Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Of Politicians & Promises

Politicians make promises to the people in order to get the power to do as they like for the next four years.

As absolute power corrupts absolutely - the wholesale dismantling of the economy twice - I suppose there is really nothing much to fear, as there is nothing much more to plunder, except the future of our children and grandchildren - by creating widespread inflation and asset bubbles through reckless creation of loans and debts - the last frontier of economic exploits.

The dispensing of freshly printed cash to all and sundry by both sides, ostensibly as a means of partially and temporarily mitigating the adverse effects of all-round inflation such as to help the poor, by nothing but plainly election-centred. Obviously, much is at stake here, not just to the politicians (whom we know will spare no efforts to dominate the world with their own sense of truth), but to our society at large when so many of us are feeling so disenfranchised by a government machinery that is spattered as it tries to keep pace with the developments in our society and the rest of the world. We have never seen a government so out of breath.

Let us not simply put the whole blame of the mess on the current government which, unfortunately, has inherited it from its own elder party-members who now seem to be up to their usual mischief of doing their masterful prognostications through the agency of mediums and the artful application of doublespeak. Big Brother has never been so present in the Malaysian society as today.

The opposition is selling nothing but the anti-thesis. They vow to right every wrong that has happened in the country (restore history?) or is happening in the country (by getting rid of the present government?).

There are many things to do to reconstruct the nation and the national economy.

The reversal of the psychology of the corruption culture will take a bit of time - and this can only be achieved by destroying the monopoly power that has stretched its tentacles to every nook and corner of our society. It is quite clear that at the centre of the corruption is the political structure of collusion to dominant the rest of society. The political structure for absolute political power must be dismantled. The Malaysian mindset has shown itself to be incapable of decency when there is no formal supervision. The current structure of the collective power of the incumbent government and that of the opposition with its own brand of extreme anti-thesis is something that we have to lose sleep over.

The Malaysian economy is now in shambles. So much money has been siphoned out of the economic system that no amount of government debt-fueled injections can hope to revitalised. The vast amount of unidentified capital outflows is a reflection of the severity of the corruption of the government, not necessarily only of the present but of the cumulative effects of the past. With the loss of confidence of the people on the government, there is no choice but private sector to get out in the guise of "outward" investments as allowed by government policy. The private sector has voted that there is no economic future in the country, and foreign countries are seem to have a better future. Banks and other financial institutions have no choice but to ambush and capture the poor and impoverished consumers who find it hard to carry on without mortgaging their future. The current real estate boom is a sham.

I am keenly aware that it can be argued the Malaysian economy of today is as good as it can given the state of the world economy. This is true only when we are hapless. I am arguing that we are where we are as a result of our own doing and we only have ourselves to be blamed and also we are the only ones who should try to fix it.

The restoration of our economic system to a self-sustaining economy can only be done when we put back all our supporting institutions which can act as checks and balances for the excesses that are likely to occur in any democratically-elected majority-based governments. It is this constant balancing act that will put us Malaysians back into an even keel so that we are can, without fear, live our lives in the best way we see fit without harming ourselves and with the self-assurance that our future will be good because we get to enjoy the fruits of our own labour.

I am therefore apprehensive of all politicians no matter how good their intentions. Politicians are nothing but power-hungry people who are least technically competent in whatever they become in the political arena subject when killing each other or colluding with one another all for the sack of power. They take credit which is not their and blame others for the ruin they have created or do not even choose to realise the ills they done. I look for learned professionals who know how to build institutions that will keep civil society in check while at the same time providing a sense of security over the uncertain future in the things that people choose to do with their lives within the confines of a decent society. Politicians should just leave the people alone to get on with their lives rather than making promises they cannot keep.


walla said...


If as earlier told that we have one of the most centralized economies in the world, how then can the private sector which in many ways depend on the central powers for its sustenance execute check-and-balance against its own cheque paymasters?

That's why voters are left with only one option - change the paymasters in order to free the private sector to work back to clean prices and real-world productivity.

Now one may argue any new paymaster will be no different because power will equal money soon to equal corruption. However if that happens, voters will now have four years to identify the miscreants and vote them out with as much fanfare as they were voted in. Moreover they will now have benchmarks of governance.

In that, the linchpin is plain to see - all the bad things have already been done by the political masters of the present government so that going forward to the forthcoming elections, voters will have their homework done for them - those records over the years of abuse of power, ill-gotten gains, double-talk, hypocrisy and deliberate malignant neglect of segments in order to advance some twisted tinpot psychosomatic ethnocentricity cloaked as short-cut catch-ups.

If these things get repeated in the new government, it should also suffer the same fate, perhaps even more for puncturing the faith and hope of the voters who regardless of their strata and segmentations have elevated it as their last resort.

And that's the compelling insurance which citizens and voters have for better governance which is critical for survival given the surreal condition of the economy in tandem with the obvious deficits in labour productivity, intellectual capital and real improvement factors, all the positive things that have not been sufficiently addressed because the government and its political masters were too busy helping themselves make and bed hay.

walla said...

