Thursday, April 16, 2009

Interview by Oriental Daily Press on 13.04.09 at 3.30p.m.

Oriental Daily interviewed me yesterday (13.04.09) regarding Najib’s leadership and the BN's future. The interview was conducted in Mandarin and the following is the English translation. There was no prepared question.

On the New Cabinet line up

On the new Cabinet line up, I am sure Najib has to consider many issues.

1)   Component parties’ representation

2)   Representation from the state

3)   The winners and the losers in the various component parties

4)   Political consideration which is his prerogative as the Prime Minister

Majority are supportive of the new Cabinet line up. However, many felt that there are too many appointed senators who made their way into the Cabinet. There are 28 Cabinet Ministers and 40 Deputy Ministers but 11 of them are senators. Generally, the public feels that if they are rejected in the general election, they lose their credibility to represent the rakyat in the Cabinet.

In view of the fact that the younger generation is not supportive of the BN, I thought Najib would have created a Youth Ministry to reach out to the younger generation. The Sports Ministry could be easily converted to a Sports Council. In the 308 election, there were 10.9 million voters. There were at least 3 million eligible young voters who did not register. Coming election, there will be another 1.5 million of new eligible young voters. This scenario is not favourable to BN.

The 3 By-Elections

During the 3 by-elections, I campaigned for the BN candidate in 2 constituencies. I went from house-to-house to campaign. I have stated in my blog about my feelings on 2 the by-elections.

1)   PR is more organized although it is PAS dominated;

2)   PR campaigning team is make up of younger generation below 40 while BN campaign workers are generally older except for Puteri.

3)   National issues are important but the local issues are also at play. The dissatisfaction from voters about local issues, especially in Bukit Gantang were where the Chinese are frustrated that the government have not resolved their land issue and land title. 

The feedback I had was “It’s not that we support PAS, it’s that we do not trust BN. BN has been in power for so long but local issues have not been solved. This is a problem of confidence and trust”.

Many people said that the by-election result is a referendum of the leadership of Najib but I beg to differ. The 3 by-elections were held on the 7th April but Najib was only appointed as Prime Minister on the 3rd April. It’s too short a time to evaluate his leadership. Most of the voters have not even heard of One Malaysia. Today’s voters are more critical and they want to see our leaders walk the talk. They want to see our leaders fulfill what they have said.

Can BN change?

I agree with the PM and DPM that the coming 2 years are critical to BN. Out of the 5 by-elections, BN only managed to win 1, failed to regain from PR 3 seats and failed to defend the Kuala Terengganu Parliamentary seat.  To BN, especially UMNO, MIC and MCA, this is a crucial time to:

1)   Reinvent, reorganize, unite and stabilize the party;

2)   Review the performance of leaders and party;

3)   Change the perception of the public towards BN government because the public feels that BN has lost touch with the rakyat and that BN government do not fulfill their promises. It is not true to say that BN government has not changed since 308 election. Setting up MACC, JAC, and strengthening the security are some of the changes initiated by the government. However, this may be small changes since the rakyat wants more.

Another challenge is the state of the nation’s economy. No one is sure how the economy will perform during this crisis. So, the economy is the key issue that the BN government should focus on. BN should implement policies that will reduce the burden of the rakyat. I still feel that the direct cash aid to families with income of less than RM2500 a month is important. It shows that the government cares at this crucial time.

A lot of the younger generation feels that BN is race-based. They want to see policies that cut across racial line. However, at the same breath, the same group of people will talk about Chinese education, Chinese temple, Chinese new villages and etc. If we look at BN’s ceramah, we always see UMNO ceramah will be Malay leaders speaking, MCA ceramah with MCA leaders and a sprinkling of invited UMNO leaders. On the other hand, we see PR’s ceramah represent a more united front with leaders from PAS, DAP and PKR speaking in different languages. Singing the old tune doesn’t work anymore. BN leaders are still singing the old tune of power sharing and vote for development and stability. We are under the delusion that development will bring votes. Voters want more.

Key Performance Indicators

The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is often evaluated based on reports. Malaysia officers are best in writing reports but whether they are implemented or not is questionable. People are able to see whether a leader is performing or not. It is of no use if your KPI is good but the rakyat says differently. What is KPI based on? How is it measured? KPI is viewed differently by the government and the rakyat. Let me give you an example. In the hospital, there are adequate ambulance with excellence facilities but in the event of emergency and the ambulance arrive one hour later. To the rakyat, this is lousy service but in the KPI report, since there are adequate ambulance with facilities and man power, the report may in fact be good. In principle, the KPI is good, but how it is reported and evaluated could make a lot of difference. After all, a report is man-made. It is good to have a mechanism to monitor the performance but we should not think that the KPI is the ‘be all and the end all’ of evaluation. In politics, perception if often important and this is difficult to be measured by the KPI.

