Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Cause and effect

How can I believe in them anymore? Serious. They say all sorts of stuff, they claim all sorts of stuff. They stretch their own credibility to the limit.

Here is possibly the biggest joke of 2011 ... so far! At a recent Chinese New Year open house, Penang's former chief minister, Dr Koh Tsu Koon, tried to take credit for the state's success in attracting new investments in 2010. He claimed that the achievements enjoyed by the current Penang government were due to efforts carried out by the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government previously.

Oh, what a laugh! What an utter nonsense. If this was indeed true, then I think we must go further back in time to the days of Francis Light. After all, if that man had not the vision to set up a trading post here in 1786, we would probably not have any worthwhile civilisation here! So the good old captain must be given due credit for Penang's current investment and administrative success, don't you think so?

I positively think there are lots of sour grapes in the failed politicians of the previous state government. I positively believe that they still can't accept the reality of the day. It is not as if the present government had been sitting idle and reaping in the fruits from the past. What fruits, anyway? Not much, as far as I can remember. In the 1990s and early 2000s, we were doing just about enough to maintain the status quo in Penang. At that time, we were really only basking in past glories. Penang's name did not impress much among investors anymore. Penang's past achievements did not matter anymore. And the real culprits for this state of affairs must rest on the shoulders of Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. And to a lesser extent, Koh Tsu Koon and even Lim Kit Siang.

I have always felt that it was Mahathir that suppressed Penang's growth. He couldn't do anything about the bridge because it was already being built. But he tried all he could to turn his Langkawi into the next preferred tourist destination, at Penang's expense. He tried to build a new international airport at Sungai Petani, at Penang's expense. During his tenure as the deputy prime minister and finance minister, Anwar could have done much to improve Penang's lot but he did not. He had it within his means to do so but he, like the rest of his federal government cronies of that time, looked the other way and concentrated resources elsewhere. Abdullah Badawi tried to do something but he was too weak politically to make things happen fast. Plus, he chose the wrong projects that benefited only his circle of people. But what's new in that? Nothing! Dr Koh turned out to be so much of a Yes man to his political masters in Kuala Lumpur that it became ingrained in his character. In trying to please everyone, the best solution was to do nothing and maintain the status quo. And what about Kit Siang? He had a role to play too. He tried to topple everyone at the General Elections, knowing fully well that it would be at the expense of the incumbent Dr Lim Chong Eu. Lim Kit Siang takes credit for unseating Lim Chong Eu but he should also be made responsible for gifting Koh Tsu Koon with the chief minister's seat. Who knows how Penang could have progressed further if the no-nonsense Dr Lim had continued sitting in that chair? We'll never know.

Anyhow, a government that thinks they can rest on their laurels will always find a rude shock standing in their way eventually. It is only through constant hard work that any state administration can continue to draw in the investments. And I am satisfied that a lot of work has been done by the present government. It's not that apparent, of course, as the mainstream newspapers choose to downplay the attempts but ultimately, the statistics cannot lie.

Which brings up another matter. I shall call it the biggest joke of 2010. As late as 28 Oct 2010, people in the previous state administration were still claiming that Penang's foreign direct investment was not healthy. On the decline, said Dr Teng Hock Nan, chairman of Penang Gerakan. Huh, I haven't heard anything from him since news of Penang's latest investment figures hit was released last month.

Oh well, so much for failed politicians.....

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