Car Harping? There’s Much More Than Meets The Eye


I think all Malaysians are fed up hearing about the Terengganu’s episode of buying 14 units of Mercedes Benz E200 Kompressor luxury cars worth RM3.43m.  It took the lime light over Anwar’s case, the Altantuya Case, the Umno-Pas Talks but more importantly, the economic plight of the country that affects all of us.

When we want to do something, there will be all the justification in the world regardless if it’s factual, rational or pragmatic.  In Malaysia, politicians have learnt to say the darnest things to justify their actions.  Strangely, these actions are fielded in the headlines.  We don’t know what to think anymore.   Is this more important than all the challenges we are facing or that there is nothing better to report on.

If the latter, boy oh boy, we are in deep sambal then.  Nobody is making sense to shaping the economy, to encouraging foreign investments, to stabilize inflation, to plan for strategic actions in light of the global crunch, to work towards contingency plans on self sufficiency on food, to move towards 2020 clearly, and I’m sure we can name a hundred more things more important than the Mercedes Benz episode.

Now, let’s take a look at Terengganu.  The farce happened in a BN state.  If it happened in a PR state, I wonder what more will be said.  Endless, I suppose, and the ACA will be swooping in for the kill.  Now, everybody is treading carefully.  The strange conclusion, if there is going to be one, is that the PM adviced to use it “once a while” or for “special guests of the state”.  Today, we see the cars in action and the Exco are using it regardless.  So what?

This is not about changing cars.  It’s about showing who’s the boss in Terengannu and it’s the state government.  It’s about putting the foot down that the state’s decision is the state’s own business and none of the federal government’s concern.  A RM3.43m decision is nothing verses the hundreds of million of Ringgit on the Monsoon Cup and the Islamic Civilisation Park (read here) that was spent in the past and on-going without the consent of the state, or more accurately put, the royal consent.  Now that the state government leadership is apparently blessed by the palace, Terengganu is back where it belongs.  So is this a challenge on federal guidelines?

Pak Lah declares “since the cars have been bought and to sell them would only result in a loss, all of them must be used for state guests or dignitaries.  This is the decision, nothing more, nothing less” (read here).

Is this a win-win outcome?  Terengganu can keep the Mercedes Benz cars for VVIPs but use the existing Proton Perdana V6 Executive cars for official use.  Sounds fair?  I can’t figure out the logic though.  What about making Terengganu an example for all states to tow the line so that this doesn’t repeat itself?  Or has the Cabinet clearly swept it under the federal carpet then?

Today, it was reported that the Terengganu MB Datuk Ahmad Said insisted that the luxury cars will be used as official cars pending the Anti-Corruption Agency’s investigations into the state’s Proton Perdana V6 Executive cars high maintenance cost (read here).  What has the outcome of the ACA investigation got to do with the decision to use the luxury cars?  Who is he trying to kid here?  He might as well has said that they will continue to use the luxury cars until the ACA sends one of them as angkasawan.  Totally irrelevant.

In the past, political rhetorics had sounded more logical and even reasonable.  These days, most statements make less and less sense.  It is beginning to sound like “Kids say the darnest things” bloopers.  All the statements made for arrests, using of Mercedes Benz cars, murder cases tried in court and what else politicians get involved saying their piece all sound illogical.  They are running out of lines from the book of Political Excuses or they are not paying the right people to advice them what to say.

The car fracas is about a statement of power.  Terengganu has already gotten their cars when the news went public.  So everything said is after the fact and covering up the possible tension between state and federal powers. If this continues, there may be more headlines on the other PR states about their “cars”.

Doesn’t the Cabinet have better things to discuss than this?  The business of the nation should be on the agenda but the media only reports on the stupid car episode and protecting the FACE of the federal government.  What happened to plans to mitigate the rising inflation, for example?  Shouldn’t there be more important things to report after a Cabinet meeting?

Sigh!  It seems that the most important priority economic agenda in the country is being overshadowed by nonsensical and almost idiotic news that looks more like a distraction of the possible incompetencies in the country.  Figure this out!  When will we ever learn?


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