Millions for Schools


Seriously, do we have that much of money to toss around or is Christmas simply early this year?

(Think of it as an investment for the future – schools that does  not have enough money to run is going to greatly impact its students and their performance in education. Image source: http://www.connectmidmissouri.com)

If there is one thing I take with great concern, it has to be on the direction of the education system in this country. And in the last few weeks, there has been major development in regards to this – one was the unrevealing of the national blueprint for 2013 – 2025 and the other was this:-

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced an allocation of RM30mil for the development of Chinese national-type secondary schools (SMJK) in the country. During his address at the MCA annual general assembly here Sunday, Najib said he had discussed the matter with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, and they had agreed to grant RM30mil for the schools.

Earlier in his presidential address, MCA chief Datuk Seri Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek had appealed to the Prime Minister for assistance for these schools, saying there was currently no allocation for them. “There are 78 conforming schools with more than 125,000 students. They should be given an allocation of RM50mil next year,” he said.

(Source)

It is not the first or last time we have heard of this kind of “sincerity” from the Government especially when the general election is coming up soon:-

For how long more we can keep giving away the money when source of fund is truly limited?

In the first place, we have yet to see any concrete plans from anyone to merge the various “types” of school in this country into one common type where it will be easier to manage them under the same policy and consolidated funding. What we have seen so far is perpetuation of this segregation and any attempts to introduce any form of integration of schools) are often met with passionate, angry response from certain community leaders and compounded with undue political pressure. Sometimes illogical reasons like quick diminish of the mother language & culture with the younger generations feeds the fear of change, sometimes the grave concern of the difference of quality between the various types of school makes the segregation sounds valid (argument that Chinese schools teachers are more responsible and more concerned about the students’ development, an argument to keep the Chinese schools still relevant, on the other hand is utter rubbish).

Why we have not been able to integrate the schools after 55 years of independence? Is it a question of emotion or actual concern? Tony Pua in 2007 wrote this:-

The recently launched National Education Blueprint 2006 by Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein focuses purely on “strengthening the national schools”, with vernacular schools representing just a statistic in Malaysia’s education landscape. Vernacular schools are often neglected or treated with suspicion due to their ethnically Chinese or Tamil nature. There are widespread fears that the strengthening or even the presence of vernacular schools in Malaysia is antithetical to achieving national unity.

Chinese and Tamil educationists on the other hand, fear the strengthening of national schools will erode the future character and viability of vernacular schools. For many of them, every facet of the existing vernacular education must be protected at all cost. Otherwise, they fear detractors will pounce on any signs of weakness to destroy vernacular education in this country.

As a result, parties on both sides of the equation treat the issue of national versus vernacular schools as a zero sum game — one party’s gain is the other’s loss. However, such views are certainly flawed and works against the interest of a multi-racial and multi-cultural country like Malaysia. They are bred through mistrust and hardened by years of negative experiences.

Vernacular school educationists are also, understandably, unconvinced by the “national unity” argument because the government has taken steps to build and expand MRSM secondary schools which are almost exclusive domains of ethnic Malays.

Rita Sim in August 2012 also talked about the strength and weaknesses of Chinese schools in the country. And one of her argument for the existence of Chinese School is this:-

From the economic perspective, the rise of China puts a global economic superpower in our immediate neighbourhood and we would be foolish not to harness Chinese schools to enhance cultural and linguistic capital for our national professional, commercial and diplomatic advantage. Every Malaysian has the opportunity to benefit because our Chinese schools are not discriminatory.

Are you saying that if Afghanistan becomes the next global economic superpower (let’s run with our wild imagination, shall we?), we should drop everything and start Pastho/Dari schools? We have yet to put our foot down on ensuring good command of English (p.s. the language of many economic superpowers in the world – Japanese, French & Spanish is another) in our national education biosphere and here we are only focussing on the Chinese language. And if we apply the same argument for Tamil schools, then why we are not learning Hindi? So why not just address the reasons to maintain the vernacular schools – come up with the best win-win solution for students, teachers and students whilst still maintaining the high standard of education all around with good emphasis on the issue of language (let’s have Chinese & Tamil classes on the daily basis & on extra hours if we still insist on equipping ourselves with language of the economic superpowers) and force all to be converted into national school where it can be fully funded by the Government?

It is a fact that not all Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools are fully funded schools; they need to apply to the Government for the additional funding and this is where the problem usually starts. The schools have to rely on the Government and by some extension, politicians to get the necessary funding for schools and this has not been easy for some schools especially Tamil schools. And those who have decided that they will remain as vernacular schools despite these improvements and resists all attempts for national integration should be left standing on their own. And in the end, we will only have 2 types of school in this country – fully funded public and self funded private schools.

Of course, announcing millions of ringgit for the vernacular schools is one thing (after all anyone can announce anything under the sun), the vernacular schools seeing the actual dough (or sometimes land) for its expansion & non-Government funded operations is another thing all together. It takes too long for these schools to get the money but the problems facing them simply compounds on daily basis especially for the students. Sometimes the actual disbursement of the funds – the final amount and the time it is finally disbursed is made slightly complicated with the presence of “middleman”. There is a high chance of the money is passed from the Government to middleman to be managed and only trickles are passed on to these schools at the end of the day.

Giving away money to school is just a short term fix to a long term problem – yes, it provides an immediate relief to the problems that the school are facing but it does not really provide the long term solution to long term problems. It does not really address the issue of sustainability of money for schools. The Government does not have deep pockets to keep giving away money to schools on yearly basis and there are other areas of the administration that the Government need to look into as well (healthcare, defence, crime-fighting, etc but not the plans like BRIM which simply gives out money but does not really address the issue of low income in the long run). The state of the country’s economy and management of the money that we have also dictates how much these schools is going to get its share of the pie in the future and one cannot guarantee a high performance economy all the time.

There is only so much that the schools can do to self-manage funding for schools – the yearly school fees, donations from parents & other individuals (many prefer to donate to temples than to schools), fund raising activities and perhaps (to those who have the right infrastructure) rentals collected from booking of school halls for other functions & sports activities. Some even advise automation & going green as part of the cost cutting measures. Those schools with the right connection can look into additional funding from State Government and perhaps sponsorship from some private organisations on land, equipment and money but it does not apply to all schools especially those tucked away in deep rubber estates.

