Saturday, 20 October 2012

Discontent in KL: ‘People First’ debunked? - Selena Tay

From temple demolition to traders, KTM employees to taxi drivers, BN must take note of the growing discontent on the ground
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s slogan of “People First” is nothing but a myth and this is proven true by five groups of people in five instances highlighted below which serve to show that there are quite a number of discontented people in Kuala Lumpur.
Therefore this means that all is not 100% well in the Najib administration.
The first issue, as above all else, concerns the divine and it pertains to the demolition of the Sri Muneswaran Kaliyaman Temple located in Jalan P Ramlee near Bukit Nanas in KL.
On Sept 25, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) had issued a notice that the temple is to be vacated within 30 days so that it can be demolished.
According to PKR vice-president N Surendran, Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin has promised that no temples will be demolished.
“Why are Indians being treated in this manner?” asked Surendran.
DAP’s M Manogaran, the Teluk Intan MP, is of the view that “it is very strange that this happens close to the general election and that this sort of incident is not the first time”.
Indian voters have to take note of this issue.
The second issue concerns the privatisation of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) to MMC Corporation Bhd (MMC).
The president of KTMB’s workers union, Abdul Razak Md Hassan, has informed PKR’s Kuala Langat MP, Abdullah Sani, that MMC could not guarantee that no one would be laid off. KTMB has about 5,600 employees.
Abdullah Sani has stated that KTMB chairman, who is also the Selangor BN co-ordinator, Mohd Zin Mohamed, would be replaced if Pakatan Rakyat were to form the federal government as the latter was only a politically-appointed person tasked with furthering the interests of Umno, which included advertising the prime minister’s picture and message on the commuter train coaches and placing BN flags at the premises of the Shah Alam commuter station.
Again, the rakyat’s interests have been relegated.
Traders in a spot
As for the issue involving traders, the night market traders in Kampung Kerinchi have been instructed to move to a spot near the Universiti LRT station. This new trading spot, however, could only accommodate 30 traders whereas the old spot in Kampung Kerinchi could accommodate up to 60 traders.
In addition to the above problem, 56 traders have been asked to move out of Kompleks Niaga Utama Bandar Utama Bangsar as this building will be demolished.
These traders have turned to PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar, for help in highlighting their plight.
So fair, Raja Nong Chik has not been helpful and attempts to meet the Datuk Bandar have failed.
A representative of the traders, Fizan Mohd Nor Ar-Jamli, has forwarded a memorandum to the prime minister on this issue.
As shown in the above instance, the slogan of “People First” is plain empty rhetoric.
Another burgeoning issue concerns taxi drivers. They have a few grouses but one of the major ones concerns the issuance of too many taxi permits and the monopoly of taxi permits by certain quarters.
Then there is also the MRT-Jalan Sultan issue where tunnelling works are to be done below the properties in Jalan Sultan, but the property owners prefer the MRT line to be moved to the main road of Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock nearby. Where is MCA’s voice in this issue?
If “People First” is the philosophy, why are the property owners being inconvenienced? They may even need to move out when the tunnelling works are being carried out.
Then there is also a case in Jalan Kolam Ayer in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, wherein the residents are afraid that they will be asked to move out as the land on which their houses are built has undergone a status change to “commercial” status. These residents are afraid that the land will be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1960 and are questioning why the change in status came about.
All the discontent will surely affect the voting pattern in the coming 13th general election.
It is a clear indicator that discontent among the masses cannot be taken lightly. BN will do well to take note of this but perhaps it has become arrogant thinking that it will win at the ballot box anyway.
Indeed, BN leaders have become arrogant and haughty. Their explanation in regard to the RM40 million donation to Sabah Umno is a case in point. They do not bother if the explanation is weak and flimsy. Their explanation shows that they have no regard for the intelligence of the rakyat.
For too long, the BN leaders have flaunt their power with impunity. Questions from the rakyat are ignored and brushed aside.
It is time for them to realise that in a borderless world, their words and actions will invite close scrutiny. Perhaps they have grown too powerful that they have ceased to care.
Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

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