Najib and his Big Spending Ministers lack EMPATHY

January 16, 2014

Najib and his Big Spending Ministers lack EMPATHY

by Jeswan Kaur@

Puisi Kangkung

Pucuknya angkuh memanjat bukit,
tak sedar akar terendam air parit,
rakyat mengeluh lelah dan sakit,
sedikit diberi banyak diungkit..

wat is kangkung

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


Rosmah and NajibThe 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.

Prodigal Najib

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 withZahid HamidiX 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.

13 thoughts on “Najib and his Big Spending Ministers lack EMPATHY

  1. The rakyat are expected to survive on kangkung and ikan kering while our Prime Minister and his sycophantic ministers splash their ill gotten money. Trust these guys? Do so at your own risk. These politicians can even sell their moms to the highest bidder for money. UMNO Boleh sapu!

  2. Asking Abdul Wahid, the supposedly corporate man who tells Malaysian who save more than 40% of their income, to cut back on their expenditure to advise his colleagues??

  3. Gertak,

    I headed for TTDI wet market at early hours this morning armed with a list for Mee Rebus Mamak ingredients. First on the list was sotong kering and I decided to choose 4 small to medium sized ones. When the shopkeeper mentioned Rm 33.65 for such meagre bunch I immediately decided to give Mee Mamak a long miss until the price of sotong kering is back at pre-Merdeka level. God knows when sotong kering has become a Michelin Star ingredient. Reckon I have to settle for Mee Maggi cepat dimasak, sedap dimakan along with kangkung grown in my planter’s box. Can’t help admiring the Octopus and Octopussy for their jet setting lifestyles dining at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut in the Palazzo, Las Vegas.

  4. Real world economics a-la Malaysia (only a small selection of terms are explained) :

    Supply and demand: The rakyat demands real change, the govt supplies more
    propaganda (courtesy of APCO)
    Externality: Govt raises the price of sugar, the health of Malaysians improve
    Kangkung index: Courtesy of Datuk “Sak Mongkol”
    Asymmetric information: e.g. contracts with toll road companies (covered by
    the Official Secrets Act)
    Bubble: house prices in JB, Penang and the Klang Valley
    Comparative advantage: Malaysia exports skilled and educated labour, and
    imports unskilled labour
    Consumption: “Ubah gaya hidup”
    Investment: New public hospitals with mouldy walls and falling ceilings
    Capital flight: politicians moving their capital overseas (buying property in
    London etc)
    Keynesian stimulus: massive pre-election vote-buying

  5. They are a lucky bunch having their throne in Putrajaya. They would have been put into and under the grill if it were Australian Ministers who behaved in this manner. They would be called in by ICAC (independant Commission Against Corruption) to explain their actions and made to repay what is due to the Commonwealth or if they are lucky,they will be not given the chance to stay behind bars..

    In MACC is the lapdog of the UMNO-BN government. Only Ikan Bilises are caught and punished.Malaysia Boleh…tipu rakyat.–Din Merican

  6. Off subject.
    Yes, what about Tan Sri Ramon’s statement that the Malays need a Mandela.
    Mandela? They need bala..Din Merican

  7. Dear Thumb Logic

    There’s one view (the “Great Man theory of history”) and there’s the other view (mass social movements make history; such movements will also give rise to many significant individuals). I suppose there is an element of truth in both, with stronger evidence for the second view.

    Perhaps our fellow Malaysians from the Malay community need to get rid of the traditional feudal mindset and be less deferential to authority (especially massively corrupt officials). And perhaps our fellow Malaysians from the Chinese community need to
    participate more actively in politics and in greater numbers. Politics and political participation are necessary evils.

    Coming back to my first paragraph above, the socio-economic forces generating change include the rise of social media (meaning traditional forms of govt propaganda and thought control are losing their effectiveness), rural to urban migration, a better-educated electorate, increasing religiosity, proliferation of genuine NGOs (not the regime sponsored, false, “astroturf” ones), industralisation, and so on. The forces of reaction (Perkasa-type neo-Fascists; and those who benefit massively from corruption, for example) are fighting back. But I doubt they can completely hold back the tides of socio-economic forces.

  8. The PM has demonstrated that he is a caring PM by setting up Laboratory at great cost to the Citizens under PEMANDU to look into the plight of the people because of the hike in prices. In the past PMs only set up a committee. Apa lagi orang Malaysia hendak?

  9. Am a little confused, Thumb Logic, Malays need or Malaysians need? And Mandala or Mandela? Well, as to whether there will emerge a Nelson Mandela-type Malaysian is somewhat far-fetched. You see, UMNO Baru would never allow that as they consider themselves the God-given leaders this land is “blessed” with. Every so often we are told to shut up and be grateful as the government fights tooth and nail to ensure price of kangkung remains within our reach. We are branded as the ungrateful lot even by the more-Malay-than-the-Malay who lorded over us for 22 years. The Wahid guy (a financial wizard?) must be a fraud, talking about going to market! Well, if he does go may be he should venture into Pasar Keramat where ikan selar kuning sells at RM15 a kilo, ikan kembong @ RM18, crabs @ RM32 and tenggiri at RM38. Frankly, tell me, how does a family survive at such prices? The vegetables I used to buy for RM18 – 22, today cost RM40 and my regular stallholder keeps apologizing profusely for the increase.

    The author of the above article says our “kangkung” leaders have no EMPATHY with the rakyat. No I don’t agree. It’s not empathy but total and absolute “ARROGANCE”. And are the UMNO Baru leaders aware of what the Holy Quran says about arrogance? Maybe yes but they don’t care really. They are in such a drunken stupor – with power. You can’t touch them as they will continue with their sombong, extravagant lifestyle during the 5-year term till 2018. And don’t be surprised if PM Kang Kung calls for a snap GE14 well before the end of GE13 term. After all, he has mastered the art of throwing crumbs to the gullible among us Malaysians and who knows, with all the ICs being dished out to illegals, the frauds will continue till kingdom come.

  10. Not just Najib and his band of ministers who are shameless in parading their excesses. Their family members,too, are shameless in showing their wealth on social media. It’s like they want the world to see them in all their riches and glory.

  11. The high spender Agri Minister said last week that about 2 dozen or so veg and fruits prices will be FIXED for the next one year.What bullshit as my 4 generations of work in that sector guarantees that will NEVER happen. And Najis and Kerry guy ( who knows nuts about agriculture and sports) says high/low prices are determined by supply and demand.What do these idiots think of us as they seem to be sprewing shit out of their backs all the time!

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