Malaysia: Leading vs Managing

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela

I almost forgot I had a blog…seriously

Politics (not to mention our currency) have take a good beating in the last few weeks and all sign on the wall does not seems to say it is all well in the Bolehland. The country is facing a serious lack of leadership if you have not noticed this by now.

Leadership has always been my favorite subject mainly because it is fascinating to see how some ordinary people found that special will, power and determination to bring a group of people, company and even a nation from the brink of disaster or crisis and remained a beacon of hope and inspiration to others. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and even our own Tunku Abdul Rahman are just some of the leaders that we can read from the history pages but there are many leaders in the corporate world, politics and community that have done things that simply amazing.

It is also my favorite subject because in my daily working life, I have to take up the role of a leader and thus expected to make good decisions that a good leader is expected to be. Then again, I am also expected to both lead and manage – we will come to the differences in a short while. Some are simply natural born leaders – such as one of my ex-bosses. Some are trained to be leaders but still struggling to find the right foot hold on the idea of leadership.

As I said, the country is facing a serious lack of leadership if you have not noticed this by now.

I am not talking about the Prime Minister remaining to be defiant on the question of RM2.6 billion “donation” and acts like nothing wrong had happened. It was rather comical AND embarrassing when Malaysia hosted the International Anti-Corruption Conference last September and it did not take long for the participants (Transparency International Chief Jose Ugaz in particular) to whack the Prime Minister on the RM2.6 billion donation.

Tunku Abdul Rahman was known as the Father of the Nation and marked his leadership with getting independence for this great nation. Tun Abdul Razak was the Father of Development (the famed FELDA was established under his premiership). Hussein Onn was the Father of National Unity and finally Dr M was the real architect in modernising the country. And despite all the shortcomings, the Old Man did come up with a proper vision for the future – Vision 2020.

After Dr M, the country’s leadership took a back seat and the deterioration started with Pak Lah. Other than nice to hear slogans such as “work with me, don’t work for me” and “1Malaysia” nothing much change yet to be seen over the horizon. The bigger question will then be – are we running out of good leaders to lead this country? And secondly, can we get one in before it is too late? And who do we need the most at this juncture when the economy is not doing that well – good leaders or good managers?

And mind you that leadership and management are 2 different things but as usual as I often find out, the line between the 2 is often blurred.

Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary. Any effort to separate the two is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

Still, much ink has been spent delineating the differences. The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate.

In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:

– The manager administers; the leader innovates.
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops.
– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
– The manager imitates; the leader originates.
– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
– The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

Perhaps there was a time when the calling of the manager and that of the leader could be separated. A foreman in an industrial-era factory probably didn’t have to give much thought to what he was producing or to the people who were producing it. His or her job was to follow orders, organize the work, assign the right people to the necessary tasks, coordinate the results, and ensure the job got done as ordered. The focus was on efficiency.


To be frank, there is no short of managers in this country especially when it comes to politics. We have some of the most brilliant minds in public service and the private sectors. That is almost guaranteed. We can manage things well, sometimes too well. Ever heard the notion of “first class infrastructure, third class mentality”? Yup, that’s Malaysia right there.

However, recently there is a feeling of stagnancy (and no thanks to the dreadful haze) and the feeling is all over the place – the economy, people, education, environment, etc. Increasingly we are looking at 2 faced leaders who says one thing and do another. We had rallies but it ended up making things worse and hardly helping the country as whole. Leadership, it is missing now.

Until next time…

It’s the Jews, Damn It!!!


(Bullshit!!!! The Old Man’s reaction when he heard that some mysterious donors from the Middle East had donated some USD700 million (RM2.6 billion ringgit) into Najib’s  personal account and the reason for the donation had been spiraling down into realms of stupidity and absurd. Poster source: Suara Rakyat)

One way or another, I was expecting someone to pull in the Jews into the picture. Doesn’t it been the case whenever things gets screwed big time. I was right and this time they included DAP for the ride as well.

Seriously I am not sure what is more pathetic in this country – a minister making dumb statements or a dumb politician appointed as a minister. The second pathetic thing is there is equally dumb crowd listening to the dumb statements and agreeing with it. Seriously, just how low and dumb you can be was the question that I had in my mind when I read this:-

Online catcalls and jeers erupted today after Umno members in Johor were given the latest reason for a RM2.6 billion “donation” to Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts. It was to fight the DAP, “which is funded by Jews”, at the 2013 elections, they were told.

The new explanation came soon after Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had told members of Sri Gading Umno that the Middle Eastern donor had wanted to ensure Malaysia remained a Sunni country through an election victory for the Barisan Nasional and Umno in 2013.

After Zahid’s speech, division leader Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the donor had feared that Jewish influences would permeate the country through the DAP and destroy the “Islamic government” led by Barisan Nasional and because Najib was seen to be a great Muslim leader in the region.

