PH’s first 100 days, the 6 stages of change, and the debate whether Lim Guan Eng should or should not reveal more exposés.


Change always gets worse before it gets better.

First of all, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng need not justify that he was obviously instructed by Prime Minister Tun Mahathir to reveal the exposés of 1MDB and other misappropriations.

Not everything is for pure stock market gains, profits, and presenting more good news about the Malaysian economy. The principles of justice, integrity, accountability, competency, transparency, and sending a clear message to the Rakyat that corruption and kleptocracy will not be tolerated are much more important than the temporary and cyclical ups and downs of the Malaysian stock market.

Malaysians from all states, sectors, and social status must now realize the huge wake-up call that corruption and middle-man rent seekers have plagued nearly every Malaysian Government Department, GLC, and public sector for too many years, and corruptonb must now stop in New Malaysia.

The corruption rot is massive and far reaching. So let’s get used to hearing more and more bad news for now and the next few months as more exposés are expected to be revealed – together with good news on how the new PH Government are solving them. This is exactly what they are doing, so have patience and accept the painful truth, and move on. Calling a spade a spade. But there is a certain art of revealing the truth because truth hurts. 

line graph outlining six steps of the change curve

The Change Curve info-graphic by

The 6 Stages of The Change Curve:

1. The Denial Stage:
Many Malaysians are still in denial about ex-Prime Minister Najib, the 1MDB scandal, and the massive corruption in nearly every Government Department and GLC. Some people will not be able to handle the truth.

2. The Blaming Stage:
Many will overreact, blame, and attack others (their enemies) for their own leaders’ mistakes.

3. The Uncertainty / Doubt/ Quitting/ Fighting Stage:
There is much uncertainty, confusion and doubt about the near future, and the ‘great Najib purge’ (who will be next to resign or sacked), which projects and initiatives will be cancelled or modified, who will be the losers and winners in the change process, perceived fears of loss of income, opportunities and threats, some key individuals may quit or buckle under pressure, suspicions and doubts about Anwar Ibrahim’ intentions and what will happen after PM Mahathir resigns.

This is the most vulnerable phase in the change curve where the chances of quitting, fighting, panic, and all types of fears are at the maximum lowest. Some impatient bosses may panic, replace managers, and change course too soon. The Malaysian public in general too may panic, overreact, and demand a change of the newly appointed leaders and ministers when really they should be more patient, realistic, and allow enough time (definitely more than 100 days) for the change process to happen naturally.


4. The Buy-In and Sense of Urgency Stage:
The two most critical factors for a successful change process are buy-in and a sense of urgency as an estimated 70% or more of all change initiatives fail.

There are 8 common mistakes why change initiatives fail according to John Kotter, the world’s foremost management guru on leading change:
1. Allowing too much complacency (i.e. no sense of urgency).
2. Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition.
3. Underestimating the power of vision.
4. Under-communicating the vision by a factor of 10, or 100 or even 1,000 (i.e. the buy-in; not forcing, selling or manipulating).
5. Permitting obstacles to block the new vision.
6. Failing to create short-term wins.
7. Declaring victory too soon.
8. Neglecting to anchor changes firmly in the organizational culture.

Now, as a case in point, let’s look at Najib’s 1Malaysia initiative and the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). In reality it was more fluff and PR propaganda than substance and real positive results. The acting United States attorney, Sandra R. Brown, publicly state in June 2017 that “billions of dollars that should have been used to help the people of Malaysia, but instead was used by a small number of individuals to fuel their astonishing greed.”

Head dictates Tail

You can easily find some of the eight mistakes in 1Malaysia initiative as victory in GTP was declared too soon by Pemandu and Najib neglected to anchor changes firmly in UMNO/BN culture. The Head dictates the tail. If the head is corrupt, then from the head to the tail will likely to be corrupt. The massive misappropriation of 1MDB was the downfall of the 1Malaysia initiative and GTP.

Hopefully the Mahathir administration will make less or unrealistically none of the eight common mistakes. The massive financial mess left behind by Najib’s government is still unfolding and will definitely delay some of Mahathir’s strategies. So far Mahathir seems to be on track, progressing faster than normal, and fulfilling some of his 10 manifesto vision in his first 100 days.

5. The Acceptance/ Rationalization of Change Stage:
Malaysians are starting to see results of the new PH government problem-solving and solutions during their first 100 days; hopefully they will see more results in first 2 years, and the rest of the remaining 5-year rule before GE15. If Malaysians don’t see good accountable results, they are now empowered to vote otherwise.

6. The Moving On Stage:
Only after the painful struggle of the first 5 phases, can we safely say Malaysians are finally moving on as a collective country.

In all the 6 stages, we will definitely see plenty of unforeseeable hiccups, mistakes, amendments, overreactions, suspicions, doubts, fears, potential party/team conflicts, adjustments to conflicts of interest, heated arguments, debates; and a new sense of check and balance as more and more Malaysians as ‘citizen-shareholders’ and tax-payers want to get involved and voice out their different opinions for a New and Better Malaysia. This is only natural in the change process.

To help you understand how change can be perceived as a very slow process, let’s take the analogy of the space shuttle. When the space shuttle first lifts off, you can only see the very slow movements and progress. The most energy and fuel are used up in this initial lift off phase. People can get very impatient and doubtful if it will ever lift off or fail and explode in mid-air. But surely and steadily the space shuttle lifts off against the massive pull of gravity and inertia. After a very slow start when it reaches a certain height, it starts to fly effortlessly.

Another analogy is the re-building of an old structure. Firstly the old structure must be dismantled, maybe some parts need to be totally destroyed, and then a very slow process of laying a new solid foundation begins. It takes a lot of time and energy, and onlookers may not able to see what they want to see as instant progress. But once the pressure piling and critical foundation pillars are put into place, the new building will start to take shape as fast one storey per day.

Back to the FM Lim’s exposés and the Malaysian stock market, speculators who are only interested in quick instant profits will naturally be weeded out, leaving long-term investors to help re-build the Malaysian economy.

The Malaysian stock market is not the only one down since GE14. By comparison, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is now down 19% from its January high.

China’s stocks have erased about US$514 billion in market value last week, or the equivalent of Sweden’s economy, after the Trump administration threatened additional tariffs worth US$200 billion following Beijing’s retaliatory duties. Both China and USA are standing up for their own principles of trade.

This is what happens with change. Whether change is nation-wide or organization-wide (like what may be happening in your own community or company), understanding the change process will help ease the tension, pressure, conflicts, and remove unrealistic expectations.

Always trust the change process, even though at times you think it is not possible. Malaysians are now starting to realize that there are many sick government departments and GLCs to prioritize and attend to. It is not advisable to interfere with the chief surgeon during his ongoing surgery sessions just because one is curious and nosy, and wants to know the latest news on what is really happening. Trust the chief surgeon and his team. Don’t panic, calm down and relax. Understand that change will appear to get a lot worse before it gets better.

By Robert Chaen, CEO of ChangeU International, a thinker, writer, speaker, and whisper of truth.

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Read about the trending debate on whether the Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng should not be announcing more exposés:
It’s the economy, so less bad news please, Putrajaya told
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Written by Robert Chaen
Published on 25th June 2018

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