troubles prompted Najib to expand rather than eliminate such apartheid economics.

    These affirmative-action policies stifle innovation and drive away investment. They disenfranchise the country's Indian and Chinese minorities, forcing many of them to seek their fortunes overseas. Malaysia is blessed with enviable natural resources. But it is willfully squandering its equally enviable human capital.
    The longer Malaysia sticks with the racial preferences, the more graft and opacity will worsen and undermine growth. The only way to unshackle the economy -- which should be performing a lot more like South Korea than Vietnam -- is to end such policies.
    Najib could start by announcing specific targets and dates to scrap Malay-friendly quotas on hiring, preferential treatment for government contracts, and perks involving everything from education to housing. Civil-service and Cabinet appointments should be about ability and nothing else -- not race, not sex, not age. Until and unless every lawmaker, ministry and government-linked corporation realizes they will have to answer for their actions and failings, the trust gap between Malaysians and their government will only widen.

    Ending affirmative action would increase accountability and transparency within the government and the economy. It would bolster international confidence. The government's handling of Flight 370 was no fluke. The fumbling exposed a political elite that's never really had to face questioning from its people, never mind the rest of the world. That same political culture created and coddled national carrier Malaysia Airlines. Not surprisingly, even before this, the airline had fared poorly against peers amid growing global competition.
    Six months ago, Obama could praise "Malaysia’s diversity, tolerance and progress" and "dynamic economy" as "a model to countries around the world." The president's speechwriters will have a hard time coming up with compliments that sound credible this time. Najib has the power to change that -- if he has the courage.

    To contact the writer of this article: William Pesek at

    To contact the editor responsible for this article: Nisid Hajari at


  3. #43
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    After an Australian vessel, Ocean Shield, again detected deep-sea signals consistent with those from an airplane’s black box, the official leading a multination search expressed hope Wednesday that crews will begin to find wreckage of a missing Malaysian airliner “within a matter of days.”“I believe we’re searching in the right area,” Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Updated: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:59:26 GMT | By The Malaysian Insider : Malaysia

    The meltdown of Malaysian institutions

    There was a time when Malaysia was known for its institutions – a civil service that facilitated rapid development from an agrarian economy to an industrialised one, a judiciary that was held in high esteem of the Commonwealth, and a military that defeated a communist insurgency. Today, more than 50 years as a nation spanning from Perlis to...

    Malaysia Insider

    There was a time when Malaysia was known for its institutions – a civil service that facilitated rapid development from an agrarian economy to an industrialised one, a judiciary that was held in high esteem of the Commonwealth, and a military that defeated a communist insurgency.

    Today, more than 50 years as a nation spanning from Perlis to Sabah, we see ineptitude and incompetency, a complete meltdown of Malaysian institutions.

    The Attorney-General now farms out cases to an Umno lawyer; the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) leads an organisation which does not act when a High Court rules; the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) suffers a credibility deficit; and the air force has not covered itself with any glory.

    So who do Malaysians turn to in time of need?

    Not any of the above, it appears. Sad but true.

    The saga of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared with 239 people on board on March 8, has confirmed what Malaysians have suspected for a long time. That there is not much meritocracy and thinking going on in the civil service.

    The authorities, from the minister downwards, have yet to explain what happened in the crucial hours after MH370 was found missing. A CNN and BBC television report yesterday showed Defence Minister and Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein avoiding the question.

    Can the civil aviation sector trust the DCA to do the right thing immediately after a flight vanishes from the radar screens? Why wasn't the air force told that a jet was missing? Why wasn't plane maker Boeing told immediately? Why didn't the air traffic control respond to their Vietnamese counterparts when told that there was no contact with the Boeing 777-200ER that was on its way to Beijing?

    Why the silence?

    These days, Malaysia just has bad jokes passing off as the civil service, police force, military and the public prosecutor. This is the meltdown of institutions that had shaped the country from its formative years to the Asian tiger that it once was.

    The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) also has to explain how it defends the country's airspace throughout the day. Yes, we have brave men and women in uniform keeping watch but a mysterious blip on the radar moving east to west was left unmolested.

    Not even hailed by radio, let alone scrambling jets to check on the blip. Or even to ask the DCA and air traffic control if they were also seeing the blip.

    Does the RMAF have fighter jets on standby? How many can fly these days apart from those used for parades, air shows and F1 races?

    The IGP has decided to play marriage counsellor to a divorced couple rather than enforce the law after the ex-husband forcibly took away his son from the ex-wife's legal custody.

    Does the IGP or anyone else in the police force know the law and the offence that was committed, or do they assume there is a conflict in the civil and Shariah law that they cannot take any action?

    Can anyone cite religion and get away with a crime? How can people trust the police to enforce the law passed by lawmakers elected by the people?

    Where is the Attorney-General in all of this? Is it more important for him to go to London to figure out who will have custody of the MH370 black box, once found, rather than stay back in the country and decide on whether to prosecute or take action against a man for abducting his child from his ex-wife's legal custody?

    Or just outsource some jobs to an Umno lawyer - from defending the Registrar of Societies (RoS) in a judicial review brought by the DAP to prosecuting opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his sodomy appeal.

    Is the Attorney-General's decision to outsource some work a tacit confirmation and acknowledgment that there is no talent left in the A-G Chambers to do the work?

    And is there any talent also left in the civil service, police force and military?

    Malaysia's civil service was the envy of many - from working on poverty eradication and affirmative action policies to industrialisation and a respected judiciary and prosecution.

    They did more with fewer resources and lesser people then. But they had quality talent back then.

    These days, Malaysia just has bad jokes passing off as the civil service, police force, military and the public prosecutor. This is the meltdown of institutions that had shaped the country from its formative years to the Asian tiger that it once was.

    It might take a generation to possibly set things right with these institutions.

    Or is that just a hope that is fading as fast as the chance of hearing another ping in the southern Indian Ocean? - April 15, 2014.

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