“If we had lost, DAP would be in power. DAP with its Jewish funding would control this country. Based on that, our Muslim friends in the Middle East could see the Jewish threat through DAP,” said Aziz, who is deputy transport minister in Najib’s cabinet.

“The Islamic government would be overthrown, and that would harm the struggle to promote Islam throughout the world,” Aziz said, according to Malaysian Insider.

Aziz said he was confused why Malays had questioned the donation. “Haven’t you ever given donations? It is encouraged in Islam. The more you donate, the more rewards (pahala) you get,” he said.

He said Umno was the only party that could stop the Jews from taking over the country through the DAP. “Believe me, if the foreigners succeed in splitting us apart, there will be no more Malay party strong enough to fight DAP, which is based on and funded by the Jews,” Aziz was quoted as saying.


The whole country is now seeing stupidity on the grandest scale – just to cover up the corruption, abuse of power and total ignorant of rule of law. And of course, to ensure uneducated and die-hard party workers from questioning the party leaders on their acts, their loyalty is now questioned. And if that fails, the usual mantra of threats to the Malay dominance and the official religion of Islam is brought into the picture to divert the attention of the nation. What does RM2.6 billion into a politician’s personal account and hiding the reason & the source got to do with upholding Islam?

First there was allegation that some of the 1MDB’s money went into Najib’s personal account (let’s not even venture to the mismanagement and high debts of 1MDB)

At first they denied it, they said it is a fake and Najib is not an idiot to put the money in his personal account.

Then it was found to be true and Najib remained silent despite the speculations on the money were flying left, right and centre

It is a donation, said the MACC but no explanation was given why the money was donated in the first place and why it has to go went into someone personal account

Then an idiot came up with the reason that it was donated by the Saudis for Malaysia’s fight against ISIS. Then this was proven to be wrong when it was shown that the money went into the personal account before ISIS became a threat.

Then someone mentioned that the money came from UMNO‘s supporters (in the Middle East?) for the party’s funding for the general election. Once again, there were doubts because the Deputy Prime Minister had no knowledge of this donation and why it had to go into the personal account and not to the party’s account. And even so, this is a serious breach of the election laws

And now comes another idiotic reason for the donation – it is to fight DAP who is funded by the Jews

Noticed how the reason for the RM2.6 billion “donation” keeps changing on a daily basis and yet the real reason for the donation remain illusive? As at now, no one had even sued WSJ or Sarawak Report or even The Edge for the allegations – if true the allegations are false and fake? They banned The Edge for no good reason and tried to block the access to Sarawak Report. They hardly caused a ripple with WSJ on the proposed legal suits. And at one point, these jokers even wanted to form a task force to investigate the funding for political parties but it seemed to be focused on the funding for the opposition parties and not themselves. They acted as if they did not do anything wrong and innocent to the core.

Now they are saying that the RM2.6 billion is to fight the DAP who are funded by the Jews. Why does the Jews are targeting the Sunnis and not the Shiahs – you all know how tense things are between the Jews and the Iranians? And why it has to be limited to general elections and why DAP is not under police investigations IF DAP is indeed being funded by the Jews? And what does Middle Eastern donor intend to gain from ensuring Malaysia remained a Sunni country? And how DAP is now linked to the Jews when in the past, they were heavily promoted by the establishment as being closely linked to the communist?

Ok never mind, for argument sake, let’s assume that DAP indeed being funded by the Jews, does it really need RM2.6 billion to counter and fight them?

“I don’t care if Umno leaders want to show their stupidity but do not fool the rakyat and think that Malaysians have no brains to think,” he added.

He said if what Aziz had said was true, the matter would have been exposed during the GE13 campaign period by Umno propagandists to “destroy” DAP and not revealed some 27 months later.

“For the record, DAP only faced Umno in two parliamentary seats –Gelang Patah in Johor and Sepanggar in Sabah in GE13.

“Did Umno need RM2.6 billion to fight DAP in those two parliamentary seats?

Altogether, DAP had contested in 51 out of 222 seats. Even if DAP had won all 51, there was no way we could have formed the government on our own,” Loke said.


The ringgit have been taking heavy beating in the past few months and impact on this on the national economy is not going to be easy. Imports are going to be too expensive and don’t be surprised if soon Malaysian are going to pay through their noses for basic goods.

Some civil servants investigating the dubious transactions have been terminated, transferred and have been investigated themselves. Where is the independence of the enforcement agencies and their rightful powers under the law? The rule of law have indeed been turned upside down.

The proposed vote of no confidence and the up-coming Bersih 4 is now seemed to be a threat to the whole process of democracy when it is absolute legal and permitted under the law. Malaysians who simply want the truthful answer and accountability are simply looked upon as the enemy of the state. Didn’t the same thing happened in Perak?