A change of federal government will reveal even more the bad things done that have been hidden from the citizens.

We have already seen the magnitudes of some of the corruptions done by the present government and exposed by the Opposition when the latter took over some of the states in the last elections.

Surely the citizens of the other states should also suffer the same pain of knowing what has been done to their state coffers and to federal funds collected from their tax payments and state wealth.

Only when pain is more uniformly shared will there be final national realization of the real depth to which we have sunk that has been kept optically superficial from those who are viewed only for their votes.

And only with a more unified consciousness of our precarious situation can there be collective clamor for real solutions to real problems, not vote-currying spins propped by feel-good dispensations of corporate earnings press-ganged to contribute to gang-nam performances at a million US dollars a pop.


walla said...

What is a government? A body of civil servants run by a group of politicians.

What is a good government? A body of civil servants who are not 'yes-minister' types and run by a group of politicians who are real leaders beholden with a long-term horizon to their peer standards of professional ethics and driven by honest common concern for the well-being of both citizens and country.

What is a bad government? The anti-thesis of a good government...

The forthcoming general elections is not about changing the civil service but changing the politicians who have given the service a bad name by distorting rules of law, corrupting practices of integrity and thwarting fair, just and efficient operations, support and welfare.

Freed from bad political policies, sanctions and rules, the civil service can return to be a good yardstick by which the running of things in this country can be measured, as had happened once a long time ago.

If and when that happens, the private sector will have to bootstrap itself to try and outperform a revived public sector that now is only viewed with grudging suspicion, not just on account of the annual auditor-generals report.

The entire mess in this country is traceable to a select group of politicians. Some have passed on, others have persisted in remaining active. And new ones have been groomed to continue the heritage of squander and plunder. Some will add murder.

Their modus operandi is motivated by one elemental emotion - personal gain. If not for themselves personally, then their personal gain must be for their family members and relatives. Put a magnifying glass on the identities of all the nominees in the economy and the genealogy of ill-gotten gains will surface. How to explain all the conspicuous and sudden wealth on their gazetted salaries? Impossible, yes?

All that wealth came from what would have legally been channeled to citizens and country. That it has been channeled in parts to the very individuals voted to do the channeling to the peoples and nation implies the voters must have been blinkered or stupid or have been suffering from some tumorous malignancy. Let's coin that D. For denialism.

walla said...

D is for denialism. It is also for dialogue. Let's have one now:

D1: 'Foreign visitors have remarked how good are our roads.'

D2: 'Built at corrupt costs.'

D1: 'But the roads are still good, no?'

D2: 'Really? Tolls are still being collected on business models that ignored traffic growth revenues and long past recovery tranches, even on the most generous privatization terms. The profits? Channeled to cronies of the givers. The solution? Take from the motorist tax funds to subsidize the same concessionaires.

And other roads are still being tarred one on top of the other for lack of funds so as to save cost of scrapping off the old layer, resulting in elevated layers covering the flood escape sluices. Humps are arbitrarily raised all over, costing billions in vehicle shock absorber and brake replacements, and additional consumption from re-pressing the fuel pedal.

Which roads did your foreign visitors use? Which countries did they come from?'

D1: 'Look, i know what you're driving at. I say the present G is still good. Why change? Do you want hudud law?'

D2: 'A saudi prince once told me it's not that easy to chop off a hand. You need the crime to happen three times and each time there must be four witnesses.'

D1: 'Yes, but if we have a new government whose one member is hellbent on creating such a state, don't you think it wiser to avoid it altogether? Why play with fire? Surely you can figure out for yourself what will happen....those of the same faith but under the other political party will slide into the fold and one fine day you will have a big majority all for it, and able to pressure constitutional change to make it a reality. Then there will be four loudspeakers on every road in every housing estate.'

D2: 'That already is happening along one road i know where there are peoples of other faiths so what's the difference?'

D1: 'Hello there. You cannot be using the same denialism method on me as you had ascribed me for using it on you!'

D2: 'Whatever the case may be, is the final bottomline still and always to be religion>race>rights for all times for this small insignificant country? Then we are infinitely finito.'

D1: 'You tell me. All the same, aren't we having a good life? Plenty of holidays in a year. Relatively cheap food. Nice weather. Many things provided by the government. Peace, harmony, stability and progress....'

D2: 'Are you sure you're not one of those instant citizens? Let's have a look at your IC.'

D1: (jumps out of window and runs away). The end.

walla said...

What for roads, everything else. Including our minds, it seems.

What is a good state of mind to have that will prevent one from finding cushy comfort as permanent attachment? And thus druggy dependency.

I want to be able to cognate without emotion my own mind as it tips around biases built on the stilts of temporal perceptions while searching for the pathway to precise context by which all events and inter-relationships exist.

In that state of mind without emotion, i hesitate to say it will be a state ruled by pure logic. It is a state of no-state. But it is not zen. It is only indefinable.

