Whack The Wrongdoers Hard, Please!


Read these first:-

spending__ramirez021810_full

(Here lies the problem – some people have no sense of responsibility whatsoever just because they are spending money that does not belong to them and they know that if they can waste the taxpayers money without any care or prudence, they will not be punished even if it was reported by the Auditor General. Image source: http://tarpon.wordpress.com)

I guess those who had voted for the Barang Naik (BN) politicians in the last general election must be regretting their decision now. You know, somehow, “I told you so” just doesn’t quite say it, ah? Already there are multiple news in the net on how some people in disguise of “consultants” have been taking the Government and the taxpayers for a ride but there have been only silence and inaction on the part of these politicians. The obvious ones are these:-

Hazmi sits at the top of the pyramid of greed and takes a 10% on each program cost

Under him, he has several assistants to identify runners to identify those contractors and suppliers with the right license or kepala (heading) to be main contractors or suppliers or just a mere front. At the assistants, runners, and front contractors and suppliers level, they rake in a cumulative of 20% of the program’s budget. The balance is likely to be for the real contractors and manufacturers doing the work.

To get themselves paid, Hazmi’s assistants take care of the payment but it is not paid direct but only to the front. The money due to the real contractors and suppliers is released by the front companies after deducting for everyone’s cut. It means there are paper trails everywhere. Hazmi designed the budget for programs to be usually few ringgit short of RM5,000 or RM100,000. Above that, the control system is stringent and manipulable.

If this does not make your blood boil, we do not know what else.

(Source)

And this:-

Two DAP lawmakers want the Education Ministry to explain why it spent RM20 million hiring a private consultant to prepare the National Education Blueprint when it could have been done by “capable personnel” within the government.

Describing the RM20 million as a complete waste of taxpayers’ money, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming and Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari said the management consultant, McKinsey and Co, should not have been hired as the company was a general management consultant and did not specialise in education.

(Source)

And timing could not be better to dig up more crap from current Government’s total lack of transparency, enforcement and punishment of the wrongdoers. It has become a sheer wastage of taxpayers fund on a regular basis. The recent publication of the Auditor-General’s report was nothing new and only adds to the “good name” of the current Government. If the half-past six politicians are still under a delusion that everything is still OK in the Bolehland and they can sleep in peace at night, let me tell you that the AG’s report is very, very damaging. A responsible Government would have come in the open to admit the findings and announce strong measures to curtail them. Politicians who care about this nation will not sleep until they had made enough noise for the wrong doers to be caught and punished and existing laws & procedures tighten to avoid a repetition in the future. Unfortunately, in reality (and predictably), nothing have been said till now and everything being kept as hush, probably hoping the taxpayers and the opposition will soon forget about the findings.

The malpractices highlighted in the Auditor-General’s report keep repeating because of inadequate planning in procurement, poor drafting of specifications and lack of monitoring and evaluation, said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

To address this, Ideas chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan has suggested that curbing political interference and using open tender systems would help in plugging the inefficiencies in government procurement which has resulted in millions of ringgit being wasted.

He cited examples in the 2012 AG report which had resulted in wasteful spending, such as the 20 wall clocks which were bought by for RM3,810 each when it cost RM100 each and the three A4 size scanners bought for RM14,760 each which was supposed to cost RM200 each.

He said Ideas was now conducting a study on transparency in how government agencies and department carry out their procurement. “These problems are repeated because there are inadequate procurement planning, poor drafting of specifications, insufficient use of competitive tenders and lack of monitoring and evaluation.

(Source)

Shouldn’t inadequate planning in procurement, poor drafting of specifications and lack of monitoring and evaluation which have been highlighted many times before in the past AG reports been resolved by now? Don’t each Government departments have some kind of operation guide and standard operating procedures? Don’t they have their internal audit processes to follow and meet? Don’t tell me that we are going to pay millions to some foreign consultants to propose the same thing? And if nothing been done in the past, then what difference it makes now? As long we don’t see the wrong doers and those mismanaged millions of taxpayers’ money punished and held accountable, we going to have the same problems reported year in, year out.

To add further, Malaysia have now been named as the most corrupt country in the world – I am sure some thick skinned politicians would have been very happy with this kind of achievements (they probably have dismissed it as an opposition tactics instead of seriously looking into the possible truth). However it was not a big surprise though – it was just a matter of time before we got that title. The sooner the Government wakes up from its slumber sleep, it is better for the rest of us.

Despite Malaysia’s high-profile anti-corruption crusade, half of the corporate executives surveyed by a global corruption watchdog believe that competitors have obtained business in the country through bribery.

