Thursday, September 25, 2008

No escaping - not even in New York!

For the past two days, I have been attending the Clinton Global Initiatives (CGI) meetings in New York. Over lunch today, after hearing speeches by Clinton, Bono and Al Gore, I sat next to former Colombian president Andres Pastrana Arango. The truly friendly politician asked the other Malaysians on the table "how are the politics in Malaysia going on." Pain was written on his face as he waited for our answers. The ever polite gentleman did not want to make it difficult for us. The questions were a reflection of genuine concern, to me. No stranger to Malaysia, he has many Malaysian friends, including those from the Green Rubber group. Minutes later, a Pakistan businessman dropped by to say hello and again, the same questions were asked. He was seriously worried that Malaysia would be heading towards a political disaster, as he has investment in Kuala Lumpur. It was the same tone - when will the political troubles end? In Singapore recently, when I attended the Forbes CEO Conferences, participants were asking the same questions too. They must be wondering why were Malaysians talking about "pendatang" and people arrested under ISA when there are more pressing concerns that needed action.
Tomorrow, I will be taking part in a roundtable talk with President Clinton. I have had the honour of meeting the man himself on Tuesday. Fortunately, the discussions tomorrow will be on how Asians can respond to the environment crisis when the CGI meets in Hong Kong in December. I will also get to hear Obama and McCain before the roundtable talk.

25 comments:

BlueMoon said...

"They must be wondering why were Malaysians talking about "pendatang" and people arrested under ISA"

Ooo yeahh... and did't you tell them that they are also people in this country who're demanding the mosques to stop broadcasting 'azam'; claiming that they are being cleansed ethinically; asking for 'jawi' scripts to be removed from the signboards; poking fund at Muslims going to mosques on Friday; etc?

Anonymous said...

Well said. We have a government that is focused on sex front, back, and imaginary; detaining bloggers and rappers; jockeying for power; sabotaging the state governments; name calling of the various races; petty police reports against opposition members; and how to line the pockets of the cronies. They are totally oblivious to the economic problems of the country. No time spent on how to compete with the other countries. No time spent on attracting foreign investors. No time spent on how to attract local investors. No time spent on how to retain the brains of the country. No time spent to match output of universities to the needs of the employers.No time spent on unifying the people of various races and religion. No time spent to control real crime.
We have a totally non-functioning government. It is non just on auto-pilot, but is actually doing self-inflicted damages.
Recently I ventured from corporate business to a more consumer oriented business, and experience first hand how many different permit applications I have to go through, and how my investment can hang in uncertainty while praying for getting permits, and literally at the mercy of the people in govt depts to issue licences at their whims and fancies.

Anonymous said...

Dato Wong, we used to have only silly proposals by PAS and religious depts that we could laugh at, or get embarassed for being laughed at by other countries. But other than being just a nuisance, these PAS antics were pretty harmless. But now we have the UMNO government doing silly things that are no laughing matter, but are actions that damage the country. Throwing opposition members, bloggers, journalists, lawyers, etc in prison and allowing real criminals to roam free, are actions that really blow our mind. What is happening to this country?!

Anonymous said...

A dying beast does not think and act rationally anymore. UMNO senses death, and it frantically kicks around desperately trying to stay alive. Like an injured bull in a china shop, many things will get damaged before the bull finally die. So it will be that many lives will be broken by UMNO's actions. Our economy shall get hurt.Many businesses will turn turtle. Don't expect corrupt politicians to give up power without putting up a dirty fight. But the rakyat should prevail and be steadfast. UMNO would like us all to get impatient and start throwing brick brats at Pakatan for missing the 916 deadline. But the deadline is irrelevant. The direction and objective is more important. The rakyat should not fall for the same old tricks by UMNO to arouse racial and religious hatred, but instead we should all stay united. Without the massive corruption, the various races do not need to fight over quotas. There is actually enough for everybody if not for the massive wealth being siphoned off by a few corrupt people.

Anonymous said...

Who is to blame for all the mess, other than UMNO of course:

1) The BN component parties that continue to support this morally bankrupt UMNO government.
2) The people that voted for BN.

