October 12, 2016
Maintaining Public Order is a Public Good, Nur Jazlan
By Hafidz Baharom
Make Government more efficient and Ministers more accountable. You are, Nur Jazlan, fired. Like Mohamed Rahmat, you are nuisance.–Din Merican
If maintaining public order during street protests is a waste of money, how about the taxpayer money spent investigating ridiculous issues and the money spent on lawmakers? Public Management 101
I refer to Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan’s remark that having to use the relevant authorities to maintain public order during a street protest is a waste of funds.
This is rather ironic, considering the number of ridiculous investigations being conducted by the authorities, including investigations into the raising of a middle finger as “insulting the modesty of a person”.
But more to the point, if we are talking about a waste of funds in governance and such, there is a lot to talk about in terms of both public and private institutions.
Let us start with the most obvious.
According to a compilation published on iMoney.my, each Member of Parliament is paid RM16,000 in monthly salary, RM1,200 as driver’s allowance, RM1,500 as entertainment allowance, RM1,500 as travel allowance, RM900 as telephone allowance and RM200 a day to attend a sitting of Parliament. This is paid for by taxpayers
The Prime Minister gets an add-on of close to RM23,000 a month, while the Deputy Prime Minister gets RM18,000 monthly, and the Opposition Leader gets close to RM4,000. All of this is above and beyond the allowances and salaries they already get.
Considering the costs above, isn’t it considered a waste of public resources for the obvious redundancies?For example, why does everyone get a RM200 allowance for every day that they attend Parliament and to basically do their job?
Also, why do they need a car if they’re based in Kuala Lumpur when they can use public transport like the rest of us? Furthermore, isn’t traveling also part and parcel of a lawmaker’s duty? On top of that, do we really have to fund MPs phones?
In addition to all of this, Parliament sessions in Malaysia have been less than 100 days. This is even highlighted on Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong’s blog, dated November 14, 2014. He had asked for more days for parliamentary debates in 2015.
You read that right, our lawmakers are sitting in Parliament and debating less than a third of a year, and God knows what else they do with their high monthly salaries and allowances when they aren’t yelling at each other in the Dewan Rakyat.
As a result, the entire process of lawmaking has been delayed to the point that even now we have yet to have any amendments regarding anti-corruption laws, the use of the AES system, and even the vaping regulations.
In fact, with only so few days to debate Acts of law, how exactly is the government going to amend 18 laws for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by this year-end, as mentioned by Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed earlier this year?
Rani Kulup –UMNO’s clown
To cut it short, using the fact that lawmakers and ministers are all inefficient and not working to actually make laws, as a measure for “wasting public resources”, should we not in the same mindset just shut down our government?
Of course not. This is because the value in having a democratic government, just like the freedom of expression through street protests, cannot and should not quantified.
You cannot measure it in man hours, productivity figures, contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) or even the gross national income (GNI).
So, if Nur Jazlan truly wishes to talk about the wastage of public funds and start measuring matters relating to governance and efficiency in government, then he should do so without bias.
And if we do so, then I am certain such a feasibility study will show that our entire lawmaking process, the civil service and even the multiple government agencies would all rationally be said to be wasting public resources. And this is something the country can do without.
Thus, perhaps he should look to his own Cabinet colleagues and even the Government as a whole. Start by cutting the bloat from there while raising the salaries for the policemen who have done their duty admirably, instead of looking to stifle democratic rights over cost concerns.
Hafidz Baharom is an FMT reader.