Transparency International said Malaysia scored worst in the 2012 Bribe Payers Survey. It asked nearly 3,000 executives from 30 countries whether they had lost a contract in the past year because competitors paid a bribe, and in Malaysia, 50% of them said ‘yes’. Second on the dubious honor roll was Mexico, which was at 48%.

(Source)

And this is where race based NGOs such as Perkasa show their sheer ignorance and dumbness. They jump like their balls been run over by a steamroller when common Malaysians question the need to prolong race based policies and “giveaways” in the name of “empowering” the community economy, knowing very well that such policies have been manipulated to enrich a few and their cronies in past and continues to this day. But the same NGOs had said nothing or jumped in protest when millions is wasted by lack of enforcement and corruption – doesn’t the same community set to lose a lot more if such leakage is not stopped and the wrong-doers are not booked to stop the repeated wastage? Or are they simply going to ignore this just because those who cause such leakages and do nothing to curtail the leakages are from the same community? It looks like that is the case many times over. No wonder whatever they say and do does not carry any sense of creditability and is a total waste of space.

And when the AG report bring the crap into the open, instead of accepting the hard cold fact and whack the wrong doers hard & ensuring that this will be the last time such incident happens, sadly, some politicians (never mind if they are dumb enough to be caught on video supporting criminal gangs and admission of breach of rule of law) now tries to even justify the wrong doing:-

On Friday, when asked by the press about the firearms mysteriously missing from the police armory, as discovered by the Auditor-Genera, Zahid was quick to pitch himself as the champion and defender of the ‘maligned’ police force.

Insisting that the weapons ‘lost’ by the police were due to human error and not foul play, Zahid rather high-handedly forbade any more discussion on the matter. He even picked on and publicly berated a reporter to emphasize his point.

“I think this is ridiculous behavior from a minister. It is blatantly self-serving. As the Home Minister, the police have to answer to Zahid in many matters but who is he to forgive their wrongdoings. Firstly, this was reported by the Auditor-General, not fabricated by the Opposition. Secondly, have the police carried out an internal probe, why are the findings not released,” Opposition MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

(Source)

And it seems like the whole of the Government seems powerless (no thanks to their own shortcomings) to bring about the drastic measures needed to stop the rot for once and for all:-

The Auditor-General’s report for 2012 is alarming. And this is so not only because it exposed huge wastage committed by government departments last year, but also because nothing seems to have changed all these many years.

Year after year, the A-G tells us of cases of improper payment; of purchases made at astronomical prices; of unreasonable project delays; of poor asset management; of non-adherence to procedures, etc, etc. But year after year, nothing is done to address the shortcomings.

It seems as if our civil service just continues to plod on, continues to waste, continues to be inefficient, continues to make corrupt transactions. And the overriding controller – i.e. the Government – just lets it be.

The Government knows from the A-G’s reports that corruption is rife in the civil service, but it probably realises it doesn’t have the moral standing to haul in the culprits. After all, the civil servants are following the example of the country’s leadership. And since the Government has also not shown itself to be accountable for a lot of things, how can we stop the rot?

Worse, our civil servants seem to have acquired a tidak apa mindset because the money that is being wasted, that it being improperly used, that is going into the pockets of some of them, is not theirs. When I was in school, we used to characterise such an attitude with the jeering taunt: “You think this is your grandfather’s money ah?” It’s still applicable here and now.

(Source)

I say this again and I have said it many times before – if the Government feel that they need to increase the taxes and reduces the subsidies just to ensure that they have enough to keep the country going, that is fine and fair. But what is the point of the people need to pay more of everything if the blatant waste and mismanagement by the Government itself on the other hand remains high and continues to bleed the nation of its resources. After all, if unnecessary expenses are not curtailed (spending RM3,810 for a RM100 clock for example), the Government will have no choice but to reduce the various subsidies, borrow more money and keep taxes high. At the end of the day, the rot must stop. The “tidak apa” attitude must stop. The blatant wastage of taxpayers’ money must stop. The super unbelievable leniency on the wrong doers must stop. The day of hiring thirsty vampires to guard our blood banks must stop.

Those who commit wastage and corrupt must be charged with criminal breach of trust, bank accounts frozen, their property seized and they are made to spent a good number of their years behind bars. Investigations on the paper trails must be made so that all those involved one way or another are caught and punished. Those politicians who allow (by action, omission or sheer stupidness) this to continue to happen must face the same consequences. Punish the wrong-doers at both ends without any fear or mercy. Malaysia does not need these traitors running the show – we are becoming champions of the world for wrong reasons. The AG have done a very good job highlighting the shortcomings in managing taxpayers funds. The only thing that is needed now is a change of attitude and political will power to take out the cane and start whacking the wrong doers hard so that the rest will be more careful when dealing with taxpayers money. If this failed, then it is evident that the Government itself have failed the trust of the people and is corrupt to the core and thus, must be removed in the next general election.

