The right of reply

Enough is enough. People who proclaim to fight for freedom of expression and free media but censors other's legitimate reply based on their whims and fancy, must realise that on the internet, they cannot suppress peoples' legitimate right to reply and express contrarian views. This blog welcomes all views. ~ Ellese


At least Din got the principle right on judging a politician. Talk is cheap to them and we must judge by their actions. But unfortunately for Anwar the 98 economic debacle either shows he put his interest above the nation and rakyat or plain dumb. He aggravated the economic contraction and hardship when he could have gone for an anti cyclical deficit spending to spur the economy. Mahathir was fiercely brilliant then and found to this day to be correct. I was a total follower of Anwar and prof jomo til the crisis. The crisis was good for revealing us the devil and incompetence in Anwar. Since din is late in reading the Asian renaissance, he should ask who was the shadow writer for the book.


18 thoughts on “

  1. Ellese,

    There are no shadow writers, only good advisors and editors for his classic Asian Renaissance. I know all of them personally. Read the book way back in 1996. This article was written after I lectured on the book at the Asian Renaissance course in Kota Kinabalu a week earlier.

    Was Mahathir brilliant or lucky? You say he was brilliant on selective capital controls in 1998. Others think he was lucky. South Korea took a different approach. The state sponsored chaebols were forced to bite the bullet and restructure and look where these Korea Inc. companies are today; they have become world beaters. Mahathir opted to bail out UMNO controlled companies and cronies, including Mirzan’s shipping company using Petronas money. So, we lost the opportunity to make the change, that is, by putting an end to Mahathirism and Malaysia’s ersatz capitalism.–Din Merican

    • It’s up to you. If you want to call them “good advisors and editors” it’s your right. I call them what I want. The argument that since you know them you are right cannot stand for I also know some of them and also know their way of thnking and writing.

      On Mahathir 98, you should not deny a fact simply because you’re blinded by hatred and partisanship. What Mahathir did is now the practice in tackling a crisis. (See IMF position of capital control and the developed country’s current response in times of an economic crisis.) you know for a fact that back then we couldn’t have an expansionary policy because people were shorting our currency. Anwars dumb contraction policy merely made our economy worse and made us suffer. So it was Mahathir who brilliantly thought out of the box. Krugman came later for me.

      Let me illustrate further. As I told you I was following jomo who aligned with Anwar and later became the Anwar so call economic expert. He proffered a number of solutions in particular in investing in productive sector. But when Mahathir introduced capital control, he had the gall to say to us that it’s “a good idea but a bit too late.” All the while, he never ever broached capital control but when Mahathir introduced it he said its a good idea but a bit too late. Can you believe this? Since then I have no respect at all for Anwar nor jomo. Anwar betrayed the nation for himself. He betrayed my trust. The rest are history.

      Now your comparison of Korea is simply trying to devalue mahathirs efforts. It’s not comparable and you know it. The fact is we must act in the best interest of our nation. In times of crisis a government should not contract but protect the economy for the overall benefit. Mahathirs response is the response we see now in US and the developed world. And you know it’s the right decision.

  2. Friend, you removed my comments, but it is also on my log below your comments. What of reply are you talking about!–Din Merican

    • Im not like you. I was traveling yesterday and didn’t check.

      You are absolutely dishonest in demanding a right of reply when you summarily banned me without just cause. You protected your crony and gave him the freedom to besmirched me. I want to show people what a hypocrite you are.

    • You can call anyone whatever you like. But if you do that on my blog, I will delete your comments. Mahathir has many admirers and supporters. But I am not one of them. –Din Merican

      • I know. You ban at your whims and fancy any contrarion views which you don’t like. If people call all sort of names against your opposed leaders in your blog it’s fine but cannot touch your supported leader. Even if remarks are racists in nature you’ve allowed publication so long as its against your opposed leaders.
        To top it you have the gall to claim you fight for freedom of expression and media. To you free media are those which publishes your views and censors contrarion views. I’ve had enough with people like you. Rubbish to the core. Can’t distinguish between right and wrong.

