Sunday, December 13, 2009

From the heart and refreshing

IT isn’t often that we read something refreshing from our politicians. Their statements are often predictable and unexciting. If they are in Government, they are talking down to us, lecturing us or are being plain defensive.

Those in the Opposition are not exemplary either. It was thus refreshing to read a bold and honest speech by Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (pic) last week.

The mild-mannered Perak politician, at the National Award For Management Accounting on Dec 8, struck a chord with his listeners with his openness and his admission to use the country’s plural society to push for Malaysia’s competitiveness. It is a rarity these days as many politicians prefer to make “safe speeches”.

At a time when some politicians attempt to play the racial card, believing it to be still the best way to shore up voter support, Ahmad Husni has taken a different route. “It is about time we fully exploit the potential synergy that is fully inherent in the diversity of our talent pool,” he said.

To read more of my column On The Beat, click here.


Anonymous said...

What you’ve said is very logical and sensible. Every successful economy in the world down-plays racial, religious differences and operates on meritocracy. However, saying that a thousand times won’t change the politicians until we understand WHY those who have the power to do the logical thing, refuse to do it.

More time and effort should be spent analysing, discussing and understanding why these politicians (who are not stupid people by the way, regardless of what the cartoons and critics say) are acting irrationally. The solutions are so obvious. Why are they not adopting them?

Pet answers like: power crazy, corruption etc are two or threes degrees away from the real reasons.

When people act irrationally, they have their own set of assumptions upon which their logic is built. I suspect there has been a failure to understand those assumptions; and to bring them into the open, and to discuss and address them. Until they are addressed, your set of logic (e.g. meritocracy is the best in the long run etc) will always be irrational to them, because you operate on a different set of assumptions from them.

How else can we explain why two highly educated people, seemingly rational, can disagree on the benefit of meritocracy? Or the benefit to society of an open tender system? Or the benefit of more transparency, less corruption etc?

It has to be because both sides are arguing from completely different sets of assumptions. Some of these assumptions are probably highly sensitive. But they need to be discussed and agreed upon before solutions can be agreed.


amoker said...

I agree with the disposition. However, the Finance ministry is keeping silence about the status of the economy, which is in technical recession. Its brave to say those words and we want more transparency.

Unknown said...

Dear Wong,

It is indeed rare for politicians to speak the truth. Most of the time they lie and bluff and cheat.

It really make no difference actually. Most of us know this and discount about 80% of what politicians said. That is conservatively speaking.

So in a sense you are right. When they speak the truth, we are shocked.

Strange but true.

Anonymous said...

"The implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) is a means of placing the country’s economy at a level that is at par with those of developed nations"- this statement also caome from the same 2nd FM, who just speak the "earth-shaking truth" about the sorry state of our economy!
what a joke!