Writer: Fahmi Fadzil
Published: Fri, 11 Jan 2013
AND so we’ve zoomed swiftly into 2013. In the blink of an eye, two weeks of January have passed us by.
And these two weeks have not been without its fair share of excitement.
First, of course, is the issue of water in the Klang Valley, and how the rakyat is told that some areas will be experiencing water shortages until Chinese New Year in the second week of February.
For many right-thinking Malaysians, surely this is a baffling scenario: how could we be deprived of water, a basic utility and necessity, for so long a period?
Hence many are saying that “dark and invisible hands” could be behind this latest twist in the story of water in Selangor.
As we all recall, one such turn in the water tale was that the Barisan Nasional administration had never done an audit to get a full picture of its water assets, and insisted that there was not enough water; hence it needed to have the Langat 2 water processing plant project.
On the first matter, it took a change in government in 2008, with members possessing an entirely new approach towards governance, to conduct such an exercise; the Pakatan Rakyat administration with Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim at the helm finally discovered that Selangor’s water assets were worth something to the tune of RM12 billion.
And for the second, the PR administration has shown time and again that water levels in Selangor are sufficient, and that the Langat 2 project was far too expensive; a more economical solution in membrane filtering technology was already available and could be implemented without severely denting public coffers.
Unfortunately, BN is adamant and unwilling to hear these salient PR rebuttals. Perhaps only the rakyat of Selangor can decide, via the upcoming 13th General Election, assuming that fight will be free and fair.
Which brings me to my next point: electoral reforms.
It’s a new year, yet it’s the tired, old arguments being upheld to not implement the eight reforms demanded by Bersih 2.0.
Even the issue of overseas voting is mired in confusion, (purposeful?) lack of coordination, and poor communication.
With an estimated one million Malaysians currently living and working abroad, one would imagine that this is a significant constituency that should not have its rights as citizens denied!
Yet the feet-dragging, the “ummms” and “errrs” have caused quite a stir - to the point that Malaysians overseas - particularly in Singapore, where most of the overseas Malaysians are based - are coordinating themselves to return home to cast their ballots.
Another aspect of electoral reform - or lack thereof - which many are still griping about is the electoral roll itself.
As someone working for the MP for Lembah Pantai, I have had to conduct Get-Out-The-Vote exercises where we’ve tried to touch base and connect with individual voters.
In doing these exercises, the Lembah Pantai team has found quite a number of irregularities, including but not limited to houses with families who’ve lived there for an entire generation finding out a stranger (or three) is voting there;
public housing units, some no larger than 650sqf, having 7-8 voters; voters “living” in commercial complexes; voters who’ve applied to move into Lembah Pantai seven years ago, yet to this date they haven’t been moved; sudden massive increase of 15x in total number of police voters in four years; and much more.
We can only guess why there is feet-dragging in looking into these irregularities.
Hence, I can say with some surety that even though it’s a new year, we’re still fighting on the same old issues.
But here’s to new beginnings in the fight to resolve them, and to seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.