Friday, April 18, 2014
Looks like a very bad year for Malaysia.
There are just too many unfortunate and depressing events in Malaysia this year and we're only a quarter way through. I don't feel like recounting them after the disappearance of flight MH370 with 239 people on board, but the passing away of Karpal Singh , the prominent and well-respected member of Parliament and Chairman of DAP, on April 17, is indeed a sad addition to the list of calamities that had befallen this country. May he rest in peace.
Rest in Peace
It is the job of political leaders in the Opposition to criticise, challenge and point out the weaknesses of any policy or stand made by government on any issue facing the nation. Such criticisms are necessary to highlight any weaknesses which ordinary folks like us, who are at the receiving end of all government actions, could not foresee or anticipate. Nor could we have any direct argument or debate with the government, even if we do see the weaknesses. Our protests and antagonism would most probably end at the coffee shops or roadside eateries. Unless, of course, you've some special excess to the corridor of power.
The Opposition political leaders worth their salt must articulate the voice of the silent minority, even if they had to appear like the villains in a film. We might see them as ferocious and hotheaded, intimidating and belligerent. But, they can really be very nice people in ordinary life. Such is what I hear of the late Hon. Karpal Singh, the Bukit Gelugor MP. The Opposition certainly lost a great 'midfield striker' with his passing away while the country lost an authoritative political figure and lawyer.The Tok Guru and the Firebrand
With the de facto Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim facing a five-year jail sentence for sodomy, the Selangor Chief Minister Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim facing a stiff criticism and challenge by the Deputy President of PKR Azmin Ali, and Datuk Nik Aziz the ex-Chief Minister of Kelantan out of active politics, the voice of the Opposition in Parliament will certainly be rather weak. Of course the other DAP, PAS and PKR , violating the speed limit wherever the strongmen are still there, but Anwar, Karpal Singh and Nik Aziz had always been the centre of attention. We can only hope that Government will not take the opportunity to ride rough-shot through Parliament now that the voice of the trio has weakened or is not there any more.
The de facto leader and the Tiger of Jelutung
While the socio-economic scene in Malaysia continues to show prosperity and stability, a number of public complaints and misgivings now seem to take the wind out of the Barisan National's sail. The water rationing problem continues despite heavy downpours which shows that the capacity to process water as soon as it comes from the sky or the rivers has not kept up with the pace of technological development in the country. The traffic jams are increasing the rate of Malaysians becoming short-tempered or plain crazy, violating the speed limit where the road is good and clear to catch un on time despite the heavy fine for overspending. The Health Ministry seems to be unable to stop the increase in dengue cases which is fast approaching epidemic proportion, while armed insurgence and kidnapping in Sabah, violent killings with firearms, armed robberies and dissatisfaction with the rising cost of living,housing and medical care continue to become the common subject of discussion at formal and non-formal meetings or gatherings of Malaysians.
The big question is: while doing everything to become a developed nation as envisaged by the Prime Minister, are we not dealing effectively with the supply and controlling the cost of the basic necessities of life which in the past years had been better? What is a developed nation if the basic necessities of life like the supply of running water and reasonably cheap foodstuff are not readily available for the public? Some Malaysians are beginning to feel that the quality of life (which includes bathing at least once or twice a day and having a good breakfast of 'nasi lemak', 'roti canai' and 'teh tarik' at the food-stall for less than three ringgit in the 70s, 80s and 90s) was far better than what it is now.