Malott, Clinton and Ali: checkmate Malaysia

What would be APCO’s public relations advice to the PM Najib?

By J. D. Lovrenciear

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Malaysia. According to our DPM she announced that we are a model nation for democracy and civil liberties. And as such, she even urged other developing nations to emulate Malaysia.

Then comes a ramming contribution by the former US Envoy to Malaysia. John Malott in his published letter spelt out the serious state of discriminating national policies and raised the notch on the citizens concern over growing race and religion politics in Malaysia.

What is apparent is that the USA of today and the USA of yesterday are clearly divided on their foreign policy perspectives. What is also very crystal clear is the fact that the US government may be embarrassed upon learning that Obama’s administration does not have its ears on the ground when it comes to its foreign relations.

That in itself will be a bonus to aggressively expanding nations like India and China that are having great plans for economic conquest in all of Asia this century.

But all that is not our problem. Let the USA worry about its own capacity to plant its ears to the ground. And their track record in tackling troubled nations the world over – Burma, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Tibet, is everyone’s knowledge.

Back in our own yard comes Ibrahim Ali whom the media also never misses to tag as ‘the lawmaker’. His bare-all, self-styled chest-beating trademark in fighting for the rights of the Malay community in Malaysia has become a political brand. He too has seized on the rope to swing a kick on Joh Malott’s criticisms on Malaysia. It is yet to be seen how far he will be allowed to go to butcher the US ex-Envoy who has unmistakably wide influence.

What do all these translate in terms of national reputation? What would be APCO’s public relations advice to the PM Najib?

Indeed Malaysia has entered a dramatic chapter in its political journey. It will take more than mere public relations strategies to ensure that the nation will be able to successfully sieve the scum out from the substance.

To do so, we will need leadership which appears to be the most eluding factor for us all. Ultimately that fate unfortunately rests in the hands of the rakyat – the voting citizenry, and not on any ruling or opposition party.

Unfortunate because looking at all the past General Elections, we can summarily conclude that voters are easy prey for corrupt thoughts and feelings. They are gullible to the nice things one can get during campaigning.

Unfortunate because the larger rural voters also do not see the world of tomorrow in the same way as how a corporate employee views the future. The Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ levels are distinctly different for the two segments of rural and urban population. And this the politicians will exploit to the hilt.

Unfortunate because the leadership in Malaysia is webbed within the System that forms the framework of Malaysian politics. Even the Tun Dr M2 recently admitted this when he claimed that the ‘Ops Lalang’ was way beyond his leadership and control.

Whether we wear the lens of Clinton, Malott or Ali, the one central point that emerges is that Malaysia is going through difficult times politically. We really cannot see a rising star among the existing politicians. We cannot see a System of governance that is bold, clear, corrupt free, and strong. We cannot see a System emerging to beat a pathway in this new age world order that is driven by true democracy and civil liberties.

Hence, we can only prepare ourselves to continue to wallow in the tides of the thoughts in the likes of the Clintons, Malotts and Alis.

All these may sound negative. It may be interpreted as unfounded. It may be appearing to be sheer hopelessness. 

But look, what else can it be?

Are we not fighting along race-based political economies and religious dichotomies today? Are we not anchored on sex and sin slanders and character assassinations to demonstrate who is worthier to be a leader? Are we not threatening to suffer ‘crushed bodies’ and ‘lost lives’ if another political adversary wins the elections? Is not our social currency one of corruption and greed?