The 1987 party contest changed Umno for good and introduced a new culture into Umno that transferred the party from the hands of the nationalists into the hands of the capitalists.
Basically, Umno was transformed from a party of intellectuals and educators into a party of business taukays. Umno became what MCA always was — a money party. Umno sent shivers down MCA’s spine because Umno became more money-driven than even MCA itself.
The new Umno culture became: money talks, bullshit walks. And it has remained that way ever since. [Excerpt from RPK’s MalaysiaToday]
The 1987 money-politics culture became the backbone of Malaysian politics. Would-be members join the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties to obtain lucrative projects, to secure employment in the public sector, and to conveniently rub shoulders with the country’s who’s who.
The marriage of money-into-politics, resulted in the birth of hate-politics: “We HATE everyone who disagree. We CANNOT TOLERATE dissenters. Either you are with us, or against us.”
Suddenly, the Malays are split into three different political ideologies: Capitalist-UMNO, Liberal-PKR and Socialist-prone PAS. Liberal PKR aims to distribute the nation’s wealth equally to all races. PKR plans to do away with communal politics. The poor, according to PKR, deserves to be assisted, irrespective of race .
PAS’s political ideology, on the other hand, is prone towards socialism. Not communist-socialism, rather closely resemble that of the European model. That is, the state exists solely for the benefit of its people. The state’s primary objective is to use the funds collected from the public, to better serve the public. From the people, for the people. To PAS, that is actually what Islamic politics, is all about.
In contrast, UMNO’s new poliltical ideology imitates that of capitalist America. In a capitalist system, money talks. The strong rules the weak. The role of the government is to ensure free competition amongst industry players. Except that under UMNO, monopoly thrives and the public are expected to pay for public amenities. Everything must make money, even the stenchy public toilets. To UMNO, those who toil day-in and day-out for the party, must be economically rewarded, first.
Let’s get back to the issue of Legal Plunder. The term Legal Plunder was used by the French economist- Frederic Bestiat in describing the use of government to secure riches for oneself. That is the policy that Najib is continuing to do. [Excerpt from SakMongol AK4 Blog]
Today, the BN government promises a business-friendly atmosphere to attract would-be investors. Companies are expected to make money from the public, and the caveat, “Let-buyers-beware” and “Let-workers-beware’ became the new ideology for the ruling party (apart from communal-based politics).
There are two differing views on such policy. Proponents to the business-friendly government insist that Malaysian workers should sacrifice a few ‘inconveniences” here and there (such as, unsafe working conditions in solar or rare earth factories) to accomodate employment opportunities for others.
Whereas, opponent views (most of whom are from the opposition party) dictate that the welfare of the Malaysian people must come first. That any concession which results in a single (or two) profit-making entity to monopolistically reap profits from the general public, should never been considered, in the first place. And when a government-link agency is given a ‘next-to-nothing’ 30% interest in a company, there bound to be conflict of interest.
In spite of receiving many opposing views, the BN government remains incalcitrant. The nation must be developed at all cost. Malaysia must achieve a fully-developed status by the year 2020.
A number of highly controversial BN-initiated privatisation projects were scheduled to be implemented as early as 2011, however were later postphoned until after Malaysia’s 12th General Election, to avoid potentially damaging public uproar. Out of the many of these infamous projects, SIX are of utmost importance, since its implementation ensures hugh profit to corporations, while at the same time put a significant dent in the average Malaysian’s pocket. They are as follows:
1. AES TRAFFIC CAMERA.
Every Malaysian road user will be affected with the AES Traffic Camera privatisation project, mooted by MCA, a.k.a, RPK’s ‘Money Party’. MCA short for Malaysian Chinese Association is the second largest component party of the Barisan Nasional Government.
This highly controversial privatisation project was proposed by former BN’s Minister of Transportation, Chan Kong Choy; the same minister who is currently being charged in court for a RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal.