The leaders of the component parties have vested interest to stay with BN. The members need to confront their leaders to pull out of BN. If not, they should either kick out their leaders, or else resign en masse to join Pakatan.
The people who are now disillusioned with BN, should put pressure on their MPs to quit from BN and either go independent or join Pakatan We cannot afford to let UMNO continue to govern Malaysia, or else we will become a basket case like Myanmar.

Anonymous said...

If this mismanagement of the country continues, we will soon be freed of all the illegal foreign worker problem. Instead, Malaysians will be working oversea as maids, construction and plantation workers,and illegal workers. Yes, the Maria's will be replaced by Ah Lian's and Siti's; and Jose's replaced by Ah Chong's and Ahmad's. And of course all these people will have to pay some Dato's agency for the privilege of working oversea, unless they want to sneak into those other countries illegally.

Michael Gaw said...

Dear Wong,

THIS IS VERY INTERESTING NEWS!

CONTINUE TO KEEP US UPDATED ON THE FEEDBACK. KEEP US IN MALAYSIA POSTED OF THE OPINION OF FOREIGN WORLD LEADERS ON MALAYSIA.

OUR LEADERS NEED TO REALLY KNOW THE WORLD'S OPINION REGARDING OUR COUNTRY AND THEM. THEY HAVE BECOME THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE WORLD.

IT'S WAKE UP TIME FOR OUR LEADERS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!!!!

Purple Haze said...

Dato Wong,

You should tell them that Malaysia is undergoing the pains of change and that is the truth.

As for these foreign investors who may have "overpaid" to get their investments on track in Malaysia, perhaps you should whisper to them to get some of their "overpayents" back .... while they can.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes we wonder at the nature of our PM. Why does he keep using the ISA or Seditions Act on the opposition members, journalists, lawyers and bloggers, and in the process pissed off the whole country? Instead if he must use the ISA and Seditions Act, the PM should use it on his own UMNO contenders. If he put all these intra UMNO challengers away using ISA, ACA, or Seditions Act, then his position as President of UMNO will be secure! And the rest of the rakyat outside UMNO will be very happy with him.

Anonymous said...

M'sia will have her comeuppance...we are treading in dangerous waters without even realizing it. The outlook is not good for all of us if this continues. If the BN led Govt can't see this, then I hope our Royals sees beyond this and invoke their powers to restore order and confidence.

I love M'sia very much and it saddens me to see it breaking apart so quickly. Something drastic must happen. It's running out of control thanks to Pak Lah and the gang.

And specifically to BLUEMOON, please act reasonably by not adding fuel to fire. STOP BEING CHILDISH. U R NO DIFFERENT FROM THE REST IF U START THINKING IN THIS MANNER. When will this ever end?? Sorry BLUEMOON, maybe you are emotional but isn't that how this problem started? SO PLEASE act wisely my fellow Muslim brother.

Msians are generally sensible people. It's not as bad as what it seems but things will get out of control if the Govt remains weak. Incarcerating RPK without giving him the right to justice is abominable beyond comprehension. We are sending the wrong message to the rest of the world and in time, we will pay a heavy price for mismanaging the current political uncertainty.

As a Muslim, I pray that in this holy Ramadan month, we close ranks and learn how to forgive. Forgiveness is important to move us forward. InsyaAllah, things will be better.

wandererAUS said...

The world is getting smaller by the day, yet, our leaders could not see farther than their nose.
Instead of finding solutions to strengthen our position, to face the world economic uncertainties, the ruling administration is highlighting ISA with the unjust arrest of political critics. Pathetically, wasting valuable time, securing their positions to stay in power. They have all their priorities wrong. How can foreign investors not loosing confidence with this UMNO-BN govt.
To top it all, we have Ministers making the most ridiculous statements...even intending investors will take the next flight out of the country!

jrajster said...

You are very lucky Wong. Clinton is one of my favorite speaker. Anyway when you are back please have your article on their real professionalism and maturity in handling issues. I know we have decades to reach their level looking at what we are now; nevertheless let our aspiring young Malaysians pursue the quality.

Anonymous said...

blue moon, suggest you get a better understanding of your claims and why people are unhappy before trying to instigate anything. comments like yours only serves to instigate, not understand. as far as we know, which the mosque itself has made a statement to clear teresa kok of the azan issue (totally baseless), what is the point of having jawi only signboards when there are Malaysians who don't understand them? better to use a language we all understand like BM? there are victims and instigators on all sides. only looking from one side will not help us solve our problems. i hope we all choose to understand first why people are unhappy, instead of react, as a first step at least. clear understanding is a must, don't rely on assumptions, heresay, and worse of all, our own prejudices.

