Sunday, June 20, 2010

RBT: Knowing what the right hand does

Rocky's Bru on THURSDAY: Knowing what the right hand does


Thursday, June 17th, 2010 12:38:00
Rocky Bru
WHEN the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, the result can be quite hilarious.

As in the case of the DAP losing yet another assemblyman or Adun in Perak two days ago, the same day its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partner Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was boasting about three Umno assemblymen quitting Barisan Nasional.

Keswinder Singh

KESHVINDER: Now BN-friendly

The DAP Adun for Malim Nawar, Keshvinder Singh Kashmir Singh, announced quitting his party to become an independent Adun at 1pm on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur.

The DAP obviously knew about Keshvinder's intention to quit and was trying to block it, which was why Keshvinder had to change the venue for his Press conference three times that day!

PKR, who is DAP's partner in PR in Perak, was oblivious to all this. That very morning, it was still teasing the Press and taunting the BN about three assemblymen from Umno jumping over to Pakatan. That would have tipped the power balance in the State in PR's favour.

If PKR had known what DAP was doing, it wouldn't have been a laughing stock that day.

Still, at least we had a good laugh there.

But not so in the case of Nazri Aziz, whose right hand quite obviously didn't know what the left hand was doing.

Within the same week, this flamboyant Minister in the Prime Minister's Department announced, firstly, a decision to scrap scholarships to send Malaysians to study abroad ("It's a question of affordability," he was quoted as saying) and, secondly, a proposal to build a new Parliament house in Putrajaya for a whopping RM800 million — and refurbishment of the current Parliament for RM150 million to turn it into a heritage building.

(With regards to scrapping the scholarships, Nazri had told a news website that the government's plans to redeploy bright students to study locally instead of overseas would help prevent a further braindrain of talent. "Sending students overseas causes brain-drain where some of them won't want to come back after studying there for a few years," he had said. But that's another story.)


NAZRI, SYED HAMID: Is the government's messaging system collapsing?

Back to the proposed new Parliament house: That's nearly RM1 billion to be spent. A question of affordability?

More like a case of communications breakdown. Or in the words of a young BN MP I met over lunch yesterday, "a collapse in the messaging system".

The right hand has forgotten what the left had done. Tan Sri Vincent Tan said he has been re-issued the licence that will legalise sports betting.

The Prime Minister said the government was still considering it, but this after Penang, Selangor and Sarawak said they would not allow legalised sports betting.

And why does the authorities use the term "legalised sports betting". Isn't the correct term "regulated sports betting"?

Similarly, why go with bankruptby-2019 scare tactic when the real message that Idris Jala, another Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, wanted to convey is that when the government cuts subsidies it would make sure that the poor will continue to get assistance.

As it was, Idris said late last month that if Malaysia didn't stop giving out subsidies — which amounted to RM74 billion a year — it would go broke in nine years!

And so, the whole first half of this month has seen Idris Jala's colleagues in the government disputing his assumptions in an attempt to salvage the situation.

Finally even the Treasury, which usually exaggerates numbers to make a picture look rosy, came out to shoot down Idris Jala's subsidy figures, the base for his bankrupt theory. It's RM18 million, and not RM74 billion!

So whose message do you believe — the Treasury or the PM's Department?

Back to Nazri, he was quoted on May 10 saying the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wanted him to head the Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat or Spad, a new commission to look into the business of improving road public transport. Nazri also added that the PM had conveyed the appointment to him last year.

Many were wondering if Nazri wasn't pre-empting his boss with this statement.

Then last week, the government formally announced the appointment of Syed Hamid Albar as chairman of Spad effective June 3.

Is there a message here for Nazri Aziz?

*Ahirudin Attan is group editorial adviser for The Malay Mail, Bernama TV and The Malaysian Reserve. He blogs at

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