The more viable option would be to convert themselves from partially funded schools to fully funded schools and that means to change from vernacular type school to national type school where the main language of the day is Bahasa Malaysia and English with high importance to Mandarin & Tamil. This will also resolve another factor that contributes to dwindling number of students in some of the vernacular schools (and thus directly the funding for schools). When all are national schools adhering to the same standards and policies, it will be easier to distribute the students as well (some schools are now overcrowded, others barely have regular students).

One must remember that at the end, the one who truly suffer due to inconsistent funding and difference in policies are the students. Not the Minister, the Ministry, the politicians who is looking for an opportunity or community educationalists who insist on priority of language & culture without looking for a long term solution especially when it comes to funding to schools.

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Talam: Facts or Spins?


(Chua Jr claims that it is a RM1 billion bailout by a reckless State Government and demands for a concrete answer. But the thing is, the Talam Debt Restructuring itself is very confusing and is not easy to be understood by the man on the street unless you are prepared to go into the details and analyse the debt restructuring ringgit by ringgit. Image source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com)

The first I heard about Talam is when my colleague of mine was complaining about the half completed house that he bought from Talam. That was in the late 1990s and it was not a big news back then because there were a couple more housing developers who facing the same problems.

Now Talam, is back in the headlines, thanks to the so-called revelations by MCA’s Chua Tee Yong and whilst we wonder why now and why no similar revelations were made by Chua on BN deals (does PKFZ rings a bell?), the constant barrage of allegations on the Selangor State Government proves nothing but a menace to Pakatan Rakyat. DAP’s Tony Pua have countered these allegations rather well and have attempted to explain the reasoning behind Talam Debt Restructuring Exercise.  But before one’s goes further into the micro details of the debt restructuring exercise, one needs to understand why we have the Talam issue in the first place.

For that, it will be prudent to read these 2 articles that explains the beginning of the Talam affairs.

First titled “Kicking into your own goal”:-

By exposing what the previous Umno-BN led GoS was trying hard to keep under wraps, Chua Junior may have unwittingly opened the proverbial Pandora’s box. I am, of course, referring to his Talam Debt Expose. If the current GoS had exposed this scandal, it would not have got even one line of coverage in the mainstream media (MSM). However, because it was MCA-BN that exposed it, it gets front-page coverage for weeks on end. Let us look at the details of the Talam Debt Settlement and see what skeletons are rattling where.

Debt Settlement of 2009

YB Teresa Kok had said on Tuesday that the Debt Settlement of 2009 was a continuation of the earlier Debt Settlement Agreements made in 2006 and 2007 — that means during the previous Umno-BN State Government.

One earlier Debt Settlement in particular is of great interest. That is, the one signed between Talam and Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Berhad (KHSB) in 2005 — again, under the previous Umno-BN State Government. When this agreement was signed, Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye was a Director of KHSB and Talam was a major shareholder of KHSB. So this required KHSB calling for a Shareholders Meeting in 2005 to have the agreement approved by the shareholders. However, it was not done, as it would have meant that KHSB would have to appoint an Independent Adviser and all the shit would have been exposed — especially the ‘haircut’ or reduction that was being given to Talam from a more than RM150 million debt to slightly over RM100 million.

So Chua Junior did the Selangor voters a favour by exposing the issue and requesting for an investigation and action to be taken, as now the Bursa and SC can investigate the matter and take the appropriate action against the Board Members of KHSB in 2005. Interestingly enough, even the now controversial Debt Settlement in 2009 was also kept under wraps by the KHSB Board in 2009 — which was then still being controlled by Umno/BN — by not calling for another Shareholders Meeting to approve the 2009 Debt Settlement Agreement. I am sure the then Executive Chairman, Company Secretary, Board and Management were aware of the requirement to call for the Shareholders Meeting. But then, if they did, all would be exposed.

So, again, Chua Junior did the Selangor voters a favour by exposing the issue and requesting for an investigation and action to be taken, as now the Bursa and SC can investigate the matter and take the appropriate action on the Board Members of KHSB in 2009.

But what is this ALL?

How did Talam get to owe so much? Actually, the ‘problem’ started way back in the early 2000s when the then Umno-BN GoS was hard-pressed by unit holders of their unit trust, Amanah Saham Selangor or ASAS, to redeem their units for the minimum guaranteed price of RM1.00. The price of the units was then less than 30 cents. This shows the investment expertise of the then GoS, which can reduce a RM1.00 value to less than 30 cents.

Anyway, in order to show profits and redeem the units at RM1.00, the GoS came out with a plan, or I prefer to call it a devious scheme, to increase the value of their companies by having these joint-ventures with people like Chan Ah Chye. So, they created joint-ventures with their two public listed companies, Brisdale and SAP, and inflated the value by more than 300 million and then floated the shares through an IPO by creating two new companies, KHSB and Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Berhad. The ‘profit’ made by the GoS in floating these companies were then used to redeem the units from the unit holders in 2003, just before the 2004 general elections. So, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was right, Malaysia can create history with their IPOs. This is yet another one.

But then what happened to the two companies, Brisdale and SAP? Brisdale is today under receivership and SAP is burdened with close to RM300 in million losses due to all these failed joint-ventures. So, as I said, Chua Junior did the Selangor voters a favour by exposing this issue.

Joint-Ventures

Let us now look at the controversial lands and the failed joint-ventures. In order to create the value for the IPO, the then GoS took, as what Chua Junior is now indicating, useless pieces of land, which are more than half underwater, and placed them in the joint-ventures at inflated prices. This then created the illusion and impression that the joint-ventures would be worth much more than they really were. So, today, Chua Junior has done the GoS a favour by showing that these lands were worthless pieces of land placed to create value and nothing more.

However, good, reputable and respectable property developers would say that land with 50% water, are now prime development land for Lakeside Properties. Look at the Mines, SunWay, CyberJaya, etc. In fact, KHSB, which also owns about 5,000 acres in the same area of Bestari Jaya, with about 50% underwater, recently signed a MoU with some Chinese investors to develop the 5,000 acres into an eco-city development with a value of more than RM8 billion. This is what I would call creating value and my hats off to the new Board and Management of KHSB, which I believe is only about a year old.

And then read Malaysiakini’s “Nathaniel Puts TALAM in Perspective” who also explains the Debt Restructuring Exercise:-

“Confusing” probably describes most of our initial attempts to get to the bottom of what the deal was between Talam Corporation and Selangor. With a little diligence, clear thinking and attention to detail however, most mysteries can be unravelled and articulated efficiently.

