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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dirty Laundry: Malaysian politics in the spin cycle

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There seem to be a lot of theories and speculations surrounding the so-called spat between Tun Dr. Mahathir and Pak Lah. In the meantime, the Singapore press has picked up on this big time, and you can read all about this angle either at Jeff Ooi's Screenshots, or at Rocky's Bru. There are some, like Aisehman, who even think the Tun is going on a warpath!

But this post isn't about taking sides (Pak Lah's or Dr. M's), or regurgitating what's been said elsewhere. It's about what Walski's own thoughts are on what's happening. Walski initially thought it was nothing more than a couple of old foggies blowing hot air.

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It seems the whole thing has a lot more to it than meets the eye, and talk about it continues unabated. But, really, are we talking about a real power-struggle here, or just hot air blown totally out of proportion?

First, however, consider the following points:

1. The Government can be thought of as a large corporation, headed by a CEO - in the case of our Government, that would be the Prime Minister. Below the CEO would be a layer of top management (i.e. the Ministers), and then middle management (i.e. the Ministries).

2. In any large corporation, the absense of strong leadership from top management and the CEO will result in middle management running amuck.

3. In politics, generally, Malaysian politics in particular, to rise to the top, one has to put aside certain personal principals, in order to succeed. Scum, like cream, tends to rise to the top. Nobody, and I mean nobody, that's successful in Malaysian politics can legitimately claim to not have a skeleton or three in their closet.

So, what do we have happening? In a nutshell, the old CEO is not happy about how the corporation (which he headed for 22 years) is being run, and has posed several questions, which so far have not been answered to his satisfaction.

Top Image from www.yo-yo.comSPIN

Has Pak Lah been an effective CEO? Many would say No. His easy-going style is probably not very well suited for a corporation that comprises of some pretty dubious top management. That's provided, of course, that he's actually running the show. There is speculation that the real brains behind Pak Lah is actually his son-in-law. But we won't delve into that subject here.

Not to say that Dr. M was the perfect leader, either. But his no-nonsense almost totalitarian style did keep the top and middle management in check, at least initially. And the man did have a vision for the country. Sure, he had his faults, and made several blunders along the way. Walski will not deny that fact.

So, does Dr. M's questions warrant answers? Sure they do. Much of it is also our concern, as citizens and taxpayers of this country. Are they being answered? Well, CEO says they will be, but not by him; he'll let his top and middle management handle that.

Top Spin Image from SPIN

And while the top and middle management scramble like mad to gather the ammo to answer the questions and allegations, every tom, dick and hairy politician wants in on the act. And not just from the ruling Barisan Nasionial (BN) ruling coalition, but from the opposition as well, primarily from the gang of Puny Airhead Slimeballs, who are trying to spin the dispute into something that would benefit themselves, as evidenced by this failed attempt to bring Dr. M on a speaking tour of Kelantan (which is opposed by many grassroots PAS members, incidentally).

The Minister of Information has come out with a disclosure that he's arranging for an intermediary. Najib says, "What? Why was I not informed?" Then Dr. M says, "No need for an intermediary. It's nothing personal". More spin.

So the crux of the matter is the spin that's been woven by various parties. Dr. M has stated that he has no ill-feelings towards Pak Lah (truth? or more spin?). A certain mainstream press organization has spun it as Dr. M vs. the Government (truth? or spin?). (more dizzying thoughts in the full post)

And while all this spinning is going on the nation stares dumbstruck in dizziness... Some Malaysians, being somewhat gullible by nature, are having their thoughts hurled all over the damned place. One minute it's this, then it's that...

And while everyone with a vested interest is getting in on the action, giving their two-bits worth some airtime, what of the two protagonists in this story? Well, living up to Walski's adage:

When the going gets tough, the tough go on holiday...

both parties are elsewhere on, well, holiday. Actually, Pak Lah also has the agenda of having some nasal surgery on the side, down under in Perth. Dr. M is (or was, not sure if he's back) in Turkey, with his other half, accompanied by Mr. Satellite Broadcasting it seems.

Back home, Hatchet-Man Nazri has indicated that it will be up to the UMNO Supreme Council to decide on the fate of Dr. M's membership status in UMNO. Now where have we heard this passing the buck to the Supreme Council talk before? Hmmm.... More spin.

Image from Jeff Ooi's ScreenshotsOne nation in a SPIN

And so it continues - our political dirty laundry spin cycle... with the Singapore media now hot on the heels of spinning their own web. Walski is very frankly very sick and tired of all this - not to mention dizzy.