Friday, 1 January 2016

Rafidah Aziz - System broken in parts, need fixing

Kalau the Iron Lady start bercakap, I stand up and listen:

Rafidah: System ‘broken’ in parts, needs fixing

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Wanita Umno Chief Rafidah Aziz warned in a New Year message that the system in Malaysia was broken in parts and needs fixing, not by consultants, but by the people themselves getting together and working with the government, the private sector and civil society. 

“The government should be inclusive and not keep the civil service out. No consultants were appointed in 1997/1998 during the Asian Currency Crisis.”

“It’s no use harping on the ‘feel good’ factor. The government must take the bull by the horns. It’s time to put our noses to the grindstone, work more, talk less. The 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) scandal and the RM2.6 billion political donation controversy will continue be the hot button issues in 2016.”

She recalled, in digressing a little, that a participant stood up at an economic conference in Berne, Switzerland, and berated Malaysia as a “pariah” country and then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as worse than Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Rafidah recalled that she restrained herself and explained that the Malaysian government did not need anybody’s validation to do what was necessary to save the country facing the contagion effects of the 1997/98 Asian Currency Crisis.

“We undertook what we believed were the most effective measures, although against conventional wisdom, for addressing the issues that Malaysia was facing then,” reminded Rafidah who was dubbed “the Iron Lady” in her day. “Malaysia succeeded in stemming the impact of the regional crisis and the ensuing recession to get back on the positive growth track.”

Rafidah conceded that Malaysia was not in an economic recession at the moment “but we need to be vigilant as things can continue to slide”.

She also cautioned against exploiting the situation for political gain. “No point finger-pointing and mudslinging. Enough of that! Please!”

“Now is the time for serious focus on economic governance and sanity in the political and social spheres.”

The former Wanita Umno Chief, who was also in the Cabinet at one time, cautioned against the government getting involved in business. “The government should be facilitating business and not getting involved in it. 1MDB, for all its billions, had not brought economic growth to the country.”

“The culture of Cash is King must never be allowed to take root in the country. If Cash is King, there would be greed, dishonesty, disregard for the rule of law, bribery and corruption. Money talks would be the motivation and culture.”

Malaysia, continued Rafidah, has faced many crises in the past – in the economic, political and social spheres – and there’s a need to learn from that past in terms of experience and crisis management.

“There’s a lack of coherence now in communicating with the public. There’s no credibility.”

She drew comparisons with 1997/1998 when the public placed their faith and trust in the government in spite of international criticisms. “The people knew the government was working to put the country back on its feet and bring back growth to the country.”

How I wish, the political leaders we elected into office listen to her advise too.

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