  3. Ellese,

    I’ve been following your tit-for-tat with Din M… interesting… I remember meeting Din when he was “someone” at Sime Darby in the early 90’s… claimed he was the 1st Malay MBA., etc.. over the years I witnessed his ups & downs in the corporate world… wasn’t surprised at his argument style nor his taksub for Anwar… its in his blood… Merican-DNA… hehehe…. personally, I think he’s a gone case…


  4. Thanks, Baharuddin Kadir, for your compliments. I can’t remember you; that is how much impact you had on me.–Din Merican

    • Dear Din,
      Your attempt to damage control by belittling others is a feeble diversion. Fact is you have not been able to justify your hypocritical double standard character. It’s for all to see now. You ban people’s comments but demand the right of reply. You apply your rules arbitrarily according to your whims and fancies yet you claim to fight for freedom of expression. You claim you clamour for justice but you’ve been most unfair. See how desparate you are.
      If you want you can call your crony frank here to assist you. Then let people see the animal name calling you’ve allowed to apply to one side only while completely denying me the right to respond.

    • Dear Dim M,
      You took my bait bro.! See I told you you’re a gonner (in as much as taksub to DSAI la… NOT in other aspects of life, hopefully?)… see my name terpampang with single “d” and you spelled it with “dd”… ayo ma… no big deal about impact… it can be a double-edge sword… impact for the wrong reason is not my cup of tea….. bila nak pencen dj-ing blogging?

  5. Strangely, there are people who still believe in Anwar. Just look at the Hudud fiasco. One time when the China Doll sex video came out, they went to town asking for 4 eligible witness. And quite some time after that, Anwar said Pakatan cannot accept Hudud yet. Do you want this type of person to become your leader? In Russia, they send these kind of people to Gulag for hard labour already.

    Really, not worthwhile to talk about Anwar, he’s a gone case. Nobody goes to his ceramah anymore, even in Permatang Pauh, unless Bob Lokman of PAS makes a rare appearance.

  6. I follow postings on din as well as rocky’s blogs and i must say that the comments on din’s blogs are of a higher intellect than those on rocky’s but that is my opinion only. Both blogs are slanted and again din’s is less than rocky’s.

    Would have had a little more respect for din if in his listing of his experiences on his blog, he included his stint at KPM Kidhmat, a management consultancy subsidiary of Bank Pertanian.

    In any case, apart from seemingly supportive of the IMF solutions for Malaysia, we will never know what AI would have done once he came to power for he too had cronies in Realmild and NST and possibly some major chinese corporations that would have benefitted in the aftermath.

    We will now never know but AI’s record till then suggested that he too would have had his favourites….

  7. Hi, you talk about whether Anwar vs Mahathir’s prescription was right.

    I agree that what Mahathir did was right, he protected the economy and more specifically those debt-burdened companies that were such a critical component of the Malaysian economy at that time (and once again it seems). But he stopped there. He maintained the system as is.

    Unfortunately the economy was never restructured. It remains the same.
    And the same issues still arise from that time. We were protected but we never improved. Now those countries that restructured (if Korea can’t be a comparison, let just go to Indonesia) are doing better.

    I visited Jakarta and was amazed. Dynamic, energetic. 4 -5 Bahasa Indonesia business newspapers (I bought all to read). If you visit Indonesia, from Malaysia you would be very worried. Indonesia is moving ahead, Malaysia is standing still. Right now, we are dependent on internal consumption to drive the economy, not foreign investment.

    On the question of basic economic competence, let me list below the projects launched by Dr. M which failed and the cost of that failure has been Malaysia is simply not moving up the value chain while other economies are moving ahead.

    1. Perwaja – Steel Manufacturing – Bankrupt – Meant to spur greater industrialisation in Malaysia
    2. Proton – Established as an engine for technology transfer and to spur local manucfacturers to produce more complex products – I must say that it has failed. The cost of protecting Proton has been astronomical, it has not been a hub to spur Malaysia up the value chain.
    3. Multi-Media Super Corridor (remember that?) – No one talks about this anymore. Meant to spur Malaysia into a knowledge based economy. Failed. We are nowhere near what the MSC was meant to achieve for Malaysia as a whole.
    4. Bio- Valley – No one even talks about this anymore
    5. IPP – Great, give good rates to Independent producers (even though Tenaga could have done it cheaper), so Tenaga and the rakyat have to pay more.

