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For want of a nail the shoe was lost

For want of a shoe the horse was lost

For want of a horse the rider was lost

For want of a rider the battle was lost

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail

Asli's corporate equity report can be viewed as a nail in the grand scheme of things imagined by the popular rhyme. The report wouldn't by itself have capsized the country's entrenched patronage system but could have been a catalyst at least to redirecting economic strategies.

But predictably bureaucracy came down on it like a ton of bricks, burying the think-tank's CPPS, which prepared the study, under an avalanche of flak. From a cynical familiarity with politics as usual, we could have anticipated that any such research which challenges the government's official take would presage racial thunderstorms.

The silver lining behind the dark cloud is that conscientious folks have clearly recognised the integrity of CPPS director Dr Lim Teck Ghee who did the honourable thing by resigning and standing by his team's findings.

Indeed integrity is a value that transcends race, the latter a factor permeating the Asli debate. Following the last general elections, I wrote that Nik Aziz Nik Mat (Kelantan mentri besar) has managed to swear in his state government, given our political climate, is a shining testament to the integrity of the PAS representatives.'

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