Can this be done now and without the “ifs and buts”?

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Can Never Trust Them, Eh?


Najib

(We all seriously hope Najib has a concrete financial plan for the country when it comes to empowerment of its people and the economy and not doing for the sake of his own political survival in the upcoming political party elections. As taxpayers, no one want to see their hard earned money down the toilet on short-sighted financial plans. Image source: http://www.antaranews.com)

Sorry for starting with something “international” this week – Malaysia’s political circus show hardly makes a dent on the front pages at where I am in now.

As you may be aware, President Obama and most of the western world have put the blame squarely on the Syrian Government on the recent chemical attacks. David Cameron tried to get the UK Parliament to pass a motion on Syria and failed. And despite that and rather strong opposition from the US Senate, the Obama Administration seemed bent on punishing the Syrian Government for the alleged chemical attacks on its own people (how they effectively going to do it another question). That is until Russia came up with an alternate solution and provided a way out for Obama from a rather sticky situation. The Obama’s proposed shot over the bow is really not effective unless there are troops on ground – something the American public is well aware of and do not want to do after the same blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then this came up:-

Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.

“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack,” writes Gavlak.

Rebels told Gavlak that they were not properly trained on how to handle the chemical weapons or even told what they were. It appears as though the weapons were initially supposed to be given to the Al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra. According to Abdel-Moneim, the weapons exploded inside a tunnel, killing 12 rebels.

If accurate, this story could completely derail the United States’ rush to attack Syria which has been founded on the “undeniable” justification that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack. Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR) and written articles for BBC News.

Saudi Arabia’s alleged role in providing rebels, whom they have vehemently backed at every turn, with chemical weapons, is no surprise given the revelations earlier this week that the Saudis threatened Russia with terror attacks at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi unless they abandoned support for the Syrian President.

(Source)

Well, this piece of news may just be a part of an elaborate spin to turn the public opinion against Obama’s stand on the Syrian conflict. But then again, what if it is true? Let’s just hope that this does not escalate into something bigger and cause the world oil price to spike again. It is just the excuse for the “you know who” to reduce the subsidy and take the amount saved into another wasteful adventure. And speaking of “you know who”, it was not a big surprise when Najib, after increasing the petrol price recently, turns around and announces this:-

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced a massive economic empowerment agenda for bumiputras while thanking the community for their strong support for Barisan Nasional in the 13th general election.

The Prime Minister said: “Based on the support of the Malays and other bumiputras in the 13th general election, the Government has decided to take a quantum leap to implement concrete and thorough strategies and approaches. We call this bumiputra economic empowerment, and it is to safeguard the community now and forever.”

(Source)

Be mindful that Najib is not talking about small fry money here. And it is good that the Government is looking into ways to “empower” the community (which it claims to be still weak and in need of Government help since 1969). The question is will the community get the necessary funding and help lock, stock and barrel or will it trickle down after the various fat cat middlemen, cronies and corrupt politicians have put their dirty hands in it? And what happened to all policies and money that was poured to “empower” the community in the past – money that belonged to taxpayers from various race, culture and religion? Has it gone down the drain or has it quietly went into the pockets of cronies and corrupt politician?

The BN may have announced a series of new race-based measures to boost the economic situation of the bumiputeras, but who is to be blamed for the community falling behind even after almost a half-century of affirmative action?

(Source)

It is time to ask the same question as it seem to be the same thing all over again. The PM had announced the same race based policies before and under the same whistles and bells and in the same name of championing the community but after sometime, nothing much changes and before you know it, the PM announces another race based policies and the vicious cycle starts all over again. The Government says subsidy is bad but throwing taxpayers’ money on the same failed formula and getting no positive result is worse. The BN Government have been recycling the same old policies and re-branding them with new names but be rest assured, it only fattens the already fat lazy cats.

Can you think you can trust the politicians to keep to their words this time around and whatever “empowerment” that should happen do happens? Yes? Well, think again.

Wasteful & Short-Sighted Again


(Countdown – 316 days to “doomsday”)

(In the Global Competitiveness Report 2010–2011, Malaysia ranks 25 out of 139 countries where public spending is somewhat better managed than the rest but then again, if one reads deeper into the report, Malaysia’s ranking is only 4.2 out of the full 7 on the mark. We are no where close to our neighbor down south who ranks at the top at 6.1 despite their limited natural resources, human resource and living space)

It is scary to hear that the Government has no qualms spending RM650mil annually on something that is not really critical or beneficial to the nation.

