As things heat up for the coming elections, Pepper announces whom he will not be voting for and why.
I have been told to keep my vote a secret, but I am going to break that rule.
I am very unhappy with the present government and I do not care if people know it. Strangely, I was not always unhappy with them.
Back in 1995, I thought everything in our country was hunky-dory. Malaysia was experiencing a boom and the Internet was maturing at a steady pace. Soon, the 1997 financial crisis happened, and I started to hear stories. It was the Internet that gave me hints that something was not quite right about our country.
The next few years were tumultuous; the Deputy Prime Minister was sent to prison, there were talks of reformation and people lost their jobs in the crisis. For the first time in my life, I hear this new word: “crony”. Whispers of “cronies” and “cronyism” began to surface. The Internet offered snippets to fuel the rumours here and there. Stories of dirty dealings and massive corruption linked to the Prime Minister began to make their way around the Internet and email blasts. Still, the mainstream media reported that all was well with our country.
Then, a surprising piece of news shocked the entire nation. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced his resignation! Taking his place was the new Deputy Prime Minister whom I thought was a gentleman, experienced in his years of service as the Foreign Minister and other important ministerial posts.
Evidently, I was not the only who thought he would make a good Prime Minister. When he asked the nation to give him the mandate to lead the country, the rakyat gave him a resounding “Yes!”. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became the most popular prime minister in recent history. The 2004 elections nearly wiped out the Opposition. PKR barely hung on with only 1 seat. PAS went from 27 seats to just 7. I thought a new era was dawning in Malaysia. I was wrong.
In the 4 years PM Abdullah Badawi ruled, he literally did squat. Sure, he did a few good things but the things he did not do were overwhelming. When he called for elections in 2008, the rakyat showed him their disapproval. Within 4 short years, this man went from being one of the most popular prime ministers ever to the most unpopular! He earned the nickname “sleepy head”. Come on, you are the Prime Minister! You should have strapped on a pair and done your job right!
A year later, PM Abdullah Badawi was removed in an internal coup within UMNO. Malaysia saw a new prime minister again. Prime Minister Najib Razak took office in 2009 and quickly announced new changes. By now, I was weary of promises by the Prime Minster. Since it is PM Najib’s administration seeking a mandate from me this elections, here are my reasons why I will not be voting him nor his coalition.
PKFZ, Lembu, Scorpene, Justice
After Datuk Lee Hwa Beng (MCA) came to speak at UndiMsia about his new book “PKFZ: A Nation’s Trust Betrayed“, Edmund Bon asked me to head a small team to turn the gist of his book into an info-graphic. I was shocked after reading the details that turned a hefty RM1.08 billion project into a mind boggling RM12.5 billion! Moreover, what the book revealed is only the tip of the iceberg!
Two French-made Scorpene submarines were bought via a 3rd-party negotiator who was paid RM500 million! What, isn’t there anyone in the government who knows how to negotiate large contracts that they have to pay RM500 million to someone else to do it for them? And, they want to convince me that they know how to run this country better than anyone else?
The National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) is another ugly episode for the present government. A minister’s family is given RM250 million to develop something for the nation and they ended up buying RM42 million worth of condominiums in foreign countries. RM42 million! And here is the government talking about affordable housing for the rakyat.
Was justice served to the guilty parties? Not as far as I know. Why aren’t such cases quickly reviewed, revised and corrected before the public found out for themselves?
The PDRM and MACC
I have always grown up thinking the Malaysian police is there to protect the rakyat. Instead, we find cases of gross wrongdoings within the force whom we all depend on to uphold the law. In 2009, two police officers were found guilty of using military grade C-4 bomb to kill a Mongolian citizen. Not only were the murderers police officers but a Chief Inspector and a Corporal at that, and both were members of the elite Unit Tindakan Khas!
People who go to the police station risk not coming back alive. Victims such as Kugan have all died under mysterious circumstances while in the custody of the PDRM. Victims have come forward to recount tales of being beaten by police officers while under interrogation. According to REFSA, 55% of these cases are simply closed just like that! Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi.
Despite the government releasing statistic after statistic of lower crime rate, I do not feel safe. My own parents were held at knife-point in their own home at 9 o’clock in the morning in 2011. The rakyat have to set up their own gated communities and live in fear of crime. We are fearful of our bags being snatched, our cars going missing while parked outside our homes, our homes broken into and our children risk being kidnapped while in school.
When will the police make us feel safe? More importantly, are they able to make us feel safe?
