Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Khairy's Broken Rice Bowl

"The old man smashed Khairy's pot of rice..."

There you have it. Pak Lah has finally said it. He is very sad that his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin lost his source of income due to political pressure applied by the former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohammed. He is very sad that Khairy lost money from his share dealings in the stock market, leaving him in debt.

Now, why Pak Lah, as the leader of this country got so publicly upset with losses incurred voluntarily by his son-in-law is something else altogether.

Unlike many who opposed Khairy, I didn't see much wrong with his purchase the stock of ECM Libra Avenue and venture into the corporate world. It's a politically naive move which opened himself (and his father-in-law) to various accusations, justified or otherwise. However, just as much as he purchased his shares on his own free will, nobody could have forced him to sell his shares in ECM Libra Avenue, if he did not want to sell it.

Many of us would have experienced sob stories in the stock market. We could have made losses from many reasons, including bad judgement of the stock, poor timing, listening to bad advice from brokers or under financial pressure to dispose of the shares. However, when we decide to invest or punt in the stock market, we choose to do it with our eyes wide open, aware of all the risk - political and financial - which we all face in dabbling with the stock market.

It should be no different for Khairy. I emphathise with his stock market losses, for I have lost significant amounts of money before as well. But there should be no sympathy for such losses as a man of Khairy's intelligence must have taken into consideration the risk of his investments before partaking in them. The fact that he is now in debt is irrelevant, for nobody could have influenced him to gear himself excessively in the first place.

It is hence very sad, to see Pak Lah make specific statements sympathising with his son-in-law's "plight" and placed the blame squarely on "the old man". It raises the question or at least seeds the doubt on whether Pak Lah actually has the moral authority to lead the nation.

The old man could not have broken Khairy's rice bowl, if the bowl isn't broken in the first place.
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