I realize we mortals are earth-bound by limitations. We are born to be relieved by occasional happiness in a sea tide of suffering. Time ensures we die when it is time to go. For many in the past, their stories have not been completed. We write our own each moment but realize the futility of what we do, what we are.

We are only left with one possibly but arguably noble passion. To make sure those after us do not have to re-learn the hard way what we have gone through. We deny the cliche that each must have the same discovery. What new finding can there be if to make a different and better discovery, one must tread the same pathway of old discoveries and experiences?

How can the young learn and do new and better things if the path they have to take are the same path we have taken and discovered to be useless?

That is the state of mind that ponders the states of minds that ponder the state of this nation.

walla said...

The whole legality of the present government is in question. It is a questionable legality in three regards.

One, the citizens don't trust this present government. You may say the present government is different from what it was in the past when it was run by old diehards of certain racial miens and prejudices.

But that point is itself moot. The performances and characteristics are exactly the same. An increasing number of people will say it's even worse these days.

And the badness is magnified by the desperation in which the present power-holders try to win back trust by spending outrageously the citizens' own money just to tickle their bone of gratitude.

But that money spent so far has already debited the account of the citizens' future generations who remain starry-eyed and unprepared for the realities of global challenges whose roots have long taken hold in every corner of enterprise in this world.

You have the EPF propping the share price of FGVH which has fallen to critical level. If it stays that way, when can the EPF get back its investment if ever?

The same EPF is now going to declare dividends. But if you measure it up, those dividends cannot have come from its profits alone. It will have to eat into its capital fund. That's self-cannibalization of citizen savings. The same citizens whose offspring and future generations will be having to pick the tabs presented in their future from the present shower throws.

Two, it is not inconceivable the present government could have actually lost the last general elections but for the instant citizens created and used by it to win the marginal and other seats. For all one knows, it could have lost the last general election but subverted democratic process to steal the federal majority. That is grand larceny of the treasonous kind.

Three, it is a self-excusing government run by half past six politicians good only for chicanery and shenanigan. They do all the spins but if you ask them what they have done to solve all the crimes exposed against their administration, they remain mum, deflect, ignore and then continue to do the same things all over again elsewhere another time.

If this isn't all illegal, what is the context that will enable one to accept it can be legal?

The opportunity costs are horrendous. All the stolen money could have been used fruitfully and legally for more citizens and country. Instead they went into the lowest-life-form personal consumption of the biggest hypocritical crooks of the land.

Even the shyest economists of any country cannot possibly deny this conclusion.

walla said...

The young don't know what it is they must know.

Not knowing that, they cannot prevail upon themselves to overcome their limitations and deficits which will sooner or later be tested on the battlefield of jobs, careers and achievements in life.

They may just remain low-hanging trunks but without low-hanging fruits, and wonder too little, too late why they are making not enough when others elsewhere have already raced ahead on 'less but more'.

That is a tragedy to be avoided at all costs. And it can be avoided by denying another term those who say they must defend their turf at all costs. Since with their system of mind-bending, they are the cause of the plight of the youth.

Somehow, as i switch off this screen, i think we are all going to be killed by the simplicity and naivety of our peoples.

The same success factor that made this nation now poises to unmake it.

Those stuck in their comfort zone and oblivious of the real world of rapid changes and infinite challenges will beg to differ. Let's hope it will be the only thing they will be begging.

walla said...

That was the seventh post to this single thread. Let's make it an eighth for the road.

Shunning minds, deploy just the neurofibrous matter between two disks of the spinal cord. Juggling a single perception.

It is late at night and you are at KLIA. You wonder how KLIA-2 could have inflated so much so fast. You also wonder what will happen to LCCT which should have been where KLIA-2 could have been. You wonder why there is no direct walk-through connection for those who want to transit from KLIA to low-cost or vice-versa. You wonder...

Then the driver comes over and chats with you. You espy and admire his large limousine. He offers to say his boss has a fleet of other makes. A beemer, seven forty. A merc five hundred, a lexus executive, a cayenne, a hummer.... and so on.

Since officially, public servant politicians can only perdana, the boss must be private sector. You wonder who such a man can be to easily afford and daringly buy so many limousines that depreciate like waterfalls besides costing a bomb to buy for that matter use and maintain.

For him to be able to do so, he must be really significant in executing big business. Then you realize there isn't. Or else you would have known. So it is all not from what he has done, which he hasn't, and therefore it must be from who he knows. And that means favours granted which means prices inflated which means more money is inefficiently used for personal prestige above everything else required for real growth and improvement of a small emerging economy in which it is easy to know instantly if something really successful has happened. No?

We are a know-who economy living on a resource curse and run by second-rate seedy characters buffered by clueless masses cornered to be grateful for the smallest morsels magnified as gigantic images by the business and mainstream journalists who are the only people who read this blog.


Good morning, and terima kasih for your patience if not perseverance...

etheorist said...

the amazing walla!