Of sacred cows and secret condos | Selangor Times
Issue 118


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Of sacred cows and secret condos
Writer: Fahmi Fadzil
Published: Fri, 17 Feb 2012

It’s been a while since my last article appeared in Selangor Times - things have been moving a tad bit faster than usual; even now I’m writing in between completing other tasks, but no matter.

The point is, things in Malaysia are becoming more and more interesting with each passing week. It just seems like in the last four years since the “political tsunami” of 2008, we’ve yet to have a dull moment!

2012 began with quite a bluster - the early morning roughing up of undergraduate Safwan Anang and others who were demonstrating outside Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI) against the sentence that was to be meted out against one recalcitrant student, Adam Adli. Twitter Jaya was up in arms upon finding out that the young lad had been so severely mistreated, although news that he had been beaten to a pulp was consequently found to have been a little exaggerated.

Nonetheless, once again it is proven that social media is one of the best channels for information distribution - of course it says little about the integrity/credibility of that information, which is something we’ll have to work harder on to ensure/verify in the future.

And then came the Jan 9 verdict on the trial of Anwar Ibrahim. The thousands who gathered outside the KL court complex were dumbfounded when the acquittal decision was read out - and all the phone lines were clogged, it was practically impossible to send out an SMS.

More troubling on that morning, of course, were the three explosives that went off at  10am. Todate, we have yet to get a clear picture from the police on who could have been behind such mischief.

Since then, Malaysians have been treated to an increasing number of news stories that befuddle, bewilder, and bewitch. Top of the pops, of course, is the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) debacle. I won’t elaborate, as I’m certain all of us are well aware of the details; but what I would like to elaborate on is the amount of distrust the rakyat has towards the powers that be has grown exponentially, and particularly among those living outside urban centres.

Some put it down to the fact that cows are easier to “see” compared to the RM12 billion scandal that is PKFZ (heck, I think most of us have trouble following the details of that case), or RM7 billion armored personnel carriers, or whatever else have you. I think that there’s truth to that; but more so, I think this is the straw that broke the rakyat’s back.

The details that have been forthcoming (not from the accused, as you can imagine) have been ghastly - covert purchases of condos, tracts of land, a luxury vehicles and more - and perhaps are merely the tip of the corrupted iceberg into which the proverbial ship of this nation has smashed into.

And we’ve not even gotten into the protracted issues of 1Care, Skim Amanah Rakyat (SARA) 1Malaysia, or even the “special loan scheme” that EPF is supposed to extend to low-cost house buyers in KL. My assessment is that with the prying open of the cowgate, expect a less than sympathetic rakyat when it comes to details on how public monies are being spent.

And unfortunately, public monies are being spent almost like there’s no tomorrow; the ratio of our government debt to GDP, according to IMF figures, stands at over 56% - higher than other Asian country - and this is reaching nearly unsustainable levels.

In the final analysis, what matters most is that the future of the rakyat and of this country is not left to hands that have a penchant for cash, cows and condos. But only the results of the upcoming (read: anytime between now and the first quarter of 2013) general election will tell if we’ve all learned to make the best decision we can.


 Selangor Times



Also by Fahmi Fadzil:

Awaiting local, federal elections

THE Malaysian political scene feels like it fits right in with the work of absurdist playwright Beckett’s play entitled ‘Waiting for Godot’, where two characters – Vladimir and Estragon – wait patiently for the arrival of Godot, who never arrives.

New beginnings

Farewell 2012, Hello 13GE

WHAT a year it has been! Who would’ve thought that much of these past 11 months would have sped by with such ferocity?

Reconsidering elected representatives

What is the role of a member of Parliament? A state assemblyperson (ADUN)? A local councillor? 

The day after...

In my last article, I wrote about the need to imagine the hours, days, weeks, and months following the 13th General Election (a most enigmatic event, whose precise date is and will forever be a mystery... until it is called!). 

Change must come but not with violence

A few days ago, I read an article by Liew Chin Tong, the MP for Bukit Bendera, entitled “The Last Mile” (The Rocket, July 2, 2012).

Let’s keep thuggery out

I have been working for Nurul Izzah and Parti Keadilan Rakyat since October 2010.

Cleaner, freer, fairer, better

It’s been a good nine months since the epic Bersih 2.0 rally of July 2011. I still remember the days that came before that mammoth gathering - the tension, the stress, the uncertainties, and most of all: the unyielding desire of the rakyat for free and fair elections - and realize that, given the special circumstance that we are in today what with polls being weeks or months away, those thunderous days may not be repeated verbatim.

Tale of two gatherings

This past week saw several different yet, from my point of view, important gatherings of people standing up for what they believe in. I want to write a little bit about two gatherings in particular, and highlight what we may (hopefully) learn from each.

What a year!

“Buka tutup buka tutup mata, dah habis satu tahun.”

TTDI residents ready for futsal 'match'

A few Fridays ago, I received an email from my neighbourhood security-watch committee about a new project that had suddenly mushroomed in our little corner of Taman Tun Dr Ismail: a futsal court.

Neighbourhoods under siege

OF late I’ve been thinking a lot about neighbourhoods – all these places where we grew up, started our own families, and basically watched the nation go by.

Cleaner, fairer, better?

PRACTICALLY everyone who is reading this already knows about the July 9 rally organised by the Bersih 2.0 coalition. I believe that many of us were there on the streets on that historic day.

Maafkan kami

I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news, but earlier in June I was kind of in the news as I had to apologise for some things that I had tweeted in January.

Times of change

Of late, we’ve been inundated with talk about withdrawal of subsidies and subsequently the change in the price of sugar, RON95, gas, electricity, etc – some of which has happened, and some of which (for whatever economic or political reason) has not.

Sarawak, show us the way

The recent Sarawak state elections were such a learning experience for many Malaysians. Irrespective of whether we were active participants in the political battles on the ground, or just curious observers reading the news on Twitter, it is clear that Sarawak – and the rest of the country – can never be the same again.

The Malaysian resistance

These are “artistic impressions” of thoughts circumambulating the increasingly controversial Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
project. I chose to say “increasingly controversial” because we all know we need this infrastructure and thus any opposition to it appears to reject a very public need.











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