And the fact that money have been received from some donors from the Middle East (a fact that has not been denied, yet) and that was used in the last general elections (to fight the DAP or to ensure BN stays in power) sound so incorrect. It clearly means that a foreign country is meddling and influencing the outcome of the election. This is a real threat to the democracy process in this country.

And the last thing that is making things worse are statements justifying the RM2.6 billion that is getting dumber and dumber by the days.

Please stop taking Malaysians for a ride and tell us the truth.

A Long, Long Way from Pluto

We have passed the half way of this year and considering what we have gone through so far, one hopes that the year would end sooner than expected. But before that, when it comes to the topic of science and space, 3 things would have made the year 2015 very sweet indeed.

One would be the NASA spacecraft New Horizons


(Poster source:

The spacecraft which had reached the planet Pluto (yes, it is a planet) is now one of the fastest man made craft with relative velocity of 49,600 km/h – the record is still held by Voyager 1, currently traveling at 61,720 km/h relative to the Sun. And frankly speaking Pluto never looked so beautiful before this and with radio signals taking four and a half hours to travel between the spacecraft and Earth, the spacecraft can only transmit data at 1 to 2 Kbps, which means that the transmission of all data (for last 10 years) will require sixteen months (source: Wikipedia).

And that 16 months is only on the download of data and not excluding the months, even years of data analysis. And if you had watched the documentary on New Horizons, the journey to Pluto is no small feat either – the journey itself took almost 10 years (to be more accurate – 9 years, 5 months and 25 days) and a journey of 7.5 billion kilometers and avoiding the various mechanical and debris that could have disabled the spacecraft on the spot.

This mission was a big success indeed and that is not the end of the story

Gladman said the chance of it visiting a third object after that is “pretty slim” as the density of objects in the Kuiper Belt falls off further away from the sun. However, there is one last thing scientists hope New Horizons will explore — one of the boundaries of the solar system.

The boundary of the heliosphere is where the sun’s magnetic field and solar winds lose their power. New Horizons is expected to reach that boundary in about 20 years, with a much more complete set of instruments than the Voyager 1 spacecraft did when it hit the edge of the heliosphere in 2013. While many of Voyager’s instruments had failed by that point, Green says, New Horizons’ instruments are “very healthy” and are expected to be able to take very good measurements of the solar wind as it exits the heliosphere.


The next thing that is going to make this year really, really sweet is the next installment of the Star Wars and one that brings back very familiar faces (we will miss Master Yoda though).

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is expected to hit the local cinemas sometime in December 2015. It is set 30 years after the events in the Return of the Jedi. I am huge fan of Star Wars franchise and even though I missed watching the original movies in cinema, I made sure I watched them again when George Lucas released them again – the special edition ones. I lost count the number of times I watched the first Star Wars movie – probably more than 50 times over the years. And I have done the same for all installment of Star Wars movies todate. It is going to be the same coming December.

And finally, the discovery of Earth 2.0

earth 20 large

(Image source: NASA)

With more discoveries that we expect to make in the near future and planned man journey to Mars, we are going to have very interesting time sending spacecrafts and understanding of the universe.

Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered “the closest twin to Earth” outside the solar system, NASA announced on Thursday.

Working off four years’ worth of data from the Kepler space telescope, researchers from NASA, the Seti Institute and several universities announced the new exoplanet along with 12 possible “habitable” other exoplanets and 500 new candidates in total. The new planet, named Kepler 452b, is “the closest twin to Earth, or the Earth 2.0 that we’ve found so far in the dataset”, said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for Nasa’s mission directorate.

The research suggests 452b has five times the mass of Earth, is about 1.5bn years older, and has a gravity about twice as powerful as our own. About 1,400 light years away, Kepler 452b orbits a star similar to our sun, and at about the same distances as Earth orbits the sun, meaning it has a similar length year and exists in the “habitable zone” where liquid water can exist on a planet.


I too have been traveling lately but I did not miss catching up on the latest on the scandal involving Najib & his wife (yes, the one who admitted that the account that had RM2 million belonged to her). Some politicians are claiming that it is nothing but attempts to bring down a democratically elected government. But seriously think about all the nonsense that the current government have done when it comes to management of taxpayers money and you will seriously doubt it’s innocence.

To be frank, there have been too many smoking guns – from Sarawak Report, the Edge, WSJ, opposition politicians and even from the Task Force themselves and one cannot simply ignore it. After all, despite of all the very damaging expose, Najib or his wife have yet to bring any civil suit against Sarawak Report, the Edge or WSJ. The request for information on the WSJ was rebuked by WSJ by asking the lawyer acting for Najib to go and read themselves the articles which they say is “self explanatory”. One only have to say “ouchhh!!”. There was plenty of psychological warfare at both ends and to some extent it did create plenty of confusion. There were even 2 bankruptees in the picture.

However, the fact that Najib & Rosmah neither denied that the accounts belonged to them or took swift legal actions, this seemed to imply that the allegations may not just be allegations. One just hopes that the investigators are hard at work to bring to bring out the truth. After all, no one is above the law.

