Did Zam really say what was reported in The Star (which I didn't see) and which was repeated again in the Spore TODAY (http://www.todayonline.com) paper today??? Incidentally, the Spore Straits Times did not carry this report.
The actual quotes:
"The Malays thrive under the crony system and the transfer of power and administration essentially means the transfer of cronies.
"There were cronies during the era of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad too, so the weaknesses of the Malays should not be exposed for all to see. Why should the the leaders expose each other's weaknesses? This is not a healthy exercise."
Zam was reported to have said also that the abuse of power and misappropriation of funds were bound to happen under the crony system. In his reported words:
"This cannot be denied. And the prime minister is trying his best to rectify the situation his way. Dr Mahathir should let the Prime Minister do it his way."
Now, if what Zam said at a public function in Sg Petani was accurately reported, then it was easily one of the most controversial set of remarks that a minister has made in recent times.
In one fell swoop, a minister has publicly acknowledged that (a) the crony system exists and that it is alive and well (b) a new prime minister means that cronies transfer allegiance to the new seat of power and (c) by implication, the crony system is an accepted feature of the Msian political landscape and business environment.
It also blows the whole idea of meritocracy out of the water.
It's not hard to see the opposition going to town on this.
And I am just wondering if the The Star is going to get rapped on the knuckles for this report. But Zam spoke at a public function, not off the record, so what he said is in the public domain, right?
(note: all the above emphases are mine)