You deserve Umno and BN

Let’s be clear about one thing: YOU are helping the cronies to get rich. And with this money they are keeping Umno-BN in power. Stop eating fast food (it’s bad for your health anyway). Stop buying lotteries. Stop buying cars and motorcycles from crony companies. Stop banking with crony banks. Stop using communication services from crony companies. Stop flying with crony airlines. And so on.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The MCA-owned newspaper, The Star, published its editorial today called ‘And now, for the next step’. You can read it below. Basically, this editorial sings the praises of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration.

Now, before the pro-Umno and pro-Barisan Nasional Bloggers start whacking me to kingdom come, let me state that, yes, I am critical of Najib. But I am critical of him for a reason. In fact, I would be critical of anyone and everyone who is the Prime Minister of Malaysia or aspires to be the next Prime Minister of Malaysia. That’s my job. That’s what I do. That is, as they say, the nature of the beast.

I have been whacking every Prime Minister since Tun Hussein Onn and will continue to do so as long as I am able to. Why only since Tun Hussein Onn and not since Tunku Abdul Rahman or Tun Razak Hussein? Well, because Tun Hussein became Prime Minister on 15th January 1976, and as I have written so many times before, I did not become ‘political’ until 35 years ago in 1977. Hence the Tunku and Tun Razak were ‘spared’ my attacks mainly because I did not care a damn about the country until I was 27 years old.

Anyway, why would I want to attack dead men and the Father of Independence (Bapa Merdeka)? My job is to attack those in power and those trying to get into power. And this would include both sides of the political divide. Malaysians must learn to become political but not partisan. Many, in fact, are apolitical, which was what I was until 1977. Hence half the eligible voters did not vote in March 2008. And that is bad. At least in 1974 I voted although I was apolitical. And I voted opposition on top of that.

Nevertheless, what I want to comment about is not so much regarding Najib but regarding The Star’s editorial today: And now, for the next step. The Star said: A total of RM2.6bil was set aside to assist some 5.2 million households nationwide under its one-off provision of RM500 to those earning below RM3,000 under the BR1M financial aide scheme. 

This is a positive comment. That means The Star (and I presume the government as well) acknowledges that one can’t survive with an income of less that RM3,000 a month. This is what I have been saying for a long time. In fact, I have suggested that the minimum wage be pegged at RM1,800 a month. Anything below RM1,800 would mean you are poor. And in the cities the poverty level should be pegged at RM3,000.

And this would mean most Malaysians could be considered poor. What can you do with a mere RM1,000-RM1,500 a month, what most people earn in Malaysia? And the fact that the government refuses to pass into law a minimum wage is bad. Malaysia must have a minimum wage.

Next, The Star says that: The report card for the other six NKRAs were….

The Star is merely playing around with percentages and then declares that things have improved under Najib’s government. Say, in 2010, one Malaysian was unemployed. In 2011, two Malaysians were unemployed. Can I say that unemployment has increased 100%? That would be correct, would it not? But that would paint a very bleak picture — unemployment increased 100% — although only one more person out of 10 million was unemployed and the total now stands at just two. 

If, say, in 2011 two people were unemployed and now, in 2012, it is just one, then the ‘good news’ would be unemployment was reduced by 50%. Hence percentages can be quite misleading. It would be the absolute figures that would tell the real story.

On the part about the reduction in crime, The Star, of course, refers to reported crimes. Many people no longer bother to report crimes. And the crimes that The Star talks about are mainly petty crimes and drug-related (direct and indirect). What would the figure be if the crime index were based on millions or billions of Ringgit? How would the percentages now look like?

Yes, bag snatching, mobile phones and motorcycles thefts, muggings, shoplifting, etc., in numbers of cases may have gone down, but the major crimes have not. In fact, they have increased because the underworld syndicates get police protection. The drugs, loan shark, prostitution, gambling, etc., syndicates are where the big money is.

These syndicates not only work hand-in-hand with the police, but they also donate generously to political parties on both sides of the fence. Yes, that’s right, even the opposition parties receive donations from the underworld. Has this class of crime also been reduced? Or has it in fact increased? And note that all these crimes go unreported so they do not appear on those statistics that The Star reported.