This article attempts to explain in easy to understand terms the background and context of this issue, how Selangor recovered the debt owed to it by Talam, and how this debt recovery differs from the bailouts we have seen at the federal level.

In the Beginning

The story begins in the late eighties and early nineties, with an engineer and project manager who worked in Selangor state subsidiary PKNS – one Chan Ah Chye. This man later goes on to form Talam Corporation, and before long – possibly due to close connections with the ruling elite in Selangor, then headed by BN Menteri Besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib – he becomes a major player in the Selangor property and development scene.

Over time, an extremely large amount of state land is alienated to Talam, who basically gets it for free. A strong imagination is not required to speculate in whose pockets any resulting profit eventually ends up. Talam’s modus operandi seems to be to pledge this land to the bank in exchange for huge loans, which they then use to finance their development and profit making projects. In essence, since they got the land free, they have successfully achieved money for nothing (it is uncertain as to whether “chicks for free” were involved). The ‘wise’ businessmen of that era believed in the dictum of never using your own money when you can use someone else’s. This heavy lending continued to characterise Talam’s business approach, and their loans consistently kept getting bigger and bigger.

Tumbling down

Of course, no student of recent economic trends is unfamiliar with the concept of a bursting bubble. The financial collapse of the late nineties brings Talam’s debt-ridden house of cards crashing down. An overgearing of loans and inability to service them halts various half-completed projects, rendering them idle, half-built ruins. Incredibly however, this does not prevent Talam and their political patrons from altering their basic modus operandi.

In 2001, under BN Menteri Besar Khir Toyo, three parcels of land are alienated by Selangor to Talam via their subsidiary Maxisegar Sdn Bhd, who undertakes to construct Unisel’s campus at an estimated cost of RM750 million. It will probably come as no surprise that Talam failed to complete this project. By September 2006, the company had been classified as an affected company under Practice Note 17 (PN 17), indicating dire financial straits.

New Sheriff in town

In 2008, when Khalid Ibrahim assumes the Menteri Besar’s post, he inherits a situation in which Talam owes the state of Selangor and its subsidiaries (among other creditors), a great deal of money. Urban legend has it that when Talam was called in to explain why they have never endeavoured to pay their debts, the sheepish reply given was, “No one ever asked us to.” Thankfully for the citizens of Selangor, there was a new sheriff in town.

Corporate finance is not only an area of expertise for Khalid (left) – it is a passion. With great gusto, he set out to solve this problem, and recover that which was owed by Talam to the people of Selangor. The problem was undoubtedly challenging, but after some work and careful strategising, a plan was set into motion.The end goal was simple: to leverage the assets still held by Talam to repay the debt Talam owed to the Selangor and its state subsidiaries.

The technical nitty-gritty

Making this happen was a technically complicated process that required considerable financial acumen. The summary is this: firstly, the debts that were owed by Talam to Selangor state subsidiaries were properly booked and accounted for – something that, very suspiciously, had not been done before. Once these debts were acknowledged by all parties, the debts were consolidated and transferred to one state subsidiary – Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI), which was then responsible for collecting the debts from Talam in the form of land and cash.

The rest of this section explains how this was done.

It is a boring and complex explanation, but I list it here for the record and for those interested. Talam owed RM392 million to three Selangor state subsidiaries: KHSB, PIYSB, and PNSB. After acknowledging and booking these debts, the next step was to have another state subsidiary, Selangor Industrial Corporation (SIC), purchase these debts from the other three companies. A loan from CIMB Bank of RM 392 million was given to SIC to complete this purchase. In November 2009, the state exco and legislative assembly both approved a grant of RM392 million to MBI, which then used the funds to purchase the original consolidated debt from SIC. SIC then uses those funds to pay off their CIMB loan. The end result is as simple as the transaction itself is complex – without any major or excessive transactional expenses, Talam now owes the same amount of money to just one state subsidiary, instead of the original three.

Restructuring and successful collection

It is important to note that at no point are funds transferred from taxpayer monies to Talam. Funds have instead only been transferred from one pocket of the state to another. This differs wildly from federal bailouts of corporations like Indah Water Konsortium, MAS, or the Putra/Star LRT, where taxpayer money was injected directly into companies that had probably lost untold amounts via mismanagement, corruption and plundering.

The transfers in the Talam debt restructuring allowed for a structure in which there is a clear acknowledgement and accounting for the RM392 million owed by Talam, and a single company for them to pay it to. The story does not end there. Another extremely important milestone in this tale is that MBI has in fact already succeeded in recovering all RM392 million in debt owed by Talam. For those who would like to keep score, this recovery came in two forms. RM340.88 million was recovered via acquisition of land and assets: 1,322 acres of land in Bukit Beruntung worth RM150.28 million, 2,264 acres of land in Bestari Jaya worth RM105.3 million, 400 acres of land in Ulu Yam and 60% equity in Ulu Yam Golf & Country Resort worth RM22.2 million, 134 acres of land in Danau Putra worth RM52.1 million and five office units in Menara Pandan worth RM11.1 million.

The remaining RM51.12 million was collected in cash: RM12 million from sales of land in Puncak Jalil, RM5 million in cash assignments from EON, RM7.68 million in payments by Unisel for earthworks, RM9.04 million from the sale of 25.94 acres of land in Bukit Beruntung, and RM17.4 million from sales of 218 acres of land in Bestari Jaya. Go ahead, count it – it’s all there.

Now that one have read the 2 articles, the next question that one need to ponder is whether the Selangor State Government did the right thing when they decided to get SIC to obtain the loan from CIMB (and whether there were still liabilities unaccounted for – Read “Talam Debts for Dummies – Questions for Khalid“) and why the Menteri Besar did not publish the White Paper earlier (which would have cleared all doubts and spins for once and for all) as promised and why Tony Pua (instead of the Menteri Besar or the State Financial Advisor) is taking charge in answering most of the allegations by  Chua Jr. Of course there is the question of why Khalid want to hire 5 international accounting firms to review the Talam Debt Restructuring which does not make any sense when the Debt Restructuring exercise is a done deal and there are capable accounting firms right here in the country to do the same review.

