Saturday, January 04, 2014
Many Agencies but Economy is Moribund
THE Kedai Kopi Assembly (KKA) continues to sit at various locations and with different groups of members throughout the Christmas and New Year holidays.
If the Chinese and Indians are unhappy with the so-called pro-Bumiputera policies, the Malays are unhappy with the lack of seriousness in implementation of these policies.
Judging from past programmes, the KKA members doubt that anything significant will come out of the Pemerkasaan Ekonomi Bumiputera (Bumiputera Economic Empowerment) announced by Mohd Najib on last Sept 14. Of course in Mohd Najib’s style of doing things, there will be commission and consultants appointed to handle it.
They noted that the government had created so many agencies in the past to help Bumiputeras. Some we have been forgotten. Yet government wants to create more. This is how yearly budget for salaries goes up.
There are (or were) the SEDCs, MARA, Bank Bumiputra, DARA, PERDA, KEDA, FELDA, RISDA, FELCRA, KETENGAH, KEJORA, PNB, PEMANDU, PRIMA1, SPNB, AIM, PERNAS, TERAJU, EQUINAS, PUNB, SME Bank, AGRO Bank, EXIM Bank, Bank Rakyat.
A KKA kaki lawak, interjected: “Hopefully UMNO does not think that these agencies belong to it since Najib recently said that UMNO is a party for rakyat.”
Government employs 1.5 million civil servants and pay them bonuses. Another 10,000 will be recruited this year. Then it created Pemandu and spent billions of ringgit engaging consultants because civil servants are not good enough. No wonder civil servants are upset and some are secretly sabotaging the government.
TO many Umno leaders, the measure of the party’s success is big cars, big houses and expensive watches whose names they can’t even mention.
During the time that my late father was a delegate to the Umno general assembly in the 1960’s and 1970’s, outstation delegates stayed at friends house, cheap hotels around Batu Road or at public halls. They travelled by train and stage buses. Now they came by air and expensive cars, and stayed at 5-star hotels.
They do not bother about corruption, wastage of public funds and extravagance. They pay lips service to the suffering of the people due to high cost of living, unaffordable housing and a slew of price increases. The houses are getting smaller, the buildings are getting taller and the density higher.
Not every Umno leader is doing well. But most are. The ones who follow the straight and narrow are viewed with disdain - little wonder that the rakyat feel that Umno leaders are doing well financially and are out of touch with the reality of the rakyat’s everyday life.
Because of their extravagant lifestyle, these leaders do not question why government had to spend RM180 million on executive jets. They see nothing wrong to it. They don’t even care that the PM was away from the country during the New Year two years in a row.
Do they know that even the Queen (of England) uses train and charters planes when travelling overseas? They should because many like the PM studied in the UK. Air transport for the British Royal Family and the government of the UK is provided, depending on circumstances and availability, by a variety of military and civilian operators. But most often they fly using scheduled commercial flights, normally the British Airways.
Here in Malaysia, people with no formal appointments and duties are known to use government on pretext of serving the country. But when Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim leased a private jet to travel to East Malaysia, the BN-controlled mainstream media condemned him as extravagant.
But the KKA noted that one or two young ministers were known to have voluntarily “downgraded” themselves from first to business class on long flights to save cost. Kudos.
We pride ourselves with being an example to the developing countries. Our development model is copied by them. But we should be truthful by also telling them that our national debt has risen by over 100% since Mohd Najib took over from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi less than 5 years ago.
The kaki lawak interjected: “But Pak Lah was sleeping and Najib is not. Pak Lah is now the advisor to MAS. It is not a big thing if he is not aware of losses MAS is making. Of course the Umno General Assembly made no mention of MAS. They were not bothered to complain about loss-making GLCs. They are only interested in profitable ones.”
President Defending the Wrong Things
THE President defended his wife in the assembly? Delegates were shocked. The journalists who had to praise Mohd Najib were even more shocked.
We are not complaining about the good things his wife does. Many wives of VIPs, including the royal families, are also doing good things.
We are complaining about the wrong things he is doing in accommodating the wishes of his wife. We are asking the government to be accountable. The PM should answer these allegations. The way he bragged about his wife in public, he was in fact saying that his wife has more influence than him with foreign leaders.
Umno's way of getting support is to give cash. The joker butted in: “Some people gave private jets to keep the wives happy.” Mohd Najib’s way of making people happy is giving money. First there was the BR1M. Now cash is given to flood victims. Yes we can give cash but when the rakyat’s houses are inundated, they need food, water, blankets etc. Use the money to buy things victims need and to repair their houses later.
The KKA doubts that the condemnation against the Selangor PR government for raising State Assembly Member’s salaries and against Lim Guan Eng for buying a new Mercedes was serious and would last long. Ministers and MPs too are longing for salary increases and new cars.
To keep the people happy, another BR1M and announced austerity drive that is too little and too late. The KKA noted that the poor small time Bumiputera suppliers, contractors and caterers who will bear the brunt of the spending cuts.
He mentioned Mandela at the Umno Assembly, but he did not attend his funeral. Obama, Clinton, Bush and other world leaders went. Does he not know how close South Africa is to Malaysia? Fortunately he had the sense to designate Tun Dr Mahathir as his personal representative.
What did the Umno Assembly achieve? To the outsiders, they see the same old things – praises and standing ovations for the el presidente. But some Wanita Umno delegates noticed that the President’s future son-in-law was seated in the area meant exclusively for women and they didn’t like it.
The only thing that was out of the ordinary was the open acknowledgement that Umno could not expect help from MCA and Gerakan. Chinese voters will take the money and the goodies, but will not give the votes to the BN.
MY apologies to those who have requested to join the KKA, but have not been invited to one yet. Several had, however, joined me in unplanned sessions when they saw me at the coffee shops. All are welcome to join if my face is not buried in the computer.
Another “bidan terjun” delegate (from Kelantan) asked me when would the Malays be united. I said maybe when the DAP rule the country.
- A KADIR JASIN
- I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).