This is from MalaysianInsider today:
KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he disagrees with the Najib administration for spending a whopping RM76 million to arrange a meeting between the prime minister and US President Barack Obama earlier this week.
I understand the need of our leader to meet up with US president, but to spend 76 million just to lobby for a meeting is such a waste of money.
What can the meeting achieve? Can we be assured of more investment from US? (That actually depends more on our policies and growth than kissing Obama’s hands) or are we buying more weapons from the States?
If the answer is no, then I really do not know what the 45 minutes meeting can achieve, apart from a PR exercise aiming at telling people that only a selected few leaders get to meet up with Obama, and Najib is one of them.
I doubt whether Hu Jin Dao of China spent any money to lobby for a meeting; most probably Obama himself is seeking a meeting with Hu. I doubt too whether Singapore ‘s former PM Lee KY needed any lobby group to meet up with US presidents; more likely, the presidents themselves wanted to meet up with Lee to pick his brain and hear from Lee firsthand how he viewed global issues including Asians ones.
I doubt whether our PM needs to spend this kind of money if he has firmly established himself as a statesman of stature, like the Minister Mentor.
It is not easy to get 76 millions. How many schools or hospitals can we build with that? How many poor can we help? How many buses can we buy to relieve the traffic congestion?
I view this spending as utterly wasteful and too excessive, but this is not the first nor will it be the last time our government is wasting money on such things.
We should instead improve our economic standing and our competitiveness; if we are among the nations with the highest growth rates, I am sure instead of we seeking meetings with others, others will come knocking at our door.
*This article was published as a letter to editor in Malaysiakini (click here)