The contract was eventually awarded to Bena Tegap and ATES Sdn Bhd, both of which can be linked to UMNO/MCA politicians. (See report by Pathma Subramaniam of fz.com here)
On September 23, 2012 ATES Sdn Bhd installed 14 AES cameras (out of the approved 831), and reportedly captured 63,558 traffic offences within eight days of its initial installation. Fines is set at RM 300 (down from the RM1000 requested by the companies) per offence. To recoup its RM800 million capital investment, both companies have to issue no less than 2.4 million tickets to the Malaysian public.
Those who commutes regularly to work and travel-bound marketing employees will see an immediate increase in travelling costs, in some cases as much as, 20-30% of income.
This issues here are about the transparency in the award of the AES to the two companies before the AES law was even passed in Parliament, whether a proper study and due deligent was made before awarding to the AES Project and whether the implementation of AES is predominantly about profits. [Excerpt from Wee Choo Keong, MP for Wangsa Maju].
The key issues, as highlighted by many baffled opposition MPs and the Malaysian public alike, are in the manner at which the contract was awarded, to whom it was awarded to, and whether their effectiveness are substantiated with scientific evidence. Without which, AES will always be seen as a way for the ruling party to rake easy money from the Malaysian people.
2. GST TAX.
On 24th November 2009, premier Najib announced that a Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented by the end of 2011. GST, explained the premier, is one ot the income generating tools needed by the government to increase its revenue.
Without which, added Idris Jala (the head of Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Plan), Malaysia may go bankrupt by 2019.
GST is a multi-stage tax. Once implemented, manufacturers would need to pay 4% GST to produce consumer goods. Distributors and suppliers would also need to pay the 4% GST each. Thus, by the time the said product reaches consumers, its price should already include GST. (See Money4Invest.com’s graphical explanation here).
What the government failed to tell us is that by the time a specific good reaches the customers, it would have gone though at least four layers of the supply chain (manufacturer, distributor, dealer and retailer). A dealer or retailer, from whom a customer would buy the product from, would have to mark up and pass on at least 4% + 4% GST tax, to the customer.
The end result? Malaysians will experience a sudden surge of inflation. Every consumer product will be more expensive.
For now, the BN government wisely chose to delay the second sitting of GST Enactment due to the impending soon-to-be held general election. Nonetheless, government sources confimed that the second sitting will be retabled in September of this year, and its full implementation. the latest by 2014.
3. 1CARE COMPULSORY INSURANCE POLICY.
Yet another unpopular pet project, also mooted by the MCA, is the compulsory purchase of health insurance for all working Malaysians, i.e., the 1Care Project.
The fact that government spending in healthcare is below the recommended World Health Organisation’s (WHO)budget — as explained by some detractors is a question that the government does not immediately have answers to.
If it wants to shove such controversial policies [1Care] down our throats, the government must be prepared to open the books and be forthright with ancillary questions:
Where is the RM11 billion in annual healthcare spending going? Why is there a cartel of sorts controlling our pharmaceuticals when an open market system would mean cheaper healthcare? Why are there many government hospitals but they lack equipment? Why is there still a long queue for consultation and prescriptions and a long waiting list for the use of equipment such as basic scanners and MRIs? Why are we losing many good doctors and top healthcare staff to other countries? Why should one be compelled to contribute to 1Care when one has medical insurance that gives him or her top-notch private healthcare? Just who are the 12 or so individuals/companies that have submitted proposals? [Excerpt from the MalayMail, reported by Terence Fernandez]
Under the 1Care insurance scheme, proposed by the Ministry of Health, once fully implemented will result in a mandatory subscription to the national healthcare insurance policy. Ten percent (10%) will be automatically deducted, from everyone’s paychecks every month, to cover the insurance premium.
Slated to start as early as February 2012, this yet another controversial privatisation plan has been shelved to 2014. The public also demanded to know which insurance companies will be awarded with such a massive contract. Also, if any of the current BN-linked politicians have interest in, or buying into any insurance-related public companies.
It is anticipated that with the execution of the above three policies alone will set back the Malaysian public’s wallet by at least 35% of income. Perhaps more. Hiyah!