There is no easy answer for the above questions of course and it is made worse by the consistent barrage of allegations on the same issue from Chua Jr and very little effort (from the State Government) made to reply and to put to rest the issue for once and for all. And whilst we wait for a proper response by the State Government on the Talam issue, we should not also lose sight of the other side of the story on the Talam debts – the story of how a private entity end up owing millions of ringgit to State agencies which clearly happened when the Pakatan Rakyat was still in the wilderness and had yet to take over the control of the State.

The solution by Pakatan’s State Government may not been the best or the “cleanest” solution to the mess that they had to take over in 2008 but it is a solution nonetheless. The debt may have been collected in full without any bailouts with taxpayers money (other than perhaps the interest for the CIMB loan) as insisted by the State Government but this need to be clearly explained to the masses. Most of us agree that the Talam Debt Restructuring exercise is confusing (mainly because the debt is assumed and transferred to different parties) and that coupled with lack of access to debt restructuring papers and lack of financial understanding, the success of the debt collection seems to be obscured and laced with pre-election dirty politics.

We are aware that in any debt collection, there is a good chance that we may not be able to recover the debt in full. And since part of the repayment comes in form of land assets, the true recovery of the debt is highly subjective on factors like valuation, location, ready purchasers, etc. Thus creates the uncertainty on how much and how fast the State Government can sell those lands that they got in place of the debt. That is where the State Government need to work hard to convince the people that they have a solid plan in the event they have a problem to capitalise on the land obtained.

But what we are more interested is whether taxpayers money have been used to do multi-million bailout to Talam and whether there has been clear accountability, transparency and due diligence on the way the debt restructuring exercise was planned and executed. That is more important than harping on the value or the location of the land and that is is what we want to know from the Menteri Besar before the next general elections.

Election Time Water Spates


UPDATE 2: Now it looks like the Federal Government using the same issue to bait for more votes. Najib said that Selangor’s water crisis can be solved but only when the people choose a government that can solve the water and trash problems. He went on to say that “it cannot be that the federal government cannot solve the problems. We can do it”. So, what’s stopping them from granting the necessary approval to the Selangor State Government to resolve the issue? Another case of you help me, I help you? I just hope the voters are not stupid as they wants us to be.

UPDATE 1: I-told-you-so. From Malaysiakini – The federal government has made an initial decision not to allow the Selangor government to take over the operations of state water concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas). The special cabinet committee on the Selangor water issue agreed at its meeting that there are “substantial and procedural” matters that have not been met to allow Selangor to takeover Syabas. However, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the final decision would be made after the attorney-general deliberates on the matter. Seriously, one should not wait for the AG’s decision as well, the outcome seems to be rather obvious.

Back to the original post

(If you ask me personally, it seems to be another political power play by the BN Government in trying to wrestle back the State of Selangor – they have been at it since they lost it in the last general elections. So is this latest case of water crisis in the state another trick in place to create more trouble in the state and for the Pakatan Rakyat’s leadership? You tell me. Image source: Zunar / Malaysiakini)

Read this first:-

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SYABAS) has become a threat to our national security by threatening 7 million consumers in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya with water rationing where there is no shortage of water.

When SYABAS insisted on low water levels, visits by the Selangor State Executive Committee members Ronnie Liu and Xavier Jeyakumar to the various damns across the state yesterday proved that the dams are full and there is no shortage of raw water. Now SYABAS has officially admitted yesterday that there is no shortage of raw water, but instead shifted the goal post to claim that there is now shortage of treated water.

This is essentially an admission that the SYABAS treatment plants are either operating inefficiently or there are not enough treatment plant capacity at existing water reservoirs.

(Source)

And this:-

A cabinet committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has been set up to help resolve the Selangor water crisis.

It will look into the ‘serious’ conflict between the federal government, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SYABAS) and the Selangor state government, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin today. The two contentious issues are water rationing proposal by SYABAS, and Mentri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s announcement that the state will take over SYABAS’ management – claiming that the latter had failed to discharge its duties in line with the concession agreement.

“The committee will look into issues such as water supply in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya,” Chin said no representative from the state government was invited to sit in the committee agreed upon during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

(Source)

If you have been reading the newspapers, internet and the blogs (from both sides of the divide) for the past few months, there seems to be some kind of a “guerilla warfare” against the 2 main opposition ran states of Penang and Selangor (the states of Kedah and Kelantan has a bit harder to touch). It is not a big surprise though – it has been so since BN lost big time in 2008.

In Penang for example, there seems to a major hoo-haa on the hillside development (previously it was on the issue of Malay traders and low cost housing) and in Selangor, it is on the State Government’s so-called botched Talam debt rescue plan of which both DAP’s Tony Pua and MCA’s Chua Tee are having a go at each other (interestingly there is only silence from the so-called crusaders of public funds on the millions to be spent on 2 fucking pandas!) and the claims of shortage of water in the Klang Valley blamed on the State Government not approving the new Langat 2 treatment plant (previously it was on the sand mining, garbage collection and PTPTN fiasco).

Out the many attacks on the PR’s led State Government, the on-going spate on the water issue is more critical and is more relevant to us all. After all, life is going to be very tough if you don’t have enough water for your daily needs – especially for those with small children and elderly relatives. Just imagine having a zero drop of water in your taps but on the outside it is raining cats and dogs. Just imagine having overflowing water at the dams but not enough water flowing out from the water treatment plants.

The Selangor State Government had formally submitted their proposal to take over the operations of SYABAS to the Federal Government and it seems that the Federal Government had formed a committee of some kind to response to the proposal. But I don’t think the proposal (or any proposals for that matter) from the State Government on taking over SYABAS will ever succeed at the Federal level (this is not the first time the State Government have to deal with the Federal Government on the same issue – read “Federal Govt Sabotages Selangor“). And why should they?

Just look at the list of politicians heading the committee and you may question their impartiality on the requests (one is actively involved in the Take Back Selangor mission by citing the water issue as well). After all, the more trouble that the State Government is having, the more BN politicians will be able to paint the State Government as more inefficient, self-centred and corrupt. More so with the general elections coming up in the next months, you can expect more dirty politics to be lined up at both ends and I don’t think I am alone on this line of thought.

From Malaysiakini:-

Ferdtan: Like the passage “my cup runneth over”, we have more than enough for our needs. Why did water concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (SYABAS) cause panic among Selangorians by suggesting that the water levels at the dams are low and they may resort to water rationing? The fear is further heightened by the coming Ramadan whereby difficulties would be suffered by the Muslims preparing food and cakes for themselves, and for sale during the festive season. Now it has been pointed out to be a blatant lie. The dams are full. Can a police report be made against SYABAS for spreading unfounded rumours causing panic among the people? This is an act of political sabotage. They must be censured and when Pakatan Rakyat takes over Putrajaya, SYABAS will be remembered.

