A BEDTIME STORY STARTS WITH ‘ONCE UPON A TIME…’ AND LULLS THE VOTER TO SLEEP. THE SECOND IS AN ENERGIZER THAT ADDRESSES A FRESH DAWN.
Will the great Najib wash his blood clean from UMNO hands?
many recall those horrific days of UMNO Barisan, and many entangle themselves in unending debates, opinion on Mahathir remains as polarized as the UMNO is.And, this debate will never end because we never learn to know,the difference between Milk and Toddy of same colour but different in tasteif you were either the hunter or the hunted THE MALAYSIANINSIDER’S BIG PICTURE SAYS Jahabar Sadiq we journalists are living in a bubble
We were caught prostituting in 2008. Ever since, we’ve been rich with umno’s money
Public trust in the Government Widespread cynicism and distrust will force the Government to shelve many policy and business initiatives.
BN’s ability to command public support without extensive consultation and stake holder engagement has evaporated.Put all this together and what do you get? A very, very interesting 2012/13 result indeed.
I am an Indianmuslim and I am angry about what is happening to voters in Malaysia.
Does that mean I can walk to an Umno minister and slap Nor Mohamed Yakcop while he is giving a speech?
What kind of lame excuses are the Umno thugs making up? Their leaders are keeping quiet and the police inaction speaks volumes.Umno might come back to power with a greater majority, but in the process you are creating thugs and gangsters who continue to function as such.Can Umno leaders live with that? It’s time to rethink what you are doing with these youth.
Yet another election promise by our honourable prime minister. He may assume that all Malaysians believed him, have faith in him and willing to support all his ideas, suggestions and promises.I have sad news for you: for a party leader whose organisation is synonymous with corruption, lies and deceit just to stay in power, your statement rings hollow.
This is why the Badawi camp has rushed around suggesting that Najib will continue to give Badawi his long-held Kepala Batas seat to contest, as well as retain Nor Mohamed Yakcop in Tasik Gelugor.But Nor Mohamed is already so tainted by corruption allegations that it immediately discredits and kills off the very speculation the Badawi camp is trying to spread to pressure Najib. If Nor Mohamed, the economic minister and former Bank Negara trading chief who lost billions in the forex market, and whose political aide was caught with RM2 million in cash, can still be rated as ‘winnable’, then Najib deserves a grilling from other warlords as to why he is rejecting them for someone with such a record.British pound sterling.
related articlethat ‘Indian Muslims’ I have used countless times. Lately, it appears to me that ‘Muslims in India’ has finer connotations. ‘Indian Muslims’ clearly tells us … Read more
George Soros, the global forex player, was also speculating on the same currency but for different reasons.But both shared a common desire. They went for the kill. The battleground was the London foreign exchange market.
Both believed that they were going to make money from the British.One believed he could make fast and big money, the other wanted to profit from the expected fall of the pound.
The one that believed the Pound would appreciate took billions of US currency from Bank Negara foreign reserves fund (actual figure unknown).
The “wiser” speculator who believed the British Pound would fall was not using his own funds. He borrowed from British banks to the tune of 10 billon pounds and changed the money to German Mark.
The moment of truth came when on Sept 16, 1992, Britian left the ERM.Unable to stand the economic and market pressure on its overvalued Pound, Britian, instead of floating the pound, officially devalued its currency causing the pound to fall.
It was not what the European countries and Mahathir had expected. Luckily for Mahathir the currency did not crash.
The British government had a two-pronged strategy – firstly to devalue the Pound to stimulate the economy through cheaper and hence higher exports and more costly imports thereby reducing imports in order to regulate the country’s general economic fundamentals.
Secondly after the devaluation, the sterling was automatically floated to regulate the market fundamentals.
Had Britain directly floated the pound, the erratic rise and fall would disrupt Britain’s plan to stimulate the economy although it may have helped the pound to appreciate which speculator Nor Mohamed Yakcop had expected.
Bank Negara losses never revealed
Consequently Soros, who took the loan from the British banks, repaid it in Pounds which was then cheaper and pocketed the difference of more than US$1 billion.
While the Nor Mohamed Yakcop Malaysian gambler,, lost about US$4 billion. Later in 1993, Bank Negara again lost another US$2.2 billion in speculative activities.Malaysia’s total loss by this time stood at US$6.2 billion equivalent to RM15.5 billion (based on the exchange rate as at Sept 1992. US$1=RM2.5).
However, the actual figure for Bank Negara losses were never revealed.Instead, the central bank, when put under scrutiny for its dubious activities, gave conflicting and confusing data to make it difficult for the opposition to get to the bottom of the mess.
Bank Negara had abused the foreign reserves which were meant to finance imports, stabilise the ringgit and pay off foreign debts.The British government made the right decision.The devaluation made the pound cheaper thereby stimulating exports and made imports expensive.
