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Insulting Malaysians' intelligence
Home away from home
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2006/9/25 15:51
From Kuching
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Dean Johns is one of my favourite columnist who writes for Malaysiakini.com. His column appears every Wednesday. This is his latest:

"It’s not easy to write a column about something that leaves you speechless. But as dumbstruck as I am by the sheer bodoh-ness of the Barisan Nasional (BN) election manifesto and the breathtaking falsehood its head uttered in the process of launching the thing, I’ll try and get a few words out.

Starting with the observation that every Malaysian I know, of every colour, race and creed, is too smart to be anything but insulted by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s assertion: “We made many promises in the last elections and we have fulfilled them all.”

What does the man take people for? A bunch of gibbering idiots? Surely even the people who BN patronisingly refers to as “the masses” or the “kampung folk” are too clever to swallow such rubbish.

Even those citizens misguided or gullible enough to glean their ‘news’ from the mainstream media must have wised-up by now to the fact that the Pak Lah they hailed four years ago as a saviour from Mahathirism is at best Pak Blah and at worst Pak Liar.

And even more dismal must be their realisation that at least he’s the best of the BN bunch. If Abdullah has been an embarrassment as prime minister, imagine the shame of being stuck with some of his possible replacements, like Najib Abdul Razak or Hishammuddin Hussein.

But enough of the utterly unthinkable. Let’s get back to the simply incredible. “We made many promises in the last elections and we have fulfilled them all” is not just false, but diametrically opposite to the truth.

Revisit the 2004 BN manifesto that promised the earth under the proud banner of ‘Excellence, glory, distinction’ and you’ll see it has failed to deliver on every single promise.

And now Malaysians are being asked to forgive, forget, swallow their pride and the meaningless slogan ‘Security, peace, prosperity’ and allow themselves to be duped by a whole set of new promises.

Promises like: “Our fight against corruption and crime is ongoing. Be assured that Barisan Nasional will not be left wanting in our commitment to finish this fight.”

Meanwhile, the marauder of Maika Holdings S Samy Vellu was retained as works minister; the ‘AP Queen’ Rafidah Aziz held on to her trade portfolio; the police continued to run riot while the crime figures have soared; and the ACA has kept declaring one high-level suspect after another to be clean.

Political wishful thinking

As for the much-heralded new manifesto itself, it is such a litany of vague generalities and political wishful thinking that it boggles the mind and is an affront any Malaysian with a brain cell to his or her name.

On the economy, for starters:
• Raise the nation’s productivity, income and competitiveness levels (Any idea how to do it?)
• Cushion the effect of rising prices (Ditto)
• Generate two million job opportunities (More imported cheap labour for crony contractors?)
• Reduce the budget deficit further - more development funds, without increasing taxes. (Still more projects for crony contractors?)
• Follow through on five development corridors to bring equitable growth, investment and job opportunities to all parts of Malaysia (More projects for crony contractors everywhere)

Under ‘Balanced development’ we see such motherhood items as:
• Eradicate hardcore poverty. Bring poverty rate down to 2.8 percent by 2010. (Not to 2.9 percent or 2.7 percent, but precisely 2.8 percent, OK?)
• Increase quality rural jobs and incomes (More crony-run ‘co-operative’ schemes?)
• Ensure access to modern quality healthcare (What? No more VIP trips overseas for special treatment?)
• Upgrade urban public transport and reduce traffic congestion (Getting rid of police roadblocks would be a nice start)
• Affordable housing (More projects for crony contractors)
• Continue to close the digital divide and improve broadband internet penetration (So everyone can benefit from anti-BN blogs..ha ha, just kidding)

Education is always a vote-winner. Here we have:
• Raise teachers’ minimum qualification and provide more training opportunities (Replacing Hishammuddin with a proper education minister could help, too)
• Continue to make national schools the school of choice by, among others, explaining the teaching of Mandarin and Tamil (That should keep the Chinese and Indians quiet)
• Safeguard the position of national-type schools (Huh?)
• Provide more scholarships for undergraduates for poor but deserving students - regardless of race (In your dreams, sucker!)
• Identify apex universities and provide more autonomy and resources for public institutions of higher learning to attain world-class standards (You must be kidding!)

Speaking of kidding, here comes BN’s law-and-order to-do list:
• Bring down the country’s crime index (Jail the whole police force?)
• Tackle drug abuse and other social ills (No problem, lah)
• Address the issue of illegal immigrants (Get rid of Rela?)
• Add 60,000 police personnel by 2011 (And send them directly to jail)
• Set up more than 150 police stations and beat bases to increase presence in more neighbourhoods (What’s a ‘beat base’ - where suspects get the third degree?)
• Improve safety in schools, playgrounds and public areas (Get the police out of the coffee-shops)
• Focus police operations and resources in crime hot spots around the country (like Bukit Aman, for example)

As I’m nearing the end of my word-count here, I think I’ll skip ‘Public services’ which as Abdullah recently informed us, are among the best in the world. I’ll also give ‘Religion and unity’ a miss if you don’t mind, as it looks like total gobbledygook. ‘Foreign policy’ is pretty well redundant too, as in practice it seems to mean “as many overseas junkets as possible”.

Having disposed of those in short order, let’s finish with the Abdullah’s specialty, ‘Reducing corruption and improving government’.

The very first point gets right to the heart of the matter - ‘Continue to enforce anti-corruption measures without fear or favour’ (I don’t know about ‘continue’, but it would be nice to make a start.) Next we have ‘Strengthen monitoring and enforcement by agencies such as the ACA, Customs, Inland Revenue and local authorities’.

But honestly, I can’t bear to type any more of this nonsense. It’s not a manifesto, it’s a manifest load of rubbish.

And for Abdullah to be asking for another mandate for BN on the strength of his track record and this ludicrous document is an insult to every sentient Malaysian’s intelligence and integrity."

http://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/78766

Posted on: 2008/2/28 15:32
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