Politics and hostage of the poor

On page 168 of the New Economic Model for Malaysia, it is advocated that in order to accommodate the cost of moving to a high income economy in the form of job insecurity, a strong social safety net is necessary.

I deduced and agree that there would be less job security in a competitive, productive and therefore performance based economy. If you are not good enough, you are asked to seek employment elsewhere.

NEM also spoke of the need to improve the targeting of social assistance programs which I agree as well. It won't be inconsistent with PAS' welfare state manifesto anyway.

On page 190:

"More generally to overcome obstacles to subsidy reform, social assistance programmes will have to be more efficiently structured. An important step in the government’s reform effort should be to catalog all existing social assistance programmes to identify their policy objectives, eligibility criteria, benefit structure, administrative costs, and target beneficiaries. To improve targeting, proxy measures of a household’s consumption per capita could be constructed to create better means-test benefits. Other measures could be implemented to avoid the current vertical inequity in the system by gradually rather than sharply phasing out eligibility and reducing horizontal inequity by restructuring certain benefits to make them less lumpy.

The system needs to be better targeted, expanded in some aspects but reduced in others. There are errors of exclusion – some groups are falling through the net (foreign workers, their children, the urban and rural poor) and some problems with the e-Kasih approach in terms of targeting. There are also errors of inclusion largely because of poor targeting. Moreover, the overall system can be streamlined to improve efficiency and generate savings that would help fund expanded programmes."

While the above are great arguments, as in the NEP, implementation is and will be the problem.

50 years of race base politics and more that has unfortunately resulted in skewed implementation of all well intended programmes and putting in the wrong person for positions that has life and death implications. Not quite sure how the transformation program will turn out to be. The best judge of service is the recipients and their feedback from ground level would be the best source of information, not some fancy and expensively printed booklet (whose contract is it anyway?)

Reading this Chinese paper article below make me seriously wonder if our tax payers’ funded civil servants are up to mark in carrying out this critical function.

No reply to application for assistance, DAP criticize welfare department has degraded itself to be a tool of BN

2010-03-16 19:00


3 Negeri Sembilan DAP ADUNs criticize the Negeri Sembilan welfare department delaying processing of application of social aid, even until after the death of some of the applications. In additional, some of the officers are found working in Barisan Nasional service centre 5 times a week, as if becoming a tool of BN.


The 3 ADUNs at the press conference are YB Wong May May (Mambau), YB Gunasekaran (Senawang) and YB Ng Chin Tsai (Temiang).



Wong May May stated that the welfare department is being insensitive to the plight of these people trapped in a disadvantaged position and let them hanging hope and desperation.

“They are either disabled or single mothers enduring physical hardship, economic and livelihood pressure but yet a year after handing in their application, there is no feedback for them.”



“In my constituency, I have 100 applications a month but there is only 1 officer in charge and this is overtaxing the officer. I have mentioned this many times in DUN sittings but there is no improvement.”





She added that the department’s computer system issues have been around for a long time and most of the application details have not been keyed into the database hence applicants can’t check the status.

She has suggested to the department head to employ temporary workers to clear the back log case 2 years ago but nothing has been done.








She rang up the department head 米占 (read like Mirzan or Nizam) and made known the list of problems faced by application including bad attitude and some officers even behave rudely to ADUNs
(by extensionm reflective of their attitude to the aid seekers)

To her question on why some of the applicants could not locate the officer in charge, the answer was “applicants can visit the Barisan Nasional service centre in their area and our officers are there 5 days a week because those venues are nearer to their homes

YB Wong feels that the welfare department has become a political tool of BN and suspected of abuse of power. The objective of the department is to serve the people and not BN, They are incapable of distinguishing between BN and civil service.



YB Guna will be writing

to the State Secretary and Legal Advisor as well as the federal minister on this matter. He also stated that applications coming through Pakatan ADUNs are very slow inbeing processed while any applications through BN ADUNs would be processed swiftly, indicating some form of double standard in treatment.


YB Ng stated that the department has long been used as a propaganda tool to give a misleading impression that only via BN, problem can be solved


THAT statement for the state director completely flabbergasted me - what? Are we having Nazri-ism permeating through the civil servants? Nazri must have a latent fan club somewhere in sleepy hollow NS.

Yeah I can half joke about this but when I think of those deserving, desperate and deprived...this is no laughing matter.

The KPI and Welfare Ministers can do well to address this issue - and put the NEM's job insecurity assertion on this nut case, perhaps.

So back to the signature dish of Najib administration -1Malaysia People First and Performance Now. How do the NS welfare department live up to this rallying call then?

NEM itself spoke of "unwavering leadership political and political will" as an essential ingredient of seeing the whole thing through (page 17-18). Najib spoke of his willingness to make tough decisions: "In his speech titled “A New Vision for Malaysia”, the prime minister made clear that he was not opposed to dissent or opposition because he believed legitimate views deserved to be heard." - so can Najib administration reign in the little Napoleon that is toying away with what precious little time that the needy and deprived can't afford to lose?

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