PEKAN: A National Service Voluntary Brigade has been launched to further promote volunteerism and tap the services of hundreds of thousands of former National Service (NS) trainees.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who launched the brigade in Bandar Chini here yesterday, said the brigade could be roped in to help during natural disasters such as floods, landslides and fires.

The Government has no qualms spending RM650mil annually, or RM8,200 per NS trainee, he said. The number of former NS trainees totals 620,000.

“We see it as an investment in our human resource development,’’ Najib added.

(Source)

When the National Service was first started, we were kind of understood the need for National Service although we did not really understand why the Government could not have just reviewed the weaknesses of the already existing Rakan Muda program and improve on it. But still and probably under the delusion of the National Service that has been deployed in Singapore, we went on to see Malaysians by the thousands packed up and sent to National Service camps around the country and despite the well defined objectives and short stint, since the start of National Service, 16 of them had died and there has been other criticisms as well:-

Meanwhile DAP’s Senawang assemblyman P Guna when contacted said that the NSC programme was no more relevant to school-leaving students.

Conceived in 2004 with the aim of instilling patriotism among the younger generation, foster national unity and develop positive character, the programme, Guna said, had failed to meet its objectives and was now merely a benefit to Barisan Nasional cronies.(According to Deputy Defence Minister Abu Seman Yusop until 2008 the government had spent RM2.37 bilionl to finance the programme.)

“There is no comparing our NSC programme with Singapore. “In Singapore a participant must attend the programme for three years. Whereas here they attend the programme for three months only.

“What can they learn in three months? Also why are the 80 camps in Malaysia run by individuals and not the government?” he asked adding that most parents were unhappy with the way the programme was managed. Guna added that the NSC also had a poor track record of safety.

“So far 17 detainees have died and numerous cases of injuries reported. They have also been few cases of sex abuse, racial brawls and harassment. These cases ministry has failed to solve, ” he said.

(Source)

And now the Najib says that the Government has no qualms spending RM650mil annually on the so-called National Service Voluntary Brigade and for what – to have the ex-National Service trainees to help during natural disasters such as floods, landslides and fires? You think they have nothing else better to do? How about their studies? And even if we were to swallow that half-past six argument, don’t we already have the more well trained and better equipped Fire Department, the SMART team, rescue units under the various local authorities and if need to, RELA for the very same purpose?

And how the Government came to a figure of RM650 million in the first place – uniforms, trainings and accommodations going to cost us that much?? What is breakdown and who is going to get their hands on this money? If we utilize the existing National Service infrastructure and those trainees used back their existing uniform, I am sure we can save a couple millions more. After all, the proposed RM650 million is almost the same as the total expenditure that the “normal” National Service program has been incurring on a yearly basis.

And if the Government really want to invest in the national human resource development, instead of wasting RM650 million a year on some dubious para-military brigade, they can better spend it on building better and well equipped schools, training Malaysians to speak and write better English (and in the same process, kick start the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English), have better teaching skills to teach the younger generation in the country, have more PSD scholarships available for top scorers, more places in the local university and skill learning classes for those well deserving school leavers. Wouldn’t that give human resource development a boost in the long run?

RM650 million per year is a lot of money but unfortunately we have been plagued with a people in power who don’t think twice (or do very little thinking) when it comes to planning out a good strategy and spending tax-payers hard earned money in the best way for national development and wealth.

Couple weeks ago, we have hearing on how our GLC may to lose RM118 million to a mystery British Virgin Island shareholder for doing nothing. And then we read on how the Government has awarded a lucrative RM7 billion highway deal, to be tolled for a record 60 years, to a company known principally for making and selling granular and powder-activated carbon. The existing highway agreements has been crappy so don’t expect this one to be rosy instead.

And there is more on the plate in the coming months – Government is also putting their hands on the EPF monies (certainly there must be an end to this kind of utilization of public pension funds for political social welfare) that may not promise a good return to the EPF members:-

In disbelief I read that funds from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) — RM1.5 billion to be exact — are to be channeled to a foundation to provide loans to Malaysians who are not able to get a housing loan from a commercial bank. Not only that. The loan would be at a lower interest rate than that offered by a bank. The report quoted Federal Territories and Well-Being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin as saying that these loans would be provided to retirees and those without steady income.

How can the government take funds which you and I have put aside for our retirement and use it to fund home purchases of those without a steady income? I am all for helping those who are experiencing difficult times, but there has to be another way of doing so.