    6. Pak Lah – various announcement focusing on agriculture, quickly forgotten

    Now we have the Iskandar project – do you know what this implies? We are trying to attract those companies/manucfacturers in Singapore who find the cost of business in Singapore too high. This isn’t moving up the value chain, this is taking the low cost manufacturing away from Singapore, yippee. Even so I hope it succeeds. I only wish my country the best in all endevaours.

    PLUS Highway – ha! Ha!, still paying toll? I was a small boy when PLUS opened the highway, meant to be a Build Operate and Transfer for 20 years only, now 26 years still paying toll. It does not seem it will be toll free in my lifetime!


    Used to bail out Konsortium Perkapalan, used to build Putrajaya (8billion if I remember), used to acquire majority interest in Proton.

    Seriously, is all this in Petronas’s remit? Money down the drain.

    This govt cannot think outside the box, all it does it more pump priming. It can’t counter some of Pakatan’s proposal. It has lost the policy initiative . It is tired and needs a rest.

    This govt has failed in economic competence. Refer to the list above.

    Income equality keeps growing, cost of living and inflation is increasing and wages have not caught up for years.

    It has not moved the country forward economically.

    Time to give someone else a chance for 5 years at least.

    I was there too in 1997 – 98. I am not interested in what happened 15 years ago. I am interested in the here and now , how we got here and what can be done now and for the future.

    Please also refer to some of the salient points on comparison from Tengku Razaleigh’s speech below

    Soon after independence we were already a highly successful developing country. We had begun the infrastructure building and diversification of our economy that would be the foundation for further growth. We carried out an import-substitution programme that stimulated local productive capacity. From there we started an infrastructure buildup which enabled a diversification of the economy leading to rapid industrialisation. We carried out effective programmes to raise rural income and help with landless with programmes such as FELDA. Our achievements in achieving growth with equity were recognised around the world. We were ahead of Our peer group in economic development were South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, and we led the pack. I remember we used to send technical consultants to advise the South Koreans.

    By the lates nineties, however, we had fallen far behind this group and were competing with Thailand and Indonesia. Today, according to the latest World Investment Report, FDI into Malaysia is at about a twenty year low. We are entering the peer group of Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines as an investment destination. Thailand, despite a month long siege of the capital, attracted more FDI than we did last year. Indonesia and Vietnam far outperform us, not as a statistical blip but consistently. Soon we shall have difficulty keeping up with The Philippines. This, I believe, is called relegation. If we take into account FDI outflow, the picture is even more interesting. Last year we received US$1.38 billion (RM4.40 billion) in investments but US$ 8.04 billion flowed out. We are the only country in Southeast Asia which has suffered nett FDI outflow. I am not against outward investment. It can be a good thing for the country. But an imbalance on this scale indicates capital flight, not mere investment overseas.

    Entire speech at the link below

    • Dear Arjuna,

      These two phrases say it all about your write. One you said :”He (Mahathir) maintained the system as is.Unfortunately the economy was never restructured. It remains the same.” and secondly ” …Malaysia is standing still. Right now, we are dependent on internal consumption to drive the economy, not foreign investment.”

      I’ve encountered too many write of similar nature. All who have written to me like this before have been selective and nick picky. They are either highly partisan and find excuses to deny facts or simply ignorant because of malas membaca. I hope you do not fall under any of these category. But to date I’ve not encountered any exception for people who write like this but hopefully you’re the first.

      People who write like these that I’ve encountered don’t actually know what restructuring is or what they want. Because of that they mishmash with many unrelated events and don’t even know what is required to be restructured. Let me give you an example of 1998. What was the crisis about that we need to restructure?. If you look at Thailand and Indonesia at that time there was a crisis of payment/ BOP. They had borrowed large amount of foreign currency to invest in local currency investment even in speculative sector. As a result when currency moved it takes no genius to think there is arbitraging opportunity. There was not enough local currency return then to pay off the foreign currency loan. We were never like that. Our fiscal and economic policies were still prudent though there’s excesses but nothing to their degree. But we’re badly affected by hot money and currency arbitraging. So to most people I ask on 98 what restructuring are we talking about, they have no absolute clue.

