He is still extending his already extended 'vacation' while sleepin on the job since became PM. He might have some personal reasons like his own pride and he is reported planning to change some rules to ensure he will get enough nominations to defend his presidency.
In the USA as we are celebrating Eid in the UAE, stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was officially announced on the House floor. Bush and his economic advisers, as well as congressional leaders in both parties had argued the plan was vital to insulating ordinary Americans from the effects of Wall Street's bad bets. The version that was up for vote Monday was the product of marathon closed-door negotiations on Capitol Hill over the weekend.
But the congress thought otherwise as one lady said on CNN something like this, "The working class voted againts of bailing out the corrupt corporate players! Enough of using our money to bail these criminals out for nothing!"
It sounds familiar. US is the brink of an economic disaster....which will affect the world and Malaysia may hit hard by the standard of leadership's management and actions.
We are into another period of uncertainty as the world is reeling for another shock and bumpy ride to the global recession, hang on there and.....Selamat Hari Raya Malaysia!
Weight of expectation
Commentary by Abd Ghani Hamat
The general election last March 8 could yet be remembered as marking a downward spiral of the country’s economy.
There’s no denying that a prolonged political uncertainty stemming from Barisan Nasional’s (BN) inability to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament has spooked the stock investors and added to the misery of businesses that are barely surviving record energy prices and a spike in raw material costs.
Suddenly the country finds itself deflated and despondent, sunk by the weight of its expectation of an impending economic rejuvenation amid a new political landscape. Contrary to its hopes, the wake-up call on Umno-led BN in the election has resulted in a political morass instead. The country finds itself in what promises to be its longest “election year”.
Until the dust of general election settled, we would not be able to have a clear view of where the government wanted to take the country economically, said a GLC chief executive, over lunch. In his estimation, the dust of March 8 would clear up by the turn of the year (2009), when the main political parties would have had their polls.
In an election year, he argued, conditions on the ground tended to get distorted as politicians engage in posturing while jockeying for party positions and pay less attention to national issues. That was five months ago, at a time talk of politicians crossing the floor was only beginning to gather momentum.
Now that Umno has postponed its polls till March next year, the wait for a new, party-endorsed prime minister has been extended by at least three months.
We can thus surmise that decisions made in the meantime are provisional at best, as the new prime minister may have his own ideas, assuming also that there’s no change of government, of course.
From the perspective of the national economy, this state of affairs is extremely unfair, particularly in light of the harsh external factors, which have already pushed Ireland into recession (two quarters of negative growth).
There is clearly an urgent need at this time for the government to focus on keeping the economy ticking — help industries and businesses tackle their problems, or even facilitate their expansion.
Who knows, the financial meltdown in the US and Europe could have opened a window of opportunity for Islamic financing and sukuk issuance, the country’s pride, to make a quantum leap into the international capital market.
Then there is the need to relook at the country’s subsidy structure by adopting a holistic approach that emphasises its sustainability as much as the competitiveness of industries over the long term.
Also pertinent are regional trade and investment issues, such as the resolution of Maybank’s proposed purchase of Bank Internasional Indonesia. The flip-flops in decisions pertaining to this deal are not characteristic of Bank Negara Malaysia and suggest more than meets the eye.
Indeed, Umno’s internal strife is not only distressing the economy but also its BN partners. How could the coalition function fully if its main partner is engrossed in its own affairs?
What puzzles most political observers, however, is how mighty Umno has let itself drift into the sticky mess. Perhaps there’s truth in the observation that it has become a party of reaction, not action. And it only reacts when it hits the wall.
How else do you explain that, after successfully scaring away voters at the last elections, its leaders are now threatening to alienate party members by squabbling over leadership succession?
That Umno is unable to come to terms with diminished power is not news. But the inability of its leaders to think and act in a coherent manner should be a cause for worry.
Their inability to comprehend public mood and expectations at the 2004 elections and their reluctance to accept accountability for poor showing four years later, could easily translate into a denial of the present economic realities, which does not bode well for the country.
But surely an old party like Umno would have enough clever people in its ranks to see its own folly. Surely they can see that the blame is not on the voters but their own leaders. But will they see beyond the veneer of democracy that masks what truly ails the party? Not unless it rids itself of the penchant for passing every trivial practice as “adat”.
We have heard claims by other BN component parties that they had been powerless in their discussions with Umno. Could it be that similarly “democratic” practice characterises decision making within the party? After all, Umno is a bunch of happy families.
To assure the masses, however, Umno has to be more transparent about its decisions, particularly those involving public funds, which rightly should not be even a subject for discussion at party meets.
Being transparent would not solve the economic issues of the entire society, but at least it points to a truer level of expectation of what’s possible and what’s not.