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Monday, June 13, 2011

Can we trust you, Najib?

By Walter Chan | TMI

So it looks like election season is in the offing, judging by politicians making statements here and there.

I am especially interested in statements attributed to Prime Minister Najib Razak as reported in The Malaysian Insider. Apparently he was speaking to some residents in Datuk Keramat when he said that people and not slogans decide who wins Putrajaya.

Coming from the man who has relied on “People First, Performance Now” and 1 Malaysia rather than any substantive change, that is a bit odd. But we should not nitpick.

But what really got my blood boiling was his question on whether voters can trust Pakatan Rakyat. The follies and shortcomings of the opposition are amplified and documented well in the mainstream media but there is only fawning coverage of Barisan Nasional in the same pages.

So maybe Najib does not appreciate some of the misgivings about BN. In fact, some of my friends have already written off BN and Najib.

He talks about BN’s track record. Perhaps he means:

* the abysmal race relations in the country and social injustice, which has resulted in more than one million qualified Malaysians emigrating. Incidentally, I believe that the situation today is worse than before, with the free rein enjoyed by Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa and Utusan Malaysia.

* the widespread and endemic corruption. The Khir Toyo corruption trial is just the tip of the iceberg, a hint of a malaise that has affected every level of Umno and BN.

Only in Malaysia can there be allegations of the involvement of the current Attorney-General in cover-ups involving millions of ringgit and fabrication of evidence and silence from the government. Only in Malaysia can there be such strong evidence against the Sarawak chief minister and he is still calling the shots. Oh yes, and isn’t the chairman of Felda the same chap found guilty of corruption by his own party?

* the misuse of oil resources. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was the man who was involved in the setting up of Petronas. It was clear that the intention from the start was to only deploy Petronas funds for development expenditure and not operating expenditure.

But the irresponsible spending and bloated privatisation contracts has meant that billions of ringgit are now being used to pay government salaries and reduce the budget deficit.

* the sub-par education system where most graduates are unemployable because their command of English is poor.

* the wanton display of wealth and luxury by politicians. I am still trying to figure out how ministers and former ministers and even former prime ministers can live in such obscene luxury when electricity is a luxury in Sabah and Sarawak.

* the one-sided privatisation contracts and patronage which have benefitted cronies, family members and friends.

Therein lies the problem of thumping one’s chest and talking about track record.

From my side, it is not so rosy.

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