Khamis, Mei 24, 2007

When the Clown Chair A Meeting

The Bernama headline screams "It was The Best IAP Meeting Thus Far, Says Abdullah". Husin Lempoyang is shocked! Why is Husin Lempoyang, the merchant from Cairo and the man who made more money from selling men than camel, shocked?

Off course, I am shocked. Pak Lah is a dunce. What does he knows about IT? How many IAP Meeting has gone to see it is the best? 1 or 2 times? Husin Lempoyang forgotten that he is a RM1 trillion trade man.

Husin Lempoyang got words from his spy, disguishing as a Mat Salleh and Malaysian portal operator. This is the testimony of our operative that attended the recent 10th MSC Malaysia International Advisory Panel (IAP) meeting at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

"Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Multimedia Super-corridor or MSC is not known by that name anymore. Senior Government staffers say that Abdullah Badawi wanted a new identity to be created to erase any links between the MSC and its founder, Tun Dr Mahathir. The Multimedia Super-corridor is now just called ‘MSC Malaysia’. On the more practical side, the change of name entailed the award of lucrative contracts to advertisers, printing new logos, new stationery and repainting vehicles and buildings. A massive amount of money changed hands.

Amidst all the shop-talk about IT, the Prime Minister interrupted the discussion to say that he knew a ‘Prince Mcqueen’ in Saudi Arabia. For the benefit of those who thought they may have misheard him, the Prime Minister repeated that he knew a ‘Prince Mcqueen in Saudi Arabia’. Who exactly is this ‘Prince Mcqueen’ and what relevance is it to the IAP meeting or to Malaysia’s MSC was not made clear by the PM.

He probably confused the Puchong Rakan Muda Centre with "IT Support Centre"

Other than a hearing disorder, the Prime Minister also exhibited a reading disability. When an American IT expert spoke about the importance of ‘IT Support Centres’, the Prime Minister interrupted him and asked, "Did you say ‘Sport Centres’?" Earlier, when another American delegate spoke about ‘inflexion points’ (referring to life cycles in IT development), the Prime Minister cut him short with a ‘kedai kopi’ style ‘what?’

When a Japanese delegate spoke of the need for Malaysia to develop a ‘blue ocean’ strategy for the next phase of IT development, the Prime Minister interrupted him to say that he had seen a book about ‘blue ocean strategies’ and that he knew the author. He did not say if he had read the book though.

When an American delegate made the same suggestion, that Malaysian IT should aim for a ‘moon shot’, meaning to really take IT development sky high, our Prime Minister again interrupted to ask, "What is a moon shot?"

Felda scheme as effort to empowering rural community with IT?

When the discussion turned to broadband penetration, the digital divide and empowering rural communities through IT, the Prime Minister said that poor people in the Middle East and Africa did not own land. He said that in Malaysia this problem had been overcome through land development schemes like Felda where the poor were given free land to plant oil palm. For delegates who were puzzled about the relevance of land development at an IT conference, the Prime Minister wrapped up his intervention by pointing out that, "Oil palm is the tree and palm oil is the oil." (I am not making this up okay?)

This summarises the two full days the Prime Minister wasted at the IAP. Malaysians can console themselves with knowing that he did not waste two full days elsewhere where he could have done some real damage - like in his office.

Earlier, while reading his opening speech from a script which he had obviously never seen before, the Prime Minister fumbled when he missed a line. Having lost the flow of the script, he started reading the same sentence again. He still fumbled and had to stop reading. Again he had to read the sentence from the beginning. He fumbled yet again and this time became visibly embarrassed. By his third attempt, the large conference hall had become deathly quiet and everyone was squirming in embarrassment as well. Finally, with everyone’s prayer and positive energy focused on the bungling Prime Minister, he was able to complete the sentence.

Talking about stock market, does he remember this chart? Fat chance ... I don't know, I am not involved

When he deviated from the prepared script, the Prime Minister made more bungling errors. He said the KLSE Composite Index had achieved its highest peak ‘five times’ in April this year. One would have thought that there could be only one highest peak. The Prime Minister then said that, before this, the KLSE reached its highest peak "13 years ago in 1993". This is 2007. For those who were hard of hearing, the Prime Minister then repeated, almost in the same breath, that "the KLSE had reached its highest peak, exceeding 1,400 points, in 1994." (Actually, the KLSE reached its highest peak in 1993 and it never went beyond 1,350 points). For those poor souls who were confused by these contradicting statements, the Prime Minister then said that the KLSE reached its highest peak on one specific day in 1995.

The Prime Minister then spoke loudly into the microphone. "The Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakob will know where the KLSE Composite Index is. Tan Sri Nor Mohamed can you please tell us?" demanded the Prime Minister. But Nor Mohamed Yakob was not able to answer because he was not in the conference hall. He was not attending the IAP meeting.

By the second day of IAP ...

By the second day, without any real leads from Abdullah Badawi, the IAP delegates engaged in shop-talk directly across the floor, leaving the Prime Minister even further in the dark. The role of the Prime Minister of Malaysia as the Chairman of the IAP was reduced to picking out delegates who raised their hands to speak.

The IAP meeting is becoming a farce. Government people say despite the free travel, food and lodging, many invitees just refuse to attend the IAP. The likes of Bill Gates will not be seen anymore. The attendees are now mostly low key General Managers, Vice Presidents and small businessmen who absorbed the Prime Minister’s rapt inattention for two days.

Although over 200 so-called ‘recommendations’ were listed, no major resolutions were tabled. Nothing was decided upon. There are absolutely no action plans arising out of this IAP meeting. The entire IAP meeting was just a PR event, an opportunity to have their pictures taken and carefully crafted stories appear in the newspapers the following day, to be read by villagers throughout the country. Well we all know this already. The IAP members know it too."

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