Minister Displayed Poor Leadership

From this incident and many others that have happened in our country, it shows the “I don’t care” attitude of many leaders is very prevalent. Why have this lack of concern and sense of responsibility which have permeated in our society so extensively? 

John Lo

1.            Out of the chaos and great inconvenience that have been created by the faulty KKIA Runway Lights, Sabahans are perfectly entitled to ask many questions and demand answers from the “Sabah-must-accept-the-CABOTAGE POLICY” Minister of Transport who is ultimately responsible for the management [or the lack of it] of airports in the country. it is called “MINISTERIAL RESPONSBILITY”. If the Minister cares for Sabah, he would have left no stone unturned to prevent a recurrence as KKIA IS THE ECONOMIC LIFELINE OF SABAH.

2.            In any well managed country where Ministerial Responsibility is taken seriously, the Minister of Transport should have been on top of things immediately by [1] Assessing the situation. [2] Initiating a technical rectification plan. [3] As the Minister in charge, he should inform the public of the nature of the problem and a time line when KKIA can resume in good working order again without delay. [4] A good and responsible Minister would have apologized to Sabahans and the travelling public and promised no more repetition in future immediately after the runway lights went out. By announcing that a probe would be conducted and at the same breath, talked about sabotage, is nothing but a put-up drama to cause diversion of attention from bad management and planning by the Ministry of Transport. 

3.            From this incident and many others that have happened in our country, it shows the “I don’t care” attitude of many leaders is very prevalent. Why have this lack of concern and sense of responsibility which have permeated in our society so extensively? 2 basic negative human elements or a combination thereof have overtaken good sense and basic human decencies: [1] Being in power for too long hence the tendency to take the voters for granted. [2] Systemic corruption which can casue “keep 1 eye shut” syndrome. Once the political leaders have been inflicted with these two “diseases”, the effectiveness of government will begin to crumble and things will begin to stop properly. What are the symptoms of these 2 diseases? We can see them and experience and/or suffer the resultant effects in our daily life from the high-price roads that are littered with potholes, bad and slow delivery service [no corruption money – no approval syndrome] to the ram shackle little houses and extensive urban and rural poverty. From overnight-rich cronies living in huge mansions to driving “dream million-dollar” cars. From high cost of business to expensive housing and low GDP per capita.  Though there may be economic growth, it will be slow and dependent on the short term model of exploitation of natural resources rather than on the long term model of enhancement of human capital capacity.  

4.            The aforementioned 2 diseases have caused poor policy decision-makings and breakdowns in the MICRO management of the Malaysian economy – resulting in poor economic performance. Malaysians are quite familiar with some high profile poor quality policies. I will try to illustrate some of the failures of MICRO management in the KKIA case: [1] Top of the list is the failure of the Minister of Transport to make his presence felt immediately after the lights have gone off. He should know this is very serious for Sabah. It has greatly inconvenient thousands of traveler and deprived many Muslims of their quality time with their family on Hari Raya Haji. Equally important, as Sabah Minister of Tourism has said, this incident has negated the promotional efforts by Sabah that KKIA is a reliable airport. It has also tarnished Sabah’s image as a tourism destination. [2] Poor planning and low quality implementation are obvious, as such an accident should have been foreseen and a backup system/plan put in place. This is elementary and should never have been overlooked. The whole process of planning and execution could not have been by amateurs as there are professionals in the Ministry and highly paid consultants. Can we then presume what we can only conclude by such blatant amateurism? [3] If the incident has been caused by the contractor as has been mentioned in the news, then the authorities supervising the contact must take responsibility for poor supervision. [4] The resultant chaos [nobody seemed to know what to do] and typical “tight lip” by the authorities in the whole incident reek with ineffective co-ordination and poor leadership. [5] The Minister has announced a probe which is long on form but short in substance as he has failed to say that he would sack those responsible if there is negligence and/or poor management. He is being vague and tries to buy time in the hope that all the problems will go away eventually. If there is sincerity on his part, he would have personally announced the offer of compensation to those who have suffered inconvenience and financial losses without waiting for his so called probe.  After all, whatever the outcome of his probe, the faults still lay no further than at the doors of his Ministry. We have seen too many Ministers announcing this probe and that probe. Show us how many of these probes have produced positive results? I truly feel sorry for the PM and Datuk Musa who are trying their best to win over the hearts and souls of Sabahans by their frequent visits to various places in our State and their offers of “election goodies”. I am afraid the Minister of Transport, by continuing to ignore the plights of Sabahans, will unravel all the efforts of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister.

5.            Like so many cases in our country, most of our ministers would not take their MINISTERIAL responsibility seriously, take the voters for granted thinking that they would not complain, keeping quiet, hoping the problem will right itself or blow away eventually. Come next election, they will get re-elected again and things will remain exactly the same as before. I hope Malaysian voters will have learned from all the abuses by the political leaders in the past and will know what to do at the ballot box. In the era of the 2 party-system, we expect the opposition to raise hell and cry for blood over this incidence but so far they have been tame like new born kittens.

6.            Now that the damage has been done, what is the Minister of Transport going to do about it? Will he play the political “deaf, dumb, mute and blind” with Sabahans as he has done so with the Cabotage Policy? If he is forthright and will not play camouflage, he should announce what he would do to those who are responsible for bad planning, bad management and poor implementation. The wording of his probe is anything but convincing from a man who really means business. If he is a gentleman politician, he should apologize immediately to Sabahans and tell us why he has allowed such an incidence happen. In many countries, Ministers would have resigned for lesser negligence or mistakes.

7.            As political parties, there is nothing wrong with BN/UMNO and PR except that they have failed to weed out bad and irresponsible leaders. Such leaders are giving their party a bad name by not taking responsibility for their mistakes and negligence. Both parties must really pull up their socks and examine the lack of quality of their current leadership. Many of them [in Government and Opposition] have performed way below expectation and should not be allowed to stand in GE13.

8.            All that it remains now is for me to ask: [1] For an explanation as to why the Minister of Transport has allowed such an incident to happen. [2] What has the Minister of Transport done for Sabahans since he assumed this post? [3] The Deputy Prime Minister, on behalf on the Federal Cabinet, has issued an apology to the affected passenger 30 October 2012. Has the Minister of Transport said sorry? [4] What is the stand of MCA Sabah on this incident and the Cabotage Policy? Is MCA Sabah so timid that it would not go against its political boss in KL to protect the economic interest of Sabahans on this incident and the Cabotage Policy?