Wednesday 26 September 2012

Another round of fun and games? - Selena Tay

Some people have been heard asking: 'What is so good about Pakatan? It doesn't have money and cannot do anything.'

Last week, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has asked the rakyat to give him a fresh full-term mandate in the coming 13th general election. He must have thought that we, the ordinary rakyat, have failed in our maths.

The reason why this columnist makes this statement can be explained as follows: Najib took the oath of office on April 3, 2009. By Oct 3 this year, he will have been prime minister for three and a half years. And if the polls are held in March next year, it will be nearly four years that he has been prime minister.

If we were to give him a fresh full-term mandate, he will have been prime minister between eight and a half to nine years overall. Do we want another round of fun and games pertaining to the polls date? Certainly not this columnist! Another round of this silly game will truly drive a lot of businessmen and investors up the wall.
For the sake of good governance, it is time to end this tiresome game although the prime minister himself seems to be enjoying all the speculation going around. Many business owners certainly do not find it amusing nor entertaining.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has earlier this year issued a statement that they preferred the polls to be held fast.

“Of course, the polls date is the prime minister’s prerogative but he seems to enjoy taunting the rakyat with it,” said Dzulkefly Ahmad, the PAS Kuala Selangor MP.

In the meantime, three businessmen from an Asian country are having a good laugh at our expense. Their conversation was overheard by this columnist at the food court in a popular tourist spot in Kuala Lumpur.
The first businessman was heard saying, “Look at Malaysia’s massive national debt. Who would have thought that they would incur so much debt when they have so much natural resources?”

The second businessman commented that Malaysia, however, did quite well in the recent Olympics.
The third businessman remarked that while that may be so, the transport system in Malaysia has seen very little improvement. “If the current incumbent government continues to win at the polls, then Malaysia will continue to lag behind in Asia,” added the third businessman.

Slipping further

No one in the 1960s and 1970s would have thought that Malaysia would be lagging behind some of its Asian neighbours years later. It is definitely a sorry state of affairs for Malaysians.

And the only way forward for Malaysia to mount a serious challenge in the international stage in terms of economy and finance is to vote in a better government. Otherwise, we will continue to fall behind and slip further down the rankings.

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) rankings, we have slipped from 21 to 25. We have also seen a deterioration in the Government Budget Balancing Ranking by slipping from 96 to 110 whereas in terms of inequality of wealth, even Indonesia at 36.8 fares better than Malaysia which stands at 46.2.

Our heyday seems to be slipping away. We must have a slogan like: “Stop Corruption, Save Malaysia.”

There has been too much mismanagement: PKFZ (Port Klang Free Zone), National Feedlot Corporation, missing jet engines, overpriced purchase of defence equipment, notebooks, screwdrivers, etc. Details of wasteful spending are all in the Auditor-General’s Report year-in, year-out and yet nothing changes.

Meanwhile, the national debt is increasing. “So is the household debt which stands at nearly 80% of the GDP, thus making it the worst in Asia,” said Dzulkefly.

Najib’s tenure is not only characterised by wasteful spending but also by flip-flops and indecisiveness.

The three top flip-flops are the MAS-AirAsia share swap deal; the Civil Service New Remuneration Scheme; and the omission of the Equal Opportunities Commission from the New Economic Model (NEM).
Not only that, when the NEM was unveiled in March 2010, a second part was promised by Najib but it never came about. Janji Ditepati, anyone?

Till to-date, Najib’s efforts to rein in the increasing cost of living is nothing to shout about. The cash handouts are only piecemeal one-off efforts to help the low-income rakyat but is not a long-term solution.

Pakatan Rakyat’s plan to reduce the price of petrol, cars and the abolishing of tolls certainly sound attractive. Barisan Nasional leaders have criticised Pakatan’s plans, but then the prime minister goes about implementing them, for instance, in the case of the Cheras-Kajang toll.

In view of the impending 13th general election, the budget to be presented this Friday will certainly have many goodies to woo the voters but, according to Dzulkefly, whatever is doled out now will be regained a hundredfold and more by the incumbent government via the GST (goods and services tax) if it continues to win at the polls.

Therefore it is time to put an end to the current government’s mismanagement. Although BN leaders have said that change may not necessarily be a good thing, we do not have a choice. Sticking to the same malaise is worse and will also enable more Asian countries to bypass us.

Be bold

Malaysians must be bold enough to vote for change. Some people have been heard asking: “What is so good about Pakatan? It doesn’t have money and cannot do anything.”

Of course, Pakatan currently “has no money and cannot do anything” but when it comes into power, it will have the money because it is all public funds. This shows that the subtle propaganda insinuating that the opposition “has no money and cannot do anything” has managed to influence quite a good number of people.
Malaysians have got to think and evaluate properly in order not to be duped.

Therefore, the choice is ours on whether we want to continue being our neighbours’ laughing stock or whether we want to give them some serious competition.

The time is coming soon when we will need to make a choice to improve or to slide downward. By the way, we surely do not need another round of guessing-the-polls-date game.

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