And the latest expose came from The Edge and the media statement from the publishers of the The Edge nails the aspiration of the people who are tired with the rampant daylight robbery and abuse of taxpayers money & trust. Read the main report here

And for those people who like to use the Non Malays (especially the Chinese) as the bogeyman for all things wrong in this country, you need to re-read the media statement again and again to know that it does not matter if you are a Malay, Chinese, Indian or others, we are all in the same boat and in the same situation. We can close one eye to it and wait for it to come back and bite us on the back or take proactive action and this includes reading and getting all information in place and when the time comes to pick the right people, make your vote count for the right reasons.

And as expected, the reaction from the Government was lame and predictable. A number of people who had reported and questioned on the dealing have been barred from leaving the country and possibly under investigations themselves, possibly for conspiring to topple a democratically elected government under section 124 of the Penal Code. And The Edge now faces 3 months suspension for reporting on the 1MDB:-

A letter from KDN stated that the two publications’ reporting of 1MDB were “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest”.

Failure to stop publication for three months will result in the withdrawal of the publishing permits, the KDN letter said. The Edge Media Group publisher and chief executive officer Ho Kay Tat expressed disappointment with KDN’s decision.

“We don’t see how exposing the scam to cheat the people of Malaysia of billions of ringgit can be construed as being detrimental to public and national interest,” said Ho. “This is nothing more than a move to shut us down in order to shut us up.”


One have to wonder how one topples a democratically elected government or prejudicial to public order & security to by exposing what went wrong and who did wrong. Which is of the two the bigger evil – this needs to be answered.

And that reminded me of the movie “Sivaji The Boss” which I saw back in 2007 and saw again last week on my flight back. The opening scene is the hero is led to the prison by the police and with the face hidden and amidst huge protest from the public and anger from corrupt politicians & businessmen. In the prison cell, the man in the next cell asks why the hero is in the prison. He ask if the hero had murdered anyone or whether he had cheated the public or whether he had taken sex movies and released them in the internet. The hero will say no to all three suggestion. The man then ask why he is in prison then. The hero will say that he had try to do good for the public. The man then says that the hero deserves to be in prison.

We are going through the same predicament and one just hopes that Malaysians have a clear mind on what need to be done for the country and clean up the system from down to top and not be influenced or involved in cheap politics by people with wrong agenda and purpose. One case stupidity in play was the recent riot at Low Yat. It had nothing to do with race but a small incident of crime unfortunately turned into a major fiasco.

We already missed to boat for a developed nation by the year 2020. It probably will take another 50 years to make this dream to come true.

We already placed the wrong priorities on learning Mathematics and Science by not teaching them in English

We already thinking very little on national unity and the riot at Low Yat simply enforces that notion that people in this country remains divided on petty things

We already ranked up one of the biggest financial scandals in the country’s history and yet no one had resigned or made accountable (despite arrests and travel bans)

This country and its people deserves something much better than the sickening and cheap politics and scandals after scandals. We as humans are making good ways in science and space and this year alone, we had made big leaps in this area. But unfortunately we had hardly moved from our narrow minds in this country. There is a rule of law in this country and adherence to good governance and uploading of fair treatments for all. We may have lost out in picking the right people to administer this country in the last general elections but it should not stop us from making the right decisions in the next one. The country’s good name have taken a good beating in the last 2 years and it has seen it’s share of tragedy which included lost of 2 planes. It’s time to make things right and put things in order.

M.S. Viswanathan: 1928 – 2015

MS Viswanathan at Kaviyarasu Kannadasan Vizha 2014

(Before AR Rahman and Illayaraja, there was only one great musician and that was MSV. Image source)

CHENNAI: Legendary music composer and singer M S Viswanathan, who had been critically ill for the past few days, passed away at a private hospital in Chennai in the early hours of Tuesday. He was 87.

The music maestro was admitted to the intensive care unit of Fortis Malar Hospitals on June 27 with breathing difficulty and his condition had been worsening ever since.

Hospital sources said he had been suffering from age-related ailments and had lost his memory. Though the hospital said in a statement last Monday that he was on the road to recovery, his situation took a turn for the worse a couple of days ago.

“He passed away at 4.15am,” said hospital sources.

M S Viswanathan (fondly called MSV) composed songs for more than 1,200 films in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. In Tamil, he composed songs for films like Billa, Nalai Namathe, Urmai Kural and Sirithu Vazha Vendum.


Misdirection of Dress Codes

(If you ask me, this is a better video to watch for the first time visitors to Malaysia and Asha Gill is lovely as usual)

I was flying in to Malaysia just the other day and yes, I was flying on MAS. It was kind of painful to see the good, hardworking people in MAS facing some uncertainty as MAS undergoes a major restructuring. But that did not stopped the stewardess on my flight from ensuring that service was and always first class.

