Mr Kalimullah Hassan of New Straits Times today comes into defence of whom many others may see as cronies by interestingly attacking the underlying logic of the New Economic Policy (NEP).
He first defends the Naza boss: “… if the APs were removed tomorrow, Nasimuddin would still be successful because he has diversified into property development, livestock rearing, hotels and assembly and manufacturing of cars. His businesses are housed worldwide.”
Very well said. If Mr Nasimuddin is already so successful, why not remove his APs then? Why makes him look like a toddler that needs mama’s protection?
He also defends his ‘buddy’ Tony Fernandez. “AirAsia is a globally known brand that has made Malaysia proud. But yet, there are detractors who claim Tony succeeded because of political support. Hogwash!”
“Not many people gave Tony and his partner, Datuk Kamaruddin Meranun, a chance when they started the airline. But they made it. Ask yourself – could you have done the same?”
“The lessons are all over the place. You can get all the institutional and political support like the many high flying businessmen in the 1980s and 1990s.”
“But there is no substitute for hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity. The high flyers of that era may still have some money but they are almost forgotten or obscure.”
One simple question: will anyone with equally great idea and equally outstanding entrepreneurship like Mr Fernandez’s automatically enjoy equal institutional and political support like him?
If yes then I agree with you that he is no crony at all. Otherwise, he is still a crony, but only a very capable one.
One major problem with state’s intervention in economy is the excessive room for discretion. Politicians can simply decide whom to help and whom not to help on criteria that only known to themselves. Like Mahathir decided whom to appoint as judges.
If the state has objective criteria for most decisions, then it delivers at least fairness, even if at the expense of efficiency, compared to the market force.
Don’t get me wrong. While I am no Mr Fernandez’s buddy, I do fly AirAsia rather often and am very happy for its success. That AirAsia is not Proton-in-the-sky certainly pleases me.
My favourite part in this informative piece by Mr Kalimullah – about one third is quotations from internet and email, what a recycle enthusiast he is – is his attack on the so-called “tall poppy syndrome”.
He quotes Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding father who said “You cannot strengthen one by weakening another; and you cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant.”
Now, is PM Abdullah Badawi’s chief spin doctor attacking the New Economic Policy (NEP) in a round-about way? You decide.
I think the mainstream media, which the People’s Parliament and GASAK are calling for their boycott, are rather entertaining some time. Don’t you think so?