May 9 2018 will go down in history as the day Malaysians changed the trajectory of the country. From kleptocracy, a vast majority of Malaysians transformed it back to a democracy, by allowing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, to be the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia, with Dr Wan Azizah Ismail as the first deputy Prime Minister in the new administration.
On June 6, appearing in an interview with RTM 1, the Minister of Agriculture and Agro Based Industries, did something even more exceptional: he invited all Malaysians who wanted to reach him to contact via his personal cellphone number. YB Sallahuddin Ayub then repeated his number for the second time in order to make sure the viewers did not miss it.
What this step amounts to is what computer scientist and block chain experts called “open source” software——the minister of agriculture and agro based industries is now connected to the Malaysian people, even the world at large, through an open link, as his number was featured in You Tube.
There are six strategic implications here. First and foremost, it sends a powerful signal to all that the new administration of Tun Dr Mahathir is open to new ideas, which is why the Minister of Agriculture and Agro Based Industries is open to being contacted.
Since the dawn of time, agriculture and its related industries, have always grown by leaps and bounds due to the research that it put into them. Whether it is organically produced, or, otherwise, food production and distribution have always be closely associated with science.
Secondly, while the Minister of Agriculture cannot answer all calls, and personally reply to each message, YB Sallahuddin Ayub was nevertheless encouraging his team of special officers and political secretaries to shape up.
By this token, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro Based Industries is now ahead of other ministries in terms of intellectual openness. This is something that has never before been witnessed in Malaysian history, at least not since the days when the late Tun Razak would personally visit all the plantations and fields to ensure their success. YB Sallahuddin Ayub, it seems, is a staunch believer in open agricultural revolution.
Third, the Malaysian agricultural systems of production and distribution have always been vulnerable to the dishonest “middle men” who do the least yet get to maximize the gains, often by pushing the prices of the farmers and fishermen and livestock producers, to the lowest possible extreme.
By sharing his number, YB Sallahuddin Ayub has potentially blown a hole—–a big one—–into the manipulation and chicanery of the “middle men”. If anyone feels victimized by these unscrupulous “middle men,” YB Sallahuddin Ayub has the right enforcement connections to ensure that no victimization is allowed to ensure.
Fourth, the number does not necessarily have to be a personal number of YB Sallahuddin Ayub between now and the next general election. It can be transformed into a help line based on block chain chain technology.
Anyone who calls this numbers can be given several basic options. For example, do they want to find a job, sell a product, or, make an appointment to the minister ?
And, they would have to key in their national identification number too. If the callers’ agricultural performances improves over time, producing more and more after the help received from YB Sallahuddin Ayub or his ministry, then such a person deserves more help, either in the form of more loans or more fertilizers to improve his or her production further
Fifth, by allowing his number to reach the public, Sallahuddin Ayub would also know who are the “bad hats,” who called him to sow discord, indeed, to destroy the opennness and trust with which Amanah and the goverment of Tun Dr Mahathir are building.
This does not mean that the number itself is an entrapment. But anyone who wants to call YB Sallahuddin Ayub would be advised to have only the noblest intention, without which they can get into the bad book of the Ministry of Agriculture and other peripheral units and agencies of government too.
Sixth, by being the brand champion of open source, invariably open reforms, Sallahuddin Ayub has set a high gold standard of reform. All Ministers and Secretary Generals of the various ministries would have to keep up.
In fact, one of the most frustrating part about reaching Putrajaya is the lack of anyone at the other side to receive the calls. Things have changed with the move of Sallahuddin Ayub.
In all, Malaysia is changing. Many heads of the goverment linked investment companies (which number 7 in total), and 445 government investment companies (GLCS) would have to be changed due to their involvement with the kleptocratic excesses of the previous goverment of Najib Razak.
As things are, heads of these operations are being purged and removed, but it is almost impossible to know who is who and whether they are honest and loyal or not.
Therefore, what Sallahuddin Ayub did on June 6, was nothing less than the demonstration of what true Islamic government means. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him), almost anyone who has a legitimate issue who would like to consult him, would be given the privilege. Those who harbored bad intention would of course be marked down too. Amanah is a new party, as is Pakatan Harapan. But together, they need to find a way to allow the people to reach them, not merely through social media like Facebook and Twitter but actual direct contact too.
In governments such as Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, and Estonia, their Gross Domestic Product have shot up due to the willingness of their ministers and officers to make themselves accountable, and reachable. The revival of Malaysia depends on such gold standards, and YB Salahuddin Ayub, knowingly or unknowingly, has opened a vital pathway.
History is changed by the willingness of the leaders to engage the people directly. Indeed, research by Professor Amartya Sen of University of Cambridge has shown that a minister who is open to receiving information, is normally the one who can prevent any crisis and famine first, as he or she has access to good information first. Syabas.