Wednesday, October 12, 2011

'Nasi-lemak' pipe dreams: Najib vs KL

Prime Minister Najib Razak went for a nasi lemak breakfast in Village Park in Damansara Utama last Sunday.
Apparently so many people wanted to take pictures with him that he could barely have his meal in peace. It is not clear how many of them were hired by Najib’s PR consultants.
One man came up to Najib and told him that this was the best budget ever tabled. It is not clear whether the man was being sarcastic or was merely a gibbering idiot.
Falsely emboldened
Apparently motivated by this event, Najib felt emboldened enough to encourage BN FT to win back Kuala Lumpur. Winning back KL, Najib argued, would prove that BN is supported not just by uninformed people in the rural areas but also by urban dwellers. Clearly Najib cannot differentiate between empirical and anecdotal evidence.
The problem with Najib’s argument is that the BN is, in fact, a party supported only by the uninformed masses in the rural areas. And the BN will not win back the parliamentary seats in Kuala Lumpur.
Residents of Kuala Lumpur are shortchanged at every general election. Where their fellow citizens in surrounding states get to vote twice, once to decide on their representative for Parliament and once to decide on their local (state representative), the people of KL only get one vote. KLites therefore, have no say in who runs their local administration.
Instead, KL is run by the barely competent DBKL which neither listens nor cares about what the people of KL think. The head of DBKL while ostentatiously calling himself the Datuk Bandar, is appointed by fiat, not suffrage. He is always a tired old civil servant who is about to retire and who has no reason to be concerned with the views of KLites. No matter how incompetent he is or how unfit for office he is, he can neither be sacked nor voted out by the people of KL. He is beholden only to the Federal Territories Minister, a member of the Federal Cabinet.
In the current case, Raja Nong Chik, the FT Minister, is  not an MP from Kuala Lumpur. In fact, he is not an MP at all! He is there only by virtue of having been appointed by the Prime Minister; in his questionable wisdom. So there we have it, the two individuals who run KL are in complete disconnect with and do not in any way represent the people of Kuala Lumpur.
Local council elections a must for KL
The Datuk Bandar and councilor positions must be made elected ones; there is no alternative to this. KLites must be returned their right to vote, and the incompetent, unrepresentative rule of DBKL must come to an end.
Kuala Lumpur has a population higher than Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca or Pahang. Yet it is run, and run badly, by a town council under the thumb of the BN Federal Government. The people of KL should be able to decide on their local administration the same as other citizens of Malaysia.
The current state of affairs is untenable. The only popular indication of who KLites want representing them is the parliamentary elections. There are eleven parliamentary seats in Kuala Lumpur. In the 2008 elections, KLites voted for Pakatan in ten of them. Pakatan therefore is the rightful representative of the people of Kuala Lumpur.
Yet none of the councillors in DBKL come from Pakatan ranks. In fact, they are all BN apparatchiks, from UMNO, from MCA and from MIC. They are from the ranks of the parties that the people of Kuala Lumpur have roundly rejected. The people’s wishes are stomped on by the heavy soles of BN’s undemocratic jackboots. To add insult to injury, DBKL ignores the Pakatan MPs and ignores their recommendations.
No idea of what KL wants
And Najib now has the gall to declare that BN FT will win back Kuala Lumpur. It will not happen as long as KL is run in such incompetent manner. And it will not happen until Najib addresses the concerns of urban dwellers which include, but are not limited, to the following:
> Eradication of rampant corruption.
> Ensuring the independence and integrity of public institutions, such as the judiciary, the MACC and the Election Commission among others.
> The establishment of the IPCMC to avoid excesses by the police, another example of which we saw during the green rally in Kuantan last Sunday.
> The prosecution of corrupt figures, including those who hold or have held high office, but who are not charged and in many cases, not even investigated.
> Freedom of the press.
> Freedom of speech.
> Free and fair elections.
    Najib will not, and cannot, fulfill even one of the above. And he cannot buy off urban dwellers with one-off 500 ringgit payments based on irresponsible, unsustainable budgets which will drive Malaysia into dangerous deficit.
    So Najib will not get the urban vote.
    And he will not win back Kuala Lumpur.
    Malaysia Chronicle

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