Malaysia a safe country: The spinning goes on
Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 15 Jun 2012
The morning newspaper had on the front page a story about security in housing estates. How foreign guards are better than local ones. How illegal foreigners are getting jobs as security guards. How if we pay peanuts we get monkeys as security for our family and property.
That evening I tuned in to a radio station and was, at first, pleasantly surprised to hear that master of spin, Idris Jala, guesting on a show.
And one of the things that he was talking about, in answer to a listener’s question, was how safe Malaysia was compared to some other countries.
Idris Jala said that before we all start to laugh at that statement we should remember that the survey took into account the safety of the whole country and not just cities.
For example, he said there is no crime at all in the kampung that he comes from.
So added all together it makes Malaysia the safest country in Southeast Asia.
I do not remember the context but Idris Jala also referred to the fact that a lot of housing estates are operating their own security systems with boom gates and security guards paid for by the residents. He indicated that this was a good thing.
And that got me pissed off.
Why? I suppose you, like so many urban Malaysians have forgotten that home security is our basic right for paying taxes.
And here is one guy from government saying in effect that paying to augment our home security is the done thing. And so many of us are falling for it.
These days we happily pay up to RM1 million for a house that would have cost a fraction of that just two decades ago. And being a typical Malaysian house we would then have to spend up to a couple of hundred thousand ringgit more to “renovate” the house to a standard that we deem liveable.
And these renovations will include fitting in a state-of-the-art water filter. Why? Because the water that comes through the system is undrinkable.
And so we go out and buy the best water filter we can find or afford. Not just because we want to keep our family and children safe from polluted H2O but also because we cannot have anything less than that diamond standard water filter that the next door baarger has installed.
Hmmmphh! Action only. See? Now ours better than theirs.
But it never occurs to us that our rights have been violated. Ok la maybe violated is too strong a word la.
But our rights certainly have been compromised right?
Clean, potable water is a basic right. Isn’t it? If those who can afford to dole out the moolah for water filters etc. what about those who can’t? Are they going to just be poisoned by whatever it is that the other people filter out of their drinking water?
Of course there are some YBss who tell us that our water is quite drinkable. It’s just a bit of discoloration due to old pipes and all.
Oh really? I’d like to visit these YBs’ homes and see if they have installed water filters. But then they’d probably say, “It’s just to filter out the colour la. You see, my wife doesn’t like the colour brown lor. You know how fussy women are. Heh heh heh.”
And so it goes. As more and more of what we used to take for granted become things that we need to pay for.
We pay taxes, we should get clean water. We pay road tax we should get roads to drive our expensively-taxed cars on. No? Well, yes. But you will have to pay tolls to private companies awarded the concessions to operate the highways.
But why? Because government can’t be expected to build highways and all. It is (this is where they pull out the U word) unsustainable.
In other words government thinks it cannot afford to spend taxpayers’ money to build these roads because it cannot “sustain” la. But of course a year later you will read in the newspapers about the huge profits that the highway companies are making.
But…but…but if the private companies can make money from these highways why can’t the government have done it and let the citizens benefit from the profits instead?
But I suppose by the time that question comes along you will be hearing another Idris Jala type fler telling you about how good Malaysia’s road systems are.
There’ll be more talk about “sustainability” and how the rakyat must not be burdened and all.
Worse you might have to organise a group of friends just so it’s safe to go to market. And if you can afford it some minister might tell you that it is advisable to hire a bodyguard or two to protect yourself and your family. Because what used to be your right is now your personal responsibility.
And you will definitely be thinking of how you are going to make enough money to pay for the upgrade to your domestic water filtration system.
Excuse me now. I have to go put coins in the air meter for clean air to breathe. Thanks.