In case it has escaped the notice of Raja Nong Chik and other members of the cabinet, the objective of the EPF is to set aside funds for employees who do not have any pension scheme. On retirement, the amount the employee and employer have contributed during the employees’ working life is available with interest or dividends to be paid in a lump sum so that the employee has sufficient funds to fund his or her retirement.

The monies belong to the members of the EPF — not the government. The board of the EPF has a stewardship responsibility — to act in the best interests of its members

(Source)

In banking terms, there is something we called bad debts – on paper, it looked impressive – the loan facility rides on high interest rate and backed by collateral. But once the customer is unable to make the repayment, the reality of things kicks in – the so-called high interest remains uncollected and we can’t even find buyers for the collateral. At the end of the day, the bank loses and writes off the loan as bad debts.

And this is where RM1.5 billion of EPF funds heading to – when you have home buyers who do not have steady income, repayment indication remains very shaky (at lower rate than the banks too) and I am sure EPF is going to find hard time selling off low cost units (even if it does, it is going to be after a huge discounts). Will we see some kind of bailout in the end?

And another endeavor that is waiting for major fuck-up if not managed well is the 1Care proposition which already creating fiasco with fellow Malaysians:-

The government is about to introduce a mandatory national healthcare system called 1Care, which will force all employees to give up to 10% of their monthly income to pay for basic healthcare. This has created an atmosphere of fear among the people as to the uncertainties of the medical facilities made available to them and their families.

While it may be a noble idea to come with a comprehensive national healthcare system to provide quality and affordable medical services for the people, it has to make sure the people at large, in particular the lower income group are ready for such a scheme, which will further drain their already meagre resources.

According to the planned scheme, despite paying a hefty sum every month, one:-

1 Cannot choose the own doctor but go to the one assigned by a healthcare provider appointed by the government. These healthcare providers are usually managed by non-medical professions, and are basically run on profit-motivated financial systems.
2 Can only see the assigned doctor six times a year free
3 Can only see the doctor for one problem at a time
4 Get only cheaper generic medicine and not the patented drugs that are more costly.
5 If one wants a doctor of his choice or patent drugs he has to pay more for them.

(Source)

In his blog, Lim Kit Siang further reports:-

Each year, we all pay a total of RM44.24 billion a year for healthcare – now called National Healthcare Hospitals and clinics ( an integration of public hospitals and clinics, private hospitals and private GPs. which in essence is a privatisation of public and nationalisation of private healthcare facilities). All this will now go under 1Care. This means 1Care will get almost RM45 billion a year. The administrative cost is likely to be 10% or about RM 4.5 billion

Can we manage the remaining RM40 billion wisely and ensure that it is used wholly for national healthcare services and ensure that it does not end up in some crony’s personal pockets (heavily disguised as “commissions” and “other services” perhaps)?

This all really shows that it has been sometime since we got someone very brilliant and highly responsible in running the Finance Ministry – someone who is bent on maximizing the income for the Government (by closing the loop-holes for corruption, tax-evasion, etc) whilst at the same time, slashing down unnecessary expenses and then with the funds available, prioritizing the spending of the limited resources for the right, non-political biased purposes.

We have been seeing millions wasted on unnecessary and often bloated national projects, advertisements, “you help me – I help you” election giveaways (beware – latest scam is called nambekei), cash giveaways to public when there is limited funding in other areas and uncontrollable corruptions (we already lost RM1.08 trillion todate to corruption). And when there is no money left, the tax-payers are asked to pay, one way or another for the Government to spend even more and more to crony’s and corrupt politician’s own pockets – that is indeed sickening.

Because when you don’t the money to provide loans for low income Malaysians to purchase own homes or when there is not enough to cover the national health care and can’t even manage the available money, throwing another RM650 million down the drain is the last thing one needs to manage the limited resources.

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The Highway Promise


It certainly looks like a highway robbery than a sincere promise to maintain the highway toll rates

(We are ok with highways and highway toll booths but we are pissed off with the one sided agreement and the huge compensation being paid from the tax payers’ pockets. Image source: http://travelerfolio.com)

During the recent Budget 2011, Najib made this bold statement that the toll rates on four highways owned by PLUS Expressways Berhad (other highway operators, apa macam?) will not be raised for the next five years as a means of alleviating the burden of highway users. For those who have been keeping their heads in the ground, this may sound like a sincere, heavenly promise by politicians who are concerned with the rakyat’s plights. But for the rest of us, we all know that when certain things promised by the politicians seem to be too good to be true, there is always a catch to the deal.

What Compensations?