Nor Mohamed Yakcop gambled away nation’s money
The fall based on devaluation is different from a fall by floating.The former is an economic adjustment to regulate the macro-economic fundamentals such as national output, employment, among others, while the latter is a market adjustment to regulate market forces such as the exchange rate of a local currency vis-a-vis foreign currencies and the share prices in the stock market .
Hence, once the nation’s currency has been devalued, it can be floated without the possibility of a currency crash because the effect of devaluation has already stabilised the country’s general economic fundamentals.
Mega gambler Nor Mohamed Yakcop had committed a serious crime by secretly compelling Bank Negara to use its scarce foreign reserves for unethical and unauthorised purposes.
What was more serious was that he had gambled away the nation’s hard-earned money worth billions of ringgit in high-risk global speculative activities.
He should be held accountable for this squandering.Malaysia did not have the expertise in global forex speculation the likes of global forex player Soros. What should Malaysians do to this mega crook who always denies any wrongdoing? Bank Negara, in this case, was in cahoots with Mahathir.
Nor Mohamed Yakcop must pay
Bank Negara is supposed to be the regulator of the financial market, not player/speculator. It can use its own foreign reserves to go into the forex market in Malaysia in order to regulate and stabilise the ringgit, but it should not speculate in forex markets. As such, its action was unethical. Foreign reserves of a country is a crucial item to service imports, regulate the country’s currency value and to pay off foreign debts.
The Bank Negara governor at that time was Jaffar Hussein and the head of the forex trading unit was Nor Mohamed Yakcop. Both resigned after the speculation fiasco.
The golden rule is if any Malaysian wants to bet in any foreign exchange market he should use his own funds, not that of the nation.Mahathir must be held accountable for his action.
As for the dozy Badawi, if he has not awoken from his beauty sleep, it would not be surprising given the complete lack of interest all round whether he is in politics or not. To many Malaysians, he had in his hand the power to change Malaysia for the better, but he did not when he bowed to pressure in 2008 and agreed to pass the premiership to Najib.
We have seen time and again how those who are close to you get off scot-free from indictment; no matter how serious the accusations against them.We have seen how your predecessors annihilated their political opponents through trumped-up charges, selective persecution and blatant abuse of power. factionalism, with selfish or mischievous ends, or turbulent or unscrupulous methods, is something of a bitter pill for the people to swallow:-
a) advancing a particular race policy or policy agenda, pitting ethnic against ethnic and faith against faith
b) preventing the adoption of alternative policies, eg. issuing Lynas, toxic waste generating company, a temporary license
c) supporting given individuals to positions of power within the organization or in the wider political world eg. SJ as Women’s minister
Thus, in a race-based party where there is only one race of members and there are factions, their internal conflicts only serve the interest of
the strongest faction, that one race and that race’s self-interests to cling on to power, and not the interests of the people and the multi-ethnics of Malaysia will lose out.
In a multi-ethnic based party, where the members consists of three and more races, factions might form around different race
but their interest will be common to the party and the general multi-ethnic population but with slightly differing goals.
As multi-ethnic based parties are democratic in structure, their multi-ethnic factions
a) rely on securing enough votes to win and engage in productive co-operation which allows its operations to be more predictable and stable
b) compromise and give-and-take of factions within allows the organisation to operate and promote organisational harmony.
d) multi-ethnicity help to broaden and diversify the organisation’s appeal to support goals closer to their own
e) having a distinct number of multi-ethnic points-of-view within a democratic organisation can energise it and allow it to perform its role more effectively
f) united in purpose, multi-ethnic factions represent a way of managing pre-existing differences within the democratic organisation.
Thus, multi-ethnic parties representing more races are better than race-based parties that represents only one race at any one time.Coalition governments, formed by multiple parties that get together while retaining their separate identities, have existed in many countries. For much of its independent history, India has had coalition governments in the states and, in more recent years, at the Centre as well. The rise of national parties other than the Congress, based on economic or religious ideologies, with local and regional issues taking precedence over national ones, was the cause. The Janata wave after the lifting of the Emergency was a solitary instance of national interests overriding others.
India had non-Congress governments in some states even in 1951, with the first communist government under E.M.S. Namboodiripad in Kerala and a coalition in the Patiala and Eastern Punjab States Union (later merged with Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh). Single-party governments have coherent programmes, policies and discipline. Policies are debated and agreed on within the party and there is no public dissent. The Namboodiripad government was dismissed in 1959 by the prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, on the advice of the then Congress president, Indira Gandhi, during an agitation against the communist government’s education policy.
Other state coalition governments included (during 1953-67) those in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa. State-level coalitions were of local parties and many were motivated by the greed for power and pelf. These coalition governments were relatively dysfunctional, with little coherence in policies and discipline. Indira Gandhi, who succeeded Lal Bahadur Shastri as prime minister, called for elections in 1967 and led a divided Congress — a party that was practically a coalition since there were public divisions within it. She split the Congress in 1969 and called for general elections. She won handsomely.
