The Sunday Star let Khir Toyo have his say about all the allegations that came out recently about his and his family’s use of state company Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad’s money to go for what seems like very expensive holidays disguised as ‘study tours’. Gee, I wish I had study tours to Hawaii and Disneyland rather than, say, Papua New Guinea.
Do read the interview online because it has more in it than the one in the print version. The most complimentary thing I can say is that the guy just doesn’t get it. He really does think we are all dumb and we should buy his answers as plausible.
Most of his answers are predictable enough but these answers stood out for me as being representative of what is wrong with Khir Toyo and his ilk. It was this:
Q: People are shocked by the RM1.7mil spent for the Disney trips?
A: That was decided by the management. I am actually a very simple man. I do not ask for these kind of things. Maybe they said as a chairman, that is my entitlement and they did that.
Q: You say you are a simple man but people would disagree because you fly first class and stay at expensive presidential suites?
A: You must remember when I was the (PNSB) chairman. I have my entitlement. If I were to reduce my entitlement to what an officer gets then what is the officer going to reduce to? I am the chairman. There is the deputy chairman, board of directors, government officers going along. If I fly business class (not first class), then what happens to my state secretary? He will complain. If I am travelling alone it is easier. But I am travelling with a group of people and if I downgrade myself – it’s a problem for the others. But I never ask (for the pricey presidential suites or first class flights). Whatever they provide, I go along with. I just tell them to give me a full itinerary on these trips. I want a full programme with investors and companies.
Someone like Khir Toyo knows only to think in hierarchical terms. He has an entitlement, he has to take it because otherwise ‘what is the officer going to reduce to’? It never occurs to him that he and an officer could travel at an equal level, that if he travels Business, then the officer (and even the State Secretary) can also travel in the same class. If they don’t want to talk to each other during the flight, then just ask for seats far away from each other. Khir just can’t conceive of travelling in the same class as those from his own government because he thinks that going down to ‘their’ level would be a sign of weakness.
Perhaps it is true that his officers would not want to travel in the same class as their boss. If their boss comes down to Business ( and nowadays many airlines don’t have anything higher than Business Class), then they’d have to go down to Economy….with his maid!!! And oh the poor things, if their boss has to come down to economy class, then they don’t get to travel at all! That’s the way the pecking order works! But given how his former officers are happily singing away at the Selcat, there can’t have been much love lost between them.
I guess Khir has never noticed how the rest of the plane really likes it when they see their political leaders travelling economy, just like them. But he’s Chairman and therefore must use his entitlement or else society will break down. Perhaps he’s forgotten that for those under him to eventually move up that hierarchy he so cherishes, he eventually has to go. Now seems like as good a time as any.
I’m just wondering why the MACC hasn’t pulled him up for questioning yet. Or do they actually find his explanations plausible?
Malaysians reviled by ‘simple man’ Khir Toyo’s expensive entitlements, wonder why MACC has not hauled him up for questioning yet