Sandra Rajoo brings to you another edition of REFSA Rojak, a weekly take on the goings-on in Malaysia by Research for Social Advancement (REFSA).
REFSA Rojak – “trawl the newsflow, cut to the core and focus on the really pertinent. Full of flavour, lots of crunch, this is the concise snapshot to help Malaysians keep abreast of the issues of the day.”
No collaborative evidence, says the judge
Anwar Ibrahim was acquitted of sodomy back in January this year. His accuser, 26-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari, was his former aide. Finally out is the written judgement by Judge Zabidin Mohamad Diah which cites “lack of collaborative evidence” as a reason for Anwar’s acquittal. The drama of Sodomy 2 may be over but Anwar is not out of the woods yet. The AG may yet file an appeal. Saiful’s father in particular is all for it.
Never has an orifice captured a nation’s imagination the way this one has. And in keeping with grand Hollywood movie tradition and style, don’t be surprised if the sequel, Sodomy 3, pops up just before GE13. No prizes for guessing what the plot is going to be.
MCA versus MB Khalid
Another case of “you say… I say” is making the rounds in the media. This time it is MCA’s allegations of corruption against the Selangor state government. MB Khalid is so vexed that he plans to sue MCA and others for fabricating the “untrue” story. The complex web of ‘deceit’ revolves around debt-ridden Talam Corporation which MCA said was bailed out by the state using public funds. MCA is baying for answers, claiming that RM392 million was unaccounted for.
Talam, now known as Trinity Corporation, has denied all allegations, saying its transactions were “scrutinised by the Securities Commission Assets Valuation Department and Bursa Securities” and certainly above board.
Land Scam in MBPJ an inside job?
With just one insidious stroke of the mighty pen, unscrupulous officials in the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) created millionaires. These officers discreetly made alterations to local land plans for the great benefit of a privileged few. PJ City Councillor Derek Fernandez alleged that as many as “220 unauthorised and illegal amendments involving 40 plots of land” were made by corrupt officials.
The PKNS field in Kelana Jaya was one such case. Illegal amendments to PJ Draft Local Plan Two (RTPJ 2) changed the status of the “recreational” area into a “commercial” zone, and in the process caused a “25-fold increase” in land value. Such shenanigans no doubt fattened certain people’s bank balances.
And where are our esteemed MACC and police force? We at REFSA would fully support a full-scale investigation into this subversion of government procedures and breach of public trust.
Total disregard for the value of money
Regard for the value of money goes into a downward spin when scant regard is shown for the amount spent on ‘development’. After so many construction and development fiascos and billions of ringgit down the drain, another major one is looming large like a sinister dark cloud over our new airport – KLIA2. The cost of its construction was supposed to be RM1.7 billion, an extremely huge sum one would think. But this amount spiralled out of control to an outrageous RM5 billion.
One of the reasons, according to Member of Parliament Tony Pua, was the shift from the “originally proposed northern site (KLIA North) to the current western site (KLIA West)”, which is a peat swamp. Obviously, earthworks costs went up substantially. Pua blames the “lackadaisical” attitude of the Transport Minister and the lack of monitoring and accountability for the inflated costs.
So much reckless spending and no one gives a hoot. Seeing so much money going down the drain should create some sense of urgency, no? Are authorities waiting for more money to vanish before they start kicking into gear?
Clash of the titans
Another piece of news creating a buzz is a tryst between MCA President Chua Soi Lek and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng this Sunday. No, they are not slugging it out over the issue of sexual impropriety. This meeting takes on a more pressing issue – a debate on policy titled “DAP & MCA: Whose Policies Benefit the Community Better?”
How these two leaders expound on the subjects “education, healthcare, economic prosperity, community service, national unity, public welfare and poverty elevation” will be interesting to hear.
It’s too bad that the powers-that-be have nixed the idea of a ‘live’ telecast that will make the event accessible to all Malaysians, rather than just the select few who are privileged to attend in person. Surely a debate by two senior political leaders in Malaysia deserves airtime on national TV.
Or is the ruling party so unsure of itself it needs to restrict the masses to hearing just its sanitised post-debate ‘spin’?
Why ‘Rojak’? Disparate flavours and textures come together in a harmonious mix to make this delicious but underrated concoction. Our Rojak weekly is much like this mix, making sense of the noise of daily newsflow and politicking.
It is also our ultimate dream that our multi-ethnic melange of communities can be made richer within the unique ‘sauce’ that is Malaysia. Let’s take pride in the ‘rojakness’ of our nation!