Liberal elite must wake to reality on change: Vinod Sekhar

Published by The Vibes

KUALA LUMPUR – The country’s so-called liberal elite must wake up to the reality of how the world works if they want to see the lasting change they desire, said seasoned entrepreneur and philanthropist Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar.

The Petra Group chairman and chief executive said the elite should not expect a change in a system of governance to occur instantly without considering the well-being of others, especially those who are less fortunate.

“We want change, but we cannot change things just like that, if you’re going to change a system that a lot of people rely on.

“And no, I’m not talking about the rich. I’m talking about the workers below, I’m talking about the smaller businessmen that operate in a certain way.”

Vinod said this during an interview on the OJ Chitchats podcast hosted by presenters Oon Yeoh and Datuk Jake Abdullah recently. He was asked for his view on the fall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in conjunction with the first anniversary of the infamous Sheraton Move.

He added that the collapse of the PH government was precipitated by a combination of factors, such as how the finance ministry was run under then minister Lim Guan Eng, the power tussle between then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as well as issues faced by the country’s Malay-majority population.

Oon said those who were “pro-democracy” were “happy” with the changes made during PH’s two-year rule, mainly due to the economic policies that were changed.

However, Vinod suggested that this group largely ignored those who were affected by the abrupt shifts.

“Yes, good (that they were happy) but they must also ensure that everybody has a job,” said Vinod, an advocate of good capitalism where money-making corporations ensure society is the ultimate beneficiary.

“You need to change it (the system) slowly and make sure everyone is ready.”

He shared his belief that the PH government was too idealistic in the way its leaders thought things could happen.

“You must understand that we’ve lived in a certain way, economically, for so long. I think the rush to change everything overnight was too shocking to the system.”

Oon said he was among those who welcomed the rush, but Vinod retorted by saying that Oon was “not in the middle of it”.

Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar says the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government over a year ago was due to several factors, including economic policy. – The Vibes file pic, March 19, 2021
Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar says the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government over a year ago was due to several factors, including economic policy. – The Vibes file pic, March 19, 2021

“I have Chinese friends who are fuming because the system (had for a long time) worked.

“(Say that) Jake is a Malay, Jake gets a contract, and the contract goes to you (Oon). He shares it with you, and everybody gets to work, and everyone’s happy.

“But all of a sudden I cut Jake off. The wheels would stop working.”

Vinod agreed with Oon on the notion that PH did not work hard or “fast enough” on the human rights front, opting to focus on the economic issues instead.

Numbers needed for successful PH vote

Later in the interview, Vinod said although the liberal elite wanted reform, the poor of the country were not as concerned about big-ticket issues such as 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and multi-million dollar deals.

He added that a change similar to the historic election victory by Pakatan Harapan in 2018 could be repeated.

“The only way this works is to inspire them (the people) enough to come out in the numbers that they did in 2018. The only reason that the switch happened is because of the numbers that came out to vote,” he said, adding that the days of a single-party rule was over.

“Politicians need to know that we have an alert, attentive and active citizenry that will stand up and protect their rights and will vote.”

Vinod also wished that the non-Malay communities would see the importance of uplifting the Malays.

“I do want the Chinese, Indian, and non-Malays to see the reality that if we don’t play a role in making the Malay majority confident, we are screwing ourselves.

“What gives rise to hopelessness? Fear and ignorance. If we can destroy fear and ignorance, hope thrives.”

He added that the country must focus its efforts on eradicating fear and ignorance as these only serve to hold back Malays, Indians, Chinese, and East Malaysians alike from progressing. – The Vibes, March 19, 2021


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