As we were starting to descend, the onboard entertainment system was switched off and a short video on KLIA and Malaysia were shown for the benefit of the first time visitors to the country. It was not the usual video (starring Asha Gill which is many times better) but a different one. It often happens, just as I watch a video of the good things of the country – the good places to visit, the people from different background of culture, race and religion and of course, the food – I would have tears on my eyes. This time, it was no exception either. I simply love my “tanahair” no matter how long I am out of the country.

As I watched the video, something was not right. The scene is duty free shops in KLIA and the narrator mentions “items found in no other part of the world”. The next scene once this statement completes is a picture of Star Buck. Items found in no other part of the world, eh? It must have crossed the family from Australia who was sitting in front of me. They were smiling when they saw this.

Anyway, the landing was perfect and throughout the immigration & customs, it was breeze too. When I got home, the family had gone out so I took a quick shower and after an easy meal, I went to sleep only to be rudely awaken a couple of hours later by my daughter. Yup, I was back home already.

Interesting, “home” is undergoing some form of transformation as well. And I am not talking about the latest scandal to hit Najib administration – the one that was committed outside the country and one that got the Australian police in action. Nothing at moved on the biggest scandal of the century in this country, so this news was a welcome change indeed (already the IGP was quick to clear those involved from any form of CBT).

No, I am talking about the silly, petty hoo-haa on the recent misdirection of enforcing the dress codes

And it probably started with this:-

A double gold medal winning gymnast has been accused of breaking strict Islamic dress code by performing in a ‘revealing’ leotard at a top international event.

Malaysian double gold medallist Farah Ann Abdul Hadi has been slammed by some in the majority Muslim nation for her outfit.

Thousands have taken to social media to express their support for Ms Abdul Hadi after the controversy emerged while she competed at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.


Things somehow quiet down after the Sultan of Selangor himself slammed the critics of her attire and praised Farah for her win:-

Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah fully backs national artistic gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi and has expressed disapproval at those who picked on her attire during the 28th SEA Games in Singapore.

In his congratulatory letter to Farah, Sultan Sharafuddin said her achievement had made the whole country, including Selangor, proud.

The Sultan, as quoted by local daily The Star said in his letter, “Criticising your attire should be the last matter in the minds of those who commented negatively on social media.

He added, “They should be celebrating your achievements for Malaysia and Selangor.”

In his letter, the Selangor ruler said that he hoped Farah would not take the comments of narrow-minded people to heart and continue to strive to be the best in her field.


Then more of dress code mishaps started to trickle in , starting with the famed Sarong-gate at JPJ office:-

A woman had a shock at a Road Transport Department (JPJ) office when she was forced to wear a sarong or be refused service.


Interestingly soon after the incident went viral on the net, they were quick to admit that there was no such rule and they went too far with this and issued an apology. At least they admitted it was the wrong thing to do.

Then we had the visitor barred from seeing her father who was admitted in the hospital at a local hospital and in the end, she was forced to wear a towel to see him:-

In a third incident at public institutions here, a woman has come forward alleging that she was forbidden from entering the Sungai Buloh Hospital here recently because she was dressed in shorts.

In her Facebook post accessible to the public that is being shared on social media, the woman who goes by the moniker Nisha Daddygal said she was then forced to borrow a towel to cover up her legs before she was allowed to visit her father who had been warded there.


Just imagine if this was an emergency and in the wee hours of the morning. And once again, there was a public apology and the hospital administrators informed that it was just a misunderstanding on the guidelines and a newly joined security guard to be blamed.

Then we had the ultimate dress code incident – of all places, at an international airport:-

Blogger Wilson Ng wrote about his experience at KLIA’s Baggage Services Lost and Found area, where he was forced to don long black pants and shoes because the knee-length pink shorts and sandals he was wearing was deemed inappropriate.

Ng who had gone to pick up his luggage which he had accidentally left at the baggage carousel following a trip to Taipei was denied entry by a security officer at the enquiry counter who told him to go home and change because there is a dress code to enter the KLIA building and the lost and found baggage office.


Public apology was then duly rendered and MAHB stated that it has investigated the matter and found it to be due to miscommunication on the implementation of a policy pertaining to the issuance of visitor passes at the airport.

Wrong dress code incidents since I was back is unlikely to be small mistake, oversight or “opps, they misunderstood the instructions”. We never had these problems in the past – so why now and why so frequent in recent weeks?

Then one guy opened his mouth:-

Non-Muslims should dress more “appropriately” in public places out of “respect” for Muslims who will sin upon seeing people, including non-Muslims, who do not cover their “aurat”, Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said amid the controversy surrounding conservative dress codes enforced at government departments.

“Even when we wear properly but we see other people who show their ‘aurat’, it is haram,” Harussani told Malay Mail Online yesterday.