      I tell you something coz I was partly involved. We restructured big time the backbone of our economy ie the banking sector. We created danaharta and danamodal. Took off the toxic assets. Those in speculative and non productive sector had to take major haircut ie suffer losses. We consolidated our banks to the remaining few. We then nurtured a new engine of growth in Islamic Banking. We introduced more foreign owned islamic banks with new licenses in the like of Rajhi and AFB. Now we’re doing a mega islamic bank for offshore projects. Our banks have become not only competitive but became regional player. At the end we own banks not only in Indonesia but thailand singapore et al.

      These are fundamentals restructuring that Mahathir took. But those who are partisan just refused to acknowledge this. Our Islamic Financing itself (ie the services) is our growth engine as well. Of course we can improve like the proposed mega islamic banks to focus on regional sectors rather than our market. But those who argued Mahathir never, I repeat NEVER, restructure clearly have been selective and nitpicky.

      Next people like these tried to argue on industry restructuring ie pointing out certain industry was never restructured and bleeding us. The sad part of this is that they dont have a clue why we need to restructure that part. Let me take toll roads for example. In terms of national economic benefit, toll roads actually bring income to the nation. Its the fairest form of tax. Those who use pay for it. Thus if you live in Johor you dont have to pay for the roads in Petaling Jaya. These toll roads are alternative roads. Those who dont want to pay toll roads can still use our good condition trunk roads. But those who value time over money can use the toll roads. Thats why you see there are still many people willing to pay toll. So why the heck must we restructure in terms of our nation economic benefit, I have no clue at all. My stand is simple. I dont agree with excessive profit. I want better roads and connectivity. I like it right now where I can go from Gombak to Ampang then to sri kembangan for open houses in half a day without any traffic lights nor going through each taman perumahan like previously. But I dont want to be taken a ride to pay excessive toll. There should be reasonable profit to concessionaire and excess profit must be shared mainly with the government. I look at the latest concession terms and quite please were moving in this way.

      Thats why I think those who argue like these, to put it bluntly, have no clue what they’re arguing. Probably you, Arjuna, are different. I dont mind going through every one as these are mainly repetitives for me. Of course there are certain sectors which are complicated than it seems but we can argue.

      Finally your second phrase that were relying on domestic economy rather than foreign investment implying we’re on the wrong track. I find this argument incredibly short sighted. A few years back we saw that the world economy would be in bad shape. US economy went into recession and contraction and thus will affect the whole world. To those uninitiated that means there will be little demand. Euro crisis was another whammy. What this entails is that we wont have much to export and sell to another country. And as we can all see even our Singapore neighbours GDP dipped drastically in the second quarters. What we need to do then I thought was to rely on domestic economy. We have enough savings to mobilise but how do we generate productive domestic economy. Thats why I thought the ETPS and GTPS were very commendable and even foreign analysts saw that. The only person who does not see these are those who are partisans.

      I have much more to write for instance copying Singapore and Iskandar model. Iskandar to me was another commendable step. I was reading Kenichi Ohmae book at that time and the “flying gesee” theory was right. We must leverage on our strength where possible and only a fool would deny this. Its an old book but any Ohmae’s book is good.

      I do hope we can turn this into a debate and you show me you’re not like all the PR goons Ive met and encountered. Please state what was the cause of 98 that we need to restructure? And for each industry restructuring please state what you’re trying to achieve? For example in IPP what sort of restructuring you have in mind? I dont mind to give a view on all these. But I have to tell you I dislike people changing goalpost. To them nothing is satisfactory not only because they have no stand and clue what they want but because it does not support pakatan and give credit to BN. I hope you are different. But if you are like that, as those who have encountered me, I have no qualm calling a spade a spade. Let me here you argue.

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