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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Politician long term non-committal relationship

The ‘five-year hitch’
Mariam Mokhtar
June 1, 2013

Many couples go through a seven year itch; a “rough patch” in their marriage, caused by boredom, when some spouses desire the freedom of being single again.
In Malaysia, one can recognise the least productive and incapable BN politician by his “Five-Year Hitch”; the time frame needed to implement the tasks they promised to complete if they were to win GE-13.
Interestingly, these politicians have chosen an interval of five years, which is when the GE-14 would be called. The rakyat can see through the politicians’ tricks and yet, the Election Commission (EC) has denied claims that the electoral system would mean BN would rule in perpetuity. These politicians have not shown evidence that they are capable of carrying out their tasks, but they are already canvassing for re-election in five years time, in GE-14.
Despite the promises they made when campaigning for GE-13, they have already come up with excuses. They have learnt from their mentor, the leader of Umno-Baru, Najib Tun Razak, that words speak louder than actions and the best phrase is “You help me, I help you.” This year has yet to see the usual Malaysian election phenomenon, when turncoat politicians – “frogs” cross over to the ‘other’ side. They will probably make their moves soon.
Men who have lied to the rakyat, now have very senior roles in the Cabinet. Some of these men were not elected by the rakyat but secured a place in the Cabinet through deceit. Others who were once guilty of money politics, now draw a salary which is paid for by the taxpayer. Both these sorts of men, have one thing in common; they are in charge of policies which will affect the rakyat.
The first to make his debut performance, barely two weeks after GE-13, was Hindraf’s P Waythamoorthy, a deputy minister in the Prime minister’s Department (PMD). After his hunger strike, which he used to embarrass and weaken the opposition, Waythamoorthy announced that he would need five years to resolve the issue of stateless Indians. He made it clear that Hindraf had a mechanism to solve the problem and yet declined to give details. Does a plan even exist?
Is Waythamoorthy’s time to be spent resolving only the issue of the stateless Indian? In the five years that Waythamoorthy claims he will need to resolve the problem of the 300,000 stateless Indian, a few hundred thousand people from Bangladesh, the Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar or Indonesia will have become fully fledged Malaysian citizens, without any problems.
Does Waythamoorthy realise that many Orang Asli, Penan and other indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak are also stateless? These people cannot afford the long and expensive journey to town to register the births of their children. These people are also denied education, health and other benefits.
Illegitimate children of Muslim parents are also disenfranchised and might as well be considered stateless. They cannot attend school, or have a passport or enjoy the benefits all children should be entitled to. Waythamoorthy should remove his blinkers and champion all needy people, regardless of their ethnic origin.
Patriotism and pride
The magic ‘five years’ of inactivity was mentioned again, the following week. This time, the International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Mustapa Mohamed announced that the government would reduce car prices by 20 – 30 per cent, in five years.
He said that the consequences of reducing excise duty and car prices would have a detrimental effect on jobs and that many businesses would have to shut. He warned Malaysians of the increased traffic on roads and the need to build more roads with tolls.
What he was trying to say was that Umno-Baru has no intention of helping the rakyat now or ever. What is more important is to continue propping up crony businesses and their lifestyles. The taxpayer’s money is used to bail-out and prop-up the failing Proton.
The hardest hit are the poor, who need a vehicle to move around. Cars are not cheap, petrol prices are rising and there is no efficient public transportation system. Most of the income of the poorer families is spent servicing debts.
The decline in probity of Najib’s Cabinet gained momentum when Paul Low, the minister in the PMD said that it was not necessary to form an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). He claimed that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) could be used to lodge complaints against police.
He appears to have dismissed the views made the previous week by the former Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who had questioned the capability of EAIC to handle complaints related to enforcement officers and the misconduct of government agencies.
The decline of our political class started when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was accepted back into the Umno fold, in the 70s by Abdul Razak Hussein, the second prime minister.
Mahathir changed the face of Malaysian politics. Older Malaysians recall the time when Mahathir was the Education Minister. He exerted greater control over the universities, he promoted the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) or National Civics Training Bureau series of training modules to further divide the nation. He claimed they instilled patriotism and pride.
Forty years ago, Mahathir curbed political activity, in campuses. To this day, students may not be involved in politics. If they fail to toe the line, they will suffer severe recriminations and the denial of assistance in education. Today, student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim is trying to reverse Mahathir’s evil legacy.
Stolen votes
Mahathir accelerated the moral decay of our political class and forced a drop in values in the rakyat. He is guilty of making Malaysians think that the only way to riches, is to get into politics, rather than to value hard work and be responsible. The nation had a chance to restore its self-respect and reinstate the integrity of its government. They voted for the opposition coalition in GE-13, but their votes were stolen.
Mahathir created a class of politicians who lack integrity and breeding. They have no respect for public service and they do not know the meaning of honour. Mahathir’s legacy lives on in Najib. If we want to restore our authority and make this nation great again, GE-14 is not the answer.
Umno-Baru is preparing to cheat again in GE-14, they will never relinquish power, willingly. The solution is to get rid of Umno-Baru now, while the rakyat still has the momentum for change.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.