Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No Longer “Katak Di Bawah Tempurung”

When faced with relevant questions and criticisms, it is sad that “progressive” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has come out asked former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to be a “jantan” and resign. Sometimes, it sad that our leaders misunderstand that they are merely “wakil rakyat”. When a rakyat ask a question, answer them. Don’t ask them to resign. Don’t ask them to leave Malaysia. Don’t answer his queries with insults and public persecutions.

Today, there is so many questions that have surfaced and we, the Malaysian people, are still waiting for some answers. In a recent Sun report, someone asked the former premier 22 questions, which I believe our present PM must give us the answers. Here, I just want to ask a further 8 questions and I hope that our PM will answer – for after all is this not a legitimate avenue to raise questions to our government?

Question 1: - Identify who the “government-linked companies”(GLC) are? Tell us who owns the shares in these GLCs? How many shares do the present Prime Minister’s children, their spouses and/or his relatives own in these companies?

Question 2:- What are the privatized projects and government contracts that have been given to companies that members of the family of the Prime Minister, his Deputy Najib, his Ministers have interests in?

Question 3:- What are the privatized projects and government contracts that have been given to companies that our former Prime Minister’s and the former Deputy Prime Minister’s family have interests in?

Question 4:- We know that approved permits are required not just for the importation of foreign cars but for also other products. What is the list of items that require these approved permits? How many companies that members of the family of the Prime Minister, his Deputy Najib and/or his Ministers have interests in have obtained these approved permits?

Question 5:- Why was the RM4.4 million over dollars paid to the US company as highlighted in Malaysiakini (26/6/2006)?

Question 6:- Is the government setting up an independent Royal Commission to inquire into the “Project-M”, which allegedly resulted in hundreds of thousand foreigners becoming Malaysians. This is a very serious matter as it goes to the very root of the social contract entered into between the different race groups when Malaysia achieved independence, and also the agreement between the States, especially Sabah and Sarawak, when they joined the Federation.

Question 7:- What is the government going to do about MP Jasin? Is the ACA and/or the police investigating what the said MP Jasin have in fact admitted to doing. His actions looks rather similar to the corruption charges levied against our former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim. No one is above the law, and it becomes all the more important that our Member of Parliament and/or Ministers are subjected to same treatment by the law enforcement bodies and the Attorney General – and if nothing is done then the message that is going down to the rakyat is that it is alright to do these ‘bad’ things. Is this the message what Mr Clean, our Prime Minister, wants to communicate to the rakyat.

Question 8:- What has happened to the relatives of our present Prime Minister who were identified being part of Iraq’s oil for food scandal. Was there any investigation done here in Malaysia? Or was it a scandal overseas but not an offence here in Malaysia. We were happy to know that Pak Lah was not involved but what has happened to those Malaysians who were actually involved.

There are so many more questions that the rakyat wants answers to, and for far too long the government has gotten away without being accountable and transparent to the rakyat.

It is interesting to note whenever there is a splits in UMNO, the leading party of the Barisan Nasional, the rakyat is suddenly made aware of questionable things that the government and its leaders did in the past. It happened when Tengku Razaleigh was ousted from UMNO and Semangat 46 was formed. It happened when Anwar Ibrahim was ousted from UMNO. It is happening again now when our former premier has suddenly begun asking questions about what is happening in the present government. This time, it is even better as we also are getting news of the questionable actions that were done during Mahathir premiership.

There must be more transparency and accountability in the government, and some of the things that could be done towards this end are as follows:-

The Parliament should ensure that all Hansard records of Parliamentary proceedings are published immediately, not later than one day after, on the Parlimen Malaysia website. In fact, this website must be made user-friendly so that people can quickly know what were the questions/matters discussed and go immediately to that relevant page.

The written questions by the MPs and the answers by the respective Ministers and/or persons should also be available on the Parliament website.

In fact Draft Bills must also be available on the Parliamen websites, so that we rakyat will know what is being tabled and be able to have our say or tell our “wakil rakyat” how to respond to that particular Bill.

There must a record of all the Agreements, Memorandum of Understanding, Free Trade Agreements and Treaties that the government has signed, ratified and/or entered into. The full text of all these must be available on the government and/or the relevant Ministry websites.

Now, Malaysia is considering signing a Free Trade Agreement with the United States of America – but we cannot find the draft of this agreement anywhere on the government websites – why is this? We no more will be satisfied with just an assurance of the Minister concerned that Malaysia will only agree to what is good to Malaysians. The rakyat wants to have a say – we want to be able to provide our input and be consulted in all agreements, MOUs and Treaties that will ultimately affect all Malaysians.

Malaysian people will no longer be treated as “budak kecil”(small kids) and be allowed to remain in ignorance like “katak di bawah tempurung” (frogs under a coconut shell).

The government’s tricks of giving us a lot of movies, soap operas and football games (English Premier Leagues, etc) will no longer keep the rakyat distracted and unconcerned about the real issues – being the state of the nation itself.

For too long have the rakyat has been apathetic and trusting on our leaders and the Barisan Nasional government to do the necessary and ensure our well-being BUT alas we awake now to discover that our government has not been “clean, efficient and trustworthy” and we now suffer the consequence of the many failings of our leaders.

Our fuel prices went up 40 cents to about RM1.92. Electricity tariffs have increased 12%. Prices of food and all other basis necessities will surely also rise. We find Malaysia, embarrassingly, being one of the countries with the biggest gap between the rich and the poor. We found out last year that about 30 percent of our national schools do not even have electricity and toilet facilities. We discover that about 30 percent of our graduates do not have jobs. We find out that the government has spending about RM82 million to re-train graduates – is not our university education and training sufficient. We find out that more persons will be losing their jobs – the latest being about thousands in MAS. The list, I am sure will go on and on …

Malaysians in 2006 are no longer going to be hood-winked by the government of the day, and it is hoped that our PM and the government will show us, the Malaysian people, the respect we deserve and be accountable and transparent – and give us answers rather than continue to evade issues.

Remember always that we are the rakyat, and all of you are merely “wakil rakyats” (peoples’ representative). If you continue to treat the rakyat as you have done, we may have to look for new wakil rakyats in the coming elections.

Charles Hector
27th June 2006

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