“They should show respect for Muslims and dress more appropriately; they cannot be showing their thighs. It is not wrong for them to dress how they like, but they must be considerate because when we bump into them at public places and see this, it is considered haram for us (Muslims),” the conservative cleric added.


Perhaps that explains why Marina Mahathir is having a tough time shopping for a good Baju Melayu for the upcoming hari raya – she calls it the Arab Colonialism. But then again, I too stopped wearing jippa some years ago already – it is more on the change of fashion, environment and preference, I guess.

But then, it seems like things were getting out of hand and it was not big surprise when ex-civil servants and lawyers commented back as follows:-

Former high-ranking civil servants and lawyers have blamed the recent spate of strict enforcement of dress codes at government buildings on the intolerant attitude of certain “holier-than-thou” Muslims imposing their Islamic values on Malaysians of other faiths.

It was also a case of little Napoleons trying to be “more pious than the Pope”, they said. They added that it was time Putrajaya put a stop to this moral policing, saying the leadership must take a firm stand against those who abused the rights of the people seeking services at government departments. They also said Cuepacs, the umbrella group of civil service unions, had no business endorsing such actions.


Even the Old Man noticed the stupidity in enforcing the silly dress code and commented:-

Malaysia is now sliding backwards and is acting like Saudi Arabia in its zeal to impose a dress code on the public, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed said today.

He said it was a person’s right to wear shorts in public, and, “as long as they aren’t naked”, they should be allowed to enter a government building or hospital. “In government offices, certainly there is a dress code. But that is an office matter.

“Public matters are different. We shouldn’t be telling others what to do, they aren’t Muslim,” he told a press conference after a buka puasa event with Perkasa in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

He said dress codes in government buildings should only apply to its staff, and not visitors, especially those who are not Muslim.‎ “We are now sliding backwards. Soon, not only shorts will be an issue. If a woman leaves a house without a burqa, it will be considered wrong.


If you ask me, as far as I could remember, Malaysians have generally dressed well and they know their limits when they are in the public areas (although there are some exception to this but they are in the smallish minority).

And one wearing shorts or skirts that is knee level is nothing compared to some Mat Salleh backpackers who come to this country wearing nothing but T-shirts that looks like rags from our mamak stalls and very short, shorts. Some even looks unwashed for weeks. And yet we welcome them with open arms and a very big smile. It is not like they have committed high treason wearing short pants. It is just how they dress themselves as they backpack to this part of the world and there is nothing wrong with it.

angkorwat dress code

(No doubt there must be some sense of protocols and dress code in place when one visits Government departments for official business, temples and even one’s home even in other countries. One cannot be wearing their sleeping dress or be half naked when they are there on official businesses or when they are on holy grounds. Image source:

In the 1980s when me and group of friends from my neighborhood decided to attend the Open House at Istana Negara, our parents made sure that we are dressed well and wore proper shoes (we wore our finest on that day). And I also remember whilst we were waiting in the long queue to see the King, a policeman stopped a man in front and informed that he could not meet the King as he was wearing a sandal seemed extreme but even back then, we understood that there was minimal adherence to protocols.

And couple years ago when we are at resort’s swimming pool, the life guard on duty barred couple of guests from entering the swimming pool because they did not have their swimming attires on (they only had t-shirts and short pants). There is places when one cannot simply walk in wearing just any clothes.

But whilst one can understand the minimal need for protocols, it does not make any sense to impose the same for a visitor who is visiting a patient or a passenger looking for a lost luggage. And even if one goes by the arguments of the Perak Mufti that the non-Muslims must show respect to the Muslims by dressing properly, one must remember that:-

1. Respect is a mutual thing – it cannot be forced upon by rules and regulations. And respect should not be limited to just wearing the right clothes. There are many other aspect of respect that can be done without the need to force another to wear a different clothes

2. Wearing shorts or skirts that shows the knee is nothing new in this multi racial country. Even our police used to be in khaki shorts many years ago (still remember?). And I even saw a number of Muslims wearing short pants when they were at a local hypermarket after they had opened fast couple days ago. Even at night, it was terribly warm. Why now it had become a big issue? Why a show of knees can shake up one’s faith on God? If someone gets all too excited by seeing the knees, then something is not right with that person.

3. And we are not expected to “cover up” from head to toe in this hot, humid environment. There must be a reason why people in the Middle East historically cover themselves up in the first place (and it had nothing to do with religion) but please don’t expect us to be idiots and cover up under the Malaysian weather and end up with foul stinky sweat and smell at the end of the day.

4. And more importantly, there are more pressing issues facing the individuals, society and the country than what one wears to a Government office. Someone who just wears sandals, shorts and t-shirts but hard-working, earns his money from legal means and is good to his family, friends and neighbors is thousand time better than someone who may wear that seems to be conforming to one’s faith but living off from dubious means of income, spread lies, hatred and confusion.