No one seems to ask the question – what happens to the toll amount that is supposed to be increased by PLUS? Surely PLUS as a business entity is unlikely to give such huge discount (even if it has all the MPs in the Parliament at the top of their voice, protesting for any toll hike) or ignore what is entitled under the agreement. It does not make good business sense and certainly PLUS have their shareholders (which includes the EPF) to answer to. So, opting PLUS to take a huge hair-cut is likely to be out of the question.

And Malaysian Insider reports:-

Toll highway operator PLUS Expressways Bhd could be compensated as much as RM5 billion over the next five years for not raising toll rates. The highway concessionaire is also owed about RM2.5 billion from previous compensation as at June 30.

(Source)

What about the previous compensations and the future compensations?

Toll compensation to PLUS amounted to RM655 million, RM698 million and RM731 million for 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. PLUS has 30 more years before the concession expires. Without even taking into consideration the direct toll collection from motorists, the government’s compensation amount over the next 30 years would exceed RM68 billion should the current toll rates be maintained. This is after taking into account the fact that PLUS is entitled to increase toll tariffs by 10% every three years.

(Source)

Compensating the highway operators for not increasing their toll is not something new. Compensation (also known as subsidies to some) amounting to millions have been paid whenever the Government have requested the highway operators to maintain the current toll rate. It has been so since the days when Samy Vellu was heading the Works Ministry. PLUS for instance, was reported to have received compensation for almost 850 million for last year alone

For those who are using the highway, freezing the increase of the toll rates may sound like a welcome measure but look again, where the Government is getting the money to compensate the highway operators. Ultimately, it is going to be the rakyat who is going to pay for these compensations. At the end, the net effect of freezing the toll rates ends up meaning nothing.

(Either you get the rakyat to pay the increased toll rates or get the rakyat to pay for the compensation. Either way, the rakyat is screwed. Image source: http://thestar.com.my)

And compensation paid by the Government does not go into the development of the country but rather it goes to enriching the already cash rich business entities. Unlike petrol subsides, there is no external or global factor or limited supply that causes the increase of the toll rates (hence requiring heavy compensations to maintain the rates artificially low). And still remember the warning by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala on compensations?

Let us recap…

Malaysia will be bankrupt by 2019 if it does not cut subsidies and rein in borrowings, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala on Thursday.

(Source)

Idris Jala even proposed that the “toll rates to increase in mid-2010 as per concession agreement except for highways without alternative toll-free routes”. So, why Najib is going on the wrong side of the road? It is obvious that that when the rates are not increased, it is only mean compensation to be made in its place.

To make things worse, the compensation to the highway operators is going to come from those who are not using the highway in the first place. Not many of us uses PLUS highway on daily basis (how many out of the 28.2 million Malaysians?) but if the Government is going to compensate PLUS for the frozen toll rates, one can be assured that their tax money is going to work hard (direct or indirect ) to compensate these highway operators. Is it fair? The one who is using the PLUS highway is enjoying the old toll rate, courtesy of a populist, short-sighted budget but the one who is not using PLUS highway is “paying” for the compensation that runs in billions.

Telling the rakyat that the toll will not be increased for x number of years without a viable proposal on the highway agreement and no means to reduce these painful compensations is anything but empty talk. Not when the money is coming from the right pocket to the left pocket. There is no real saving to the tax payers – it would have been fairer to get those who are using the highway to pay for the usage instead of spreading it to the rest in name of compensation. That way, we can see the money paid to the correct usages – road users’ money to usage of the highway and the Government’s “money” to development of the country (something that Idris Jala pointed earlier).

New Highways, Old Problems?

Then we have this rather disturbing news:-

The Najib administration should explain the tender awards process of four new tolled highways, amid reports of them being directly awarded, DAP MP Tony Pua said today.

(Source)

We are not complaining on the new highways – after all, highways helps in development and somehow provide relief to traffic jams. So we were meant to believe whenever the Government talk about awarding new highways (just wish the bastards who signed off on behalf of the people for the bloody highway that cuts through Puchong are out there, stuck in traffic jam,  with a full bladder, wasting their time and fuel after paying the insane toll charges with their hard earned money). Nah, we don’t mind the new highways but how it is awarded and how it is shrouded in secrecy is what we have a problem with.

The Government says that the highway agreements are subject to Official Secrecy Act but we don’t have a clue why it is deemed secret. Certainly, agreements made by the Government with any business entities will not go to the extent to cause suffering and multiple losses to the people. Certainly methods of calculation of the toll rates will not jeopardize the national security of the country.

