January 16, 2014
Najib and his Big Spending Ministers lack EMPATHY
by Jeswan Kaur@http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com
Pucuknya angkuh memanjat bukit,
tak sedar akar terendam air parit,
rakyat mengeluh lelah dan sakit,
sedikit diberi banyak diungkit..
Pucuknya angkuh memanjat bukit,
Tak sedar akar diair parit,
Bagaikan melepas anjing tersepit,
Dah jadi pemimpin , rakyat digigit.
—-attributed to but denied by Ungku A. Aziz
The regular Malaysians are having it hard, having to deal with an expensive cost of living and at the same time being dictated to about their religion, that too by politicians who are hopelessly ignorant and insensitive in more ways than one.
That the start of 2014 has been turbulent for Malaysians in general and the non-Malays in particular is an understatement.
With the ruling Barisan Nasional government displaying zero empathy in relating to the hard-pressed rakyat’s plight in surviving the harrowing escalating cost of living, the people are left to their own devices to do what is best for them.
As such, Malaysians who are already bogged down with the challenge of coping with the onslaught of hardships can do without the sardonic remarks made particularly by the BN MPs.
Leading the way is the country’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak whose inability to feel for the rakyat has further worsened matters. While the rakyat back home suffers, Najib decided to enjoy himself abroad. It seems that both he and wife Rosmah Mansor were overseas during the Christmas and New Year period.
However, keeping in mind today’s harsh reality and the people’s struggle to come to grips with the rising cost of just about everything, from electricity tariffs to the proposed LRT ‘platform fees’, leaders like Najib should exercise wisdom each time he begins to open his mouth to address the rakyat, his intentions whatsoever.
Bad enough that the Najib-Rosmah indulgences come at the expense of the taxpayers’ welfare. It is unfortunate for the nation that Najib is one leader who fails to take cognisance from past mistakes.
The Premier was recently lambasted by the very rakyat whose well-being he assured would be top priority. This time it was Najib’s callous statement that Malaysians are not thankful even though the price of kangkung (water spinach) has gone down.
In a video uploaded on YouTube on January 12, Najib who is also UMNO President, questioned why the government was always at the receiving end each time prices of goods increased but was never praised when prices came down.
“When prices of things go up, everything goes up, including sawi and kangkung. There are times when the prices of vegetables go up and down.Today I read in the newspaper that the prices of some things which have dropped. The price of kangkung increased before this and now it has gone down.When this happens, they don’t want to praise the government. But when it rises, they blame the government… This is not fair as it is due to weather conditions,” Najib was quoted as saying in the video.
It does tell just how much Premier Najib ‘understands’ the rakyat’s predicament. And that explains too why the people are fed up and decided to participate in the rally that took place at the iconic Dataran Merdeka on new year’s eve.
As for Najib, his very costly, the RM38 million worth ’1Malaysia’ programme has fallen flat on its face as far efficient governance goes, judging by the premier and fellow ministers’ addiction to profligacy.
Fooling the rakyat with ‘Putrajaya 11′
In the meantime, the 11 austerity measures outlined by Najib which Putrajaya would be implementing within the civil service to reduce expenditure and cut costs is meaningless if the leaders themselves are not prepared to control their disastrous spending habits.
Following in the footsteps of his ‘boss’ Najib, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob thought he too could escape public scrutiny and flaying for the lavish wedding ceremony and dinner in big city Kuala Lumpur he held for his daughter.
Ismail’s daughter Nina Sabrina and celebrity Indonesian fashion designer Jovian Mandagie’s wedding included the akad nikah ceremony, the first to take place at the previous Istana Negara building before the palace was converted into a museum and renamed National Palace Royal Museum.
Then there was a two-day reception at a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur, attended by royalties, celebrities, politicians and socialites who were entertained by Indonesian diva Ruth Sahanaya and Malaysia’s Jamal Abdillah.
Just how much Ismail had frittered away on the Dec 14 and 15 reception is anyone’s guess as the minister is not telling.It is regrettable that Ismail got carried away with the glitz that comes with assuming power. The veteran minister could have done better than to find the RM25,000 paid to use the Istana Negara for eight hours a ‘value for money’ deal, simply because his son-in-law received a “good package” in return for the publicity.
Was that so? What about the six Balinese dancers in full regalia flown in to perform? Was there a ‘discount’ there too?To Ismail, the glamour and grandeur of a five-star hotel like the Shangri-La outweighed the humility of a community hall or balai rakyat.
Like Ismail, his colleague the Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi too is preoccupied with prestige. The latter hosted an extravagant birthday bash also at a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur which his guests claimed was a 2014 New Year’s party.
From Najib to his coterie of inept ministers, all share a common thread – their desperation to outdo one another not by way of serving the rakyat but by impressing friends by organising opulent dinners etc.
It is best that Najib’s economic adviser, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Wahid Omar knock some sense into premier Najib and the rest of the ‘spendthrift BN politicians’ to spend wisely.
It is these MPs who need an earful and not the rakyat when it comes to emptying the wallet without batting an eyelid.
Advising the already taxed Malaysians to look for alternatives and be thrifty is easy for the former banker- turned- politician.“I go to the market every week. I know that the prices of basic necessities are high, but consumers have a choice in what they spend their money on,” he was quoted as saying in a news report.
Dare Abdul Wahid tell the same to his ‘political masters’? Does he have the guts to tell boss Najib that it is all about ‘leadership by example’?
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.