Petrol price just went up and recent survey shows that all not well with the implementation of GST and the Government is stuck with scandals – one after another and the implications on the country’s economy is dreadful especially after what we saw happened with Greece. Are we becoming the next Greece in this part of the world – the question may not be if but when? And yet, some people hardly moved by the fact that MARA overpaid RM66 million more for some property in Australia and sees no wrong done on this. No one had even offered to tender their resignation on this.

And if these silly trends are left unchecked, don’t be surprised if one day, these same people who is very very much afraid of short pants and low skirts places a menacing guard at the entrance to check the color of your underwear and if it is not to their color of liking (or brand), you are forced to go back and change them before you are allowed in to do your official business.

Vision 2020: Within our Sight?


(The Old Man’s war path with the current Prime Minister, Najib may wins the support from a good number of Malaysians who simply tired with the “wayang kulit” in the issue of 1MDB but then again, didn’t the Old Man had his hands in allowing the seeds of mismanagement, wastage and misdirection of priorities to take hold when he was the PM for 22 years? Food for thought. Image source: Jebat Must Die)

I have mentioned this in several of my blog posts that it is going impossible for us to achieve the developed nation status by year 2020 but when it comes from the horse’s mouth, it does sound pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Malaysia will not be able to achieve Vision 2020 and become a developed country within the next five years because it lacked leadership and had misplaced priorities, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said

He added that even if the country earned high-income status, it would not be developed if cost of living remained high as Malaysians would have low purchasing power.

He said the government should instead focus on improving education, increasing productivity and salaries, while keeping costs low.

“The leader plays a very big role too. If the leader doesn’t understand and cannot resolve the problems the country faces, then it is doubtful progress can be made. A leader is a leader because he has more ideas than his followers,” said Dr Mahathir.

He said a good leader would strive to maintain peace and stability, and would not hesitate to restrict the freedom of the people to achieve this.


Before we go further, let’s run through some definitions – what really constitutes a developed nation?

Off the internet, it means this:-

While there is no one, set definition of a developed economy it typically refers to a country with a relatively high level of economic growth and security. Some of the most common criteria for evaluating a country’s degree of development are per capita income or gross domestic product (GDP), level of industrialization, general standard of living and the amount of widespread infrastructure. Increasingly other non-economic factors are included in evaluating an economy or country’s degree of development, such as the Human Development Index (HDI) which reflects relative degrees of education, literacy and health.


So, if one goes by the definition by the book, what Najib is doing is not far off from the “known criteria” of a developed country. But is this what was defined when the Old Man came up with his Vision 2020 back in 1991? Does achieving a developed nation is just a matter of terminology and status?

When it was initialized, where credit where it is due – it was a brilliant vision. The Old Man’s Vision 2020 encompasses 9 strategic challenges that Malaysia must overcome to achieve a developed nation status. The question is after almost 25 years in the making, how far we have come in overcoming those challenges with just another 5 more years to go?

1. The challenges of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one ‘Bangsa Malaysia‘ with political loyalty and dedication to the nation.

Have we matured enough to call ourselves Bangsa Malaysia? 1Malaysia slogan by Najib when he became the PM was highly tempting. But the fact is we are still segregated by race, culture, religion and even political affiliation. We still have Malaysians calling fellow Malaysians as “pendatang” (including the Old Man himself at one point) and whether you agree to it or not, I guess it all depends on your audience. Forget what the politicians may say or do, let’s go to the lower strung of society and see if this transformation into a Bangsa Malaysia.

How many of us can speak in the same language, namely the national language and speak it right and without any mistakes or slang? How many of us think ourselves as Bangsa Malaysia and not as a Malay, Chinese, Indian or others? And if race is not an issue, then what about difference in religion? Mentally we have not come to a point that we are thinking like a Bangsa Malaysia. We can’t speak well in the national language, what more going a level up at the nation level.

This will be a challenge that can be overcome by a concerted change in race based policies, fair treatment and abolishment of race based political parties.

2. The challenge of creating a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity. This Malaysian Society must be distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.

Frankly speaking, we have made great strides in this area. We decided to bold enough to reduce the ruling Government’s majority in the Parliament and were brave enough to let 3 states to be run by the oppositions (each for PAS, PKR and DAP) and they have proved that it is not the end of the world once they have taken over the state administration. Whilst initially there was plenty of silly mistakes and bad decisions, the end result has been a state government that has been performing on par (if not better) with the rest of the states run by the ruling coalition.

And we have credit this change mainly to the power of the internet – especially blogs, facebook and tweets. And once where there was only the mainstream media for the people to get the information, now the information is at their finger tips and it is uncensored and allows for one to see views from both side of the spectrum.

Of course the opposition uniting within the common framework (despite the on-going feud between PAS & DAP) and the Government shooting themselves in the leg helped to accelerate the change.

3. The challenge we have always faced is that of fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practising a form of mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries.