The ‘Black Economy’ is huge. In countries like Russia and many Latin American and African countries, the ‘Black Economy’ is bigger than the ‘White Economy’. It is, in fact, the real economic engine. So that is what we should be concerned about. How is the ‘economic health’ of the ‘Black Economy’? Has this sector increased or reduced?

On the part about ‘fighting corruption’, The Star proudly quotes the number of cases that saw indictments. How many cases were reported? More importantly, how many cases went unreported?

We must note that in corruption cases there must be givers and receivers. How many times would givers report such cases? For sure the receivers would not. And why would the givers report such cases when they would be equally guilty? Furthermore, the giver would have benefited from the bribes they gave so why report it? This would be like slaying the goose that lays the golden egg.

Again, it would be more appropriate if we know the total Ringgit value of the ‘Black Economy’ involving corruption. And how much in Ringgit value will those less than 1,000 cases that The Star quoted come to? And how many percent of the total ‘Black Economy’ involving corruption would these less than 1,000 cases come to?

918 people were charged last year, said The Star. Say, these 918 cases came to RM50 million. And, say, the total ‘Black Economy’ involving corruption in that same period came to RM50 billion. Is that impressive?

Let’s look at one example. There are an estimated three million illegal and legal foreign workers in Malaysia. Each legally ‘imported’ worker involves RM500 or more ‘under-the-table’ money. Each illegally ‘imported’ worker involves RM100 per month in ‘protection money’. My estimation would be that this industry runs into at least RM5 billion per year. For the last ten years alone this would come to RM50 billion.

And what about the rest of the underworld syndicates’ drugs, loan shark, prostitution, gambling, etc., business? How much in Ringgit value were bribes involved here? Would I be way off the mark when I say that the entire ‘Black Economy’ runs into the hundreds of billions over the last ten years alone? And less than 1,000 people were brought to court involving we don’t know how many Ringgit in total.

Anyway, my point is, we really don’t have the bigger picture. So, before we pop champagne and scream ‘Halleluiah’, let us ask one very basic and crucial question: have things really got better in Malaysia? Or are they merely window dressing and playing with percentages to paint a positive picture? Those who work and live in Malaysia can probably answer that question. Do you find life better today in Malaysia than, say, 30 years ago in 1982, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad first took over as Prime Minister?

I, for one, could own a single-storey bungalow and a brand-new 1600 Mitsubishi Colt Galant 30 years ago in 1982. I could get married and have children 30 years ago in 1982. I did not need to lock up my house but could actually leave the doors and windows open 30 years ago in 1982. I did not need car and home burglar alarms 30 years ago in 1982. I did not worry about getting robbed or mugged 30 years ago in 1982. The education we received in forms four-five 30 years ago in 1982 was far better than the college-university education today. With a form five education 30 years ago in 1982 you had good career prospects compared to a college-university education today.

And 30 years ago in 1982, my wife and I were only earning RM750 per month combined. So that is what we must talk about, not talk about what The Star is talking about in today’s editorial.

Before I end, let us talk about the Bersih 3.0 demonstration planned for the end of this month. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Most people attribute this quote to Albert Einstein but there is no evidence to suggest that he made this statement. Anyway, whether Einstein did or did not say this matters not. It is still a good quote and relevant to what I want to say.

We had Bersih 2007 and Bersih 2.0. Now we are going to have Bersih 3.0. I don’t want to be a party pooper by saying that this is a total waste of time. Nevertheless, as the quotation above said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

Do we really expect Unmo to listen? Even if we organise Bersih 3.0, Bersih 4.0, Bersih 5.0 and whatnot, will Umno implement the electoral reforms that we want? I suspect they will not. Hence we need more than just 50,000 Malaysians waving flags on the street. We need to hurt them where it matters most.

What is it that keeps Umno in power? Basically money. Without money, Umno is dead. And where does Umno get its money from? Mainly from business tycoons and big businesses. 

Hence it is no use screaming about corruption and hope to see the end of corruption if most of you would rather pay a bribe than pay a fine. In that same spirit, it is also no use screaming about changes and electoral reforms if the very thing that keeps Umno in power is not attacked.

