Wednesday 8 August 2012

Gov't Transformation Programme (GTP) : Is it worth our vote? - Selena Tay

Since the beginning of time right until the present age, the federal government has never really cared about good governance.

The Government Transformation Programme (GTP) initiated by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is not doing well in several major sectors, among there are good governance, economy, public transport, healthcare, education, and security.

First of all, good governance. The federal government does not know the meaning of this phrase. Corruption is rampant and whistleblowers from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat side are targeted and persecuted for revealing the truth about corruption.

“With the recent action taken against PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, it is obvious that the GTP that Najib is talking about is just plain nonsense, to put it politely. The Whistleblowers Protection Act 2010 is of no help to Rafizi at all,” said Shah Alam PAS MP Khalid Samad.

What happened to the practice of open tenders as advocated by Najib himself? One must seriously question the prime minister on this issue because due to the recent revelations concerning the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) and the MRT, Najib’s promise of transparency certainly makes the rakyat doubt his words.

“Where corruption is concerned, for the present incumbent government, it is just business as usual,” added Khalid.

Since the beginning of time right until the present age, the federal government has never really cared about good governance. It is only concerned with its own pockets instead of the rakyat’s welfare.

Only after the 2008 general election did it get a rude awakening but now it is back to its bad old ways. Nothing has changed and nothing ever will.

Najib has always said that the days that the government knows best are over but this is merely sweet talk without substance.

Does the federal government practise good governance? If it does, then elephants can do the pole vault.

Economic woes

Next, there is the economy. The incumbent government again proclaims that Malaysia’s economy is robust and flourishing. This certainly goes against the grain as the world economy is slowing down.

Indeed, there are some world economists predicting “the perfect storm” of global economic downturn next year. With Europe in trouble and the two major superpowers, US and China slowing down, Malaysia will surely be hit.

The BN leaders all say that Malaysia will only suffer minimal impact as we have strong economic fundamentals. This is just an attempt to dupe the average Joe. Everyone knows that when something as large as this happens on a global scale, all countries especially those who rely on manufacturing exports will be quite seriously affected. Even now, there is a lessening demand in the electrical and electronics sectors.

Besides the above factors, the power of the ringgit has also shrunk. This means that not only the new 50 sen and 20 sen coins and the new banknotes have gone smaller in size, the value has also gone down.

Item No 3 is public transport. This has been the bane of the long-suffering public who rely on public transport, with the bus system being the worst. During the tenure of the fifth prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, when the petrol price was increased, it was announced that the money from the petrol will go towards improving public transport.

But till today, the bus system is just as bad, perhaps even worst as there are many places lacking connectivity for example, Bandar Menjalara and Taman Bukit Maluri in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.

Till today the bus system has not seen much improvement from the 1990s.

In regard to Item No 4 which is healthcare, the government does not have a National Healthcare Service similar to what Britain has. The whole nation’s healthcare policy, if it can be called a policy at all, is very fragmented and in bits and pieces here and there.

Education system

As for the education system, there is much uncertainty and flip-flops pertaining to the teaching of science and maths in English. However, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, has come out to say that the Malaysian education system is one of the world’s best. Amazing!

Last but not least, we have security. Here it pertains to the safety and wellbeing of the rakyat. The average ordinary citizen can hardly feel safe these days, especially those who are staying in low-cost flats. Those who are staying in gated and guarded residences are all right, of course.

The lack of safety for the ordinary citizens, especially the low-wage earners, is due to the large influx of foreign workers.

“If there is a large-scale unemployment in the factories due to the global economic downturn, the result will be disastrous for the rakyat. Large numbers of these foreign workers will then resort to crime as that is the only avenue opened to them. Therefore we will be living in fear and living dangerously,” said Dzulkefly Ahmad, who is the PAS MP for Kuala Selangor.

In terms of safeguarding the security of the citizens, the prime minister must be taken to task as it is obvious that he has failed the Key Performance Index (KPI).

From the above listed sectors, it is clear that Najib’s GTP is sorely lacking in ideas and execution. The launch of the GTP amidst much fanfare has only served to hide its shortcomings and inadequacies.

The GTP can only be said to be simply an attempt by the incumbent government to woo support from the electorate. It is nicely packaged but has it got any solid substance?

Is this the manner in which Najib intends to obtain our votes? Should we vote for the GTP? Is this the master illusionist at work?

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

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