Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PM gets a lesson in transparency - Amin Khairuddin|

Free Malaysia Today
Blogger Shahbudin says Najib shouldn’t have acted like someone with something to hide.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak would have saved himself a lot of embarrassment if he had been open about his recent movements instead of behaving like a thief, Umno critic Shahbudin Husin writes in his latest blog entry.

Continuing with his series of caustic blog entries that comment on Najib’s unannounced Hawaiian holiday and the mystery of what happened to the private government jet after he cut short the golfing vacation, Shahbudin says it is odd that the Prime Minister apparently did not count on the Internet’s power to turn any Tom, Dick or Harry into a reporter when he himself has often spoken about that power.

He says the one lesson Najib must learn from the episode is that he, as a prime minister and very public figure, has to be transparent about everything in these times of instant information and open communication.

“If he had not left for his Hawaiian Christmas holiday in secret and had instead released information that he would be playing golf with Barack Obama, no one would have really cared when the picture of him golfing with the American President became widely distributed,” he writes.

“If he had returned in the same aircraft that took him to Hawaii when the flood situation had become frantic, no one would have really bothered to trace the whereabouts of the official plane.”

The official explanation that the jet had encountered technical problems came only after a lot of questions had been raised, Shahbudin points out. But the explanation, he adds, became meaningless when a check with showed that the jet had been moving around the American continent. “In fact,” he says, “it burned the public’s desire to find out who was using it.”

Shahbudin also refers to Najib’s decision to go to Bangkok last Friday for a meeting with his Thai counterpart, saying he should have not gone there secretly as well. It was because he made the trip stealthily that people saw a coincidence in the jet being in Bangkok at the time, he says. 

“But just as he went to Hawaii in stealth, he went to Thailand like one making a rendezvous with a sweetheart but afraid of being found out by his wife.”

If Najib had informed the public that he would be reuniting with his family after meeting the Thai PM, Shahbudin says, “no one would be interested in his trip and in taking a picture of his wife shopping in Bangkok.”

Shahbudin says it’s strange that Najib, who is active in social media, still seems to think that media power lies with Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and government-controlled television stations.

He ends his posting with this parting shot: “As the Prime Minister, act like a real prime minister, not like a thief who runs and hide.”

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