Friday, July 18, 2014

When Everythings Seems to go Wrong…..

Another tragedy costing Malaysia 295 lives (if there are no survivors) has hit us. MH17 shot down at 33,000 feet in the air, four months after MH370 was lost in thin air without any trace. Up to now the remains of the plane had still not been found.
hell fire in the sky

On the ground armed terrorists in Sabah and armed law-breakers on the streets seem to have no fear at all of the law enforcers in the country. While the Traffic Police are issuing thousand upon thousand of summons for traffic offences, angry drivers are getting more inconsiderate and ruthless with the traffic jams getting worse on all major roads and thoroughfares.Slow drivers hugging the right lanes on highways can cause a lot of accidents yet they are never taken off the road. So are drivers who run over the double lines to overtake others, even at corners.

terrorists gathering forces
I'm not qualified to comment on political development and the intriguing things that are happening.But the views we read from political analysts and seasoned commentators seem to only generate a lot of heat but no light. What's really happening in the corridors of power and who is in real control is still a great mystery. The public can only see things going wrong on many issues. But no one can put his or her finger on the actual cause(s) of the problem.Sudden interruption in the water supply is still a frequent occurrence in KL and elsewhere while government's battle cry "rakyat didahulukan,kecekapan diutamakan" ( the public is of first concern and efficiency is a priority) has often been quoted as an insult. Some public services are still not up to the mark or not giving priority to the poor and helpless.
no problem if you can pay up
But thank Allah, everything seems okay on the surface. Yes, on the surface of things Malaysians are enjoying a peaceful and prosperous life, Never mind if the price of houses, cars, gas, power, food, clothes etc are doubling up (even a slice of pineapple curry can cost RM1.50 when before it was just 50 sen and a small fried catfish up to RM3), if your income is enough to cope up with the rising cost. If not, wait for BRIM to help you out i.e. if you don't starve before its issuance. For the rich Malaysians, life here can even be a party or a ball. All the monetary fines imposed by law on Malaysians who break any of them would not hurt the rich: only the poor and low-income people will suffer more. Even in criminal offences the rich seem to be able to fight any case against them until it drags on for years and ultimately end up with an
acquittal. It's the same with any civil case against a powerful personality. Nothing happens in the end….

As long as the law and its enforcement is not equally applied on the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, without fear or favour, everything done to foster development and justice will go wrong somewhere, made wrong or bent or stretched to favour the rich and powerful. For so long as the punishment for wrong doing is
monetary in nature, the rich in Malaysia wouldn't care two hoot for the law. They can pay the fine, even buy their way out or turn a small issue into a big political battle by turning it into a racial problem.

Malaysia has enjoyed stability, peace and harmony before. The leaders were very concerned with rural poverty and the unfortunate Malaysians. Now that even those who were poor and unfortunate before (ike the early settlers of Felda) have become rich, greed sets in and everyone wants to make a pile as quickly as possible. It has become a land of greedy opportunists and wealth seekers. If the leaders realize this fact, they might begin to take action to set things right and not allow what is right to go wrong.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Abolishing the Paupers and Beggars...

What a blow for the host country of the World Cup to suffer 7 goals to 1. It just shows that anything can happen in football for there can be many a slip between the feet and the ball. I hope Brazil had not been frolicking too much the night before the game. The worst defeat can come in the best of time.
Oh no, Brazil is out

And the worst thing can also happen in the most auspicious time of the year in any country. Malaysia as in other Muslim countries, for example, is respecting the month of Ramadhan when prayers, good deeds and helping the unfortunate people in society are given top priority. Giving food and alms to the paupers, the beggars and the impoverished, is considered as a way of cleansing the soul and washing away your sins.

But, the media is agog with the anger of common Muslim citizens over government efforts to rid the country of paupers, beggars and the the homeless who are roaming the streets to take advantage of the month's drive for kindness and compassion for the unfortunate. At any food bazar where Muslims are busy selling and buying food for breaking their fast and the crowd is overwhelming, the beggars and alms-seekers also proliferate. You will not only see the beggars and physically impaired souls holding out their tin-cans or begging bowls to the crowd passing by, but you can also see well-dressed volunteers holding out colourful collection boxes to collect contributions to certain foundations of funds.
where else to go for help?

