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Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

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What a charade. And what tragic depths of professional incompetence the recent resumption of the coroner’s inquiry into the death of Teoh Beng Hock had demonstrated for the world to see. There is a lot to laugh at in Najib’s 1Malaysia, but sadly for all the wrong reasons.

As an observer, sometimes jaundiced, of the Malaysian scene, I thought I had seen it all, but I was totally unprepared for the complete and utter mayhem of the senses that developed when Abdul Razak Musa of the MACC’s in house legal talent began his cross examination of Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, the famous Thai pathologist. His attempt to trivialise and discredit her academic credentials was pathetic, to say the least. It backfired disastrously on him.

It showed the true measure of this sad figure of fun and ridicule who claimed to possess 24 years experience as a lawyer under the belt. I have never been impressed with experience, however long, for its own sake, not unless there is clear evidence of a string of successes to back up the claim.

Abdul Razak Musa has proved my point that years spent wallowing in the mediocrity of a professionally undemanding environment counts for naught.

But then this is 1Malaysia, and things could be infinitely worse. Abdul Razak Musa is just another of the numerous unintended victims of misguided racial policies.

Pack them in as long as they are constitutionally considered “Malay” and, with a bit of luck, a wink and a nod in the right places, we should all get on together famously.

Two decades of unfettered, blatant cynicism towards issues of governance engendered and encouraged by Mahathir, and continued by Abdullah Badawi and, now, Najib, has produced a civil service of uncertain reliability.

On present showing, it is notoriously ill-equipped both in expertise and integrity ever to give practical effect to Najib’s vision of a high income, and Mahathir’s unrealistic “highly regarded,” country that is Malaysia.

Politicians may spout all the rhetorical plans and designs their disingenuous minds can devise to take Malaysia forward, but, it is the quality of the civil servants on the nation’s payroll that will make or break Malaysia.

I have come across enough top Malaysian, for which read Malay, civil service officers, including diplomats and policemen, in my varied working life, to convince me that Mahathir may indeed justifiably congratulate himself on having succeeded, beyond my wildest nightmare, to turn a once proud and largely incorruptible civil service into a ragtag band of “elegant idlers” who are also, in the main, corrupt and bereft of integrity.

As long as the Malaysian public service remains an exclusively Malay ghetto or enclave, so long will it remain closed to new ideas and innovations that would give our country its much needed competitive edge to become an important regional player. Exclusivity, in the worst possible sense as represented by the current unspoken Malay favoured recruitment policy, has already had the effect of promoting intellectual isolationism.

Living with mediocrity is no longer an option if our twin goals of high income and competitiveness are to be achieved by 2020.

The talents of all Malaysians need to be actively nurtured and harnessed for the greater good of our country.

1Malaysia will otherwise remain a hollow slogan like all the rest of the politically motivated and inspired trash often dignified and legitimised with an appeal to national duty, loyalty and patriotism.

Abdul Razak Musa represents, in microcosm, the malaise inherent in the public service at large. If he is an example of the talent available to the MACC, then as I have said repeatedly all these many months that the war against corruption waged by an incompetent leadership will not make the slightest dent in the corruption equation. At best it will raise an eyebrow or two, and even with the additional five thousand officers, it will still remain the laughing stock it has always been except when under the command of Shafie who was a man of considerable moral and ethical courage.

Watching the video of Abdul Razak Musa in action in the palace of justice was surreal. I could not help but reminded of one of my favourite BBC comedies of the 70s, “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” by Raymond Allen, featuring Michael Crawford as the hapless, well meaning, accident prone and clueless Frank Spencer.

There, I fear, the similarity must end. Frank Spencer was at least endearing and lovable and highly intelligent in real life. His timing was always perfect, a requirement for a successful comedy and he was a first rate actor. Abdul Razak Musa’s comedy of errors has succeeded, more than he could ever have imagined, in driving another nail in the MACC coffin and, by extension, that of the Malaysian public service whose reputation cannot be lower than it is at present, with or without the much touted KPIs.

Najib must stop tinkering at the edges and deal not with the symptoms but the afflictions that are crippling his 1Malaysia. Start with replacing a Malay-centred civil service and bring in talented Malaysians to help make a real difference in developing this country to its full potential.

 

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