I read Najib Razak's latest blog posting and couldn't help slapping my forehead in disbelief: the Prime Minister still thinks he should engage the NGOs and explain to them the state of affairs in 1MDB, even after the #nothing2hide fiasco. He should not.
1. The Cabinet has made the decision to appoint YB Ahmad Husni Hanadziah, the Second Finance Minister, as government spokesman for 1MDB. Najib should be fair to Husni and let the man do his job. Plus, Arul Kanda is finally getting the hang of talking back to his critics; Najib shouldn't overshadow the 1MDB president/group exec director [see his latest h e r e].
2. The Auditor-General has completed its probe into the accounts of 1MDB and the PAC have started theirs [PAC not satisfied with Deloitte's]. Najib may be construed as truing to "influence" the AG and the PAC if he continues to talk about the merits of 1MDB while the probe is ongoing
3. As PM, he has other important things to attend to.
Important things like the 11th Malaysia Plan. In fact, this is so important to the nation. It is final 5-year economic plan before 2020, the year Malaysia is supposed to join the league of developed nations. The PM should already be embarking on a road tour to start telling people what the Plan entails and what the Rakyat's roles are if he seriously needs everybody's buy in. Before that, pls make the necessary adjustments after getting feedback from others who know better than the government. I recommend the PM starts with RMK-11: Merancang Untuk Gagal (Planning to fail) by Hidup Tuah, a vocal former government economist still sympathetic towards Najib's cause.
And other things like our as-good-as-dead stock market. Why does it remain so boring? Perhaps we need a more exciting individual to lead Bursa? What's happening to the fiery Securities Commission? Why are investors said to be packing their bags to go? How can the government help boost the share prices of FGV and the sales of Proton cars and make sure that those who lost jobs due to the misadventures at MAS get re-employed? What's happening to our beloved ringgit?
Eg our trade:
Our unemployment rate:
Clearly, the statistics suggest that our economy isn't doing as badly some people have made it out to be. Why do people fall for it then? A pal who returned home recently from years of high flying abroad blames it on perception and public relations. "This Administration doesn't seem to know how to communicate effectively."
Another corporate leader said to me over Cuban cigars the other evening: "These are signs that people are losing confidence in Najib's leadership".
Maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong but PM Najib has to go out there as well as down to the ground to tell investors and the ordinary Joe that he's got things under control. People need to see him and hear him. He needs to restore or boost people's confidence.
And he can't possibly do that if he allows himself to continue to be distracted by the 1MDB issue, by talk about Jho Lo and Berkin handbags, by the spectre of Dr Mahathir.
p.s. I agree with the view that there's a lot of "negativity" out there because of "perception issues". But as far as the Ringgit is concerned, I will blame George Soros or/and currency speculators like him. That's what we agreed upon in 97/98. We have to be consistent, at least, even if we think it's too fantastic to consider that Soros could be working together with Tong Kooi Ong against the Malaysian currency h e r e.