Chipmunk: The mastermind behind this propaganda is none other than Umno. As usual, they instill fear into the rakyat and try to sabotage Selangor after having lost the state. Remember that Prime Minister Najib Razak said “Defend Putrajaya at all costs”, and this is one of their ways. The Selangor government should sue the pants off SYABAS for taking the rakyat for a ride. This is very unethical of SYABAS. But then again, Umno never had ‘ethics’ to begin with. Let’s see what the next act of sabotage Umno will come up with?

Kazakh: SYABAS is an Umno crony company, we all know that. They are now all out to destabilise the Pakatan state government by any means and we know the mainstream media papers are only reporting one side of the story. But we are not stupid, we support the state government’s move to take over the water management with immediate effect.

Mohan Gandhi: It is clear SYABAS is working with Umno-BN to manufacture a water shortage. With all dams at maximum capacity, why can’t SYABAS treat the water progressively over time? The main issue is the siphoning of the inflated project cost from the proposed Langat 2 treatment plant. All that is needed is better planning from the existing water treatment plants. You mean after all these years, Rozali cannot figure that out.

Odin: Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin Kah Fui, I don’t have Einstein’s brains, but I don’t even have to think to tell that some of you in the BN stand to make a few hundred million each in easy money from the Langat project. The Selangor state government won’t play ball, and so you are making things difficult. The actual victims of your vengefulness will be the ordinary people – people who have to spend hours daily on the road to and from their workplaces, who have to struggle to cope with the ever-increasing cost of living. But to you all, they are nothing more than collateral damage. ‘People first, performance now’ did you all say? Rubbish! It’s ‘Me first, money now’.

(Source)

Interesting comments no doubt but let try to leave the dirty politics from the current water spate between SYABAS and the State Government for a second and let’s ask some pertinent but obvious questions – we may just have a real crisis at hand and we should not be missing the forest for the trees.

  • Do we really have a problem of the water supply not being enough to meet the demands of the day?
  • If the current supply is not enough to cover the current demand, do we have enough raw water to start with?
  • If we have enough raw water to start with, then do we have enough treated water to be distributed? And if no, what we are doing to ensure we have enough raw water for the treatment plants?
  • If we have enough treated water to be distributed, why raise the water issue then? If no, are the current water treatment plants being managed and running efficiently?
  • If current water treatment plants being managed and running efficiently, then there is a strong reason for us to relook into expanding the number of water treatment plants that we have by opting for the new Langat 2 water treatment plant. If no, then what are the shortcomings and what can be done to ensure that the current water treatment plants are managed and running efficiently?

MTUC and Coalition Against Water Privatisation posed similar questions to SYABAS:-

  • Outflow of raw water from dams and pumping stations into treatment plants from January 1, 2012-July 15, 2012;
  • Meter readings of the outflow of treated water into respective treatment plants for the same period;
  • Meter reading of the outflow of treated water to consumers distribution system (via Syabas)
  • Certified log books & calibrated meters
  • Electricity bills from January 1, 2012- July 15, 2012
  • Chemical usage for the same period
  • PuncakNiaga payment bills to Syabas for water sold for the same period.

Also read here and here for interesting comments on BN politicians’ response on the water crisis

At end of the day, SYABAS may have a strong case and valid concerns and the Selangor State Government may be trying to hide these real concerns in light of the up-coming general elections. We do hear them in the news but we want to see stronger facts and figures from SYABAS before we can agree with them. Selangor State Government’s contention that the claims are not realistic makes sense too – if it is that easy to resolve the so-called water crisis by building a new water treatment plant, then why the strong resistance from the State Government from day 1?

The state government, through the Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS), controls the state’s seven dams, and water levels were between 92% and 100% as of July 2. “We only control the raw water in the state and there is more than enough, which means Syabas should be answering why it does not have enough treatment plants to provide clean water to the people, and why there is talk of water rationing today,” he said.

Jayakumar further claimed it was irresponsible of Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin and Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Noh Omar to suggest that the state allow Langat 2 to be built first and discuss water tariff hikes later. “Why waste RM8.65 billion of public funds, and allow a potential water tariff hike of up to 70% when the seven dams in Selangor are full and overflowing,” he said, calling on Syabas to inform the state of the actual situation on the ground.

(Source)

All we ask is for both parties to come to their senses and do things right – we are all ok for rations if situation is indeed critical but have we come to that stage? We may be undergoing some dry spell once in a while in a year but we do live in a country blessed with a good bound of rain. If we have enough raw water, what need to be worked on is on how efficient we can process that raw water to clean fresh water. The fact that almost every household have some kind of water filters in their house speaks a lot of the quality of water we getting these days (just imagine if the filter in my house turns brown on the same day).

SYABAS claims that the demand for treated water exceeds the current supply. If so, we should also relook into how best we can manage the utilisation of water and seek for alternatives – if there is wastage of water, we need to enforce the measures against such wastages. And can the authorities enforce and subsidizes eco-friendly rainwater harvesting system (which can minimise the usage on treated water for non-essential usages like water for the toilets and gardens) for all homes in the State? Are the current entities dealing with water treatment & supply ready to do this? If it is not, they need to be prepared to be taken over by someone else who can provide better and more efficient service and cleaner water. Right to clean water is a basic thing when it comes to the rights of every citizen in this country.

The last we need is for someone to politicize it at the expense of this right and any real water crisis clouded by dirty politics, greed and perhaps mismanagement of resources.

The Crime Statistics Folly


(How safe you are feeling when you are out these days? Sorry, let me rephrase that – how safe you are feeling when you are out these days considering that the statistics shows a lower crime rate? Image source: http://www.pemandu.gov.my)

Do you believe that the crime rates have dropped drastically over the last few months?

No doubt that the police are doing their very best in combating crime (with breakthroughs like this, this, this and this) but it is also clear (if you have read the news in the last few days) that it does not matter if you are an-ex Chief Minister or a Police Chief or just happen to be within the vicinity of the state police headquarters, you can still get screwed by the criminals:-

The house of former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik was broken into by burglars who took away cash and a pistol. All the occupants of the house were out for a wedding in Malacca during last night’s break-in.

