11/2018 – Creative talents are hard to find nowadays
by Tan Thiam Hock
I have been travelling the last two weeks on holiday, meeting friends and it was a good break from the gripping excitement of post GE14 activities. Honestly, this is the first time I truly miss being at home in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is now the happening country of the world with exciting breaking news beamed and going viral every waking hour.
Malaysian journalists never had it so good. Some old politicians and their goons are still around making empty threats at everybody including our famous Datuk Amar Singh. Ministers are not supposed to send out official statements in Chinese even if it is a translation copy of the press release in Malay.
Opposition parties and personalities speaking out and getting coverage by mainstream media. Now the local newspapers can print any story and the editors can also comment on it without any fear of losing their jobs or publication licence.
There was a Facebook comment from my journalist colleague which is a good reminder to the dumb and brainless. Her exasperated “Your money is stolen and you’re worried in which language it was taken?” sums up the frustration of those who can think clearly.
A thief is a thief. Whether you steal RM1 or RM1bil, you are still a thief. A thief does not recognise religion, race or language when he steals. A poor thief is one who steals a can of milk powder for her starving baby and goes to jail for two years. A dumb thief is one who robs a 7-Eleven store to feed his drug habits.
A smart thief is one who steals billions and still walks free. A brilliant thief is one who gives out part of his loot to everybody around him so that the whole extended family is part of the conspiracy. So now it becomes a family of thieves.
Catching a thief is a thankless job. Nobody gets any incentives or commissions for catching a thief. Maybe a promotion at best. It is no fun counting the loot knowing that you will not have any to spend on. Nor can you borrow the tiara for your daughter’s forthcoming wedding. You might be accused of stealing chocolates which is a potential occupational hazard of a policeman.
Putting the thief behind bars is a difficult job. A brilliant thief is smart and delusional. He has lied so much that he believes in his own lies. His lawyer from the extended family is able to spin stories that leaves the Attorney General speechless, lost in translation from English to Malay. I fail to understand what difference does it make if the AG says in the press conference, “tangkap pencuri” or “catch the thief” or “chook chat” in Cantonese. We are after all a multi-racial society and a Malaysian thief is a Malaysian thief, irrespective of race and language.
This new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will have a tough time establishing control and order over the civil service. Expect many roadblocks and potholes ahead. Implementing the PH manifesto might not be easy after all. Separating the executive from the judiciary is even more difficult considering the deep-rooted problems of yesteryears.
Returning the independence of judiciary requires major detoxification of corruption at all levels so that the rule of law can be re- established.
The Malaysian judiciary and civil service is short of talent because of its hiring policies. The government’s hiring policy needs to be reformed. And it should be based on meritocracy and capabilities. You can’t reform the institution if you keep deadwoods. Bring in bright and experienced talents when necessary irrespective of race and language.
Like running any businesses, it is all about getting the right talents to help you manage the company.
Looking at the current batch of Ministers, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will have to spend more time mentoring and guiding them as most of them are inexperienced.
When he has to appoint a 26-year-old from his party to be a Minister, Dr Mahathir must be scratching the bottom of the barrel in search of experienced and qualified talent. Being good in debates does not impress me one bit. Talk is cheap and young people tend to be careless with their mouths, ego and all. Hope I am proven wrong on this.
The public is assuming the new Ministers are on a three-month/100 days probation. It will be interesting to hear their first press conference. Will they be exposing one or two scandals in their Ministries? Maybe a simple SWOT analysis (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) of their Ministry? Visions and Missions. New directions?
I have only one wishlist for the new Ministers. Understand your subject matter thoroughly before making any comments. You do not have to sound smart. Just do not sound foolish.
It does not matter in what language you speak or what head gear you wear in your press conference, just remember you are on your own now and you are the focus of the press media for your 15 minutes of fame.
Last but not least, I notice from afar that the two hardworking campaigners of PH in GE13, Rafizi Ramli and Tony Pua are missing from the cabinet lineup. Perhaps, Dr Mahathir can consider giving them what they really want? No harm having the two movers and shakers to stir up a boring cabinet. Creative talents are hard to find nowadays … in whatever race and language.