Dennis Ignatius: A return to the dark days of UMNO

By Dennis Ignatius:

The Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin from continuing his relentless quest to consolidate power by pushing out appointees of the former government in key agencies and GLCs and replacing them with his own supporters.

To some extent, this is understandable; Pakatan Harapan did the same. What is shocking, however, is the way these appointments are being dished out and the calibre of the people who are being appointed.

The power play has become so blatant that all Perikatan Nasional members of parliament are now set to be appointed heads of GLCs or other agencies (according to media reports quoting Takiyuddin Hassan, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department).

Clearly, Muhyiddin is throwing all caution to the wind in a frenzied effort to secure the support of his MPs before parliament reconvenes; he’s purchasing their loyalty with high-paying patronage appointments. It is the most crude, unscrupulous and blatant abuse of power we’ve ever seen.

What is equally troubling is that Muhyiddin is putting some of the key but troubled agencies into the hands of political appointees who are simply not up to the task of providing the kind of leadership that these agencies desperately need.

Take, for example, the appointment of Machang MP and former deputy minister of rural and regional development, Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub, as chairperson of FELDA. He replaces the highly respected, experienced and apolitical Bakke Salleh who was seen by industry players as a steady hand at the helm of an agency with serious legacy issues.

In making the appointment, officials said that Jazlan’s “experience would help to boost the sustainable development of the palm oil industry.” Really? What exactly is his experience?

A lifelong UMNO political hack, Jazlan’s career has been distinguished only by its mediocrity though he did briefly make headlines when he complained that there were too many homosexuals in Kelantan (as reported in the Star, 3rd March 2017).

And now he gets to play a lead role in one of the country’s most important sectors for which he will be paid handsomely, of course. With more than 5.9 million hectares under cultivation and smallholders contributing 40% of the country’s oil palm production, it is a sector that affects the lives of thousands of people.

Many will no doubt remember that it was UMNO cronies who made a complete mess of FELDA the last time they helmed the agency, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for all the corruption, profligacy and mismanagement that occurred. If there’s one thing the FELDA fiasco should have taught us, it is the absolute folly of putting politicians in charge of such agencies. It is a lesson that Muhyiddin now seems willing to put aside for the sake of political expediency.

Astonishingly, Takiyuddin sought to justify the appointment of MPs to head GLCs with the mindboggling argument that they are “all qualified” by virtue of being MPs. Being elected an MP doesn’t suddenly make a person wise, highly qualified and capable of helming  important economic portfolios.

The asinine ideas of some of these parliamentarians – flying cars, black shoes, spoonfuls of palm oil, air suam, Doraemon and Tik-Tok, to name a few – should at least tell us something about their leadership abilities. Besides, going by the trials now underway, some of the most corrupt people in the country are also parliamentarians.

At a time when the nation is faced with both a grave health crisis and growing economic challenges, at a time when we need the brightest and the best to be in charge, we have the great misfortune of having a cabinet of self-serving, power-hungry deadbeats  and doraemons, and now, clueless political hacks heading up GLCs and key agencies.

Muhyiddin and his coalition of double-dealers brought down the government we elected; now they are jeopardising the nation’s economic future as well with these ill-advised and reckless appointments.

There should be no doubt that we are now fully returned to the dark days of the UMNO era. As soon as the pandemic is over, it will be incumbent on us all to mobilize once more in a great struggle to oust this backdoor government at the next election.

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

This article first appeared in Dennis Ignatius’ website on 13 April and is reproduced here, with permission. Click here, to take you to his website.

Dennis Ignatius is a former Malaysian Ambassador.

Rebuilding Malaysia


  • Azlan Haris says:

    Moo the political bastard he is

  • Paul Wolfobitch says:

    The “calibre” of PH appointees during their hopeless year plus in gomen is nothing to marvel over and put in Hardly Awank’s holy sermon to the Middle East, either.

    Curse the Moo Gomen as much as you have to, there’s actually nothing to choose between the useless and the useless.

    Making all the loads of obligatory noises is the about the only thing Malaysians limit themselves to be doing from a safe distance.

    As with most things Malaysian, we get all the great benefits of hearing all the pious and righteous noise over and over again – forever!

    Blessed are the noise-makers. For their noise never got Malaysians nowhere, ever. It is only the compulsion of some to say something – mostly in the form of too much!

    Too much said before nothing gets done, that’s our trademark!

    Take for instance our plantation-grade lawyers. They simply love to do their kampong flaunt and ridiculous posturing at the slightest opportunity for them to recite pages of their law textbooks on the constitution, legal points, a few Latin words here and there, talk about being bored to death!

    And Malaysia has more plantation-grade lawyers than useful plantation workers.

    And of them are forever talking.

    And talking.

    Talk about textbook worship.

    Talk about compulsive masturbation…

    Scary as it is, we have heard of lawyers elsewhere dropping their textbooks and even taking up arms, overturn a few gomens.

    Here we only have endlessly talking lawyers endlessly masturbating over their law textbooks and reciting them like holy books.

    These talkers are exactly those who are so lacking in creativity in their devout worship of books that they can only be bound and all tied up by mere words in their favourite kinky toys!

    The monkeys say the constitution says this, says that, don’t say this, don’t say that… At no time have I heard any of these priceless wonders say we can change the constitution, any law…

    Malaysian lawyers, 50 sens a dozen large kiasu buckets.

    But cannot even be used as fertiliser.

  • isaloo says:

    Moo can’t say
    He looks at the brown grass
    Growing idly by on the ground
    He tries to make it green

    But he can’t
    He comes from behind
    He isn’t a saint
    He isn’t bless

    Buying support
    He tries to make it soon
    May June or July
    He will see his downfall

    Moo has to make it quick
    Buying the kilos and monkeys
    Gathering up in his cabinet
    So he can feel confident

    But the 11 pieces of gold
    It hangs too heavy on his head
    He can’t think straight
    He has sold his integrity and soul

    Moo has to feed
    The greedy partners in his group
    He has no choice but to make it happen
    For he can’t forget the power in his hand

    The back door will fall
    No leader should play out the Old Man
    He will not easily forget his hurt
    He will find his way to make it even

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