Today’s Headlines in the Daily Express Sabah “REJECTED LEADERS, NOT BN.”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak while addressing 15,000 people at his official homecoming celebration in Pekan said Malaysians only rejected BN leaders who were not close to them but not the Barisan Nasional itself.
Sure or not, Mr Prime Minister? If that is the case, how come you have taken into your Cabinet, rejected by Penangites, this former, Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon.
Tsu Koon or Sleeping Koon as he is known in Penang is a clear case of REJECTED politician and you Mr Prime Minister have put him in your cabinet and this is adding salt to the injury. Are you saying here Mr Prime Minister that Tsu Koon is an exception and he does not fall into the rejected category? Or are you sending a signal to Penangites that they have no choice but to accept Tsu Koon as their representative in the Federal Government?
Your appointment as PM is amazing by any standard. But more than it suggests that the people wanted you, it means that they were sick of Pak Lah — sick of his flip-flop character, his conduct as a person and sick of his identification with KJ and the 4th floor boys.
Last night, you were entitled to rejoice over Pak Lah’s mistakes, but you must learn from them and be another kind of prime minister. Mr PM, your homecoming speech last night was a great television performance. No two ways about it, this is your turf.
A small piece of advice, my 2 cents worth.
Prime ministers are measured by their ability to devise policy and make decisions and, at the same time, by their ability to surround themselves with the best possible political forces. Naturally, there is an inherent contradiction — those who favor change are faced with resistance; those who favor unity find change difficult.
All prime ministers know how to take, but a successful prime minister also knows how to share. All prime ministers know how to lash out, but a successful prime minister also knows how to exercise restraint. The job offers tremendous power and a stage on which the attention of many is fixed. All prime ministers know how to exploit these realities, but not all prime ministers know how not to misuse them.
You must staff your office and your government with the best people. People like Koh Tsu Koon should have no place. Personal loyalty is a consideration, but there are more important ones. Credibility, for instance. Experience. A serious demeanor. Open-mindedness. Remember, Pak Lah’s biggest failure was in choosing his people.
Last week, after Pak Lah was forced to concede power to you, there was a popular joke going around in KL: Someone came to Pak Lah’s door in Jalan Bellamy and asked to speak to the prime minister. “Pak Lah is no longer prime minister,” answered his wife Jeanne. “Thank you,” the man said, and he left. Fifteen minutes later, the man returned and again asked to speak with the prime minister, only to receive the same response. After another 15 minutes, the man returned a third time and asked if he could have a word with the prime minister. “I told you,” Jeanne retorted, “Pak Lah is no longer prime minister. Do you understand?” “Perfectly,” the man replied, “but I like to keep hearing it.”