Friday, June 18, 2010


Much has been written and speculated about corruption and dirty politics and even a Minister has now postulated that Malaysia can become bankrupt just like the Greece model, overcome with mounting foreign debt.
So there are a few stories in the news why Malaysia seems to be unable to convince the sceptics that everything is still "honky-dory" as far as the nation's financial future is concerned.

You can read about how the Sarawak Chief Minister has amassed a vast property empire overseas in the malaysiakini article Taib family's Canadian property empire unveiled. The burning question is how did a government leader amass such a wealthy portfolio that seems more like that of the Sultan of Brunei. Now supposing such wealth had been created from exploiting the citizens of Sarawak, why did the federal leaders not probe such corrupt dealings? Or are the federal leaders guilty of similar or even grander malpractices?

The second story relates to how FELDA, the body created to help the smallholders of oil palm, appears to have become another cash cow to be drained by the government with full disclosures. It seems that cash reserves have been dramatically reduced in the past few years. Ever since it adopted a more agressive "corporate" image, it seems FELDA has forgotten that it success was the result of many years of toil by the Felda settlers. This type of GLC should have its annual accounts scrutinised by lawmakers to prevent abuse.

You also know that Shanghai's EXPO is now on but it appears that Malaysia's RM35mil pavilion has failed to draw the crowds and reviews are rather disappointing. No dazzle for Teresa Kok at Malaysia Pavilion says it all. The comments by readers are quite critical.

From one reader:
While our neighbours' pavillions were about their culture and heritage, what's inside ours is (get this) Ogawa massage chairs, A1 instant bak kut teh, Old Town White Coffee and Sepang F1 circuit. Seems more like a hypermarket than an exhibition to me. And the food? It's not made on the spot, but rather more like airplane food heated on microwaves at ridiculous prices. It is just that bad. And I am very ashamed to say that our pavillion is just one big national embarassment.

First of all, that building looks rather foreign and not native to Malaysia. It may attract visitors but the offerings inside must be appealing. Of course they bandied the 1Malaysia concept but I wonder how did the people there explain if they could not speak well in English or Mandarin?
Malaysian food is always appealing but they should have used some of that RM35mil to fly in well-known hawkers to cook roti prata, hokkien prawn mee and nasi beriyani to give the true flavour of Malaysia. Even an AirAsia promotion booth would have been welcome as Chinese now want to travel everywhere. What a missed opportunity!
As for the building, I guess the cost should be not more than RM15mil.
But I suppose the budget also includes the various first-class tickets plus 5-star hotel bills.

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

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