Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi recent state visit to Iran is lauded successful by the main stream media. Surprisingly, and to the observance of many, the Minister of International Trade Tan Sri Muhyidin Yassin was conspicuously missing. Is this a tell tale of the 'boss' not wanting to have his Minister of International Trade to be in his entourage? And if this tell tale is true, then one can guess that the two are not in 'friendly terms'; yet the visit has an important trade agenda to discuss with the Iranians. If it was Rafidah Aziz, she surely would not have been left out in an all important state visit like this.
Could it be that the 'boss' is bitter with Muhyidin, and views him as a radical and a trouble maker, who was instrumental in getting the 'boss' to hand over the reign of government to Najib much earlier than the 'boss' had planned? Rumours were abound sometime ago, that Muhyidin would be ousted in a cabinet shake-up, but judging from the time left, this rumour may not materialised. I just wonder what would have happened to UMNO, if Muhyidin was ousted from the cabinet. I am quite certain that UMNO Johore, and Johoreans being parochial in nature, would surely have reacted to the detriment of the party.
Certainly, there are many things that Malaysia could learn and benefit from Iran, in particular at how Iran manages and operates its huge petroleum and natural gas resources. I am told by some Malaysian friends in the oil and gas industry, that Iran perceives Petronas as an 'unfriendly business partner'. Viewing Petronas investment in Iran, the aforesaid perception may have some truth. It was only recently that a Malaysian company (not Petronas) secured a USD14 billion gas deal with an Iranian company. I am further informed that Petronas investment in Iran is with Total, a French oil company, were its stake is relatively small by O&G standards. And if Petronas is extremely successful in Sudan, why not in Iran? Has this got anything to do with the US sanctions, that has direct influence over Petronas investments in Iran?
Another aspect worth looking at was Iran's defence industry, where Malaysia could learn from. One could remember that Iran under the Shah regime, was totally dependent upon the West, particularly the US, for its defence needs. Following the fall of the Shah, Iran began to build its indigenous defence industry, virtually from scratch, and over a period of two decades, is today self reliant in its defence needs; and this despite sanctions from the west and its allies.
Certainly nothing much can be said of Malaysia's defence industry, which is still very much in its infancy......no rockets and missiles to show off, and even if there is some effort towards the development of rockets and missiles, it is still to remote from production and manufacturing.
And for me, securing Proton's venture into Iran, and declaring it a major investment success for Malaysia is certainly not enough.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted at 3.00pm on Dec 28, 2008