By Major Huan Cheng Guan (K)

A shrimp behind the rock?

A traitor is one who betrays another, a cause, or any trust. In movies or stories, betrayals by traitors add spice and plot twists heightening and creating suspense. Do traitors betray their own side or do they lead their enemies into a trap or offer a value to the enemy for selfish reasons to profit?

Themistocles, a non-aristocratic Athenian politician and general, rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy. With populist moves, he won the support of lower class Athenians while at odds with the Athenian nobility. When the Persians attacked Greece in 480BC, the Greeks had about 200 ships while the Persians had 700. Themistocles knew they had to retaliate or face defeat so he sent a trusted servant to the Persians.

The servant, playing the role of a traitor, told the Persians that the Greeks were in disorder. He claimed that if the Persians attacked the Greeks’ beachside camp by morning, they could take the Greeks by surprise. The Persians rushed to do battle but the Greeks ambushed them. In this case, the traitor gave the enemy knowledge.

The traitor often carries secrets to the enemy, such as locations or weaknesses. Motivated by greed, they want to be on the winning side to acquire wealth, status, positions of power, or the chance to for personal vendetta. If their true intentions are unknown, traitors are sometimes exalted as heroes. Modern examples include Snowden and Bradley Manning.

However, what happens when a state leader on an official mission to a foreign country (supposedly to meet potential investors and business partners) runs down his motherland instead of highlighting salient points to increase business confidence of potential investors?

The leader was accompanied by an official state delegation on this trip which coincided with the MIDA Investment Mission to Hong Kong and China led by International Trade and Industry Malaysia (Miti) Minister Mustapa Mohamed.

In a speech given by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to the Penang diaspora in Hong Kong released in Komtar a few days ago, he said:

“The prime minister can only convince the public of his sincerity and necessity of raising RON95 petrol prices by 20 sen to save annual subsidy costs of RM3.3 billion by also implementing open competitive tenders and fighting corruption which would save RM51 billion annually.

“Without accompanying measures, that demonstrates the federal government’s commitment against corruption, the public would easily see through such fake sincerity and counterfeit necessity to cut costs.”


Undoubtedly, this is a very negative introduction to a speech supposedly aimed to attract foreign investors to Penang and Malaysia. He even publicly announces the problem of corruption in the country - a move that undermines the original aim of the visit.

Secondly, it accuses the federal government of fake sincerity and counterfeit necessity to cut costs.

‘Enlightened revelations?’

How can such ‘enlightened revelations’ increase the international competitiveness of Penang and the country? Would any sane investor want to invest in Penang or Malaysia after hearing this from a state leader?

CM Lim must justify the use of state funds to go abroad with a delegation and then to run down the government in a foreign land when the original mission was to attract potential investors and business partners.

There, he went on to say:

“Why should the people, especially lower-income groups, bear the pain of paying RM3.3 billion annually in increased petrol prices if no action is taken against those political bandits who steal the nation of RM51 billion annually?

“In the Pakatan 2013 general election manifesto, based on the experience of fiscal responsibility and fighting corruption by the Pakatan state governments in Penang and Selangor, at least 25 percent annual savings can be obtained from government procurement contracts.”


Such a stand projects an incompetent federal government incapable of establishing law and order in the country. This is public shaming of Malaysia in the most unethical way! Why? Increasing business confidence of potential investors in Malaysia? My foot!

As if that was not enough to make one’s blood boil, he said:

“Such racial and extremist tactics are used successfully by BN to avoid dealing with the four real problems of Malaysia namely, crime, corruption, rise in indebtedness of governments and individual households as well as the declining educational standards, productivity and skills of Malaysian labour force. In Hong Kong, many investors and analysts identify these four main issues have made Malaysia less attractive or even less competitive.”


CM Lim Guan Eng must explain why he persisted in running down and shaming our country by giving public and international airing to such issues. Any sane person would not wash dirty linen in public.

What is the point of going on an official mission to Hong Kong only to declare to the audience that Malaysia is less attractive or even less competitive?

Not only did he accuse the BN federal government of being “penny wise, pound foolish” and “playing up racial, religious, and extremist sentiments,” he gave the impression to his audience in Hong Kong and China that Malaysia is not a safe place. Before his audience there, he questioned the competence of police force and stating that only 10 percent of the police force is involved in investigation work.

‘Fiscal recklessness’

Instead of waxing lyrical about our country’s wonderful resources and potential, CM LGE talked about the government’s fiscal recklessness of borrowing to spend its way out of our country’s problems. Before a foreign audience, CM LGE had the audacity to say the federal government should show leadership by example to individual households by reducing its dependency of debt.

As if he has no national pride of dignity, CM LGE accused the federal government of failing to invest in the future by investing in quality education. He reiterated:

“Many high technology knowledge-intensive foreign investors lament about the poor and declining quality of our workforce at all levels, especially the poor command of English.

“With BN’s fixation on mediocrity instead of a culture of excellence, on political quotas rather than performance and on empty rhetoric rather than concrete action, Malaysia risks being left behind by not only high-tech foreign investors but also our best talents leaving to other countries like Hong Kong.”

Can such a speech harvest positive effects to justify the use of state funds for an official delegation to Hong Kong and China to attract various potential investors and business partners?

CM LGE has the moral obligation to present the results of this visit in terms of FDI for the period after Sept 5, 2013. Should there be no positive results, CM LGE must personally reimburse expenses incurred from this trip. That would be first class demonstration of Competency, Accountability, and Transparency, which he expounds so religiously.

CM LGE must present a detailed report to all Malaysians as to how each point raised in his speech given in Hong Kong can positively business confidence and can attract potential investors and business partners to Malaysia.  Possibly, CM LGE knows of a special formula unknown to Harvard Business School as to how running down one’s nation can increase the circular flow of income and offer solutions to all economic problems.

Most outrageously, CM LGE ended his speech by saying:

“The Penang state government is boldly offering a model where performance is prized above political background, where concerted efforts are made to attract quality educational institutions at all levels, where a honest and competent government in partnership with both the private sector and civil sector as well as a livable city that is safe, clean, green and healthy can provide a solution to these four problems.”

How can he contradict himself with such statements? He is implying that Penang is an autonomous state with its own education system. Quality educational institutions at all levels? Just a paragraph earlier, he moaned about mediocrity and the poor command of English.

He needs to engage better speechwriters and to check thoroughly for his speech has grammatical errors. He talks about ‘A honest and competent government’ when it should be ‘An honest and competent government’.

Truly, CM Lim has disgraced himself publicly and internationally!

It seems CM LGE has a penchant for running down the government in foreign land. In another speech he gave at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2012, he painted a very negative picture of Malaysia. Watch it at this link.

What is the real mission of his supposed official mission/s? Explain and justify your speech/es given in Hong Kong, CM LGE, for all the sermons you have preached about competency, accountability, and transparency.

Related story
'Penang CM only addressed investor concerns in HK'


MAJOR HUAN CHENG GUAN (K) is president of Pasukan SEMUT Malaysia (Sensible & Ethical Malaysian United Team).