Friday, December 12, 2008

Evaluating our future Deputy Prime Minister (and potentially Malaysia's 7th Prime Minister) Part 2

Chief Minister Dato' Seri Ali Rustam is the next contender to qualify to contest the seat of UMNO Deputy President, subsequently elevating him to the Deputy Prime Minister seat.

He should be given the lime light for putting world-class Malacca on the top spot for tourist attraction in Malaysia and making the state one of the biggest revenue generators for the Federal Government.

A fellow blogger himself, he had urged all Wakil Rakyat to setup blogs to disseminate information more efficiently. Nothing of significant interest in his blog to take note of, besides the normal rhetorics of 'don't question the fatwa' and 'thank you for nominating me for the post of deputy president of UMNO'.

Ali Rustam had urged the People's Progressive Party (PPP), a Barisan Nasional component, to leave the coalition if they were unsatisfied with seat allocation during the election fever this year.

He drew fiery criticisms for suggesting that Shah Rukh Khan deserved a dato'ship for exalting tourism in Malacca. Quoting from one blog, "Nampaknya Majlis Raya-Raja Melayu perlu membuat ketetapan bersama dan peyelarasan dalam kriteria penganugerahan darjah dan bintang kebesaran supaya kualiti, kredebiliti dan reputasi penerima anugerah dapat dipertahankan wibawanya".

"Empat tahun yang lalu, Melaka membuat kontroversi yang sama dengan lambakkan penganugerahan darjah dan bintang kebesaran terbanyak kepada 84 orang penerima walaupun Melaka adalah negeri terkecil selepas Perlis".

2 years ago, DS Ali proposed the extension of ERL to include both Seremban and Malacca on the basis of increased tourist arrivals to the tourist state. He has also requested LRT to be installed in the state. This is to be financed by the savings from the oil subsidies. Not so smart there, considering that KL is in dire need of the funds in the hierarchy of priorities due to its dense and increasing population. Although stats suggest that tourists have increased to 4.6 million in 2006 compared to 4 million in 2004, it doesn't render a strong proposition to build a system just yet. The density of Kuala Lumpur is close to 7,400 residents/km2 compared to Malacca's 430 (not including tourists of course). I don't think not having an LRT system would deter the tourists from visiting a world heritage site.

I do give him credit for setting up Malaysia's first solar panel manufacturing facility. This would augur well for our bid to become more energy sustainable and efficient. The company running the show, Sun Power Manufacturing Malaysia, is a subsidiary of Sun Power Corporation, USA. It will commence operations in August 2009. This will also create close to 4000 jobs.

Credit is also extended for the well-oiled economic prosperity in Malacca resulting from tourism, rubber (RM320M), palm oil (RM300M) & manufacturing. I was not able to verify these numbers and had obtained them from his blog. I'm assuming he writes his own stuff and not getting feedback from aides.

On UMNO reforms, according to him, UMNO will commence online registration in the near future. This is a positive step towards drawing potentials into the party and a clear sign that the party is ready to move on in accordance to technological advancements.

He is not a big fan of debates, which is a downside, in my opinion. Leaders must be able to take up the challenge for healthy debates in order to articulate their views, convictions and opinions. Debating is a fundamental skill that numerous leaders are still struggling with. The idea that debating is a mere political game is unacceptable. US Presidential and Vice presidential candidates take months to prepare for this and the debate between Biden and Palin clearly showed Americans who they were going to vote for (between one who was fluent in foreign policy and one whose vocabulary was limited to 'you betcha'). Of course, the sensitivities here are different, therefore requiring different format, structure or audience if necessary.

Finally, it was not such a good move for Dato' Seri to criticize the Selangor state government over its RM100m pig farm project. He's got one pig farm problem in his back yard, unresolved for scores of years in Pengkalan Balak.

I have yet to hear his stance on a myriad of national education or economic policies, two of the most important workloads for the next deputy prime minister. Managing national policies compared to state administration is analogous to comparing the NBA to coaching collegiate basketball.

The fundamental question is this: desire and democracy put aside, does he make the cut to be the second in command? Unfortunately, the fate of the nation is controlled by a band of no more than 2,500 UMNO delegates. That is scary stuff.

Siapa paling layak?

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