Saturday, February 03, 2007

Politicians Say the Darndest Things (2)

We all sympathize with the people of Johor who have suffered terribly from the massive floods that recently affected the southern part of peninsular Malaysia. Even as the government sets up a committee to investigate the causes of the massive flooding, the Mentri Besar of Johor, Datuk Abdul Ghani has gone public and alleged that it was our land reclamation projects at Pulau Tekong that have contributed to these floods.

There is a well-known Chinese proverb that says:

冰冻三尺 非一日之寒; or
A three –feet layer of ice did not result from one day of chill.

It teaches us that the visible effects of a problem are often the consequence of prolonged period of neglect. In analyzing a problem, we must therefore invest the time to probe deep into the root causes. We must be thorough in uncovering all the factors that may contribute to the problem. Failure to do this may lead us to implement measures that merely remove the symptoms without preventing the recurrence of the problem. Even a production operator or bus driver who has undergone QCC (quality control circle) training would know this. Strange that as learned a man as the menteri besar does not know this simple principle.

I suspect that the datuk must have been inspired by the accusations of the Thai generals that Singapore eavesdrops on their secret telephone conversations. It’s simply another ‘Napoleonic’ tactic to divert the attention of the suffering citizens away from his own ineptness.
Personally, I believe the root cause of the floods is the prolonged period of neglect by the government of that part of Malaysia. In the words of Tortrakul Yomnak, the structural engineer who heads the team investigating problems with Thailand’s new Suvarnabhumi International Airport, it’s “systemic failure”. I estimate it goes back at least 22 years. Maybe the big boss was too preoccupied with ‘mega-projects’ and multi-million dollar ‘scenic bridges’ to bother with something as trivial and unglamorous as drainage and rubbish disposal.

That of course brings me back to my favourite Malaysian politician, Mahathir Mohammad, the man who ruled Malaysia for 22 years. We have not heard from the ‘loose cannon’ for a long time. The poor guy suffered a heart attack last year and consequently the guns had gone silent. But thankfully, he has recovered and thus I can continue to look forward to more additions to my collection of Mahathir gems.

Here is his latest salvo.

  • Singapore does not really care about the opinion of its neighbours.

  • Singapore believes the most important thing is what profits Singapore.

  • You will get nowhere with them either being nice or being tough; they only think of themselves.”


Anonymous said...

Do you remember one time when Mahathir came down to the JB side of the causeway and scolded the Msian immigration/checkpoints officials? He pointed at Spore and said something to this effect.

See of there they are so clean whereas over here so dirty. Our side of the straits is full of rubbish and filth.

zen said...

Not only that, he also wanted to declare war and cut off Singapore water supply. Can such a war-like person be nominated for the nobel peace prize award ?

Sleepless in Singapore said...

Zen. You shd read my earlier article about how he incited a crowd at JB to yell Potong Potong.

Anonymous: Of course I remember that occasion. In fact I passed by Kota Tinggi areas just after the 1st round of floods and noticed that there were hundreds of plastic bags and other debris caught in the mangrove roots along the bank of this river. Shd have taken a photo.

Zen said...

Big neighbours like to threaten a tiny red dot (treating us as a small kid), envying that this little country with scarely any natural resources, except perhaps granite, can move to the big league of properous countries. The position we reach today is through hard work, blood, sweat and tears of its people, no handouts. The water threat has turned blessing in disguise for us. Now Singapore has acquired the
the latest technology of recycling water and is selling this technology to many countries and earning good revenue. Similarly we can turn all other threats thrown at us into blessings. Singapore like granite, is a country that is willing to face challenges be it big or small. We are sure of that.

Sleepless in Singapore said...

And the irony is that the lady who gave us this new water technology was a Malaysian; probabaly forced to come here becos people like her have been marginalised.

zen said...

That is the problem, when a country fails to see the value of its people, usually due to unscrupulous politicians, a brain drainage will definitely follow. There is a Chinese saying which explains that if this place doesn't want me, there will be other places ever willing to acccept me. A good example is Singapore always open its door to foreign talents, the more the merrier.