Saturday, November 10, 2018


By Mansor bin Puteh

(Mansor Puteh is one of the three top blood donors who had donated blood 511 times and was given a special donor certificate by the Minister of Health, and signed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad yesterday, 3 November.
He studied for his Masters of Fine Art in Film Directing at Columbia University and have presented papers and given lectures in universities in various countries that touch not only on film or the arts but international politics.
He was invited to be a member of the international observers’ team to monitor the Syrian Presidential Election in June, 2014.
He also traveled by land from Los Angeles to New York City during the November, 2016 American presidential election.)

Does the size of the cabinet matter to make America to be what it is today? And how Malaysia can learn much from how America could have such a small number of ministries in their Federal Cabinet.

American which has a population of three hundred million people whose political and military and economic reach extends throughout the world only has a total of fifteen ministries.

Whereas Malaysia which has a total population of only thirty-two people has twenty-seven ministries including the ministry of youth and sports that America does not even have.

Yet, despite that sports in America has brought out the best from many Americans so that they have sports activities that are conducted not by any ministry but by associations and other private individuals.

And does Malaysia need to maintain such a large number of ministries to ensure that all sectors of government and the private sector be enhanced? This unfortunately, has not happened.

Unfortunately, since the country first had its own government in 1955 with its first cabinet which comprised only seven cabinet members, it has grown to twenty-seven. The number might increase if demands from organizations and groups are answered.

In fact, if we look at some other developed countries we can see that most have only fifteen ministries in their cabinets; and from the looks of it if Malaysia wants to aspire to become a developed country, it too must start to trim down the size of the cabinet to at the most fifteen.

Many of the ministries have become redundant over the years, and what need is there for the continued existence of the Ministry of Youth and Sports anyway?

From 1955 when Malaysia had its own government, the country has spent billions for each ministry till now and each time there is a budget presentation in parliament, the ministers and senior officers in the respective ministries would applaud and hit the table in parliament if they receive a larger allocation than in the previous years.

This should not happen; on the contrary, they all should feel ashamed because the need for their ministry to be given or allocated a larger sum for the next year’s budget only proves that they had not done well in the previous year or years, to force them to seek and hence, get a larger allocation for the next year.

If the ministers in the first cabinet of 1955 or the next group of ministers under then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had been smart, they all should have allocated a small sum of money to engage experts or train some Malayans and Malaysians, to be sent to the right universities in England and America to study how some strategic industries in these countries and other developed ones, too, had managed to be what they are so that they could become independent of any government control or the need for them to seek subsidies or allocations from their governments each year.

Sports in America, especially had become a huge industry, so that in time, the country did not see why it was necessary for them to have a specific ministry for sports, anyway.

America, too had its Hollywood and Broadway that were created and developed and expanded to be what they are today, even before America gained its independence from Britain to be an independent Union on 4 July, 1776.

So no wonder, even today, the American cabinet which also has their ministries for information and culture with their respective Secretaries, do not have ministries that are dependent on the federal government for subsidies and allocations like the film industry and theater activities in Malaysia that still do.

Therefore it is even ironic that the Malaysian government had to establish the Finas Act of 1981 to establish a film industry which till now demands to be given more and more financial allocations each year and with each sitting of parliament when the Budget Speech is given by the minister of finance (MOF) which unfortunately, did not have any for 2019.

The real problem concerning Finas is because the draft of the bill was written by officers in the Attorney-General’s Office who were not trained in film and who had been ordered to study the film industry in America known as Hollywood and its related activities including theater known as Broadway, to know how to draft the bill in the first place.

So till now even after thirty-seven years, Finas is still a government-dependent agency under the Ministry of Information and Multimedia or Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia (KKMM) which seeks to be given more and more financial allocation, when in fact, it should have been turned into a large government organization or even a Government-Linked Company or GLC that offers the government revenue in return and be free of any ministerial interference like Hollywood and Broadway.

And the development of the film industry in Malaysia can also cause the act to create a national theater much like Broadway in America and West End in the United Kingdom, whose existence and history we could have learnt much from and caused theatrical activities in Malaysia to also be free from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Motac).

The worse irony of it all is that with more ministries in the Malaysian Cabinet, there is more politicking and less work being done to develop all the agencies and activities that are under their care as can be seen in the daily activities of its ministers and deputy ministers and senior officers which are mostly social in character purely for public relations benefits to them and their ministries.

And the fact that none of the agencies and activities in any of the ministries had been freed from the ministerial control to be independent commercial activities and endeavors prove that all these years, the members of the Malaysian Cabinet had not gone beyond their call of duty to ensure that this happened, so in time all the agencies and activities can become industries of their own.

Maybe it is not too late for the ministries especially the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Motac) and Ministry of Information and Multimedia (KKMM) to engage some experts to conduct research for them who can then offer a new plan for the fresh development of the film and theater industries in Malaysia to be created and developed so that in time.

And they can in years to come become income-generating industries that can in the final analysis and irony, cause the influence of the ministries to become redundant much like those in America where their Secretaries of Information and of Culture and even of Education and what else, do not have much of a public profile or social activities to trust their personal image to the American public and whose work is conducted mostly in private and quietly with no fanfare or self-adulation or self-aggrandizement.

1 comment:

Mika Angel-0 said...

Could defederalisation be the right move to rein in a runaway obese cabinet?

Of course, the UK has only to contend with a single well loved royal house and Brunei is too anglophilic to be used as an example.

Yes, I agree with you, Mansor Bin Putih, the overly manned cabinet is sadly one that is only cari makan ministers and aides.