Friday 3 June 2011

Ng: Should it be 'Cronies First, Performance Never'?

The proposed increase of salaries for TNB's top executives continues to attract brickbats, with some quarters linking it to cronyism and the failure of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to implement the 1Malaysia concept.

NONEDAP Komtar asssemblyperson Ng Wei Aik (right) said the proposed hike was illogical at a time when inflation is at an all-time high, and when the average Malaysian's salary is not exactly increasing at all.

He expressed concern that the increasing privatisation of most public utilities has caused hardship to the majority of Malaysians while a small majority profit from it.

Ng, who is political secretary to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, questioned the sincerity of Najib's 1Malaysia slogan: People First, Performance Now!

“Does it actually mean that? With the rising cost of living that is affecting most Malaysians, it is now increasingly becoming 1Malaysia: Cronies First, Performance Never!” Ng exclaimed.

“The income disparity amongst Malaysians is growing wider by the day and if nothing is done, our best and brightest will continue to leave the country and contributing to the now widely-known brain drain,” he lamented.

NONERecently, the government's main investment wing, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, proposed that the salary of TNB's CEO Che Khalib Mohamad Noh (left) be doubled; the same rate was also suggested for its CFO, Izzadin Idris.

Khazanah's managing director Azman Mokhtar's announcement raised questions over the fate of 28,000 other long-serving TNB staff, who are said to be subject to limited pay increase.

Che Khalib's total pay package for 2007 was already at RM1.1 million, out of which RM600,000 was his annual salary, where on average, he received a staggering RM92,000 per month.

'Passing the buck back to the people'

Meanwhile, the government appears as if it intends to 'pass the buck back to the people' by doubling the salaries of the chief officers, said Ng, who is Penang DAP Socialist Youth secretary.

Malaysia is an oil exporting country but often justifies its price increases to the global market rate of oil, he added.

When countries have to import oil, of course it is based on the global market rate but Malaysia makes huge profits from Petronas for our oil exports while the government claims to “subsidise” our petrol prices, he stressed.

“As the government of the day, the Barisan Nasional has to take care of the people's needs first but instead it uses profits from Petronas for other means while the man on the street has to pay more for their petrol,” he said.

“The BN government claims the Petronas profits are used for development. If so, why are some of our Sabah and Sarawak brothers and sisters still without water and electricity?” he queried.

"Is Malaysia a country or a private company that is out for the profit of 'shareholders' in our cabinet?"

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