In fact, if the agreement is made public, perhaps the road users who are paying the insane toll rates may able to understand as to why the cash rich highway operators increase the toll rates of the already heavily jammed highway (which by the way, built on existing trunk road) to RM0.60 at one go and wanting to increase even more. But no, the Government fought tooth and nail to maintain the agreement secret (is it because they worry the agreement may be challenged in a court of law?).

Now we are hearing that the new 4 highways were directly awarded. How we know that whoever drafting the agreement and working out the formula for toll rate increase have not made the same mistakes that the idiots in the past have done? Has the proper toll reduction mechanism been built this time around? Is there going to be periodic review of the agreement? Is the highway agreement really water-tight and in favor of the people and the country and not helping a profit driven business entity to make even more money?

No Viable Alternatives?

And what happened to the proposed buy back the highway concessionaires that sounded more cost effective than the yearly compensations that the Government keeps paying from public funds?

In 2009, Nutgraph reported:-

The DAP has suggested that the government buy back all shares of PLUS Expressways Bhd that it does not already own, and take over its existing asset-backed liabilities for the approximate amount of RM15 billion. This amount and more would be recovered from motorists using the North-South Highway by maintaining the existing toll rates for six years. Should PLUS be acquired this year, by 2016, toll collection would no longer be required on PLUS-owned highways

(Source)

Tony Pua of DAP made interesting points on the buy back of the highway concessionaires but nothing concrete has been put in place in this aspect (was it because it came from the opposition and not from the ruling party?)

This is why we are suspicious of the Government when it comes to toll rates for the highway. We are even more suspicious when the Government is saying that there will not be any increase in toll rate for the next 5 years. We are suspicious because what is being said is far from reality.

And just when we thought we have seen the worse, came along Warisan Merdeka

What Subsidy?


No end of short sighted, money wasting people in Malaysia…

(We don’t have money falling out from the sky for white elephant projects – a fact some idiots in Malaysia have yet to realize it. Image source: Lababo)

It is not 1st of August yet for the increase of petrol and sugar price but already there are already calls for waste more of taxpayers’ money

The wife of the Prime Minister, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, today opened the Sabah Wisma Wanita here and asked the Finance Ministry to consider allocating funds for a similar building in every state

The Sabah Wisma Wanita was built at a cost of RM18.7 million provided by the state government.

(Source)

Please lah – don’t tell me that all these years, the development and welfare program for women have never taken off without a building? Don’t we have a Ministry and well-fed, back door Minister for that? You need a building before you can do anything ah? We have many under-utilised Government buildings that can be used for the same purpose. What about those under the local authorities?

No need to waste RM18.7 million x 17 states (including 3 FTs) = RM320 million to have one “bullshit” in every state. Before you can say “the fat lady says”, the RM320 million “construction” costs will balloon up and we would have another “palace like mess“. At the end, the taxpayers would be footing the bill and those who proposed these white elephants would have wash their hands off.

Instead, focus on more serious issues that are facing women in Malaysia like this one. Don’t syiok sendiri with just having fancy buildings and having good image on the media.

Enough of wastages! Not when people are already not happy with the calls of reducing the subsidies and on the other side, politicians (including some fat wife of someone) happily wanting to burn off taxpayers’ money like their own.

P.s. Every state includes states under PR? Just asking since everyone knows about  the double standard at Federal level when it comes to PR led states.

Hulu Selangor Poser 4


With no new ideas, it has now turned into a “battle of the bottles”, so some quarters say.

Malaysiakini reports:-

Former Selangor Umno liaison chief Dr Mohd Khir Toyo believes that the repeated attacks on PKR Hulu Selangor by-election candidate Zaid Ibrahim’s past as a drinker was a good campaign strategy.

The move to highlight Zaid’s admission that he used to consumed alcohol in his younger days was a way to discourage PAS’ grassroots from supporting the former minister, said Khir.

If that is true, perhaps Khir can comment on this:-

(No word on the street that Kamalanathan also drinks but Indians are known to take alcohol like water. Image source: http://scottthong.wordpress.com)

Interestingly the above evidence did not come as an “issue” during the last general election (in fact, there was pin drop silence from people like Khir on this). Is it because when it comes to BN, past is past, bygones are bygones and not for others?

Even if we accept that Zaid used to be a drinker, does it really matters?

RPK said this in Malaysia Today:-

Zaid, in turn, is being whacked for his alleged ‘drinking habit’. Okay, let us say he does. So he drinks. So what?

Does he buy his drinks using the taxpayers’ money? Does he rob the rakyat to support his drinking habit? Is his liquor being bought using our money? Or does he indulge with his own money and not the money he stole from us?

So you see, even if he does drink, and I am not saying he does, does he hurt any of us or only himself?