The Congress, until the formation of the first and second United Progressive Alliance governments, ruled as a single party, even when it was a minority government under P.V. Narasimha Rao. The single-party governments under Indira Gandhi had ideological coherence, aiming for a “socialistic pattern of society”, State direction and control of resources, and an anti-American stance in foreign policies. There was little internal or external opposition. Rajiv Gandhi, who followed, aimed to release entrepreneurial energy in the economy, updating technology, especially in information and communications, while improving closeness with the developed economies. One-party governments could develop their policies and implement them, so long as they stayed united behind the leadership. V.P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar, who followed Rajiv Gandhi, had little or no political base and the latter depended on outside support from the Congress. Narasimha Rao, despite running a minority government, liberalized and opened up the economy by buying support.
The first non-Congress government at the Centre was formed by the Janata Party in 1977. It was one party into which different founding parties (Jana Sangh, Congress[O], Lok Dal, Socialist Party, and some others) had merged, and strictly speaking, the Janata government was not a coalition government since it had one programme and manifesto, one flag, and one leader. But the constituents had quietly retained their identities and functioned as groups. The Janata government was in effect a coalition. It lasted, under two prime ministers (Morarji Desai and Charan Singh), for less than three years. Its demise was caused by internal bickering, struggles for position, lack of ideological homogeneity, some programmatic disagreements, utter lack of discipline among some in the cabinet, and quarrels over pelf. It achieved little in policies or governance and presaged the functioning of many coalition governments that followed.
The first coalition government at the Centre, composed of different parties and a common programme, was the United Front from 1996 to 1998. These minority governments, with H.D. Deve Gowda and then I.K. Gujral as prime ministers, were supported from outside by the Congress. ‘Outside support’ by the Congress was a euphemism for marking time till the Congress could pull down the ragtag coalition and come to power itself after a fresh election. Outside support does not enable cohesive governance and constantly reminds the government of its vulnerability. Whether Charan Singh or Chandra Shekhar, or later the UPA-I, they were made ineffective on many policies either by the Congress or communists who gave outside support.
The first effective coalition government at the Centre was led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The National Democratic Alliance was a coalition of 13 or more parties, of which the biggest was the Bharatiya Janata Party. The alliance had an agreed programme, seat arrangements for the elections, and a coordination mechanism led by one of the smaller parties. It met regularly and all differences were negotiated and settled. Among the members, two regional parties were blatant in their blackmail of the government. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (neither stayed long) and the Telugu Desam Party had nothing in common with the BJP except the desire to extract maximum advantage for their respective states and for some individuals.
The TDP stayed the full term and extracted plentiful financial support for its government in Andhra Pradesh. The money was largely misspent. In the state elections, the TDP lost because it had done little for the majority of the people in the state despite the undeserved largesse from the Centre.
Vajpayee’s coalition government made remarkable strides in governance — the Pokhran nuclear tests, which ultimately resulted in India’s admission to the nuclear club; the leadership in winning the Kargil war with Pakistan; the employment and growth generated by the national highway development project and construction of rural roads such as in the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana; and innovative social programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The government had its share of scandals — the Barak missile scandal, the lack of any action by the Centre after the 2002 Gujarat violence, and the recently exposed role of the NDA in the telecom licence issue which lost the country a lot of money but led to the rapid expansion of telecom penetration.
Vajpayee’s coalition government was a classic coalition management of disparate political parties and leaders, one which achieved many milestones. A successful coalition requires a leader like Vajpayee who has charisma and popular goodwill, has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve and a good judgement of his partners. He must command the respect of his ministers and they must observe discipline.
In the present UPA coalition, many ministers behave as if they have no cabinet responsibility or ministerial accountability. The agriculture and civil supplies minister is suspected by many to be profiting from his decisions. The former civil aviation minister is mentioned as being obliged to a major private airline operator and to have sacrificed the interests of the national airlines. The previous telecommunications minister was charged of making profits from his ministry. The sports ministry has benignly overseen large-scale theft of public funds by the Commonwealth Games organizers. There are other such instances.
Coalitions have functioned effectively elsewhere; now in the United Kingdom, for some years in Canada and European countries. In India, regional parties that join a coalition are more interested in benefiting their states and themselves than working for the national interest. Strong leadership, effective mechanisms for ensuring ministerial accountability and discipline, mechanisms for coordination between ministries, and intolerance for misuse and abuse of power are essential for effective coalition governments.
There has to be a coalition dharma. Members of a coalition government may retain their party identities but they must, in public, represent their governments. They have one leader in the government, that is the prime minister, and they must be obedient to him in public. Their corruption should not be blatant and in-your-face. Indian politicians have to quickly learn this dharma. The age of coalitions is not transitory and will last for long.
The author is former director general, National Council for Applied Economic Research
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me