A model for many developing countries? We are still far away from the notion of a matured democratic society which became more apparent after the opposition won in a larger number and held on 4 states after the general election. Then the Perak fiasco happened and all hell broke loose. What happened thereafter was an utter shame to the whole democratic process.

Democratic society also means upholding the notion of human rights and freedom of speech. Whilst one would agree that there is no such thing as an absolute freedom of speech, a differentiating opinion on the way the Government runs the country should not treated in the same manner as sedition for say, wanting to remove a cross from a church which if it is not controlled could have gotten much worse.

4. The fourth is the challenge of establishing a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards.

We may become more religious in recent years but has it been imbued with the highest ethical standards? We see a cross on a building and we become a rude mob who insist that the cross on the building will influence others and cause them to change religion. We have become extremists and now insist that the legal system now need to be split into 2 with 2 different set of rules imposed on the people who don’t share the same beliefs. Now we even having terrorists cells in the country wanting to impose Islamic rules by force.

5. The challenge that we have always faced is the challenge of establishing a matured, liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practise and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation.

As I have mentioned before, religion should be something personal and not something to be imposed onto others by force. After all, religion and way of life under it can be highly subjective and this can be opened for abuse by those who have ulterior motive, less intelligent on the actual teaching of the religion and think that their views overrides anyone’s else views. One such statement is this where one can say that “non-Muslims that the Federal Constitution allows Muslims to convert anybody, whereas non-Muslims may only spread their teachings among themselves and not to Muslims”. This is the kind of thinking that leads to sleepless nights to people like Indira Gandhi. Such instances remains unresolved.

6. The challenge of establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, one that is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilisation of the future.

The key word here has been “scientific” but we have been flip-flopping on what medium we suppose to teach Science and Mathematics for past few years and it is not helping the country one bit to be pushing the students to be struggling to learn the subjects in Bahasa when the lingual-franca of Science and Mathematics has always been English. And it is sad that after all the effort, time and money spent of grooming local scientists, we are getting surprises like this.

Where is the next generation of scientists, researchers, astronomers and space travelers? Despite this, there is still some of sense of hope and people who care on this. We have the right ingredients but we lack the required spark and interest.

One have to remember that no country in the world that had focused more on religion and gave overwhelming precedent to it compared to science and technology have ever reached the status of a developed nation. Correct me if I am wrong here.

7. The challenge is the challenge of establishing a fully caring society and a caring culture, a social system in which society will come before self, in which the welfare of the people will revolve not around the state or the individual but around a strong and resilient family system.

Malaysians generally as far as I can remember have been a very caring, compassionate and very kind people. We are very forgiving as well. Otherwise the dead woods, the dumb of the dumb and the corrupt & wasteful characters in the Government would have long taken out from the system. They instead get recycled into the same or similar positions where the nonsense remains untouched.

So what is needed here is NOT a welfare state or a state that bends too much in making subsidies and welfare based on race but instead it should be on level of poverty & income. After all, there is poverty in all level of a Malaysian society irregardless of race, culture and religion.

8. The challenge of ensuring an economically just society. This is a society in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress. Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race.

Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race. That means dismantling the race based economic policies as such the New Economic Policy which officially ended in 1990 but had lived on under different names.

9. The challenge is the challenge of establishing a prosperous society, with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.


Old Man may be saying a lot of things here but to cut to the chase, we will not achieve a developed country mainly because we have not created an environment that promotes open thinking, right to question what is not right and have taken several giant steps backwards of Science and Mathematics. And emphasizing on religion as the back bone of the nation direction does not help is steering the nation towards Vision 2020 either. We even had that silly cross protest as recent as this year. And there are other serious implications from the over-subscribing of Islamisation in this country.

If we indeed want to measure ourselves and the nation from a religion point of view (in that how religious we are), then we need to define out loud what it means to be “developed”.

But I agree that economy alone does not constitutes a country as being a developed country. There must also be substantial personal development on all grounds. There should be a greater enforcement of the law of the land without any biasness or favor. It should also be about promoting fairness and togetherness where Malaysians are treated in equal terms and strive towards a single goal.

We are only fooling ourselves if we think that we will be a developed nation in the next 5 years. But that does not mean we can never be a developed nation. After all, we have all the right ingredients – a good mix of people from various backgrounds (race, religion and culture), natural resources, sufficient land mass and situated in the right place where commerce moves from west to east and almost little natural disasters other than probably flooding (and now earthquakes) and yet, we are missing the key drive to manage it in the right way.

Part of the blame should fall on the Government as they makes and enforce the policies and manage the public spending that have a big impact on the nation. But part of the blame should fall on us too – too long we have been under the umbrella of “first class infrastructure, 3rd class mentality”. No longer should be the case. We need to be the driving force for change and making sure that we think, do and act like citizens of a developed nation. We have to think beyond the limited boundaries of race, religion and culture.