Global leadership awards 2019

Businesses affected by political patronage: Before & after the great expectations of reform

Businesses affected by political patronage: Before & after the great expectations of reform

In a press statement dated 2 July, 2018 reported by the Malay Mail, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang cautioned Pakatan Harapan (PH) against being perceived to be embarking on a witch hunt. He said PH must not be seen to be vengeful towards Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders and supporters even as the new government investigates the wrongdoings under the previous regime.

He went on to say, “It has been said that before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves — one for the victim, and one for yourselves. This is a warning not to embark on a path of revenge as you can kill the other but you will end up also killing yourself.”

Since independence, Malaysia has prospered due to moderate sensible political leadership and a vibrant business community. True, there have been more than a few crooked politicians and corrupt businessmen. But by and large, we have had incredible development in a relatively short time for such a small nation. Blessed with talent and natural resources Malaysia is doubly blessed by being free from natural calamities. In fact, most of our problems have been man-made.

Due to our own goals that we periodically score against ourselves because of our preoccupation with race, religion and misguided nationalism disguised as patriotism.

Since independence businessmen and businesses have had to work within the system, relying on political patronage to survive. Some more fortunate than others had the ability to work the system to make unbelievable wealth. These were the businessmen who worked for a hand in glove with politicians in power, directly or through their family members and close friends. But they were the chosen few, the top 1%, the circle was kept deliberately small so that the bite of the pie was large for each member.

What of the other 99%? The other businesses who had to work hard, who had no choice but to feed off the scraps left over by the big boys. The ones who had to bite their tongue and suck up to the powers that be?
Interestingly after the change of government, things while appearing to have changed at the bottom, the top 1% seem to be little effect, many of them still are seen in the company of politicians running the new government.

I suppose they still need support and money. But surprisingly while welcoming this 1%, the others who were unfortunate to be even remembered having taken a photo with the previous government are viewed with suspicion.

The PH government while not shy of cavorting with that same 1% that had surrounded the political elite of the previous regime seem averse to working with the rest of the 99% of genuine businessmen whose only fault were perhaps willing to work with the government of the day.

It is time for PH government reform itself before the bad habits of the previous regime become it’s default position when dealing with SMIs.
All businessmen want is a level playing field that does not automatically punish them for having had to work with the government of the day before the 14th General Elections. 

These businesses are ready to work with the PH government, the PH government must be ready to work with them. The people did not vote in the present government to play favorites just because they think they can.

By: Stephen Doss.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online.


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