The One Malaysia

BN must implement the One Malaysia concept as raised by Najib. This is important. We must see MCA speak up like One Malaysia. In the same way, we expect UMNO leaders to speak like One Malaysia leaders. Leaders like Najib and Muhyiddin should go down to the grassroots and have dialogues with the locals to understand their problems and issues. Walkabout generates a lot of publicity but it is not going to win rakyat’s heart and support. Leaders must not only say the right thing, but also be seen to be doing the right thing as well. The government must make sure that the policies are rakyat based and fair. It must show that it not only knows and understand the rakyat’s problem but also care for their needs.

If Najib and Muhyiddin could complement each other, then it will be a good combination. Both Najib and Muhyiddin have extensive experience in the 3 tiers of the government - local, state and federal government since both leaders have served as Menteri Besar and Federal Ministers. Both of them know the state’s strength and weaknesses. Najib once asked me, “do you think it is better to have a federal leader that has served in the state before?” Both of them are open-minded, good brains, good listeners and punctual.

BN is now very weak and the coming 2-3 years are crucial for it to reform and change in order to regain confidence of the rakyat. 


Mike said...

You see you just proven my previous assessment is correct. Among all the BN leaders your are one of the most forbidden one. Strong, capable and clear-minded which in today day and age is a rare species.

You nail the coffins at the right spot. The KPIs -how can you ask individual ministry to draft up the KPI. KPI should be decided by top management through survey and study. As I highlighted before do you tell your boss what you should do or your boss defines your work scope and performance index.

You see all these ISO and KPI things the government agencies are very good at. But is it realistic? Is it of any relevant to the general public. When patients in Klang Hospital are sleeping on the corridor, as a health professional what does it tell you?

As a BN supporters, they ought to sigh as you are not appointed back door to the Cabinet. As PR supporters they sure are celebrating……

But what to do, OTK just can’t bear even mentioning of your Name? This is how war is being lost…. Life is a very fair game.

sah said...

Having KPIs that are not well thought through is actually worse than not having KPIs at all. If you measure someone's performance by the wrong things, then you influence their behaviour wrongly.

Effective KPIs are ones that are actually based on outcomes of the respective departments or ministries - for example effectiveness of public transport (cleanliness, convenience, timeliness, etc) that can be broken down into various measures that can be objectively documented.

The process of distilling the right KPIs from the right outcomes MUST be done correctly in the beginning. The process will also serve to get alignment between all levels of the Ministry on what they're supposed to be about.

Google for "public sector outcomes" for more interesting reading.

Lysendar said...

Dear Dr. Chua,

Good posting. As i expect that you are one of the very few politicians that has a clear minded. As seen in the cabinet, i don't think anyone will has the same thinking like you. It is because their thinking is to have the minister post for their own benefit rather than thinking of the rakyat. Some of them even show their true colour after taken the post, you know who right! Yes, i agree with you that BN has only 2 to 3 years for them to change, but i reserved it. Let's wait and see. Time will prove everything. Glad that you are not in the cabinet as worry "the viruses that might spread over to you and it will kill you."
God Bless.........................

Anonymous Says said...

Dear Dr Chua,
Once upon a time, someone said that Malaysia will be going paperless. Now we are seeing more papers. Why ? Because documents are evidences. But are documents real evidences of what's going on ? Coming early to work and going back late is good. But coming early to chit chat, to read the newspapers, to gossip and to
" relax " before work is not a good work ethic. Waiting for and accompanying the boss to go home after work is also not a good work ethic because it is buying her heart. How will you know someone is actually working and someone is pretending to work hard ? If you are the very big boss, can you really keep track of your 1.2 million workers across the country ? The answer is a simple no. Even documenting a piece of work is not a good work ethic because instead of doing the core business of the job, much of the time is spent on writing and writing and writing a beautiful, neat and near truth report. It is also a bad work ethic to leave today's work for tomorrow. Many people know about this. But who will take action on it ? Then if the best of all things is needed, the best should be given. How can a second best give the best ? In the Ministry of Health, there are a lot of great ideas. How can all these ideas be turned into actual hands on work ? How can the Ministry of Health have the very best when it cannot give the very best and it does not receive the very best ? It is strange that a programme which is suppose to pump quality into the service, in the end becomes a problem itself. This is not allowed. That is not allowed. This is expensive. With this sort of comments, how can the MOH be the best ? Let it not be all hot air but nothing comes out from it. Another thing. The Earth is dying from deforestation and paper is made from trees. Wasting papers unnecessarily is indirectly destroying Earth.

呉 和豪 said...

Saudara Dato Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek

I just want to make comment on appointment of Dr.Khor Tsu Khoon


中外。為檳州長官時,一直关心人民的教育及福利 常參與親民活動, 乃愛國愛民之父母

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