Khamis, 24 Februari 2011

Cronyism creeping into silver state

Monday, February 21, 2011

from the 'voice'

February 6th, 2011 marked the second year since the changeover in power from the DAP-puppet Government of Dato Seri Nizar Jamaluddin to UMNO-led Barisan Nasional government of Dato' Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Back in 2009, hope on Zambery were high.

The Malays in the know of happenings within Nizar's DAP puppet Government expect the systematic deprivation of Bumiputera revoked and more inclusive policy in place. Nizar lost power because he succumbed to the will of the sino-centric enfant terrible cousins Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming.

Dr Zambery display the sincerity, patience and work rate to revive confidence with the Government, face the opposition onslaught and endear himself with the people.

But, a big BUT it is, Zambery has a major problem with people surrounding him. Most of his appointees have not been of much inspiration and assistance. Rumours and murmurs on the ground is disturbing. Cronyism and leakage is creeping in.

This is a case Zambery has to avert.

Barisan Nasional unexpected lost power in Perak can be partly attributed to the political tsunami sweeping the nation in 2008.

Another part of the reason was the pent-up impatiance with past Menteri Besars of Dato Tajul Rosli and Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib inability to revive the once glorius silvers state of Perak out of its long standing economic doldrum.

Although Perak means silver, the silvery product that brought prosperity and turmoil to Perak was tin. Whether it is reflective a delusional psyche of the Perakians or high expectations, Perak have not been able to revive it's economy since the tin market crashed in early 1980s.

The people of Perak crave for development to revive the once glittery state out of the long economic doldrum.

Zambry, the academician - doctoral degree in political thoughts from Temple University, Philadelphia, US and former head of the Akademi Pemuda UMNO at the time Anwar Ibrahim was Deputy Prime Minister - did not waste time to get into the steering job of moving SS Perak.

He understood that Perak have not had an alternative economic sector to replace tin mining in sustaining the growth. He is clear on his position as Menteri Besar was a result of defection of three Pakatan Rakyat Assemblymen Osman Jailu, Jamaluddin Radzi and Hee Yit Foong.

He face the pressure of a hostile opposition, Chinese populace viewing the changeover as a Malay power grab from Chinese hand, dispirited UMNO and the long awaited development of the state.

Within months, Zambery incepted a think-tank, Institut Darul Ridzuan (IDR) to generate the thought process to plan, and strategise projects in Perak.

Emulating the approach of the darkest five-year of Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to appoint consultants such as McKinsey, BCG, Binafikir, Ethos and Innovation Associate to do the 'thinking' role for the Federal Government (previously carried out by EPU, ICU, MAMPU and Treasury), IDR became 'consultant' to the Perak state government.

Former Associate Director of Innovation Associate (IA), Aminuddin Hashim was picked to head IDR. Briliant as a student, where he came out top in the world for his third year CIMA seating.

At IA, Aminuddin was the right hand man of IA Executive Director, Datuk Dr. Hamzah Abu Kassim.

Hamzah was an NEAC member who has been in the radar of this blog. [Read here.]

He is the man behind the idea for the Talent Corporation which is suspiciously looks another of his advise and "plough" scheme. [Read Syed Akbar Ali here and more here.]

Amin had been with Hamzah since the days of Ernst Young CapGemini until they had a slight personality clash and split.

With Zambery, Amin could see political patronage that will enable him to move along the 'corridors of power' via access to the vast opportunity of government consulting jobs of IA and more limelight for himself.

Since assuming partner position within IA is a far fetched notion, taking Zambery's offer seems to be very smart move that could bring him closer to political masters and decision makers.

Amin leadership of IDR wasn't a great feat after all.

IDR lack the macro planning expertise and experience, more over for government machinery like the Perak State Government.

Exco members could be heard grumbling of Amin being typical consultant of wanting to tell the time on the exco member's watch than with an idea of his own.

In one incident, Amin was given a drubbing for asking what the exco member wants, when he was paid to do the thinking and provide the guidance and roadmap for the state.

The next best idea that IDR could have come up with was to create 'laboratories'. This is an after thought after a strategy to move Perak based on a conceived tagline of 'Perak Aman Jaya'.

The labs are supposed to formulate policies and game plans to work within the meaningless tagline. Like PEMANDU, these labs don't really work. They formulate plans that are not easy to roll out.

As consultant, IDR have minimal knowledge and experiance on how to make the 'plans' work and realisable into significant impact on the lives of Perakians. Hence, for a little over one and a half years, nothing seems to move.

This created discomfort amongst Perakians. Members of the Perak exco under Zambry is questioning the relevance of keeping Amin on state "payroll".

Suddenly, a freshly formed Kota Damansara 'addressed' firm Talent Solution Sdn Bhd proposed to IDR for a human capital project for Perak. It involves recruitment jobs.

The firm is supposed to form job and career centres in Perak and collate all job seekers particularly the unemployed youths and graduates and submit them to appropriate training and eventually placement. This is a carbon copy of a similar program of IA with Khazanah that bombed.

Conveniently, the bill will be charged to Perak State Government.

How and why the IDR under Amin awarded this 'direct nego' lucrative job to Talent Solution is very interesting. Checks revealed that both directors of the firm had never any recruitment experience before. The firm was only formed in October 2010 and have no operational office address.

Our source said the real promoter of the human capital project in Perak is one of IA's subsdiary CEO. The subsidiary is believed to be Agensi Pekerjaan Career Xcell Sdn. Bhd. and does the 'train and place' recruitment arm for IA's consultancy offering.

It is not clear whether or not this latest IDR infused human capital scheme would work or not.

However, it contradict the role of IDR to spearhead growth and incidently job creation to stem migration of youth out of the state. This program means IDR is acting as conduit for human capital leakage out of the state.

For a Perak GLC to award a project exclusively to a firm without any experience and this job being the firm's pioneer job doesn't bring out a sense of 'aman' for Perak to 'jaya.' With Amin giving the job to a former IA colleague instead of existing firms, this is another blatant cronyism.

It is also another hare-brain scheme for persons currently or previously were around Hamzah attempt to corner the lucrative human capital consulting market. Since it involves a member of NEAC, who is supposed to abstain involvement, it is a conflict of interest, abuse of power, and "insider trading."

Thus far, Zambery is lucky.

Public perception is still saving blame from him. But if he allows state budget to be spent for a frivolus idea and padding of crony's pocket, blame would be eventually reach him. It is believed that he has been made aware of.

However Zambery has to contend with an increasingly disgruntled UMNO grassroot. Zambery is pandering more to a higher power than oiling the state UMNO machinery.

Those in the know are blaming him and some are already accusing him of being in-cohoot with regard to few major cases of leakage of the state UMNO political funds. He made no stern action against the offenders from within his office.

Zambery does not have an effective communication machinery to deflect any bad news against him.

With a press secretary whose arrogance and scheming had isolated Zambery from the local press corp and pro-UMNO bloggers that helped defend him against opposition onslaught, and raised eye brow within the UMNO and public, Zambery could be facing it alone when the chips are down this time around.

Be careful, the crazy Nizar could be reading this.

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