At about 9pm, one of Abdul Rahim’s family members came home but he did not notice anything amiss. However, sources said that after taking a shower, he realised that the master bedroom had been ransacked. When the family returned home and checked their belongings, they discovered that several items and valuables were missing.

“Three rooms were ransacked. The burglars took cash, jewellery, valuables and a pistol,” said a family member.

(Source)

And this:-

The multi-purpose vehicle belonging to the Sentul district police chief was found 12 hours after it was stolen at his home in Taman Chandan Puteri here.

Kuala Kangsar district police chief Superintendent Abdul Gaffaar Muhammad said police found Assistant Commissioner Zakaria Pagan’s Toyota Estima at 3pm yesterday in Pasir Puteh, Ipoh. “Zakaria realised his car was missing when he wanted to go and buy breakfast at 8am.”

(Source)

And this:-

A money changer was robbed following a daring heist by a group of armed robbers just opposite the state police headquarters here.

According to a nearby saloon employee, who wanted to be known only as Joyce, 35, the robbers had used two vehicles to carry out the robbery at around 10.15am along Jalan Harimau Tarom on Tuesday.

(Source)

And in recent spate of robbery and attempted abduction in shopping centres against lone women and multi million ATM robberies (damn, we used to deal with Indonesian and Nigerian criminals but now South American and Middle East criminals are getting in the act too), the question now raised is whether we have been looking at the wrong side of the statistics.

Tony Pua of DAP writes:-

We call upon the Government to stop the spin on the crime situation in the country. There is absolutely no question that the people do not feel safe in the streets regardless of the many “feel good” selective statistics the Government has released to the public.

Datuk Idris Jala claimed that “we as in the police (PDRM), Home Ministry (KDN) and Pemandu have been very transparent in acknowledging that there are 157,891 index crime cases reported in 2011”.

However, if the Government is so confident of its crime fighting achievements, why is it refusing to provide detailed statistics by districts (e.g., Petaling Jaya, Klang, Serdang etc.) or by type of crime (e.g., murder, kidnapping, snatch theft, robbery, armed robbery etc.)?

And the same echoed by PKR’s Dr Wan Azizah:-

In 2010, Malaysia’s Special Branch, according to PKR, spent three times more resources spying on its citizens than it has fighting crime. PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail revealed figures from the 2012 Budget, showing that the police produced 733,237 spy reports and security checks in 2010. In comparison, the number of investigation papers under criminal investigation opened that year was 211,645.

“All in all, the police’s Special Branch produced 733,000 reports on its citizens, spying on roughly 4.3% of the adult population of Malaysia,” said Wan Azizah.

She expressed irony at this, hinting at the rising spate of crime in the country, especially where violence against women was concerned. She said that instead of focusing on crime, the government chose to focus on statistics.

For 2012, the Government has posed the following crime reducing rate and given the recent measures undertaken by the Government in combating crime (like the very assuring Ops Payung especially at commercial areas and more street patrol) and the past results from 2011, I am confident that we can achieve a good part of the said targets (if they are not busy with non-criminal policing work on the oppositions or not being too busy with road blocks & fortification of the Dataran Square for another Bersih-like rally):-

1. Reduce 5% of Crime Index against the year 2011.
2. Reduce 45% of Street Crime Index against the year 2009.
3. Reduce 45% of people who fear of becoming victim of crime.
4. Increase 25% of PDRM charging rate.
5. Increase 65% of public satisfaction on police services.

(Source)

But then again, statistics are at the best is just an indicator and not necessarily reflect the actual crime rate as the computation of the reduction in crime rate is also dependant on other factors like the increase of the population overall and by types and severity of the criminal act. The reliance of statistics alone gets worse if the statistics are manipulated to show better rates as this finding on NYP’s crime statistics shows:-

An anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 retired officers found that the manipulation of crime reports — downgrading crimes to lesser offenses and discouraging victims from filing complaints to make crime statistics look better — has long been part of the culture of the New York Police Department.

The results showed that pressure on officers to artificially reduce crime rates, while simultaneously increasing summonses and the number of people stopped and often frisked on the street, has intensified in the last decade, the two criminologists who conducted the research said in interviews this week. Mr. Browne said the summary’s conclusions drew on respondents’ perceptions, which were not supported by the facts.

According to the summary, for example, a majority of respondents indicated that they lacked confidence in the accuracy of the Police Department’s crime statistics, which reflect an 80 percent drop in major crimes since 1990. Many of the retired officers who participated in the survey said they believed crime had declined since 1990, but “not to the extent claimed by N.Y.P.D. management,” the summary said.

(Source)

As I said, statistics are at the best is just an indicator. There is no point praising the statistics if petty theft crime rate had decreased but armed robbery crime have increased at the same time (Tony Pua’s contention that the current statistics does not detailed statistics by districts or by type of crime) and if the necessary follow-up action have been done. The Government no doubt must continue to evaluate the measures already taken to bring down the crime rate (even though the statistics may show good figures) – what works must be continued with more vigour, commitment and frequency and what does not work should be shelved and replaced something more effective.

We have commenced the biometric registration for the foreign workers but how effective it is considering that we continue to have criminals in disguise of students from Nigeria (“students” from Iran is another time-bomb waiting to blow – just wait and see) to continue to come over to this country to create trouble and commit crime (although the authorities have closed the gap) and now having South American & Middle Eastern criminals doing high profiled crimes in the country – how long it is going to be before things gets worse and foreign criminals start running the show in this country?

And have we started to look into the legal loopholes and stiffer punishment for the repeated hard-core criminals? How many of them have come out and committed the same crime, perhaps with fatal consequences?

Someone who I know was robbed just a couple days and when talking to the policemen who were very helpful, understanding and determined to solve the case, we heard the sheer frustration from the men in blue. They lament on how they put in the hours (on top of other cases to be solved with pressure from the top, the politicians and the public) and pull in the resources to catch the criminals only to see these criminals back on the streets (committing more crimes) due to loopholes in the law and legal procedures. And when some people die in the act of pursuit and arrest, the police are often blamed as being too aggressive and trigger happy whilst the common criminals elevated to a hero status (read Durai’s excellent “Funeral of a Macha” post for a take on this).

