Sunday, January 22, 2012

On changing horses midstream and the man who can walk on water — Sakmongkol AK47

On changing horses midstream and the man who can walk on water — Sakmongkol AK47

January 21, 2012
Malaysian Insider

JAN 21 — The prime minister told the people not to change horses midstream. So we asked, don’t we change even if the horse is limping and is running on three legs? In endurance races, riders change horses in order to arrive at the destination. Malaysians should be pragmatic when it comes to deciding their future.

Midstream for Barisan Nasional and Umno is already over 50 years. Since 1955, when the first elections took place until now, from Perikatan to BN, we have had more than 50 years of BN rule. What do we have?

We have development, for sure, but are also damaged by rampant corruption, utter disregard for the rule of law, abuses of all kinds, political manipulations, deception and lies and gross mismanagement of the economy. To all that, the PM says, we don’t change? If we don’t, we shall have another 50 years of unchecked corruption, emasculation of the judiciary, thugs running the legal institutions, abuses and gross mismanagement.

At another point in his speech, the PM says we don’t know whether the opposition knows what to do if they come into power. We don’t know whether, under Pakatan Rakyatwe, we can achieve developed status by 2020 with the fabled per capita income of US$15,000.

Of course Pakatan knows what to do. In the short years since they came into power, direct investments have been highest in Pakatan led states of Penang, Selangor and Kedah. These states have achieved balanced budgets without doing arithmetic tricks.

In Penang, which is led by a non-Muslim, grants to Islamic religious institutions have reached RM30 million a year. Compare that to Negri Sembilan, which is led by a good Muslim, where the grant is only RM 12 million a year. How is that possible? Because the state coffers have been managed better in one state than in the other managed by BN and Umno.

So, in answer to the PM’s pained exhortations, we should change horses if and when necessary. It’s now most necessary to change the tired horse. Retire him. But as a good animal lover, we won’t put it to sleep, but maybe employ it as a riding horse for children.

The other piece of news that struck me as odd was the statement from Khazanah Nasional that it didn’t make a profit from its sale of Proton shares to DRB-Hicom. If no profits were made, why sell the shares? You mean, a simple bottom-line judgement call require a phalanx of Oxbridge analysts to justify in order to sell at a profit?

Secondly, Khazanah’s statement can be construed as an admission that it was given a fait acompli, take-this-and-don’t-ask-any-questions offer. In Malaysia, only one person can do that – the man who can walk on water.

I hope I can throw more light on the sale of Proton shares to DRB-Hicom. Were there any other bids besides DRB-Hicom’s that were presented to Khazanah? Is Khazanah brave enough to publish the identity of all bidders?

If it has the courage to do so, we shall not be surprised if the bidders were only the Tengku Mahaleel- Arumugam group, DRB-Hicom, plus Nadzmi Salleh and Co.

If that is the case, whoever gets the shares has only one master. The man who can walk on water. —

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

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