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Monday, August 6, 2012

The tyranny of the Umno media

By Sakmongkol AK47 | TMI

I haven’t watched TV3 for a very long time. During the weekend I found myself without my laptop and I don’t own any iPad either. So with nothing to do, I found myself having to watch the propaganda mouthpiece of the Umno/BN government.

What I saw confirmed what I have been saying for a long time. It’s a one-sided communication means whereby the government of the day, because it can, by virtue of controlling the federal government, spread lies and deliberate disinformation and cuckold the minds of the public.

Immediately you are bombarded with what Umno and BN is doing. It is clear Umno/BN does not want an enlightened and informed public. What it wants is to glorify what little achievements the PM accomplished —distributing zakat from the bank the government owns (meaning if PR wins, it can do the same), frying murtabak here and distributing the delicacy to seemingly starving people. Are we not ashamed to see so many people are poor in the PM’s backyard and then we are subjected to his hypocritical speech about what Allah likes and doesn’t like. It is just an elaborate PR exercise extolling the form rather than substance.

Saturday night’s news carried the plan by the Umno government to form a commission for the payment of royalty to the east coast states. Terengganu has already received its royalty payments on the quiet side. It’s vested in the hands of the local kingpin Mat Said. So the inclusion of Terengganu is just window dressing.

When Idris Jusoh was MB, the federal government insulted the Terengganu people, imputing they don’t know how to manage the oil money by allowing Patrick Lim to decide where the money should be applied. So the federal government conspired with crony capitalists in building the facilities for the Monsoon Cup which do not benefit the Terengganu people. They built mosques in nowhere places and constructed whatever structures that can absorb the oil money which ended up in the hands of business cronies.

It’s the same wine in a new bottle. Mat Said now controls the petroleum ringgit and he determines how it is applied. So he builds the near RM100 million zoo somewhere in Kemaman.

Truly, Terengganu typifies what has been described as the curse of oil money. Oil was discovered in the 1970s in Terengganu but the state has one of the highest incidence of poverty.

Umno politicians are truly two-faced shameless liars. It has always been a legal issue and the issue of what rightly belongs to people. It has always been a legal issue concerning the right of a signatory to the PDA. The one who has been politicising the issue has been Umno and BN.

Umno is lying to the Malays of Kelantan. It claims it fights for Malays; so my question is why is Umno discriminating against the Kelantan Malays who form probably 98 per cent of the population in Kelantan? The distribution of BR1M of RM500 is an insult to the Kelantanese, when in the same breath they are denied the receipt of oil royalty. It’s a straightforward case of a legal entitlement. Kelantan is entitled to the receipt of 5 per cent royalty simpliciter without having to bear any other qualifications.

What is strange is the inclusion of my home state in the equation. How does Pahang find itself as a potential recipient of oil royalty? If the state has oil, why has it been concealed from the rakyat? Is Pahang entitled to oil royalties but because of the rapacious greed of some quarters, Tun Razak decided to withhold the bounty from Pahang because he feared the state will be robbed?

If it qualifies as a recipient, the money is better committed to a Pahang sovereign fund to prevent irresponsible and profligate applications of the oil money. I am not confident to vest the money into the hands of legislators who year after year justify Pahang’s deficit spending as a result of the state government spending on poor people. My former colleagues in Umno especially were quick to use this kind of banal reasoning when justifying the perpetual budget deficits of the state. During my stint as BN legislator I have always decried the budget deficits, fearing that they could be concealing wastage and financial indiscipline. About the need to help the needy, the aged and the infirm, no one in his or her right mind has any objections.

So Umno doesn’t have to be a farce about giving the oil royalty which is a legal entitlement. How come the government, instead of spending public money on a RCI or whatever, NOT ask the person who signed the agreement — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah — to state whether Kelantan or any other signatory to the agreement is indeed entitled? Please spare the Malaysian public the ignominy of having to put up with your hypocrisy.

The other piece of unworthy news was the small demonstration by a group of just about 20 people, lamenting the Penang government’s decision to develop a 0.5-hectare plot of land into a private hospital and other facilities instead of housing for the poor.

How come TV3 gave extensive coverage to Gerakan and pro-BN spokespersons? Why was the government scared of providing a balanced view by inviting spokespersons from the Penang government to answer the allegations thrown at it? You are attacking a person without giving him a chance to defend himself.

The truth of the matter is perhaps the Penang government, in its pro-rakyat stand, has set aside a far larger piece of land to build public housing for the people. On a one-acre-plus plot, how many houses can be built? Not more than 20 units?

The Umno government is subjecting the people to daily lies and grossly one-sided views. Free the people from this tyranny by giving them a right to fair reporting. We must not put up with the mind-enslaving tyranny any longer. —

Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

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