Thursday, June 11, 2009

Meeting the FT Minister

Brother Rocky was kind and generous enough to add a nondescript blogger like me to a dinner session with the Minister of Federal Territories, YB Datuk Raja Nong Chik bin Datuk Raja Zainal Abidin and his charming wife last night at the Sime Darby Convention Centre. The Minister has a dotcom that you can check out here.

Rocky has indicated the other, more luminous bloggers who were also present at the dinner here.

What struck me was the down-to-earth persona of the Minister and his wife. Absent was any air of condescension that tends to waft across whenever one meets a person with power. Maybe it's early days yet. But, that would be an unfair assessment of the Minister, who came across as someone who is sincere and, under no illusions as to the task that is before him.

The biggest single challenge for the Minister must be the cloistered and, comfortable super-bureaucracy that exists in Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya and Labuan pales in comparison. And DBKL is at the veritable centre of the Malaysian urban universe, the great city of Kuala Lumpur.

From the lofty perch of the leafy Bukit Tunku, Damansara Heights and Bangsar, to the stench of the depths of Chow Kit Market, to the frenetic traffic that criss-crosses Kepong, Jinjang and, of course, Cheras - that is the empire and fiefdom of the DBKL.

If you believe Syed Akbar Ali of OutSyed the Box and, it is hard to ignore Syed's in-your-face candour and brutal frankness, DBKL practises multiple standards. The level of attentive care and diligence that DBKL displays in Bukit Tunku, Damansara Heights and Bangsar is replaced with abject disdain and neglect in lesser suburbs. That is what he told the Minister last night. The Minister and his aides listened with rapt attention.

But, that point paled in comparison with Syed's pet peeve - the alleged shenanigans of DBKL in the Jalan Masjid India precinct. For that peeve, I shall circumspectly leave to whatever bolts of lightning that good 'ol Syed may choose to throw from his popular blog. I have no doubt that whatever "input" Syed gives on the matter will receive the necessary attention since he gives his views in good faith as a rate-payer.

The governance or, the lack thereof, of Kuala Lumpur is a super high-profile matter. Obviously, the overwhelming number of Pakatan Rakyat MPs in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur is a stern reminder to the Minister that his task is made all the less easy for that matter.

From the standpoint of the ailing rate-payer, the preponderance of Pakatan Rakyat MPs in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur that is being governed under the leadership of an UMNO-BN Minister is a positive tension that should engender better practises by the bureaucratic behemoth that is DBKL. Both sets of politicians from opposite sides of the aisle, so to speak, should put the necessary squeeze on DBKL's bureaucracy. That much still needs to be done in spite of that healthy political tension speaks volumes about the degree to which vested interests have embedded themselves into the DBKL superstructure.

So, our hope is that the Minister will find much common ground with the likes of Wangsa Maju MP, YB Wee Choo Keong and Lembah Pantai MP, YB Nurul Izzah Anwar, to place DBKL under intense scrutiny. That level of positive political cooperation can only benefit the ratepayers. And, it is a healthy competition for their voting sympathy.

I wish the Minister all the best in his heavy task and, I hope that he will reach out to the other FT MPs for the benefit of all ratepayers in Kuala Lumpur.


donplaypuks® said...

Nice to have met you at the dinner last night. Boy, was the lightly grilled salmon superb!

Yes, Dato Raja Nong Chik came across as very down to earth with no airs. His years in the private sector has given him the right management approach to getting DBKL going - human touch, carrot as opposed to the cudgel approach. Wish him all the best.

de minimis said...


The pleasure of meeting you was all mine, I assure you. And, you're right. The salmon was most delectable :D

walla said...

They shouldn't use perspex as roofing plastic. It traps heat. It creates artificial hues which make it hard for customers to see the displays. And how that structure can cost RM10.3 million should be investigated.

Also putting the extra lots in front of shops to help the poor hawkers is fine but unless monitored properly it will all turn out like a pasar malam where goods get placed out of the lots and crowd out access to the shops.

Seeing only a contract and forgetting human tendency leads to problems that will be hard to solve. The CIMA-trained minister should make that known from now on.

Surplus goods of the hawkers should be stocked somewhere else. If they had come in their cars or vans, that's where the surplus should remain. That means they will need runners to go bring them when it's time to replenish. That will clear the walkways and make sure they keep within line.

Otherwise Masjid India will turn into Calcutta. Or Baghdad out of arabian nights.

The bigger issue here is whether govt depts and cityhalls learn how to do things right. Do they think through first before doing something? If they hold a committee, birth an idea, and decide the action, is there an insertion before they adjourn the meeting that asks and requires hard answers on each project?

If there isn't, then the real motivation is not clear. Because that insertion process would have unveiled motives that are the recurring problem.

That's not even world-class. Just honesty. Don't make it a lonely word.

de minimis said...

bro walla

The roofing material makes it a potential fire hazard also. Syed will definitely find you quite agreeable with him!

donplaypuks® said...

Btw, your banner kampung pic, hometown? and where? Very idyllic!

de minimis said...

bro donplaypuks

Nice, eh? It's a picture that's been on my mind since forever. There are so many places I've been around Selangor that fits the bill. I'm still deciding on one. In the mean time, it's a picture that represents my ideal state of mind as a Malaysian. The perfect place. That's why I found Redhuan Oon's story so resonant :D

flyer168 said...

De minimis,

Talking about " many places I've been around Selangor that fits the bill. I'm still deciding on one. In the mean time, it's a picture that represents my ideal state of mind as a Malaysian. The perfect place...."

Interested to see my Beach Bungalow in PD that I THOUGHT was the Ideal Weekend Getaway 30 years ago...?

Took me almost four decades of toiling, upgrading, etc through blood, sweat & tears to finally achieve (Self designed, Financed & Built!) & am now enjoying my "Malaysian Dream Resort Home...."

Now here is one of my favorite stories of all time....

The Businessman and the Fisherman

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders.

Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head.

A small boat with just one fisherman had docked and inside the boat were several large Yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican of the quality of his fish.

“How long it took you to catch them?” The American asked.

“Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs and give a few to my friends,” The Mexican said.

“But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you.

You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

“Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory.

You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, senor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.

When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, senor? Then what?”

The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos....”


de minimis said...

bro flyer168

The story is brilliant. The PD house sounds idyllic.

desiderata said...

Now I have placed the face to de minimis, I am more prone to converse:) -- sorry if I didn't have such a wamr exchange with Thee and a fw first timers I met because of Dato Raja Nong Chik's hospitality and Rockybru's connexion.:):)

I've read three posts -- AllBlogs interim prez, DPP and yours now -- they all compose a backdrop for Desi just to add a few words on a welcome hand extended by YB Minister of FT to SoPo Bloggers or BUMmers... Time to do my duty as there's a small prize to pay for a freelunch/dinner!:) C U agin so-ON, bumMY matey:)

de minimis said...

bro Desiderata

I'm am honoured to have you drop by my humble blog. Now I may lay a small claim to have met the chief BUMmer :D