As we tax payers grind our teeth for another round of lopsided preaching by Barisan Nasional about a “subsidy rationalization” initiative, how many Malaysians realize that elected democratic leaders are suppose to listen to the rakyat and not the other way round?
The Speakers of our Parliament have cemented an impression in me that they are hardly balance and fair minded. Ironically in time of harga barang naik and desperate house wives amongst us, the Speakers who usually reject opposition motions and eject Pakatan wakil rakyats hence silencing the voices of rakyat, get a big fat salary increase. (an extract in English is attached as footnote of this article)
The recent trend I observe in Najib administration is the continuation of the tried and tested monolog preaching to rakyat, but in this era, attempting to ban cartoons, banish opposition newspapers plus meddling in the words of professional editors to describe the thunderbolt price increase, is insulting the rakyat’s intelligence and a damning indication of their opinion on their own education system.
You can’t move towards a high income economy with an ignorant population without the capability of receiving, assessing and forming their own opinion from conflicting and differing views.
This tax payer has observed the performance of both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan wakil rakyats since 2008 and hereby assert his right to voice his own opinion on the performance of both side of the political divide, not giving 2 hoots to whatever sketchy KPI maintained and reported by a defeated candidate in the last general election.
I am looking at 4 sectors and decide on my tax money’s worth:
Economy, social responsibility, political posturing and governance and justice.
Najib administration started with a bang with liberalization of 27 sectors and then launched at great cost and publicity the New Economic Model. After the initial lightning, the thunder came from Perkasa and it’s the first time I see one of the most powerful prime minister in the world cowered before a loose cannon, narrow minded and double crossing independent accidental wakil rakyat.
Not only Najib as the Prime and Finance Minister let Ibrahim Ali overrule his panel of economic advisers, but Najib has damaged the credibility of Bursa Malaysia Announcement (a fraudulent announcement is considered a commercial crime) when he pulled THAT one on Vincent Tan, who once had Ibrahim Ali under his payroll in Dunham Bush Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
According to Najib, he has launched a bold subsidy rationalization move but the only rational I can conclude is the rakyat will pay the same amount of tax but get less back. (Akan datang : GST).
The stuff that Tony Pua revealed from scrutinizing e-procurement and all those annuals AG reports findings suggest that there are other ways than to pick on poor men and women in the street to pay for past, current and future irresponsible and immoral spending by an established ruling coalition whose permanent rallying call is “bringing stability and development”, although one of their own minister mentioned that by 2019 the nation may go bankrupt.
I’ll interpret this as a hidden message that the rakyat must get rid of the incumbents before 2019.
In addition, the national debt has increased tremendously. Rakyat might want to know who took the foreigners’ money and asked us to repay the foreigners and bear the foreign exchange risk. Who benefited from the immediate availability of cash and who are left to be deprived and pay off the foreigners?
Najib strikes me as a cheque book prime minister, spending a lot on publicity, by-election in Bagan Pinang, Hulu Selangor and Sibu and automatic 9A scholarship (which makes one wonder why just 1 year ago, it is so damn hard for top scorers to get a scholarship who ended up as brain drain). This I cannot reconcile with the accusation that the tax paying rakyat are bankrupting his and her own country. Should we sue for slander and libel?
On the contrary, Pakatan ruled states seem to be a CFO’s dream – doing more with less. Since the last GE, federal funding for Pakatan controlled states are much much harder to come by compared to days before.
However, Penang just needed a few million a year to eliminate most hardcore poor, turned a potential deficit into surplus with RM100 to old folks above 60 years old while Selangor state government has warga usia emas, tawas, free water and free tuition schemes.
I would rate Perak as the most innovative state with the land for school and resolving the land title issue that BN can’t resolve for 50 years. We are robbed of a chance to see and enjoy further innovative and rakyat-friendly schemes that could have been developed from thereon.
My money goes to Pakatan on this count
For the first time ever, Malaysians have religious terrorism in our own backyard. I thought the cow head idiots in Shah Alam were bad, fire bombing churches are even worse. If politicians think this is an acceptable means to achieve their selfish aims, go to a war ravaged country – Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq - and take a look yourselves. If you wish for such things in our own countries, you are committing treason and accessory to mass murder.
While Najib was quickly on the scene to give some money (cheque! I hear chess players scream) to the affected church in Melawati and quickly condemn the act, I hold Barisan Nasional responsible for the social environment in Malaysia as they control the police, press and every public service under the sun.
The emergence of Perkasa in the midst of 1Malaysia campaign cast a huge doubt in me over the political will of Barisan Nasional for inter-racial harmony. Inter-faith dialogue, is again a taboo subject.
Pakatan Rakyat, however, inadvertently seems to have a successful one. DAP with its socialist and secular bearing while PAS with its religious spine have found common ground – justice and welfare for the public.
While over 50 years, Barisan Nasional has repeatedly emphasizing the differences of various races in Malaysia, Pakatan, for the time being instead, focus on common ground to forge unity; a formula suitable to glue multi-ethnic society together to celebrate and leverage diversity; something Barisan Nasional has failed to do so after more than half a century.
A damning conclusion can be drawn from the BHP incident. A Chinese man desperately screaming for a fire extinguisher but the unthinking and fear stricken employees refused to budge hence the trapped Indian lady was burnt to death in her car.
This is the result of a crime-ridden environment, an environment that stifle initiative and reasoning as well as after years of indoctrination from the highest level, to teach the population to differentiate, discriminate, doubt and even hate each other. Shining examples in Nasir Safat and Ahmad Ismail. Even the response from the chief of BHP following the public outcry is poor, especially compared to this.
