Writer-cum-corporate man Kalimullah Hassan was lamenting on the 'unique' Malaysian culture i.e hate, envy, backstabbing, gossip, poison-pen letters, being unkind to each other, etc. This, he said would drive many Malaysian companies abroad where they could do business in peace, free from this Malaysian scourge.
Kalimullah who has just left his job as editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times, was expressing his support for his good mate, Wong Sulong, editor-in-chief of The Star. I am surprised that as senior journalists with years of experience, these two gentlemen are still naive and quite oblivious to what is really going on in this country. The Mahathir years have ended but things are not showing any signs of change under Pak Lah.
Can't they see that our democratic system is defective, our local governments are rife with corruption and the implementation of the so-called New Economic Policy tragically flawed? I won't even go into the people's perception that if you have lots of money you can buy the police or judgment in a court of law.
It is still the perception that corruption is still very much part of our culture. The Bumiputera Contractors Association has said it openly that the industry is still very corrupt. Only those who could afford the biggest 'bung' will get the jobs.
On democracy, Kalimullah and Wong surely know that within Umno itself, a good local leader need not be selected to stand as candidates. KL would always have the final say. So, if left out, don't you think I would have good reason to be angry, hateful, and spiteful?
In the Dewan Rakyat itself, despite the overwhelming majority, does any Umno MP dare to step out of line, even a little bit? As for the opposition, don't you think they deserve some air time during election periods, or at least have their annual assemblies televised?
We all know that cronyism was the order of the day with the implementation of the NEP which angered and marginalised both the Malays and as well the non-Malays. Is Pak Lah changing all these ills. I don't think so. I will be the first to lick Pak Lah's shoes if he could follow Chile's example.
Even though General Pinochet is ill and dying, they are still going to prosecute him for all his cruelties. In our case, what happened to all the high-profile corruption cases? So can you blame the people for indulging in the 'national sports' mentioned above?