Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm Confused!

Granted, it's almost 7am here, and I've yet to sleep a wink. For some reason, I am unable to get any shut-eye tonight. I'm physically tired, but my brain refuses to shut down. So, I thought that I'd read some news articles and hopefully, get bored and fall asleep. Unfortunately, the news articles got me confused and alert instead.

Malaysian Public Services
It seems that we had a special awards night for the public services, a short while ago. According to this article: "THE Public Sector Quality Awards 2007 (AKSA 2007) was held amidst much pomp and splendour at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Nov 30." But for some reason, this was only reported 27 days later by TheStar. I guess that this must be designed to help enhance the perception of the speediness of public sector delivery, as compared to the private sector (or maybe, it was just a typo).

This awards show is part of our dearest Prime Minister's plans to improve public services. According to this article: "WHEN Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced sweeping changes that would revamp the public delivery system of the Malaysian property sector more than six months ago, the entire industry breathed a huge sigh of relief." Among the different ideas that our PM had, was to create a task force, aptly called PEMUDAH. And according to this article, they've come up with some quantifiable deliverables.

All in all, it sounds very nice. So, you may wonder which bits of it confused me. Well, there was another article that came out on Boxing Day, through Reuters, about public services in Malaysia. In general, it damningly states that: "Malaysia's drive to woo investment is losing traction, as efforts to get rid of red tape and inept bureaucrats falter, threatening to further relegate it behind neighboring Singapore. A year after the authorities vowed to speed up the business approval process, entrepreneurs are still battling unwieldy procedures and inert government staff. Civil servants have become more courteous, they smile more than usual, but the bureaucracy, the red tape, is still there."

Now, I hope that you can see the source of my tiny confusion. On the one hand, I have TheStar telling me that all is well, we're speeding up delivery of public services, and we even have an awards show to prove that things are working (albeit reported 27 days later). On the other hand, I have a Reuters article, commenting on the fact that the only improvement in public services is that the officers dealing with the rakyat smile more. I cannot help but think that the articles in TheStar are some form of spin, designed to offset any fallout from the Reuters article.

Malaysia-Iran Oil Deal
Quite a long while ago, I mentioned that our country was in talks on a USD$ 16 billion deal with Iran. In that blog, I commended our nation for standing up to the world's bully and doing business with any country we wished, regardless of the country's status as a terrorist state as defined by the bully. That was from a different time and place. Today, it seems that we have finally sealed the USD$ 16 billion deal, as reported by TIME and FT.

Now, I'm confused.

As I had written a short while ago, according to our government, groups who deal with other terrorist groups (as defined by the USA) are considered terrorist groups as well. Since we're now in business with a state sponsor of terrorism (as defined by the USA), I sure hope that we are not to be considered a state sponsor of terrorism. We would get into a whole sh*tload of problems if we were. I'm terrified by the mere thought of it.

So, how do we get out of this confusion? Like this:

"The contract, signed on Wednesday between Iran’s Pars Oil and Gas Company and Malaysia’s SKS Ventures, owned by Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukary, includes the $6bn development of the Golshan and Ferdows gas fields in the next five-and-a-half years."

So, it seems that our national oil company is not directly involved in the venture. So, I guess we're safe then. We cannot possibly he considered state sponsors of terrorism as our government isn't directly involved. If the righteous people decide to raise a fuss over this, we can always lay the blame on a single individual, the 7th richest man in Malaysia, as listed on Forbes. Our government can just label him a terrorist and invite him for a short stay in Kamunting, like we've done to 5 other people recently. I'm sure that he'll have a water bed, TV and all the comforts of home there.

** Image from TheStar/Forbes **


Wei Shen said...

As our government has put in effort to improve public service, you cannot expect immediate effect, give it some time and be patient. I am sure after 5 years we will have improvement in efficiency. One cannot expect immediate result because time is needed to prove something. Give Pak Lah and our government more time, as requested. Well, I am sure the government will introduce more awards and task forces to cope with it if it does not improve. Our government is really performing with lots of effort. Do not simply trust foreign media, they might not know as much about what is happening in Malaysia and what are the difficulties face. As informed by our Foreign Minister, foreigners shouldn't interfere with internal affairs. So, what I can say is give our public service department sometime, it will all be fine in a few years time.

Shawn Tan said...

I detect a *hint* of sarcasm. d:

KC said...

So how long a time should we give them?...I wonder...a personal opinion, I think I trust foreign reports more than the words of our Foreign Minister :P Do u seriously think our foreign minister would know more than the foreign analysts?...That I do really sometimes wonder, don't u, Wei Shen?