Muhyiddin Whips Up Anti-BN Support Again

By Mariam Mokhtar

Cabinet ministers must think us stupid. Any unexpected improvements to a normally dilapidated area can only mean two things – a forthcoming by-election or a ministerial visit.

Residents throughout Malaysia are aware of the tell-tale signs: Potholes are repaired, instant gardens appear, buildings are given a face-lift and the much touted problems of litter, blocked drains and public toilets disappear overnight – like a fairy godmother has waved her magic wand.

In addition, the area is heavily policed to prevent crime, drug addicts are forcibly removed and homeless people are moved on.

And so it was for the Ampangan community which noticed the frenzied activity in the days before the visit of the Deputy Prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin arrived last Saturday for his scheduled walkabout to Ampangan. After he toured the UDA flats, the wet market and Pasar Tani, he then presented the government’s case to the public, with a view to winning their votes.

Sadly, Muhyiddin rubbed the residents up the wrong way.

Instead of treating the rakyat with respect and humility, Muhyiddin talked down to them and told them that the BN government had done much to improve the lives of Malaysians. He told the audience that we should be ‘grateful’ to BN.

Muhyiddin might be seen as a chubby cherub in his Ministry but his arrogance is enough to vote him out of office.

Since when has a government servant, who was elected to serve the people, been so obtuse and insolent? Being patronising will cost him votes.

Cynics might ask if we should be grateful for BN’s racist and discriminatory policies. Or for its flip-flop policies in education which are destroying the future of our youth, teachers and educational establishments.

Did he want us to be thankful that our country has one of the highest levels of corruption in all levels of public office? What about the low wages given to our workers? Or the preferential treatment for migrant workers who have more voting rights and privileges than many Malaysians?

Has Muhyiddin forgotten that criminal acts by those in high office are unchecked by the enforcement agencies? And that our women and children are discriminated against?

Muhyiddin told the public: “It’s not easy to be the government; the opposition is only good at making promises which they never have to fulfil.”

He could have added: “Just like BN.”

Muhyiddin also said that Malaysia would go bankrupt, if the opposition were to win the general election.

But his claims are not substantiated by economic successes in Selangor and Penang.

Many will recall that earlier in the year, the DPM had already chastised Pakatan for their 100-day reforms when he said: “Pakatan can promise the sun, moon, stars and mountains… But that is not the way of the BN government. We cannot squander our nation’s wealth.”

Really, Muhyiddin?

What about those multi-billion ringgit projects with commissions to high ranking politicians and their cronies that go undetected, or if they are reported, are swept under the carpet? Think Scorpene, the offshore patrol boats and other arms deals. Think of all the timber exports from Sarawak and the Bakun dam.

What about the millions paid out by his boss, the Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, to media companies like FBC and CNBC, to paint a glossy picture of Malaysia under Najib’s rule. Our PM flits about the world spending millions on air travel, but many of our people can’t afford one decent meal a day.

Muhyiddin must live in his own dream world. People are disillusioned with 54 years of Umno/BN and we are more divided than ever.

Zimbabwe was once the Bread-Basket of Africa, but look at it now. Malaya was a colony that was once the pride and joy of the British Empire but our economy is failing and our status diminished. We might soon join President Robert Mugabe, in the world ranking of failed nation states.

Standards in education are pitiful, the civil service is expanding but is less productive, whilst our defence spending has spiraled into orbit.

So Muhyiddin claims that Pakatan never fulfils their promises.

Does he remember the time when Umno’s Kalabakan MP Abdul Ghapur Salleh submitted a full report on the terrible condition of the schools in East Malaysia, including structurally unsafe schools in Tawau and schools in Sibu, where holes in the ground served as toilets?

Abdul Ghapur complained that Muhyiddin’s Ministry sat on the report for over a year without doing anything about it.

Perhaps, these students, their parents and the teachers should have been smarter and requested an official visit from Muhyiddin. At least that way, they can be assured of some cosmetic changes to their buildings.

That was the same conclusion reached in Ampangan.

Dr Mohamad Rafie Abdul Malik from the PKR supreme council, doubts BN’s sincerity to help the public and he estimated the cost for beautifying the area in preparation for Muhyiddin’s visit, at a few hundred thousand ringgits.

Others speculate that the bunting and banners to publicise the DPM’s visit cost another few hundred thousand ringgits.

He said, “I’m not questioning the upgrading and instant development, which will benefit the residents here. But why wait for Muhyiddin’s visit to do this upgrading?”

Apparently, the complaints by residents, about lack of maintenance to the building’s infrastructure, went unheeded for years, until the DPM’s visit.

Muhyiddin must think us blind. BN’s frenetic activity only occurs in the weeks before the election and not in the years between general elections.

On the other hand, Muhyiddin’s promises of aid for Ampangan could have been fuelled by Pakatan Rakyat claims that a marginal five per cent swing in four key seats in the state would unseat the BN government.

This desperate pouring of assistance for the area is driven by fear. Should the rakyat be grateful to BN for that?