The day has come when Malaysians must really look deep into their souls to determine what's good for them. That goes for Malaysians of all racial origins, especially the Bumis.
The country is now facing a cold war: between the ruling PM and the ex PM who had ruled the country for more than two decades and who stepped down on his own choice. I was lucky to have served under both as a senior administrative officer and I feel that the current political problems faced by the country arise from their two contrasting characters.
Rest assured that if another man had taken over from the ex PM, he would have faced the same problem: ie. to keep on following the dictate of the ex boss or strike out on his own, ready to face his blistering attacks. For Tun Mahathir was such a great leader - very demanding, very sharp, full of vision, very resourceful, but who can never accept 'no' for an answer. He had
made Malaysia what it is today, but in his own way. All other leaders could only play second fiddle, or "just get on with what I told you to do."
Paklah was left with a Cabinet of Ministers 'raised' in that kind of political culture, himself being a part of it. But he is no "second Mahathir". In many ways he's the opposite, though no less astute and resourceful. The biggest difference: he works with people and not through people. He persuades and not builldozes. He smiles and not grimaces. The problem: after years of working in fear of the big boss, all the underlings take the opportunity to do what they want. The big club is not there anymore to prevent them from doing their own thing. ( No one dares to say anything against the set path in Mahathir's time. Now they can say anything they want).
The result: No one is afraid of anyone anymore. Ministers and Menteri Besars, political bosses everywhere become their own boss. And the feedback system failed to give the true information which Paklah needed for effective control and monitoring.
Political bosses at every level could just gloss over problems and assume that people will accept their decisions, AS WERE THE CASE DURING MAHATHIR'S TIME. They forget that during Mahathir's time they were only implementing what the no.1 boss has directed them to do. And Mahathir himself will answer any questions raised or arguments raised.
Paklah couldn't of course answer for what his Ministers, the Menteri Besars and the lower political bosses did on their own. He could call them up to explain whatever is objected to by the rakyat but the responsible party surely knows how to 'kowtow' to the PM. He is after all an easy man to get away with. NOT MAHATHIR. HE WOULD CATCH YOU WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN AND YOU'LL HAVE TO FACE THE MUSIC. DON'T TRY TO BLUFF HIM. HIS KNOWLEDGE ON ANYTHING IMPORTANT AND HIS INFORMATION ARE ALWAYS UP-TO-DATE.
What happened in the General Election was the result of people' dissatisfaction with what the political bosses were doing on their own - NOT AS DIRECTED BY THE NO.1 AS IN THE DAYS OF MAHATHIR. Yes, some people were fed up with Mahathir's
semi-dictatorial ways but THEY SEE RESULTS AND WERE HAPPY. People were for a while happy with Paklah's accommodating and friendly style, BUT THEY DON'T SEE RESULTS. ONLY THE POLITICAL BOSSES AND THEIR FRIENDS WERE GETTING THE BEST OF THINGS, THE BEST DEALS AND THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES.
Paklah had no way of stopping the almost 'free for all' regime enjoyed by his Cabinet Ministers, Menteri Besars, and the other political bosses down the line. HE DIDN'T HAVE MAHATHIR'S 'DON'T TRY TO BLUFF ME" STARE nor the " CROSS ME AND YOU'RE DEAD' reputation. As people say: he is a nice man. But the motley of political leaders which Mahathir left behind cannot be handled by a nice man. You need someone who can handle the club as well as the microphone.
The rakyat expressed their disappointment in the last general election, nort necessarily with Paklah but with the political leadership down the line. Tun Mahathir has of course put the blame on Paklah alone for he's the no.1 boss. But Paklah cannot
fill the shoes he left behind and walks in the same way. He walks differently. It is his men who have walked in different directions, taking advantage of his kind nature.
So where does that leave us now? I'll only venture to give a view if this post is well received. I think I've been very fair to both the bosses I once served for I love and respect both of them. But they are certainly two different characters and to expect Paklah to fall in line with Tun Mahathir's style of leadership is like expecting the cat to control the herd. I don't think anyone can follow Tun Mahathir's style of leadership now and any other man he picked as a candiddate for replacing Paklak would fall far below his expectation. If the man tries to follow his brand of leadership, he could become even less acceptable than Paklah. ( To be continued).