I couldn’t get on to Malaysiakini, let along access the news as a subscriber. Despite my annoyance, In a way I am glad for Malaysiakini because it means the online news is getting more popular as probably the sole independent source of news.
But I hope Steven Gan and his team will remain impartial and not get too cozy with any particular opposition party even as they provide much needed space for these opposition parties to voice their policies. Those damn mainstream media have all been brought up by the BN parties.
But, having failed to access my favourite news medium, I decided to look at the Star Online as the next available option. Did I tell you I was once a Star Newspaper boy, selling hardcopy editions for a sen or two each?
So, I had a peep to see what Group Editor in Chief of the Star is saying. I visited his column On The Beat.
Wong said “it is the three main issues of inflation, crime and foreigners that affect ordinary voters the most” even though salacious issues like the naughty DVD, Lingam tape etc may be interesting and good for kopitiam kongsamkok.
He did a fairly good piece on how inflation worries the average providers, though I am disappointed he didn’t mention that the government ministers should set good examples at a time when the cost of living has hit the pockets of the ordinary voters.
Skiing holidays in South Korea, executive jet, luxury yacht, bullsh*t balls-bearing bodek-ish ceremonies to award the new ‘1st Lady’ (RPK gets into a tizzy at this incorrect designation) with Datukships of all descriptions, definitely with more to follow.
On crime, Wong said quite correctly that:
“Another issue that cuts across all races is the rising crime rate. Malaysians do not feel as safe as they used to feel any more. They are not interested in listening to politicians who tell them that crime rates are not as bad as reported in the press.”
“Such argument does not hold water because most Malaysians have had personal experiences or know someone who has. Politicians who think the security issue is being exaggerated must be out of touch with reality or they simply refuse to accept the fact.”
But Wong stopped short of pointing out where the buck should stop, namely the Minister of Internal Security at the political level, and the IGP at the operational level. Both have failed miserably in their role as the twin guardians of Malaysian security. By any standards of managerial accountability or performance, both should be immediately sacked.
I only half-agree with his statement that “The deployment of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and the general forces on our streets would make Malaysians feel more secure.”
The FRU is a special force to cope with civil disorder and commotion, namely riots. I don’t want to see them on the streets unless there is a problem for which they have been roled. Peaceful political rallies like the Bersih and Hindraf campaigns are not civil disorder by any means. In fact, the FRU had been in many instances the provocateur.
It’s the general mata-mata (and not bloody RELA please) that we want, that is, when they aren't busy with their pungli (to borrow an Indonesian word)
Of course, much as we don’t want to blame foreign workers, the reality is there are far too many of them, especially illegal ones. But powerful political and industry forces want these cheap and unaccountable (no EPF or health benefits) labour force for their own benefits.
Unfortunately Wong spoilt his general informative and fairly accurate analysis with his cari makan ending, namely:
"Seemingly non-issues have created discontentment among some section of Malaysians and the result is that our leaders have to put out these fires, taking away their precious time, which should be devoted to more pressing concerns of the nation. "
"Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is a good man. The Prime Minister deserves our support and even as he takes time to meet our expectations, we cannot deny that he has allowed greater democratic space, after 20 years of authoritative and uncompromising rule."
Wong should not have allowed AAB to get away with his silence on the worst bigoted comments made by UMNO leaders or flagrant cases of copruption that either go uninvestigated or unpunished (eg. the Raja of Port Klang).
And it's a bit rich of Wong to attribute public discontentment to non-issues. While allowing for the expected criticism from opposition parties, with some merely of grandstanding nature (and that, incidentally, is called democracy), there are genuine complaints that the AAB government has failed, at best, to resolve or worse, ignored. The higher education system is a national disgrace yet we get no real action but mere superficial glossing over.
AAB is not the good man he wants to be seen as, and expects his supporters to proclaim. He already has 4 years of tenure as the PM, where we see increasing clampdown on democratic rights and practices. He uses the mandate we gave him, on promises he had failed miserably to deliver (eg. Where is the IPCMC? Why aren't hugh projects tendered openly?), to mangle the laws to suit his personal interest. This is a man who had unashamedly and publicly voiced his (PM) concerns over his family's 'pots of rice'.
If his predeccesor was seen to be more authoritarian, at least he delivered some material benefits.
In the end, the unmitigated feral avarice of politicians, and their sickening examples to public servants on how to become rich el pronto, is the root cause. Many politicians in the ruling party and even a few in the opposition would not survive a proper test of reconciling their style of living with their declared income.