And since we are very concerned on the trend and ease of foreigners (who according to the police are professionals) committing crimes in this country, we should re-look into how the current law addresses crimes committed by these foreign criminals. Just like how foreigners have to pay more for health services and petrol in this country, I think they should “pay” more for their crimes as well. The prison terms or the number of whipping that is provided under the normal law should, automatically and mandatory, be doubled (or tripled) if the criminal charged is a foreigner (of course in due time, high penalty should apply for all criminals – local or foreign).

At the end of the day, we just want to be safe, not only for the citizen of this country but also for foreigners who are here on legitimate reasons but at the same time, the law of this country and the enforcement of it should be so severe and swift that the last thing anyone want to do in the country is to commit crime.

Read these too:-

Hishamuddin Sleeping On The Job

Defenders of traffic criminals vs our fight against crime

Drug Traffickers And Criminals. Is Malaysia A Magnet ?

Case for PR’s 100 Day Plan


(Warning: Long post ahead)

(PR is making it case to the general public that it can make a positive difference if it becomes the Government but we need a more convincing case. Image source: http://wargamarhaen.blogspot.com)

Interesting topic for the beginning of the year…

Well, it is in our best interest (no matter which side of the politics we may be) to know what the opposition intends to do if they come in power – although the chances of that happening in recent months is almost nil, no thanks to the Oppositions shooting themselves in their foot numerous times in the last 4 years (but who knows what can happen in the next few years).

Last year (although it seems too late), the Opposition came out with it’s “Change now, Save Malaysia” proposition and listed a list of items that the Opposition will do in the first 100 days if it is voted into power.

During Sunday’s convention here, Pakatan distributed its “Change now, save Malaysia” pamphlets detailing the CPF agenda to adopt “pro-rakyat” administrative principles if it becomes the federal government.

Among the policies are to free national institutions from political interference and corruption; ensure fair economic distribution of wealth; empower the people; strengthen the educational institution and return autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak.

The “100-Days Pakatan Rakyat” programme, which would be implemented during the first three months of Pakatan being in power, includes abolishing the Internal Security Act, reducing subsidies for the private sector, giving a RM500 monthly increment for teachers and increasing oil royalties by 20% for Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Kelantan.

(Source)

And it did not take long for BN to rubbish PR’s 100 days incentives:-

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has lambasted the Pakatan Rakyat’s 100-day reform plan, unveiled last month, describing it as populist and irresponsible.

He said the plan was unrealistic because it did not state the source of funds to finance the undertaking.

“In fact, it won’t take that long; in just two years, according to our estimates, our country will become like Greece if the plan is implemented without regard to the country’s means to implement it,” he said at the monthly gathering of the Prime Minister’s Department, here, Monday.

(Source)

Never mind if Najib stayed cleared of other part of PR’s proposition like reform of the main national government institutions and abolishment of ISA and only focused on the proposed expenditure of the PR’s proposition and at the same time, plays the fear of the country going bankrupt like the country of Greece (hmm, now where did I hear that?).

Najib said “the plan was unrealistic because it did not state the source of funds to finance the undertaking”. In other words, this may imply that PR may be making plans for the expenditure BEFORE finalizing the source of income to fund the said expenditures. Something that well spinned in the mainstream media but let’s give the benefit of the doubt – after all, PR have yet to prove themselves and many still doubt their ability to able to run the country better than BN.

BN’s Yearly Budget

So, before we even come to PR’s 100 day plan proper and in detail, let’s look at BN side of view. After all, they have been presenting national budget and balancing between national expenditure and income on a yearly basis.

In 2010, Najib in presenting the 2010 Budget themed “1Malaysia, Together We Prosper” amounting to RM191.5 billion with RM138.3 billion or 72.2 per cent for operating expenditure and RM53.2 billion or 27.8 per cent for development expenditure. Of course, Najib infused the budget presentation with mega projects including the insane 100 story tower which then lead to many thinking that public funds is going to be used for the construction or in most cases, bailout.

And we are only talking about budgets. What about the actual expenditures? Tony Pua of PR made this observation:-

We had in fact applauded the Government’s decision to reduce operating expenditure by a significant 13.7% from RM160.2 billion in 2009 to a budgeted RM138.3 billion.

However, in the Budget announcement today, it has been announced that the Government’s operating expenditure is expected to hit RM152.2 billion, or a massive RM13.9 billion (10.1%) over budget.

This clearly demonstrates the government’s inability to impose financial discipline on its expenditure to ensure that the country’s financial objectives are met. It is also not the first year the Government has overspent its budget. In fact, the Government has consistently overspent its budget by at least 5% as far back as 2000, with the worst year being in 2008 when the budget was exceeded by 17.2%.

Now if you think about it, the Government when presenting the yearly budget would have matched the expected income to be collected against the budgeted expenditure. Certainly it cannot be a deficit budget – no enough cash to cover the expenses, so how to make up for the difference? More debts?

Mismatch of Budget & Actual

Presentation of a sound budget is one thing but the actual expenditure is another. If the Government had spent more than what was budgeted, then where is the source of funds to finance the additional expenses? How did Najib justify the source of income when the expenses went overboard as compared to the yearly budget and mind you, the Government has been overspending for the last 10 years?

But why the increased expenditure in the first place? Is it because the Government had under estimated the actual cost of operating and therefore under estimate the amount in their yearly budgets (for the last 10 years)? Or is it because there has been mismanagement of public funds and poor management of resources? Or a combination of both?

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is still studying the Auditor-General’s Report 2009 and does not dismiss the possibility of opening more investigation papers based on the report

A newspaper report had quoted the Auditor-General’s Report as mentioning that the Defence Ministry had spent RM300,000 on buying luxury items for the VVIP room, including RM95,880 on wallpaper, by using an allocation from the First Economic Stimulus Package.

(Source)

And it only gets more absurd:-

Who in their right mind would pay RM42,320 for a laptop?

Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara Balik Pulau in Penang not only paid the price but bought two units of the same brand – Acer Aspire-5052ANWXMI, at a whopping price of RM84,640, said the Auditor-General’s Report.

In addition, the college purchased 450 units of computer CAD with network card at RM3.45mil for 12 labs. Each 19-inch monitor costs RM8,500 while a 17-inch monitor costs RM7,500.

(Source)

And

“The ministry signed a contract for the supply of 2.7 million metres of cloth worth RM27.54 million from December 2006 to November 2009.

“They spent RM7.01 million for the service of sewing 240,000 sets of uniforms for the period of April 2007 till March 2010,” said Ambrin.

