Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Just Do It...Najib

The Preacher Man did. Is Najib doing it? Do what? Just talk and no action. Not even cakap tak serupa bikin or bikin tak serupa cakap. The Preacher Man did nothing. Period. Now Najib is talking but will he walk his talk? Last night, Najib talked the loudest he has ever done since becoming PM. I hope he is talking loud and not big. Whatever it is, if he can only listen to Nike and JUST DO IT! maybe we will support him. This was what he be the judge.

As reported by the Malaysian Insider:

Najib says his head is on chopping block

By Sheridan Mahavera

SINGAPORE, April 6 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak claimed tonight that he has put his political career on the line by committing to purging rent-seeking and patronage politics in Malaysia’s economy.

He said this is because those who benefit from these practices are powerful and politically connected, and he hinted that they could even exert their influence in Umno, the party of which he is president.

Najib, who has made needs-based instead of race-based affirmative action an important plank of his administration, said that his approach has put him in a “dangerous” position.

“We don’t want rent seekers and the politics of patronage in our economy. I committed to that and it is dangerous because they are politically connected.

“But we have to help the Bumiputeras who need help, the Sarawakians, the Sabahans and the Orang Asli. Not just the Malays.

“Affirmative action has to be market-based, merit-based and needs-based because we want a more equitable society,” he told the audience at the Singapore Foreign Correspondents Gala Dinner here tonight.

“Every single Malaysian who is poor and vulnerable must be helped. If you are earning less than RM1,500 a month, you must be helped and it does not matter if you are Chinese, Indian or Malay.”

The prime minister reiterated that affirmative action policies will continue under the New Economic Model, parts of which he announced last month, but they will target the needy from all communities. This is in contrast to the financial aid and preferential treatment given to Malays which was a main feature of the New Economic Policy and which was practised by previous administrations.

Fighting for and instituting Malay-beneficial aid and policies is also the main struggle for Umno and is often used by the party to cement its presence and influence in the country’s most populous community.

Najib was fairly confident that thus far Umno members and leaders understood the need for the government to re-calibrate affirmative action so that it benefited all communities.

Yet he realised that by doing so, he has made his position in Umno more vulnerable as his presidency could be challenged at the next party elections, which are scheduled in 2012.

“Last year, we amended the Umno constitution so that anyone can challenge the party president. There will be no need for quotas. I had put my career on the line when I changed the constitution but as a leader, you need to lead by example.”

Before the amendment last year, an Umno member needed to be nominated by at least 30 per cent of the party’s 200-over divisions nationwide in order to run for president.

“I could have decided not to amend the constitution and be there for a long time, even more than 22 years,” he quipped to laughter from the audience. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed held the party presidency and was prime minister for 22 years.

Najib was also confident that his administration could “manage” the demands made by Malay supremacist group Perkasa, which has pushed for Malay-specific affirmative action and economic aid to be continued.

He also fielded queries from the audience who pressed him for details on the New Economic Model (NEM) and his administration’s foreign policy.

Reiterating that he was serious about pushing through painful but necessary measures, Najib said fuel subsidies would gradually but surely be eliminated.

This is despite the government’s decision to scrap plans for a tiered fuel subsidy scheme that was supposed to be done in May. It is understood that the plan was cancelled due to its complexity.

“The important thing (with removing subsidies) is that you must show the public where the savings from these subsidies are going. They don’t understand budget deficits but when you say we saved RM10 million and you show where and how you are going to spend it, then they will understand.”

He also said it was realistically unlikely that Malaysia and Singapore would politically re-merge but hoped that the economic ties between both countries would be strengthened.

A reunification after the 1965 separation, he felt, would be “painful” but closer economic integration made sense due to their shared history and proximity. This was being realised in the Iskandar growth corridor in southern Johor, which is supposed to be a hinterland for Singapore industries to expand.

“For example, the most recent development is that the Raffles Institution of Learning has agreed to set up a university with an initial capacity of 5,000 students.”

At the same time, outstanding issues such as the agreement to supply water to the island republic would still have to be ironed out but he was confident that his generation of leaders was committed to finding solutions.

“As for water, I was told that Singapore doesn’t need anymore of our water.”

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