Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Malaysia Boleh Part 1

Malaysians are a CD-type of people. CD? Yes, C for creativity and D for derringdo. That’s why we have this slogan "Malaysia Boleh!" – which loosely translated means "Malaysia Can Do It!" – being bandied about everywhere and anywhere for everything and anything! The "Malaysia Boleh!" spirit has since produced many achievers and achievements, and has been a cornerstone of the success story that is the new Malaysia, albeit with a good measure of creativity – or at least that’s what most of us are led to believe.

So to those non-believers, please set aside any notion that Malaysians have zilch creativity. I am going to relate you a zany story, that borders on the absurd. Life being what it is in Malaysia, we have the choice of laughing or crying, but I feel it is better to laugh. And so I am laughing out loud (or is it shrieking like a hyena) because I am going to reveal an amazing feat that we (meaning, Malaysians) achieved two years ago, but we only decided to boast about it now! Well I suppose, this is one hilarious account of Malaysia Boleh!

This true story illustrates how creative Malaysians can be when they actually outfoxed the formidable Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) by stealing a fighter aircraft engine right under the latter's noses. And it was stolen from the RMAF airbase in Sungai Besi in 2007 – that’s right, two years ago! Newspapers only broke this story on December 19, 2009.

The Armed Forces chief, General Azizan Ariffin wasn’t too upset about it – he sort of dismissed this whole affair by saying: “The missing jet engine does not affect RMAF operations because we have more than 16 F-5E jets and only seven are used for tactical missions” (Webpage
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/47252-rmaf-fine-without-missing-jet-engine-says-general, posted December 21, 2009).

If the General knew what he was blabbering about, then I suppose it is alright since he is after all, our Armed Forces chief. It’s okay too even if another 9 engines went missing – he did say, we only need seven mah! So get angry for wad?!

Prime Minister Najib Razak promptly defended his administration today after this embarrassing revelation, saying there was no cover up in the incident which happened while he was Defense Minister (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/47201-najib-claims-no-cover-up-in-missing-jet-engine-case, posted December 21, 2009). Poor man, but obviously, he was so clueless that he did not know it was not one engine that was stolen, but two engines. Well, none of us knew also, until today, that is. Well, so far only two, for now.

This morning, I had read page 1 of Berita Harian highlighting that a second engine also went AWOL – five months after the first incident. Both of these engines belonged to the F-5E fighter jets – each worth about RM50 million, not an amount to be sneezed at.

These are no ordinary thefts – it involves national security. I mean, if they can be so bold as to steal two engines, they could perhaps even steal the fighter jets. Maybe the RMAF should quickly undertake an inventory check – for all you know, we may have already lost a couple of fighter jets, and we didn’t realize. The Malaysian Insider was appalled that this could happen in Malaysia, and the online newspaper predictably called for heads to roll. Those involved must be tried for nothing less than treason, they trumpeted.
An F-5E interceptor
Please lah, let’s look on the positive side. It’s only engines mah – it could be worse. They could actually have spirited our beloved Prime Minister away and we wouldn’t know. Not that it is such a bad thing for them to do if they really stole Najib away from us – we might all declare ourselves a public holiday and celebrate this occasion because it is good riddance!

Anyway, the government's response and the manner in which the case has been handled so far have been pathetic. We are now being told that the theft was discovered last May. And a police report was lodged only last August – a lapse of three months. Still, we shouldn’t be so quick as to jump the gun and blame RMAF or even the Defense Ministry. They could have been very proactive – a nationwide search could have been quietly done, checking under every Malaysian bed for these engines. It’s not easy lah – checking millions of beds in Malaysia! Those engines could be hidden anywhere. So they were so engrossed with their search mission that they had probably forgotten to make a police report. It’s perfectly understandable. Malaysians don’t know how to multi-task.

Najib of course waded in to confuse the public because today’s The Star (p N4) mentioned Najib as having declared that the Defense Ministry and Royal Malaysia Air Force reported the theft to the police immediately after it (the theft) was discovered. Recognize the word ‘immediately’. Also the word ‘it’. As I’ve said, poor man. Correction, stupid man!

When Najib insisted that there was no cover up – I don’t know why, but rightaway, a foul stench came to my nostrils. Najib wasn’t smelling good – he stank to high heavens, if you ask me.

So, what’s my point again? Malaysia Boleh!

This evening, I was at the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters Club meeting – and for a change, I was not doing my project speech. I did however took part in the Table Topics session and I was the evaluator for Jen Wong, who was starting out on her Advanced Communication manual.

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