Wednesday 31 October 2012

Of eggs and AES - Selena tay

If the government feels like it, they will toss some silly explanation at us. Otherwise they just ignore us.

The price of eggs is a great indicator of a nation’s economy. When the price of eggs go up tremendously in a short space of time, then it is an indication that not all is well.

From the week before Hari Raya Aidil Fitri which is the third week of August to the third week of October, the price of eggs had shot up from RM2.90 to RM3.65 for a tray of 10.

If the government can no longer afford to subsidise the most basic foodstuff, then it is a warning sign that all is not well with the nation’s economy no matter how much the government tries to deny it.

The mismanagement of the nation’s economy is at its most critical stage during the tenure of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. This is because it is only during his tenure that the national debt has surpassed the RM500 billion mark. And if contingent liabilities amounting to over RM100 billion is added, it will be over RM600 billion. Clearly the economic skills of the Najib administration is sorely lacking.

And yet the prime minister still insists on holding on to the posts of finance minister and minister for women, family and community development. Is there no capable woman in BN able to head the Women’s Ministry?

Are we putting ourselves up as the world’s laughing stock?

This is certainly not the hallmark of a nation marching towards Vision 2020 nor a nation which aspires to achieve first world status.

Is Najib proving himself to be the end of the RAHMAN legacy with his incompetence?

And not only him but also Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha is another minister who has got a lot of explanation to do. And this is pertaining to the AES (Automated Enforcement System) which is part and parcel of the government’s efforts to reduce road accidents.

Although it is a noble move, the fine of RM300 as a blanket sum is steep to say the least. Is this an Activated Easy Scam to generate income? One zap by the camera and RM300 disappears from the rakyat’s pockets!
The whole project needs further explanation instead of just being rushed through as it creates an impression that certain parties want to earn a fast buck.

The government’s motives to reduce deaths on the highways must of course be lauded as a good move but there should be some leeway on the fine and the amount should be between RM100 to RM300 instead of a fixed sum of RM300. The public should be allowed to negotiate on the sum on a case to case basis.

Explanations needed

From eggs to AES, the Najib administration has definitely got some explanation to do. The rakyat are not as dumb these days although there are still some gullible ones around.

New laws should not be rushed through, for example the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 which was bulldozed through in Parliament in November last year and Section 114A of the Evidence (Amendment) Act 2012 (with regard to postings made on the internet) that was rammed through by the BN MPs in April this year.

From ground surveys conducted, many citizens are unhappy with the way things are being run and many city folk now opine that the BR1M cash aid is the people’s money and so we have the right to take it without feeling obligated to vote for BN.

Actually what the government is giving is just a pittance to placate the low-wage earners who are unhappy with the ever-rising cost of living and this might lower the number of votes BN may obtain at the ballot box. Therefore BR1M is a sort of incentive to safeguard the government’s popularity.

And as prices of basic necessities are soaring even before the Goods & Services Tax (GST) is implemented, what can we expect post-GST?!

The assurance given by the federal government that prices of basic necessities will be controlled is thus highly doubtful.

For a long time now, the incumbent government has engaged in double-talk. At the end of November two years ago, a local English daily reported that the government will not be increasing the price of RON95 but in early December the price of RON95 went up. In the social media, many citizens had put up the daily’s news report side by side with the December news report on the price increase to highlight the government’s duplicity.

Therefore, now the government has wisen-up and price increases will at times not be highlighted in the press.
No one must forget the way the prime minister had played what can be labelled as the “Stadium Trick” last year when he told the Bersih organisers to gather in a stadium but at the end of it, the request made by the Bersih organisers to use Stadium Merdeka was flatly denied.

This means that whatever the government says must be taken with a large pinch of salt. There is always a lot of play on words and vagueness in what they say.

Their explanations pertaining to scandals and fiascoes belie belief due to a lack of logic in their statements. Blanket statements are also the norm as in the case of the Ampang LRT contract.

Global conditions are always blamed for the increase in the price of goods. When the mood suits them, the government just keeps silent and ignores the rakyat’s demands. Take for example the request made by the rakyat to the government to clean up the electoral roll. Till today are they still not keeping quiet on this?
Overall to sum up, if the government feels like it, they will toss some silly explanation at us. Otherwise they just ignore us.

After 55 years, is this what we deserve?

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.


  1. So is the a better way of teaching law breaking Malaysian drivers a lesson other than AES?

    Are we better drivers today than 10 years back?

    We are only getting worse.

    Trust me, even if BN didn't implement AES but instead fined people every time they break the law, you are going to get the same reaction to the AES implementation.

    This is because we are so used to discounts and disrespecting the law that any form of law enforcement is BAD.

    Ironically, Malaysians ask for better law enforcement when it comes to road bullies, break ins, scams, corruption. But against it when it comes to traffic law.

  2. Please read this too.

    What most Malaysians are doing now is to call AES a bad system just because someone is making money out of it. It is the same as saying a technology like nuclear power is bad just because people made weapons out of it.

    Malaysians are saying it is a bad system because the system has little faults here and there. Tell me, which technology is without fault? Nuclear reactors can fail for no reasons. Airplane which costs a hundred of million dollars could suffer electronic and mechanical failure.

    People think breaking traffic law is just a small matter. It will be worse. One day people will start asking leniency for things which were once illegal. Sale of weapons? Drugs? Pre marital sex. One day maybe the authorities start ignoring snatch thieves and break ins. Criminals become bolder since the law is not enforced.

    Is this what you want? Is this the country you want your kids to live in?

  3. And this

  4. Further reading:

    Why are there so many heated debates about AES? Because one group of people politicise the issue.

    Another group, the law breakers, use the excuse of corruption and stupid law to stop a system which would potentially make them pay lots of fines.

    Another group are people who think that Malaysian drivers are too rude and need to be taught a lesson and AES is a good start even if not the best.

    Don't believe Malaysians are rude?

    Mind you these AES supporters including myself are not pro BN. In fact it has nothing to do with BN or PR or any other political party.

    It is about the state of the country and where it is heading.

  5. for your info.

    RM717 million reason about AES