He added that 2.7 million metres of cloth could produce 600,000 sets of uniforms but since only 240,000 were required, Rela has an excess of RM16.52 million worth of unused cloth.

(Source)

So, whilst BN may rubbish PR’s propositions as unrealistic, what about the leakages and mismanagement of the current financial affair by BN themselves? Let’s come back to PR’s 100 days proposition.

PR’s Propositions

PR in their “Change now, Save Malaysia” proposition summarized the followings to be done within the first 100 days after it comes into power:-

1. Reform the main national institutions of government, such as the Election Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Malaysian Royal Police Force to introduce transparency and restore accountability of government.

2. Abolish the Internal Security Act.

3. Direct Khazanah Berhad, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and all other government bodies that own highway concessions to complete the transference of such highway assets to the government with the purpose of abolishing tolls.

4. Change the structure of national subsidies by reducing corporate sector subsidies (such as the gas subsidies of RM19 billion to independent power producers) and transferring these savings toward subsidies for the rakyat.

5. Recognise the roles and contributions of public servants by re-evaluating the salary structures; starting with an increase in teachers’ allowances by RM500 per teacher per month as a recognition of the importance of their role as educators in nation building.

6. Restoring all private water concessions to the government, making water a public asset of the rakyat.

7. Deploy free Wi-Fi internet services to all Malaysians in the urban and semi-urban areas.

8. Dissolve Felda Plantations to redistribute its estate lands to the second and third generation of Felda settlers.

9. Increase oil royalties to Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Kelantan to 20%.

10. Set up a Royal Commission to comprehensively resolve the problems of illegal immigration and citizenship in Sabah.

And mindful, the above is a proposed act within 100 days after PR forms the next Government (of course, discounting the days wasted on internal fighting as to who get which portfolio in the new Government which may be long and tiring).

Some of the above proposal may or may not be realistic at that point of time whilst others may not easy to be achieved within the first 100 days (it is going to take major and drastic actions on part of the new Government to even start to reform the Election Commission, the MACC, the AG’s Chambers and the Malaysian Royal Police Force).

PR published the “Orange Book” in December 2010 which further explains their Common Policy Platform and the 100 days initiatives and in the book, listed some rather interesting statistics of the country under BN, namely:-

  • 12 years in a row of budget deficits for Malaysia
  • 10 years in a row, that Malaysia has failed to achieve its economic growth targets
  • Malaysia fell 26 spots in the institutional integrity ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report conducted by the World Economic Forum from 2007 to 2009.
  • 34% of Malaysian workers (about 4 million people) are paid less than RM700 a month, which is below the poverty line.
  • 62% of the RM39 billion paid in subsidies and compensation each year are given to corporations (IPPs, highway concessions etc), and not to the rakyat
  • RM4 billion allocated for food subsidies (sugar, wheat, rice), which UMNO / BN is trying to revoke. RM19 billion worth of gas subsidies are given to independent power producers and RM4 billion is given to highway concessionaires each year
  • RM19 billion worth of gas subsidies are given to independent power producers each year, compared to RM 11 billion worth of petrol subsides for the rakyat – now at risk of being revoked for the rakyat, but not for the corporations – rakyat to suffer, while these corporations will continue to enjoy special big profits.

That is however not to say that BN led Government have not recognized the same problems that PR has listed down rather “eagerly” in the Orange Book and I am pretty sure that mitigation actions have been put in place to improve / reform / etc but the fact that there has been a continued mismanagement of the petroleum money and the huge compensation / subsidies paid for IPP and toll concessionaires has not been acceptable to most of us.

Is it true that the PR propositions are unrealistic due to no evidence of income as claimed by Najib? The Orange Book does not specifically mention the source of income for the 100 days initiatives but we can see where PR is coming from.

PR in December 2010 clarified:-

Oleh itu, Pakatan Rakyat berhasrat untuk memperkenalkan imbuhan khas pendidik sebanyak RM500 kepada semua pegawai dan guru yang bertanggungjawab di dalam sistem pendidikan kita.

Ini akan menelan belanja RM3.2 bilion setahun. Jumlah ini adalah kecil jika dibandingkan dengan pembaziran-pembaziran lain yang kini berleluasa di bawah UMNO/Barisan Nasional.

Kos perbelanjaan semua lawatan Perdana Menteri ke luar negara setakat ini sebanyak RM8.7 juta boleh menanggung imbuhan bagi 1,450 orang guru. Bayaran kepada APCO sebanyak RM77 juta bagi tahun 2009 boleh menampung imbuhan bagi 12,800 orang guru iaitu keseluruhan tenaga kerja yang membangunkan profesionalisme keguruan. Pembaziran UMNO/Barisan Nasional sebanyak RM131 juta bagi menampung perbelanjaan perunding dan kos operasi PEMANDU bagi tahun 2010 boleh membayar imbuhan bagi 21,833 lagi orang guru, iaitu hampir keseluruhan tenaga kerja kementerian.

Ini belum lagi pembaziran-pembaziran mega seperti subsidi gas sebanyak RM19 bilion kepada sektor korporat dan kroni, kos menyelamatkan kroni yang melibatkan Empangan Bakun sebanyak RM6 bilion dan ketirisan akibat rasuah yang dianggarkan mencecah RM28 bilion setiap tahun.

(Source)

Loosely translated – PR proposed RM500 as an additional allowance for teachers and the total money to be spent on this is expected to be RM3.2 billion. PR expects to pay for this from the savings from other unnecessary expenses like RM8.7 million from PM’s foreign visits expense, RM77 million from APCO consultancy fees, RM131 million from PEMANDU expenditures, RM19 billion from gas subsidy, RM6 billion from Bakun bailout and RM28 billion from corruption leakages.

So, I think we should not be too quick to call PR’s 100 days propositions as unrealistic as there are merits to the facts presented by them. It may be a populist measure or an unrealistic financial measure as Najib claims it to be but the fact is PR has presented the case to the general public. It now needs to explain further so that information is clear, complete and remains viable.

The only problem with this is that they should have done this much earlier – perhaps immediately after the general election in 2008 and keep up with a similar execution of the plan at State level and have a well run working model to be used as a basis for greater things. This way, their methods would have been proven and any shortcoming could have rectified before it is applied at national level.

Read Also

Orange Book in English

Orange Book in Bahasa Malaysia

Najib and his Budget