Who are these cronies of those who walk in the corridors of power? What are their companies and businesses? Most of you who scream about all sorts of things are the same people who support the businesses and companies of these cronies.

Are you really serious about change? Do you really want to see electoral reforms? Are you determined to see an end to abuse of power, corruption, mismanagement, etc? How serious are you? Are you serious enough to boycott businesses and companies of those cronies who finance Umno to ensure that they stay in power?

You may need to seriously consider another course of action. If you think that the Mamaks are the ones who are playing up race and religious issues, in particular in Penang, then boycott all Mamak businesses. If you think that Vincent Tan is one of the biggest Umno running dogs, then boycott all services and businesses associated or linked to Vincent Tan. And so on.

Let’s be clear about one thing: YOU are helping the cronies to get rich. And with this money they are keeping Umno-BN in power. Stop eating fast food (it’s bad for your health anyway). Stop buying lotteries. Stop buying cars and motorcycles from crony companies. Stop banking with crony banks. Stop using communication services from crony companies. Stop flying with crony airlines. And so on.

But many of you are too selfish. You would rather have others do the fighting for you. You would rather not suffer any inconvenience by boycotting every service and business that is linked to the ruling party. This is too much trouble. And because of that Umno and Barisan Nasional will continue to be in power even if you organise Bersih 10.0


And now, for the next step

Three years ago when Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak first addressed his fellow Malaysians as their Prime Minister, he promised them that he would improve their lot through his 1Malaysia People First, Performance Now concept.

Of course, there were those who doubted this – if not his sincerity, his ability. The cynics even gave their own interpretation to the GTP, ETP and NKRA acronyms. These are the transformation programmes.

But Najib had the last laugh. On Monday night, he rattled off a list of achievements that his transformation programmes had accomplished after the GTP and ETP 2011 reports were presented to him.

His aides let on that among the initiatives that Najib was most happy with concerned the NKRA to deal with rising cost of living through schemes like Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia and Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia.

A total of RM2.6bil was set aside to assist some 5.2 million households nationwide under its one-off provision of RM500 to those earning below RM3,000 under the BR1M financial aide scheme.

Under the same NKRA, Malaysians could buy groceries at KR1M stores for about 30 to 40% less than at conventional grocery stores.

The report card for the other six NKRAs were:

> Reducing Crime – a 39.7% drop in Street Crime nationwide, and a 11.1% decrease in the Crime Index. Satisfaction of the public with the police increased to a high of 70.5%.

> Fighting Corruption – 918 people were charged last year with 249 cases completed by the 14 special corruption courts.

> Improving Students Outcomes – Pre-school enrolment rate increased to 77.23% compared to 72.4% in 2010. There was also a 40.25% decrease in low performing schools while the number of High Performing Schools increased from 20 in 2010 to 52 schools.

> Urban Public Transport – 547,669 passengers now enjoy the services of the new Bus Expressway Transit while rail commuters enjoy the comfort of 35 sets of four-car trains on the Kelana Jaya LRT line system.

> Improving Rural Basic Infrastructure – 109,500 houses were provided with water and 54,270 with electricity. A total of 31,327 rural houses were built and 1,013km roads constructed, impacting the lives of almost one million people.

> Raising Living Standards of Low-Income Households – the 1AZAM programme initiatives provided 63,147 poor households the productive capacity of becoming self-sustaining.

However, these accomplishments are possible because of the vibrant economy that the country is enjoying.

It would have been impossible for the Government to pay for all these gifts if its income had not increased, as Najib’s administration did not borrow to pay for them. They were financed from internally generated revenue from the vibrant economy brought about by projects under the ETP.

In the first year of the ETP’s implementation, private investments surpassed the 2011 target by 13% to reach RM94bil and the Gross National Income by 4% or RM830bil.

These achievements are tremendous and nothing to be scoffed at.

The people should appreciate the successes, especially since they are the direct beneficiaries. However, the Government must strive even harder to achieve the ultimate target of Najib’s 1Malaysia plan – to create a united multi-racial and high-income nation. — The Star