Friday, March 16, 2012

Arab Spring And Its Significance To South East Asia

Anwar Ibrahim delivered a speech on the Arab Spring and its significance to south east Asia at the 20th Public Relations World Conference 2012 in Dubai, UAE on 14th March, which I found holds much relevance for Malaysia.

It is time for change here in Malaysia. People are fed up with the ruling Barisan coalition which has been running the country all these 54 years or so since Merdeka in 1957.

Barisan has so ossified in its ways that Malaysians no longer hold out any hope of meaningful change with it around.

They are sick of being told that only Barisan can bring peace and progress to the country. As if Malaysia must forever have Barisan or the country will go to the dogs. Ha, ha. Really funny lah.

The government no longer listens to the rakyat.  In fact, since early on in Mahathir's time as the PM in the early 1980s. It is always the government and by implication, Barisan, who knows best.

Government policies are rammed or attempted to be rammed through with little or no consultation with the people. For example, the recent 1Care health scheme which met with vehement objection all round and somewhat scared the Najib administration that it decided not to proceed with it for the time being fearing perhaps that the people may turn against Barisan in the coming general election.

Multi-billion ringgit government contracts for public projects are farmed out to favoured parties and cronies with little accountability and public knowledge until they are fait accompli.

Attempts are often made to cover up wrong doings and/or acts of massive corruption. The cow-gate  scandal only led to some parties being lately and finally charged but only after persistent efforts by the opposition. But few Malaysians have any illusion that any good would come out of it.

Not at least since the emasculation of the Malaysian judiciary following the notorious sacking of former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and several senior judges in 1988 by the Mahathir administration.

We have many past cases as examples. Coming to mind are the Kasitah Gaddam and Eric Chia case.

People are even talking of Najib himself whom Anwar had accused of benefiting from the purchase of two French Scorpene submarines. Najib himself is also believed to have some connection with the death of a Mongolian beauty.

Najib has denied any knowledge of the Mongolian beauty but people are still curious to know who actually wanted Altantuya C-4ed.

Each year the Auditor-General report comes up with horror tales of massive wastage of public monies and funds by government departments and ministries with hardly any action being taken against the culprits. And each year tens (hundreds) of million ringgit go down the drain.

People no longer feel safe, even though the authorities tell us that crime rates have gone down.  Snatch thefts, for example, continue unabated.

In fact, the snatch thieves have become bolder, even stopping at traffic lights to smash car wind screens or windows to snatch bags unwittingly or unwisely left on car seats. And this they even do in broad daylight and in the presence of many other motorists!

While the rakyat wish for more police presence to fight crimes, the authorities it seem, are more interested in policing the opposition.

Nary a day passes by nowadays that police reports of one kind or another are not lodged against one opposition or NGO member or another for one alleged offence or another, that the police have their hands full calling up the alleged culprits.

Inflation and the cost of living have gone up, but the authorities tell us that inflation has remained low and at the same time exhort us long suffering Malaysians to tighten our belts and change our life styles.

And this, while Najib allegedly splashes money on lavish private dinners and allegedly charged the bills to the PMO (Prime Minister's Office).

Of course, I don't want to repeat  some of the other grouses Anwar mentioned in his speech that call for an Arab Spring here.

It is time for change and Malaysians want do it through the ballot-box.

For those who are interested to read Anwar's speech click here.

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