Thursday, 18 September 2008

Oh Brother!

The decision to bring in Najib as Finance Minister is a good decision if only for the mere fact that it IS a decision.

Nevertheless, it is a sign that finally something (at least SOMETHING) will be done since Najib will have to do something. I am glad to see he is finally now "shoved" to the forefront but this may yet be his opportunity to show his mettle.

But mettle does have to come with some know-how right? I have been asking around about his academic qualifications for the job...I am still asking. In any case, the previous 2 guys did not have any, anyway. But for all our sakes Najib better be equipped to manage a crisis!

I personally think it may be too much too late and no one can blame him in the short term. Even Anwar has admitted, "... for the Pakatan (to rule), it is going to be tough under the current economic situation."

Since Najib has now finally put up his own website probably in effort to get closer to the people, we hope he will keep us posted about his ideas, opinions and indeed his own thoughts and decisions about things critical to the country; especially now the economy.

But there are some who are already cynical about Najib's new website and his new role. One such person is a guy seems to be in the know and he claims Najib was his former boss.

What ever said and done, since he has accepted the job he is already expected to bring in new blood into the Ministry based on this Malaysiakini report and among them is probably his younger brother, Nazir from CIMB.

However, Nazir Razak himself has this to say:

Najib's appointment as Finance Minister comes at a most challenging time, says Nazir

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 - The appointment of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as Finance Minister comes during one of the most trying times for Malaysia, his younger brother and CIMB Group Chief Executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said today.

"With the possible exception of 1998 (the Asian financial crisis), this is by far the most challenging time to become the Finance Minister," he said when asked whether Najib could provide renewed strength to the economy as the world enters a tumultuous period brought about by the global credit crisis.

"This is what I told him. We wish him all the best," he said after launching CIMB InvestSave, a saving and investment product.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced yesterday that he and his deputy were swapping portfolios, with Abdullah taking over defence and Najib the finance portfolio with immediate effect.

Nazir was also asked on the selling pressure on Bursa Malaysia, with the benchmark Composite Index falling almost 39.70 points or 3.96 per cent this morning, a 39-month low of 963.29 points, rendering the local bourse among the biggest losers in the region.

"The sharp decline reflects the global turmoil. We are not immune to the crisis," he said.

On the prospect of a KLCI recovery, Nazir said: "It is very difficult. We are in uncharted territory." - Bernama

Che Det also had this to say in Malaysiakini:

Pak Lah can't manage finance: Dr M

The former prime minister marked another milestone in his astonishing career by publishing a book based on his blog

Aptly named "Blogging to Unblock" as Dr Mahathir Mohamad only started blogging after he claimed to be blacked out by mainstream media – the book (in English and Bahasa Malaysia) is entirely made up of his postings.

At 83, the former premier continued to display his wit and sharpness in the ensuing press conference in Putrajaya after the book launch.

Commenting on the portfolio swap between Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Abdul Razak yesterday, Mahathir said that it was about time.

"I think it is an admission that he (Abdullah) cannot manage the Ministry of Finance. But actually there is nothing there because all the time it was being managed by Nor Mohamed Yakcop anyway (Second Finance Minister).

"Only problem is there is a lot of interference with Nor Mohamed (that's what I learnt). He, himself (Abdullah) played no role at all in the management of the finances of the country," said Mahathir.

"He has put Najib there but we are going to face a very critical stage in our economy because of what is happening in the United States, especially the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the US$85 billion bailout of AIG."

He warned that if Najib does not manage the economy well, the deputy premier will be blamed for it.

On whether the swap will relieve some pressure off Abdullah within Umno, Mahathir replied with his trademark sarcasm.

"I don't think he feels any pressure at all," said the former prime minister.

"Even when he lost the election or Permatang Pauh, he said it was nothing. I think his blood pressure must be very low. The whole country may feel the tension but he doesn't," added the doctor by training.

Recent arrests unjustified

Being a popular blogger now, Mahathir was also asked to comment on the recent arrests of bloggers.

"I think it is not justified. When people were arrested under ISA in 1987, there was tension in the country.

"There was this incident where a soldier shot somebody and Chinese were leaving the country. In order to restore law and order, the police had to take action.

"But this time, if you say that there is tension or security risk in this country because of the writing of a blogger … I don't think it's true at all," said Mahathir.

"Even if Teresa Kok was involved in a move to stop the azan that can be remedied by explaining that this is not a subject she should be discussing about."

Mahathir said that there is no risk at the moment (even in the case of Kok) and when the need arises, arrests can be made then.

"As far as bloggers are concerned, if they attack the government that is not subversion. If it (subversion) is defined as attacking the government, then Harakah (PAS paper) should be placed under detention, including some of the PAS leaders.

Despite his many clashes with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, the former premier was also against any ISA arrest for his former deputy.

"I think there is a case against him. Wait until the case is heard instead of detaining him under ISA."

On him rejoining Umno, the elder statesman said that he wants to wait and choose his own time to return to the party he re-founded in 1988.

He added that there were many who are trying to persuade him to rejoin, saying that he can still contribute to the party.

"But I haven't made any application yet and I will choose the right time to rejoin," said Mahathir with his trademark grin.

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