Monday, November 7, 2011
A Different World....
I spent the Aidiladha holidays in my village of origin (which according to the Negri Sembilan Adat Laws includes my wife's village), and bought all the newspapers available for my reading pleasure. They include two or three papers that do not qualify to be considered as the mainstream news media. In fact two maybe considered as the voice of the opposition.
Reading the two latter papers, I found myself in an almost totally different world. The names of people and places are the same but the stories have a slant that makes me feel quite foreign, or an alien who has dropped into a strange and chaotic world. The front pages suggested that this country is so rich that the wife and daughter of it's number one leader could spend a few hundred thousand ringgit shopping from just one foreign department store. Then we have a report on the government financial expenditure as examined by the Auditor-General. God. We seem to pay some RM27 million for an armed combat vehicle which other countries bought at some RM4-5 million. Thus the bill for more than 200 vehicles went up to RM6 billion or more. My maths does not allow men to remember such amount of money whereas only a billion or a little more should have been sufficient if the purchase was not made through an Agent.
Well, who cares if we have so much money.Even a drinking glass which normally costs RM2-3 may cost RM150 or more if we chose one made of crystal. A ceiling light can be bought for less than RM100 but an imported chandelier may cost you a few hundred thousand ringgit. The world offers something for the poor and also for the super rich. But when a comparatively poor country buys a Rolls Royce for its ambassadors, we begin to question the wisdom of the decision makers. However, Malaysia is not that poor and is aspiring to become a high-income nation in 2020. Should we, therefore, start to lead a life of what the economists refer to as high consumption? There is no doubt that government doles out billions of ringgit in assistance, subsidies and bail-outs. No problem. But yes, we have problems when you can't even take care of all the poor and helpless, provide those incapable of doing normal work with a comfortable living allowance, and allow beggars to walk the street begging for a living.
Whatever the reason for purchasing the more expensive material for national defense and national prestige, there is no justification for extravagant wastage. The Auditor General's Report seem to show that rich government organizations are spending far beyond their allocations and making the budgeting process a mere farce.
The voice of the opposition I refer to painted a picture of us living in a totally corrupted nation with corrupted leaders all around us. We are surround by tragic incidents, inhuman sufferings and criminal offenses including murders and rapes. We are among the damned and the doomed. God, no wonder some foreign countries have a totally different picture of life in this blessed country where even the oppositions and the critics live in comfort and plenty. Sometime I wonder if I am really looking at the real or make-belief world around me. It's easy to get confused.