Das said...

Next thing you and I know is that the Foreign Minister will be skipping this meeting in New York!!!

Too many "problems" at home such as sodomy, racial, bloggers...etc etc, there will be a thousand and one reasons available in their Putrajaya library!!!

Das

amoker said...

and even egg is being politicised with all virtoil directed at one lady.

Say hi to the leaders and do remember those in the pedalaman, esp. in Sarawak and Sabah who are still facing the wrath of loggers ( illegal or not)

btw, who is poking fund at Muslims going to Mosque on Fridays? aisay..

Anonymous said...

We are the laughing stock of the world because of the slap stick gomen politicians.

Anonymous said...

Just read really something funny:

RPK wife (pleading): Can I kiss my husband goodbye?

ISA warden: Cannot! Itu KELAKUAN TAK SENONOH!

Anonymous: WAHAHAHAHAHAH, I think I am going to puke!

Anonymous said...

A lot of hypocrisy in the govt and umno lah.
Just look athe classified section and you see "urut batin service" offered by malay ladies. Or go to Bangsar Baru or the 5 Star hotels, or KTV. Alamak.. a lot of Muslims drinking alcohol, and plenty of muslim GROs. Looks like we have one set of Syariah laws for the rich, and another set of Syariah laws for the poor.

BlueMoon said...

To all anonymouses, I go along with you on "one side reporting". This is exactly the problem particularly in this blog. On one hand you consider very disturbing when foreigners question the use ISA, political instability and whatnots. On the other hand, you made every effort to conceal the root cause to these uncertainties and madness. True the present system is bad but threatening to topple the goverment through party hopping is even worst. Not to mention promising powers and positions in return for political favours. As for jawi, the script has been around for so many years in the same way Mandarin is used for road signages in Kucing Sarawak. Neither Jawi nor Mandarin was an issue before. Why now? The same goes with azam. Why suddenly azam becomes so annoying whereas it was tolerated before? Can my so called learned muslim brothers explain this?

Anonymous said...

Saudara BLUEMOON, as a fellow Muslim brother, I will refrain myself from further debating this matter with you. I am saying we must practice tolerance (sabr) and use a better approach to counter such "attacks".

As for the change of GOVT, Msians in general want to see an improvement. Things are not that rosy BLUEMOON. I travel a lot and I totally understand where WCW is coming from.

So BLUEMOON, I can understand your frustration and you did no wrong by pointing out "the other side of the story". I am just saying as MUSLIMS, we should protect our faith and religion by explaining to the unlearned in a sensible manner. Counter reacting will not help make them understand. It will make them join forces and hit us back. When will this end??

Anonymous said...

blue moon, azam is not an issue. The issue is WRONGFUL accusation by Toyo and Utusan. They accuse Teresa of something she never did. Even the mosque officials have said so. But yet the police arrested her under ISA just under the wrong accusation by those two. That is the issue.

Anonymous said...

Say that we have are heading for a healthy 2 party system which is cornerstone of strong democracy. With either PR or BN in power both will not jeopardized the financial safety, security of the nation.

I think something everybody seems to be missing in this online pointing fingers at each other game is that all countries have similar issues (with politicians saying and doing the dumbest things) but alot more people in Malaysia are interested in it and talk about it more so than the average 'American' I can safely say. A intelligent and healthy discourse is always better than apathy even if it is one side sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy it while it last. Your days in the sun is going to be over come March 2009

Anonymous said...

We can talk until the cows come home and still do not get the dysfunctional gomen to act rationally. Ta boleh in bolehland.When a person is diagnosed with 3rd stage cancer,the only way out is certain death.There is no way you can cheat fate.Too long have the rakyat suffer in silence.This is the beginning of the end.Amen

Anonymous said...

I read with interest a comment from a British actor who appeared before the House of Lords to present a petition as was reported in the Readers' Digest.
" All religion deserve equal freedom of worship and practice but none deserves the right to freedom from criticism."
Just because we are critcal of the practices of a religion doesn't mean we are poking fun at them or being insensitive. God does not need us to defend Him. He is more than capable to handle all the nonsense that we get carried away with.