During Barisan Nasional (BN) government, only certain states and certain supermarkets banned plastic bags. Shoppers were charged RM0.20 for each plastic bag requested. After Pakatan Harapan (PH) government takes over, the entire nation is being targeted. Now, even wet markets, morning markets or night markets have started charging for plastic bags.
What’s so wrong about saving the planet with a nationwide ban on plastic bags? At best, it creates inconvenience. At worst, it raises the cost of living. Has anyone given a thought why the previously drummed “global warming” suddenly changed to “climate change”? The so-called scientists changed the mantra primarily because even they could not explain record-low temperatures that hit the planet.
Similarly, during the BN regime, smoking was banned in all offices, air-conditioned restaurants and hotels in 2016. But smoking was still allowed outside such premises. After PH administration takes over, smoking is prohibited even on the five-foot way. Sure, smoking is bad for the health. However, some flexibility should be allowed and the right of smokers should be respected too.
If the PH government is serious about banning smoking, they should stop the import of cigarettes entirely and close down companies such as Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and British American Tobacco. Malaysian smokers have smoked 579.4 million packs of cigarettes in 2017. But the PH government can’t do that, can they? That’s because the tobacco companies pay truckloads of taxes yearly.
It’s sexy to be idealistic, but in realistic, the PH government presses all the wrong buttons at the wrong time. Malaysia, a developing country, is not ready to become a paradise, at least not now. Who really cares about the planet? Who really smokes the most? People like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Mahathir Mohamad, Najib Razak and all the wealthy and smart people don’t normally smoke.
It’s the low and middle class income groups that actually form the majority of smokers who also don’t give a damn whether the planet is sick or dying. Do not underestimate these people – the frustrated voters – who had chosen to teach the Mahathir government a lesson in the just concluded Rantau by-election, because they could not smoke as freely as previously.
Talking about health-care, the PH government exposed last June that high-ranking officials, politicians and royal families were involved in controlling billions of Ringgit worth of medical supply to the Government through bid rigging of open tender process – leading to monopoly of medical supply to the Health Ministry. Has anybody been charged, let alone sent to prison?
But smoking, plastic bags, black shoes, fake degrees and flying cars were just some of the appetizers that PH administration threw in the face of ordinary people who struggle to make ends meet. While it was written on the wall that Mohamad Hassan will surely win the election with support from ethnic Malays, what was mind-boggling was the support from non-Malay, especially the ethnic Indians.
Get real, if a majority of the Malays has no problem hugging a crook like Najib Razak, despite having stolen US$4.5 billion, Mohamad Hassan’s act of remitting RM10 million through a money changer for the purchase of an apartment in London was like a naughty boy stealing 10 biscuits from the cookie jars. The huge majority won by Hassan speaks volumes about voters’ resentment against the PH government.
But while some of the middle-aged and the old folks of Rantau were not impressed with the lack of freedom to smoke, they were equally not happy with a stranger like Dr Streram challenging Tok Mat, as Mohamad Hassan is popularly known, who has taken good care of the local people in the last 3 terms. The only person who can defeat Hassan is Mahathir, but the premier wasn’t contesting.
If Semenyih was lost because the opposition UMNO-PAS played the 3R cards (religion, racial and royalty), Rantau is lost due to PH’s failure to address bread-and-butter issues. Forget about idealism and anti-corruption. It’s time the new government accepts the reality that corruption takes a back seat when people have problems putting food on the table.
The majority of the Malays don’t care even if it’s true that the UMNO-Malay had robbed the ordinary Malays of Felda or Tabung Haji. They knew the government will bail out the two Malay institutions no matter what. They still have the perception that taxes paid by the ethnic Chinese, the second-class citizens, will be used to rescue the institutions as they are too big to fail.
Sure, former Tabung Haji Chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and former Prime Minister Najib Razak had mismanaged and stolen money belonging to Malays. So what? It’s perfectly alright for UMNO-Malay to steal from the Malays. It’s only not alright for non-Malay to steal from the Malays. And if UMNO-Malay had indeed stolen money from Malays, just take the money from the non-Malay to fix the problems.
