We end up in one mess after another because we take the easy way out instead of delving into what really ails the country. People in general love punching bags, especially when things don’t go their way. Scapegoats are another favourite for people who want to avoid taking responsibility. Shahril Ahmad Idrus comments at Free Malaysia Today:
Malaysians are no different when it comes to the challenges currently being faced by Malaysia’s ruling party and the Prime Minister specifically. If you read the news and tap into the grapevine you may think that all the problems beleaguering the party and the PM stem from just one factor or just one individual.
There is a distinct reluctance to delve deeper into what ails the country, the government and its leaders. All too often we take the easy way out. We look for scapegoats and then hope the problems will go away, which is why we end up going from one mess to another.
Take for instance the Forum “Nothing to Hide” organised by the NGO calling itself “SukaGuam” a body of volunteers consisting primarily of lawyers.
We know that it was organised by the NGO concerned with the support of a government agency tasked with disseminating information on government programs. We also know that due to the expected presence of the former Prime Minster Tun Dr. Mahathir at the forum, the current Prime Minister was advised by his Special Officer, not to attend.
Yet the person bearing the brunt of the blame for this well intentioned program was a newly appointed advisor to the PM responsible for media matters relating to Malaysia’s Mass Rail Transport and national health issues like dengue.
Was he an easy target since he did not work directly for the PM? Or was he easy to blame since he was not of the same ethnic group as the PM’s other officers?
Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing has served the government in various capacities under three different Prime Ministers. His PR campaigns and catchy slogans that promote Malaysia and rally Malaysians from all walks of life can be seen in many arenas such as sports, youth work and economics.
It is difficult to imagine how he can be held responsible for the public relations nightmare stemming from a forum with a poorly chosen slogan titled #nothingtohide, which by implication causes one to infer that there previously was something to hide.
The thinking behind such an amateurish slogan is definitely not the kind of thinking you would associate with someone like Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing. He would have known better and would clearly have avoided the pitfalls of such a slogan.
Let’s be clear, there are many officials in the PM’s Office in charge of media and public relations. They work round the clock to prepare the PM’s speeches, his itinerary, and advise him on public relations strategy. In addition, the Prime Minister has consultants like Paul Stadlen who have access to the Prime Minister’s Office and are probably more in control of the decisions the Prime Minister makes when it comes to media and public relations strategy than Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing.
So we come back to the earlier question, why single out Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing for public ridicule for the failure of the Forum “Nothing To Hide” and for the poor advice given to the PM to not attend the said forum?
Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing had nothing to do with the Forum. His focus is on the MRT and national health issues. The Forum instead, was more political in nature and clearly under the Media team headed by the PM’s own officials.
So if Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing is not to be blamed? Then who?
As the Malays would say “Tepuk dada Tanya Selera” .
If the PM wants to start tackling the many challenges coming his way, he has to start by isolating the source of his problems.
First, he has to reduce the number of advisors and consultants he has working for him – it appears that he has way too many.
Second, he has to really evaluate the quality of advice he is being given.
Finally, at the end of the day, he must listen to his own advice.