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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The PM’s excessive contradictions: A disjunction between words and deeds

By Nurul Izzah Anwar | TMI

Some say contradictions are the result of an unsure, insecure or merely a confused mind.

But some say contradictions are a tactic to deflect and distract attention from real issues.

Other times, they are simply the product of a conniving mind.

Does Malaysia today have a confused or conniving prime minister? Or could it be that he is merely under the thrall of a conniving group of PR consultants? It is hard to tell in light of the many flip-flops and sudden policy reversals of the current administration.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia concept was sadly strangled in its infancy thanks to the “Malay first” statements of his own deputy, as well as the continuous sanctioning and sponsoring of the Perkasa extremist group.

In the economic sphere, his colourful ETP has now been exposed as yet another cover for crony capitalism when the latest KIDEX was “awarded” just one week after the project tender was called. The fact that it appears that the main beneficiaries of the KIDEX are linked to the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis makes it looks more like a political reward that the people of Malaysia will have to bear. If we were to add on the MAS out-of-court and opaque settlement along with the billions already lost and the more billions waiting to be lost — it seems to indicate that plundering and not development is the main motive of the powers-that-be.

The other plank in the current administration’s platform, the GTP, will be tested when the new remuneration scheme for civil servants (skim Saraan Baru Perkhidmatan Awam, or SBPA) will be announced, but this has already been criticised in civil society as a flawed scheme that serves as a way to reward the top 4,000 civil servants with a huge pay increase while leaving the other 99.7 per cent to share the remaining crumbs.

In addition, several supposedly “pro-rakyat” schemes have likewise been exposed as mere camouflages for economic plundering such as the proposed FELDA listing, which is tantamount to legalising the acquisition of a profit-making plantation arm by a loss-making entity. Such is the fate faced by Malaysia’s one unique and successful institution of poverty eradication.

And now it has been disclosed that the supposedly “done deal” of using EPF funds to finance a public housing ownership scheme is currently in a state of limbo. But it was always a poorly thought-out idea, not least because of the ludicrous 6.5 per cent interest charged on poor Malaysians dreaming of owning a unit, whilst the going rate for those close to the ruling clique appears to be only between 2 per cent (as the NFC case has proven) to 4 per cent (see Kumpulan Europlus Sdn Bhd’s Westcoast Highway deal). Are these not sufficient examples of a contradictory, confusing and conniving leadership?

The much touted independence of the judiciary that Barisan Nasional leaders have been touting since the 9 January 2012 judgment has been found to be an unfortunately short-lived comic relief when an unwarranted appeal of the accquital was submitted along with the trend of overturning other appeals such as in the Karpal Singh sedition trial, the ISA-15 trial and Bersih 1 trial. This is in contrast to the lack of action over the RCI on the VK Lingam judiciary tampering case, inaction on the RCI recommendations to set up an IPCMC, as well as the prosecution’s failure to appeal the acquittal in the Altantuya case.

The cruellest joke of all however has to be the so-called “Malaysia Day reforms”, including the promise to repeal the ISA, revoke the Emergency Ordinance, as well as amend the UUCA, PPPA and enact electoral reforms. The Najib government has failed miserably or only worked half-heartedly in all of these counts, betraying their real desire to simply perpetuate the status quo.

Furthermore, all hope for holistic electoral reforms is dashed as the chairman of the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms reneges on the approved interim PSC report pledge to implement all recommendations before the 13th GE. Isn’t going against the promise made by the highest legislative body in our land a conniving act?

Malaysians need and deserve better than the last three years of mendacity, duplicity and disingenuousness than the current government’s lack of ideas and commitment to reform have wrought.

So prime minister, before we accept, can you throw in the beef?

Nurul Izzah Anwar is the MP for Lembah Pantai and vice-president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

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