Compare that with this news:-

Bakti members comprising wives of ministers and deputy ministers, who were travelling home via Europe, had to reschedule their return as most airports in the continent remained closed due to lingering volcanic ash from Iceland.

The group, which arrived here on Thursday after visiting a children’s handicap centre and a youth high-risk centre in Washington last week

(Source: TheStar)

Surely there are not “drinkers” in the eyes of BN but how much of tax payers’ money went into their travel expenses, accommodations, shopping and “sounds important to justify the trip but it is not” visits to handicap and youth centres crap.

What is the need for the Bakti members to be travelling to US and returning via Europe (cough for “shopping”?) when they do similar “welfare” work right here in Malaysia?

And some people say corruption is at a manageable level in Malaysia. I rest my case – Zaid can have all the drinks he wants (not that he wants it) but he will come out cleaner than some of the people claiming to be better.

Snippets – 16 April 2010


(The one that got screwed for Hulu Selangor by-elections, both Samy and Palanivel – Image source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/)

Kamala vs Zaid

After some ‘interesting’ delays and threats of sabotage, BN finally decided on their choice for Hulu Selangor by-election (I am pretty sure G. Palanivel did not back off so easily, after all, didn’t the MIC branches in Hulu Selangor threaten sabotage if Palanivel did not contest the seat?).

Kamalanathan is young and one of the newer politicians coming into limelights but he is still MIC and he is still Samy Vellu’s picked man and a win for Kamalanathan means a win for Samy Vellu. This is something that the voters in Hulu Selangor have to consider when deciding whether to give that young man a chance to serve.

PKR MP Resigns

Before we consider the “merits’ of the state assemblyman for Bakar Arang in Kedah, Tan Wei Shu’s decision to resign, one need to consider this – what a PERFECT TIMING to announce the resignation! With 2 by-elections at hand, Tan Wei Shu picked the right time to make the announcement. That in effect puts a bad image on Pakatan Rakyat (see how BN manipulating this news). Good going, Tan!

And just look at reason given for resignation – another internal conflict within the party member (or in his words “certain leaders in PKR had used him for their own interests”). What a cock a mania bull shit is this?

TheStar quote him saying:-

“….saying that I’m incapable and not doing my work, when I have a proven a track record in serving the people for the past two years”

If he has the backing of his constituents, why he just quit talking cock and remained as an ordinary state assemblyman and continue with his ‘good work”? Internal pressure may exist in any environment – you can complain about it to the leaders at state level and if that fails, probably bring it to the leaders at national level but that does not mean you quit the party and cause one seat less in the state assembly.

But then again, this could be a blessing in disguise for PKR to continue with its housekeeping before the next general elections.

(The right message for many motorcyclists who think their helmet-less kids on their bike is crash-proof)

Motorcyclist & Kids

I had encounter with another idiot on the road last night but this time with a motorcyclist who had a child sitting on the front basket and had no helmets.

He was waiting at an inner lane, waiting to cut across the main lane. There were other cars at the inner lane, patiently waiting for the traffic on the main lane to clear for them to cut in. Not this motorcyclist – he was so impatient waiting, he decided to cut in just when I about to drive past this inner lane junction. If I had not braked hard, it is likely that the child would have been under my car, probably squashed to bits.

Good thing I managed to brake hard and the motorcyclist missed my car. Before I could get down and give a piece of my mind, the idiot sped off with the kid still sitting on the front basket.

What is it with motorcyclists and their reckless act of taking children along? If possible, don’t take kids on motorcycle but if that is not possible (especially for some poor folks), at least get the kids children helmets and be extra careful when riding the bikes (no sudden moves).

Myprocurement Portal Boo Boo

Interesting revelations of the information listed in the portal been made by PR’s Tony Pua and one wondered just how much of public fund went down the drain with hiked up contract amount (see the report here).

The Government however reverted by saying that there are typo errors and will be taking the steps to rectify them. That sounds good but where is the typo error? Basic language, perhaps spelling and grammar errors? Or on the contract amount itself? We hope that it is on the contract amount because some of the amount stated is worrying.

Contract amount like this:-

According to Pua, there is another contract worth RM77,920,599.20 which has already been highlighted in the Malaysian Insider, a project to build a hostel for 200 male and female students at SMK Kuala Jenderis, Hulu Terengganu which was awarded to Rafa Sepakat Sdn Bhd. He (Idris) said that, in Hulu Terengganu, it is actually cheaper to buy a RM380,000 luxury bungalows for each of the 200 students

Typo error or is this just a tip of the iceberg on cases of misuse of public fund?