On one hand, PM Mahathir slammed about excessive corruptions of the previous BN regime. Yet, people only see a handful of crooks being investigated. Even the biggest crook – Najib Razak – was only put on trial on April 3 this year, more than 10 months after the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition’s first-ever defeat in history in May 9, 2018.
Also, on one hand, PM Mahathir bitched about opposition UMNO and PAS playing race and religion cards. Yet, his own lieutenant – Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin – allowed the racist and extremist running amok inciting and stirring sentiments among the Malays that the Muslims, Islam and Malay Rulers have lost power to the “Chinese, Christians and Communists”.
But not all Malays were ignorant about thievery committed by the Najib regime. Some do despise corruption. Unfortunately, this group of Malays – the Rantau’s youth Malays – have different discontent. They have been complaining about PH’s failure to fulfil its general election manifesto, especially the abolishment of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).
Yes, they want free education. And they wanted their student loans to be wiped out yesterday in exchange for the votes they had given to the PH. They don’t care about their moral duty to repay their PTPTN loans so that other students can similarly further their studies. To make matters worse, the lack of job opportunities and rising cost of living make them easy recruit for the opposition.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has complained that the people have been spoiled by Najib’s 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) payouts. He said the government will slowly reduce the cash handouts before eventually stopping them. Unfortunately, the unpopular decision has upset 7.2 million recipients, of which ethnic Malay constitute a huge majority of them.
The PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said after the loss in the Rantau by-election that the PH government should focus on cost of living issues. But chances are good that his babbling would fall on deaf ears. Most of the leaders of the new government are busy hunting for positions, contracts, cash, or handouts. They no longer go to the ground listening to the average people.
Amusingly, despite complaining about RM1 trillion in foreign debts thanks to ex-premier Najib, Mahathir has refused to investigate all the UMNO crooks. Only a selected few of the thieves have been grilled by the authorites – because the prime minister wanted to recruit the frogs from UMNO to transform his own PPBM (Bersatu) party to become UMNO 3.0.
Mahathir’s recruitment of UMNO defectors does not seem to boost the Malay support for the Pakatan Harapan coalition, if Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau by-elections are any indicator. Instead, such political manoeuvre has created frictions and disappointment among the component parties of PH, leading to broken campaign machinery – even sabotage – during by-elections.
The PH could easily play “Robin Hood” to boost their popularity, if they seize all the treasures stolen by UMNO warlords to offset the PTPTN loans owed by students. The new government has also previously complained about 17,000 BN political appointees. And Mahathir has been crying, moaning and bitching about disloyal civil servants.
Yet, only a handful of the 17,000 political appointees loyal to Najib Razak have been sacked. Exactly why the PH still keeps them is beyond comprehension. Did they realize that based on a salary of RM10,000 per month, those 17,000 traitors would cost the government a whopping RM2 billion every year, money which could be put to good use in fulfilling some of the PH election manifesto?
The best part was when academics, some being political appointees of Najib, conspired with hidden-hands recently and cooked up some “biased reports” for the consumption of the Malay Rulers, leading to Mahathir Mohamad being humiliated after he was forced to withdraw the Rome Statute. The PH government appears to have done an excellent job damaging itself.
Voters generally do not see any significant difference between BN and PH governments. For years, the DAP had slammed the AP (approved permit) system, calling it as a symbol of corruption, greed and power abuse. Yet, the new government of PH happily granted the “gravy train” to 38 new bumiputra companies – including a company linked to UMNO gangster Jamal Md Yunos.
Since PM Mahathir has said there is no shame in flip-flopping, he should announce another U-turn – that the PH will fulfil its general election manifesto after all. If he still thinks Malays are generally lazy who love handouts, well, both he and Anwar Ibrahim should give themselves a pat on the back. They had done a marvellous job brainwashing the Malays with “ketuanan Melayu”, the ideology of Malay supremacy.
Source : Finance Twitter