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Netto berates Faekah - for doing the right thing?

Honestly, I think the only reason this issue is still alive is because we're facing a slow news cycle.

I try not to get trolled, but this article (by Terence Netto) really went too far. The needlessly obtuse language aside (as usual), the conclusions it posits run entirely counter to the 'evidence' it presents. I cannot resist a rebuttal.

The title to begin with, does not to my mind make grammatical sense: Selangor MB's pol sec Faekah at bay .

Let me present the second half of the above article (points of interest in bold).

Khalid's main problem is that he is not a politician . He came to politics from the corporate world where you don't necessarily have to please so much as manage things well.

That he has, as CEO of the Selangor estate, done rather well is not in dispute; the surplus of RM1.3 billion in income over expenditure by the state government last year is evidence of his good management.

However, he has been slow to recognise as the PKR leader of a state regarded as a jewel in the federal crown that politics is also about providing opportunities, rewarding loyalties and managing expectations of the party faithful .

Oblivious of these aspects of his role as MB, he has courted trouble with sections of the party - mainly ex-Umno members - whose 10 years (1998-2008) in the political wilderness before the Selangor government was captured by a PKR-led opposition has had them ravening for whatever rewards were to be had .

The latter bunch have had trouble accessing the MB and had contrived, when Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad quit as Khalid's political secretary a few years back to become communications director of PKR central, to place their candidate in that position.

But Faekah stepped into the role, courtesy of party president Azizah and accepted with alacrity by Khalid.

This caused consternation in the ranks of Selangor PKR who felt they were being neglected.

When Faekah went on to be placed on the boards of several GLCs, her role as a buffer between the MB and the PKR horde that was already disgruntled from neglect was played out in a way that only fanned the latter's grievances.

She alienates more than she cultivates

Worse, it is said that Faekah has political ambitions. If so, she has a strange conception of how best to go about achieving this.

Usually, political secretaries to powerful barons with aspirations to clamber up the ladder are careful about the path they trod, taking pains to cultivate all and sundry, particularly those they think would be crucial to their prospects for upward mobility .

Faekah alienates more than she cultivates. In that, she reflects the weakness of her boss whose past corporate career did not require him to endear so much as to execute .

Faekah is a type of functionary that is a problem for the present-day political parties: they regard the party as a form of social mobility, so that, eventually, the protection of the party's political structures becomes more important than the people the party is supposed to represent.

But Khalid is sticking by her as his defence of her conduct and endorsement of her capability confirm.

Good managers, especially the ones that do not seem to be failing, seldom dispense with underlings that reflect their style and PKR, the Selangor division at least, has to live with the choice.

The best thing that ought to be done in a party poised for a long stay near or at the central levers of political power in Malaysia - a situation that would inevitably result in more choice when it comes to selection - to think through the question of suitability, something that would surely yield in wisdom for future appointments.

Analysis is remiss

Most, though not all, of the analysis above is remiss.

For example, the contention that Khalid is not by nature a politician is valid. The contention that this is a problem is not.

In a culture so used to bemoaning the evils of politics and politicians, we suddenly want our leaders to be... more political?

We cannot dissect his style in great detail here, but suffice to say that Khalid prefers managing and getting results to playing politics.

Those that think this is necessarily a bad thing would probably be better represented by voting BN.

Similarly, Mr Netto is not remiss in saying that there are a few elements in PKR that represent - in his own words - a "horde", "ravening" for "opportunities" and "rewards".

He is also right in saying that Faekah, acting in a manner consistent with Khalid's principles, poses a problem for these hordes.

The question then is: is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Mr Netto observes that Faekah's actions are not consistent with someone harbouring political ambitions.

Respectfully, his statement that this is "strange" given how she is said to be politically ambitious represents the thought process of one who has reached a conclusion before examining the evidence, not the other way around.

In my view, the more astute, empirically sound conclusion to draw would be that her lack of inclination to curry favour or pander to the above mentioned horde simply demonstrates a lack of political ambition - or at the very least, a refusal to sacrifice principle for political gain.

We are not blind to the necessities of realpolitik, but neither should we ever let realpolitik blind us to the necessity of staying true to our principles.

Does Faekah reflect Khalid?

Yes, but does her reflection of Khalid's refusal to allow state resources to be misused by any political party represent a "weakness"?

If so, then I for one shall begin aspiring to weakness.

Describing how I truly feel about the last paragraph that I have bolded above would require the use of words that are impolite to say about a fellow writer.

Mr Netto himself says that Faekah has no regard for pleasing party members. How on earth then does she become guilty of "protecting the party's political structures"?

Certainly, there are people within the party who do view it as a vehicle for social mobility.

From what I've seen, they regularly behave in the exact opposite way from what Mr Netto has described as Faekah's modus operandi .

From all that I've observed in my work both within the party and with the state government, I understand the movement against Faekah as being motivated precisely by Faekah and Khalid's dedication to prioritising the interests of the rakyat - whether or not they are supporters of PKR.

This dedication to putting integrity and the welfare of the rakyat as a whole before political considerations has indeed alienated the two from some elements within the party.

I believe however, that it has successfully cultivated an extremely rare example of a government that is willing to do what is right, instead of what is easy.

 

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