Many kind hearted Muslims are crying out against the authorities' efforts to round up these beggars and impoverished charity seekers and put them in welfare homes. Even free food kitchens where these unfortunate members of society can get some chow for their empty stomachs, are being viewed as encouraging pauperism and must, therefore, be abolished. The effort is seen as a necessary cruelty to clean up the streets from the bad image and nuisance caused by these unfortunate lots.
free food is encouraging begging?

This sounds more like trying to abolish poverty by decree. Taken to the extreme even alms givers and good samaritans may be fined or taken to task for "encouraging" pauperism and street begging. Can we ever overcome poverty by abolishing the street beggars and alms-seekers - not including those collecting donation for certain foundations of funds of course? Where do you want to place all the beggars and 'miserabs' if government is not even building enough welfare homes or home for the poor and disabled to accommodate and care for them, let alone establish a "social security system" that guarantees some monetary allowance for the poor, unemployed and handicapped. In Malaysia most of the 'old folks homes' are run by voluntary organisations.

Brazil, the host country for world Cup 2014, is now out of the competition.That doesn't mean that the Samba Festival should end. Even if Malaysia is proclaimed by its leaders as doing very well economically, should it try to abolish poverty with a cruel hand, and especially in the month of Ramadhan, the month of charity and compassion?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ministers as Technocrats.

As the world Cup moves to Quarter final on July 4th staging France vs Germany and Brazil vs Columbia and 5th July staging Netherland vs Costa Rica and Argentina vs Belgium, Muslims will end their first week of fasting. The war in Iraq goes on with the Shias and the Sunnis going all out against each other while the Kurds look on. The sudden appearance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with its proclamation of its leader as the Caliph of the Muslims, makes the entire situation in the Middle East more complicated and volatile.In Afghanistan the Talibans are coming back with renewed strength.

We in Malaysia are jolted by the news that there are four new militant groups operating in the country under the acronyms AKAW, BAJ, DIMzia and ADI. One of the suspects involved as a Tier One personality is a university professor, who had all these while used the university premise as a place to recruit and train new members.How such thing can happen without being detected until the groups had recruited so many followers, no one knows.The authorities in Malaysia seem to be in the habit of not letting the public know what dangers are building up around them until they cannot contain the news any longer. This include the fact that some Malaysian officers (civilian and military) posted overseas are not giving the country a good name.We only hear about them after that are hauled up in the court of the country where they served.
the suspects in Malaysia are being hounded

Once known as one of the most stable and peaceful countries in the world, Malaysia has indeed transformed itself. 'Malaysia boleh' as a slogan for promoting achievement in sports has become a mockery to mean that everything is possible in Malaysia. Through politics an almost unknown party leader can suddenly become a full minister without any experience in a lesser capacity such as a Political Secretary to a Minister or an Assistant Minister as used to be the case. This has led the Cabinet of Ministers to swell in number to 35, ten of whom are Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department. They were before called Ministers without Portfolio. The number of Assistant Ministers has increased too.
The 2013 Cabinet members and the additions

It looks as if the Ministers and Assistant Ministers are taking over the job of senior technocrats and professional administrators. In the olden days Minister consulted and sometime sought the views and advice of senior officials before making an important policy decision.By doing so all the untended consequence of any policy action can be removed or reduced to give the action maximum impact. Now it seems that the Minister will just consult his political boys and go a ahead with any plan of action. Civil servants and administrators just carry the instructions out.Do as told or get out. When things become a terrible mass or theunintended consequences bedevilled the entire program, only then will the administrators be called upon to solve the problem. Or otherwise they will be blamed for not implementing the program effectively.
The Civil Servants:Do as Told

There many other things that led to the mockery of the slogan 'Malaysia Boleh'. It reminds me of the one time popular Indoenisian saying "Bisa diurus, Pak." Everyone knows that even the almost impossible thing can happen here now if the price is right. I wonder if the 35 member Malaysian Cabinet - is that more than the number of Secretary Generals in the Government? - can wash away the mockeries and the insults that this country has brought upon itself in recent years. Malaysia is still a stable and progressive nation in spite of the mockeries and insults but we can certainly pull up far ahead of others without them.