Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Unsettling Case of NEC Chairman - A Kadir Jasin

My comments on A Kadir Jasin's "The Unsettling Case of NEC Chairman".
Sdr. A Kadir Jasin,

During pre-Pak Lah times, Maybank was known as an "institutionalised" bank. Decisions were not too speedy but usually well thought off. There were exceptions to the norm but these cases were small and few in numbers.

This is one bank that was known to be "difficult" when it comes to debt restructuring because the interests of its stakeholders were held high.

This stance appear to have changed when Pak Lah became the PM, especially so towards the end of his premiership. I wonder why?

I am not defending Amirsham but I seriously think there were external interference in their investment decisions culminating to "overpriced" venture into Indonesia and few other countries.

During the times of Dr. M, I don't think the interferences were as great compared to Pak Lah's time.

I could be totally wrong but I have a weird feeling that Amirsham was arm-twisted to pushing through those overpriced investments.

To "silence" him, he was appointed as Minister and to make sure those investments went through as planned, Wahid was made CEO of Maybank. [Despite such accolades heaped towards Wahid, I seriously don't think he did such a great job in UEM or Telekom.]

This practice of "wracking" a fully functional and profitable organisation is not confined to just Maybank. Look at FELDA and now, Petronas (as mentioned in your previous write-up)!

We have institutions that have served a large number of people being wracked for the benefit of a few...!!! This practice should be stopped!

Back to Najib's NEC.

I concur with you that Najib appears to suffer from "hangat-hangat tahi ayam" in his actions. A series of high profile walkabouts were published and then “silence is golden”. Does it mean that now the press are “not allowed” to cover those walkabouts?

Najib’s KPI does not look good at this point in time. More and more of his decisions are being questioned. Emphasis and focus are not on the economy or the global crisis. I am not too sure what the focus is on right now! Maybe milking whatever is left... ???

In June/July 2008, I commented that Malaysia’s economic outlook appears bleak at best. Back then export orders were being slashed by as much as 80%. Yet Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the then FM2 and Najib, as FM1, were adamant that Malaysia would not be affected by the global crisis.

There is nothing wrong in admitting the “difficult”business environment arising from the crisis in the US, Europe and Japan. Yes our export to the US is lesser now compared to 1 to 2 decades ago. But if our other export markets are also affected by US crisis, how could we escape!

Now Najib admits that the scenario is far worse that anticipated. Admitting alone would not solve the problem.

Speedy actions must follow.

Coordinated efforts must be enforced throughout the whole government machinery. Sense of urgency must be instilled throughout the whole set up.

I agree with Pak Belalang, the rumblings about “buying of new fighter jets” and training of volunteers in mosques are distressing. Why are we focusing “helping” out other nations’ industries/companies?

Without external interferences, Amirsham did reasonably well as a CEO/President of a bank. But that does not mean he would be a good Chief for NEC. NEC needs someone with far greater foresight, far greater resolve to move plans into actions. One who knows when to speak, when to be silent. One that understands how the whole government machinery works and how to make them tick! The person need not be an economics major or graduate but one who thinks on his/her feet... And this person need not be a graduate from Oxbridge or some fancy Ivy League!

Do we have such a person? I think we do. Najib must decide without fear or favour and must thoroughly think before deciding.

Najib must focus on the economy and Rosmah should refrain from being too visible, forceful and domineering. If Najib is not able to focus on the economy then his days as a PM would not be long. Instead he would go down into annals of Malaysia as the first UMNO President that became the Head of Opposition in Parliament...

First step, appoint a credible Head of NEC.

Second, stop messing with FELDA!

Third, refrain from messing with Petronas.

Forth, remove deadwoods from the government machinery.

While doing all these steps, FOCUS ON THE ECONOMY... !!! Speedy decisions are required...!!! Satisfying UMNO warlords would not ensure Najib's survival beyond the next GE!


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