"You have every right to expect uninterrupted services 24/7, 365 days a year from us, and I am sorry we have failed you on that count," he wrote.
The apology, eight days after the incident occurred, is the second that DBS and Mr Gupta have offered for the massive crash. That same day, he said the bank regretted what had happened.
Yesterday, the apologies were more profuse and, for the first time, more light was shed on what triggered the seven-hour system outage: A routine repair job that went awry.
Compare tha above with the UMNO style apology - "I am sorry if you are offended" - professional politicians true and true.
While I do not see a great deal from Pakatan in this respect, Barisan Nasional has much more negatives than positive. I want a government who teaches the people to love, not to hate.
Anwar Ibrahim, I feel, made a mistake with his high profile September 16 posturing. He should have focused on strengthening Pakatan’s emerging governance machinery and as a result tax payers have to foot 50 MPs holiday bills. Also, many fence sitters' confidence have been shaken.
Some of the PKR candidates selected for election have also damaged public confidence in Pakatan Rakyat. Given the lack of brave and selfless citizens who dare to step forward and be counted for, dare we criticize too much over the selection made out from limited choices?
As much as I despise the frogs who have cheated the voters (I have yet to hear one frog mentioned that he or she leave Pakatan because the voters told him or her to do so), I have to take this as a part of the political struggle for, hopefully, a better tomorrow.
While we hear so much about Pakatan wakil rakyat jumping ship for personal reasons or whatever, how many Barisan wakil rakyat do we hear jumping ship because he or she disagree with the rakyat-unfriendly policies? Fat chance except the 2 from Sabah, they can’t even speak out against the annual budget or ad hoc price increase.
For the first time in history, political gamesmanship has cost a life in Malaysia. (The Mona Fandy case does not count). Until now, we do not know what crime Teoh Beng Hock was a witness to until he has to commit suicide the night before he was due to register his marriage with his pregnant fiancée.
The subsequent denial, evasive maneuver and even the act of threatening an expert from a fellow Asean country suggests concealed guilt, rather than a reputable institution carrying out its duty with a clear conscience. It is infuriating to this tax payer that MACC has remain a political tool, ranging from harassing of Pakatan to the symbolic recruitment of Chinese officers and a single apology note not in the national language to the family of Teoh Beng Hock.
The victimization of Elizabeth Wong showed a desperate lack of Barisan Selangor’s ability to win with substance, as well as the low status of women in the eyes of chauvinistic political leaders, an accusation I make without the benefit of being a fly on their wall. If my bank manager is having sex with her boyfriend in her own free time and in her own home, would I be tempted to move all my fixed deposits and credit facilities to another bank? I can’t think of anything more mundane and normal.
Not only this incident offended Eli Wong and all women folks of Malaysia, it is also a huge insult to all sensible voters who were taken as dumb enough to revolt against a functioning administration base on intrusion of privacy and voyeurism.
The active voter recruitment drive by Pakatan Rakyat shows a great initiative to get more rakyat to realize and exercise their rights. I applaud this initiative as in substance, it empowers, enables and educates the people. By comparison, Barisan Nasional controlled Berita Harian could only reveal their mathematics prowess by saying new non-malay voters out number malay votes by 40 to 1 in a country where Malays constitute 65% of the population.
Both have disappointed the rakyat but again the damages from Barisan out weight its own contribution and Pakatan’s shortcoming.
Governance and justice
Many people hold Pakatan responsible for failure to hold local council election. This is a justified criticism to the extend that they did not put in enough high profile initiative although I expected Barisan Nasional to resist to the death such election, going by the voting trend in all state capitals and Kuala Lumpur. Effectively the federal government of Malaysia is a hillbilly elected administration.
Barisan’s Election Commission has given Pakatan some breathing space by denying the holding of local council election, heads or tails, the Commission lost.
Selangor state government has tabled the Freedom of Information Act and this stands out like a sore thumb amidst OSA, ISA and Printing Press Act and represents an opportunity to Malaysians to experience a paradigm shift from feudal herb mentality to more assertive, rights-conscious and mature democracy outlook, hopefully.
By comparison, Barisan Nasional having 14 coalition parties with many defeated personalities necessitates the appointment of voters-rejects as ministers and senators; understandable from a political point of view but it also points to a strong disregard of people’s choice
The Penang state government has gain international recognition in its effort to eradicate corruption and showed it meant business with the reward of RM10,000 to a judge who uncovered malpractices; I speculate that Khalid Ibrahim is unpopular with certain quarters because in removing the age-old patronage-reward tradition, people will get offended.
Lastly, enough said about the Perak power grab episode, that alone will tip my pick for Pakatan in this respect.
Pakatan Rakyat win by streets on this count.
I stated my view, what's yours?
Footnote - Speaker's revised benefits as per the Chinese press report
Monthly allowance increase from RM7K to RM9860; (on top of RM6K as salary of a wakil rakyat)
RM10K appointment fee and another RM10K retirement fee
Claims from oversea vacation without supporting documents RM2K per month
Housing allowance increase from RM3K to RM4K;
Free exquisite cutley for up to 50 people;
Renovation allowance RM10K per annum
Housing loan increased from RM480K to RM720K plus RM5K renovation reimbursement
Government bear the salary and benefits of 2 drivers (increase from one)
Winter clothing allowance of RM6K every 3 years, increased from RM6K
Business class flight seat for the wife (what about husband?) and many other benefits for the spouse
Telephone allowance increased from RM500 to RM1K
Telephone purchase allowance increased from RM2K to RM3K and RM3.5K allowance every 3 years to purchase PDA