The government says it wants to fight corruption. Long ago, they called it Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR). Then, it changed its name to Biro Siasatan Negara (BSN). Soon, they changed their name back to BPR. Today, it has a new name under the present government: Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) or Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Tell me, what big corruption cases have they smashed and how many big fish have they brought to justice? What big changes have they made other than their name?
Till today, billion ringgit contracts are still given out without proper tenders and humongous concessions handed over behind closed doors. When asked about it, we receive replies to the tune of, “Official Secrets Act la!” or “The contract has already been signed and there’s nothing we can do about it now!” or something similar.
Hey, people even die while being interviewed by the MACC! First, Teoh Beng Hock died while being interviewed over possibilities of his boss misusing RM2,400. Yes, two thousand and four hundred ringgit only! Then, two years later, Ahmad Sarbani also fell out of the MACC’s window while being interviewed. You can read my article about Beng Hock and the MACC: “Dear Paprika: Beng Hock’s Death“. Fell out, my foot! In the end, no one was guilty of anything. Come on, really?
Bullies, Protesters, Bersih
I feel our nation has descended into a “might is right” mentality. I have been watching videos on YouTube of bullies attacking and intimidating people. Take a look for yourself here: a man punching Adam right in front of a police station, thugs attacking an ABU ceramah, putting up party flags turn into a nightmare, thugs threatening our mahasiswa-mahasiswa, thugs appearing at Ambiga’s home, Yo-Rais belittling a rakyat and Ms. Listen-listen-listen.
Do you want mob rule? Not me.
When thugs attacked the peaceful Occupy Dataran and anti-PTPTN protesters in the wee hours of the morning (video here), I was told by the victims that the police who were just across the road simply stood there watching the fracas and did nothing. In the end, it was two of the peaceful protesters who were hauled to the police station and not the thugs.
The PM says the “era of government knows best is over”. However, when the rakyat voiced their concerns, no actions were taken. So they took to the streets in protest, not once but trice! Each time, they were met with mass arrests, tear gas and chemical sprays.
Oh, the thugs are not your boys? So what? You are governing the country, so govern it well! When a video of a KFC employee was shown flouring chicken pieces after wiping it on his shoe, KFC’s Pengarah Operasi Restoran made a public apology and promised it would not happen again. I still eat KFC with confidence.
We talk, they don’t listen. What were we told? “Debat bukan budaya kita.” When we get fed up and keep quite, they say “the silent majority” supports them. Ade ke?!
The Old ISA and ISA Baru
In his 15 September 2012 speech, PM Najib said he would abolish the dreaded Internal Securities Act (ISA). The horrible ISA has been used countless times in silencing the Opposition and critics instead of what it was originally intended for. I remember being in Pusat Rakyat LB watching this speech live on TV. We cheered loudly because several Loyarburokkers had worked hard to repeal the ISA.
We were soon quiet when we remembered he had earlier announced a new ISA called SOSMA. Isn’t that the “same difference“? Who is he trying to kid?
Handouts vs. Jobs and Wages
Recently, the government has been giving handouts to help poor families make ends meet. That is good. We should help those in need.
Surprise, surprise! As it turns out, 80% of Malaysian households do need this handout! Whatever happened to helping us increase our earning power and increasing our income to meet rising inflation? Why can’t the minimum wage be set as per what the average rakyat needs instead of the current paltry sum? Handouts to capable people are demeaning. It turns the rakyat into a beggar of sorts. I would rather have a well paying job; I want to work to feed my family rather than receive money like a beggar!
And, I could not believe it when the PM said that the RM500 handout could feed a family for a year! Gila!
Further more, where is all this money coming from? Who will end up bearing the costs? Is this going to turn into another bloated PKFZ? Lots of people are struggling with their own personal loan repayments. The last thing we need is to bear repayments for loans taken by our government. (REFSA has lots of easy to understand info-graphics about how our government works.)
I am tired
I have other concerns. I am also worried about the lack of judicial impartiality, suppression of minority rights, the quality and accessibility of education for Malaysians, racism and PERKASA, state controlled media, unaffordable housing, the unemployment rate and more. Alas, I am tired, very tired. There are so many things wrong and I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Just like Lee Hwa Beng’s book title, I feel my trust in the present government is betrayed. I am not going to vote “the devil I know than the devil I don’t”. I want to get rid of devils running my country; one at a time if I have to.
I want a change.
PS. The PKFZ animated info-graphic is here: prezi.com/gemtrte4cfp6/pkfz-scandal/