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YES MINISTER! YESSSS

15 Sep 2019

YES MINISTER! YESSSS

I have no doubt that many of you have written to your Pakatan Harapan (PH) state assemblymen (ADUN) and parliamentarians (MP) on various issues that in your humble opinion solicited their immediate attention.

A few ADUNs and MPs may have obliged and undertaken the necessary actions or remedial tasks but would it be too far-fetched to suggest that the majority have not even bothered to acknowledge receipt of your complaint, let alone revert, or only paid lip service to your suggestions, whilst a few were actually pissed off with your recommendations?

Well! Some of us never got to ascend the rarefied atmosphere of top echelons of corporate or academic leadership because we held dearly and uncompromisingly to our puritanical and religiously democratic views trained into us since our formative days in the UK. Among others, the notion that a leader should be told what he needs to be told and not what people feel he wants to be told. In short, calling a spade a spade (we hope we are being ethnically correct and colour blind) was and still continues to be a dearly held principle of engagement.

We always wondered why our peers including some very close colleagues of ours hesitated and used twenty words to convey what needed to be said in five words to our bosses. With so many words, inflexions and padded advice, much of the real essence was lost in the delivery.

After a protracted period of cold storage and exile for some, the reasons finally  dawned on us – Eureka!

There are leaders who preferred being given advice and told what they actually wanted to be told and eschewed advice on what they really should be told. Much like the case of where the emperor wore no clothes.

In the context of Malaysian political governance, either BN or PH, we would suggest that the progenies of the aforementioned emperor are still alive and thriving, though less in the latter.

Hence subordinates, who hope to curry favour for obvious reasons, tailor their counsel to get the ears of their little emperors. There exists a culture where, upon ascending a top post, people bow and scrape to their leaders and exaggerate beyond reasonable measures moderate successes and carefully gloss over cracks and pits. They know this is the culture and leaders and followers feed off each other.

Woe betide those who like the proverbial little boy dare to draw attention to the emperor’s nudity.  Our society is in its present mess not because our leaders are not smart (some undoubtedly are smart but the rest are less so) but because of an inherent internal inertia to the purveyors of not so good home truths.

No matter how smart, capable or visionary a leader is, he is subject to blind spots, either in his rear mirror, side mirror or even front windscreen if we use the similitude of a driver of a car. Blind spots can turn a pleasant drive into a tragedy. Therefore, taking cognisance from sensors allows one to make measured, careful steps to avoid dangers and help rebuild our nation’s glorious destiny.

The fact that some of our PH big wigs feel we are not up to the mark with our knowledge of their actual circumstances, thus our observations are defective and not evidential, and are therefore good reasons to be rejected outright.

I hope our ADUNs and MPs are good listeners and takes on board dissenting views with good spirits and aplomb. Kudos to the magnanimous Minister of Education who exhibited masterly PR skills in news releases when confronted with those rabble pack of university students.

Inability or unwillingness to make use of the inputs would perpetuate the culture of fawning, selective information gathering and processing so prevalent before albeit in a new Malaysia Baru form.

We however are not willing to be a party to this bodek culture and will never temper our views just because they prick our ADUN’s, MP’s or Minister’s ego.

Our political leaders are well-advised to view the UK comedy of the early 1980s, Yes Minister, which embodies authority and politics as a hypocritical world filled with double talk.

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin
Prof Awaluddin Shaharoun