Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Welcome 2011 - Year of Hope and Promises
Welllll...New Year is here again, with lots of promises to raise everyone's hopes to the sky.
In Malaysia we see the political parties in power undergoing a soul-searching transformation to face the 13GE. The National
Front (BN) sees UMNO, MCA and MIC overhauling themselves with old leaders taking a backseat ( or heading a no less powerful vehicle with less vroom) and new faces taking over. In many cases the new faces came as a surprise (even out of the blues) edging away some well-known characters. ( Thus the common edgy response: It's better to work with the devil that you know..) Even rejected leaders maybe pulled back to the front seat, Aaaagh. Many powerful Cabinet seats are not filled by popularly elected leaders but by trusted friends of the Numero Uno. And many popularly elected leaders are not pulled into the corridors of power.
Be that as it may, the size of the development funds and budget as announced from time to time by the government gives the impression that money is growing on tress in Malaysia. Billions here and billions there, hundreds of million there, more huindreds of millions here. Normal projects have become megas. Contractors all over the country must be dancing with joy. But are they? The smaller ones seem to be still grumbling. Probably the millions are not coming their way but through well-planned channels. Wallahu alam.
One thing that bothers everyone: the leakages and losts of public funds through negligence, mismanagement or corruption ( let the MACC determine which) are also running into billions and hundreds of millions. The GLCs seem to be where the biggest leakages occur with prominent politicians at the head while some senior civil servants and professionals have also been implicated and promptly brought before the court of justice. Many investigations involving the former seem to fizzle out without the real culprit brought to book and this seems to cause serious indigestion among the opposition members in Parliament and the more public-spirited men on the street. Independent bloggers are most articulate and noisy on this matter
while the mainstream media is very cautious and laconic.
As a last remark in welcoming the New Year, we cannot avoid noting the fact that the Pakatan is undergoing a serious strain
with some differences between the Party Keadilan Rakyat, PAS and DAP becoming more and more pronounced. Worse is the leadership struggle that seems to go on within the constituent parties, especially PKR. The de facto leader is not only under seige by the law but also by his former collegues.
Well, that's the scenario in brief without getting into specifics. A most interesting fact is that while there seem to be a lot of stress and strain on the political front with doubts and uncertainties riding on the financial state of the nation, the people and country seem to be stable and moving along well. There are flashes of racial tensions and conflicts in the press and in Parliamentary debates, but you certainly don't see them in the street. All races seem to be on the best of terms when enjoying teh tarik, ruti canai and nasi lemak in the restaurants and food stalls. There is no sign of tension whatever in the shopping complexes except among husbands saddled with a huge shopping bill.
On the social front, everything seems to point to a glorious 2011. We just hope that the political and economic squabbles among major contestants will not upset the peace and harmony that had prevailed for years.