Loyal Followers

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday jottings

While all of us, citizens and the police alike, are going completely bonkers about the planned rally by BERSIH on 9th July, allow me to touch on the subject a bit today.

The government has surely gone drunken-ape about this planned rally. It has, among others, declared that yellow t-shirts with the word BERSIH printed on them are illegal. The IGP, feeling left out, later chipped in to warn that buses, shoes and umbrellas with markings which support the rally – which according to him is an illegal act – is seditious. See here and here for full reports respectively.

And so people wearing t-shirts are arrested. The word BERSIH has become a dirty one. Activists have also been arrested.

The police on the other hand has been busy churning out ridiculous amount of laughing gas every time it attempted to justify the clampdown on the planned rally. Firstly, they claimed it was a communist plot to overthrow the government. Then it was the fact that BERSIH was being funded by Christian groups who are of course – what else? – anti-Islam. And today we have a statement saying there are foreign elements which are threatening to throw the country into chaos during the rally.

God knows what’s the next thing they will come up with. Lord Voldermot and Darth Vader appearing as Ambiga and Hadi Awang?

Meanwhile, our National Laureate, A Samad Said, was called for questioning by the police just for reading 2 paragraphs of his prepared speech. See my post The Tipping Point on this.

Yesterday we had the Persatuan Silat whatever declaring to wage war against the BERSIH rally goers. Before that we have Ibrahim Ali telling the Chinese to stock up food. While Pak Samad was promptly hauled up to the police station for a 90 minute tete-a-tete for reading some very nice prose calling for social justice, I wonder why statements which wage war and provoking the Chinese are not investigated with the same vigour or at all by the police.

It is this kind of double standard which nauseates me and many others, I must say.

The truth is the police and the Home Ministry could just work with the organisers of the rally to ensure a peaceful and orderly rally. After all, the police’s fundamental duty is to protect the society and to ensure peace. It’s duty is not to prevent citizens from exercising their rights under the Constitution.

I remember after the now infamous cow head protest in Shah Alam, the police explained why their officers just stood guard and did not prevent the rally that Friday. I remember the police saying that they did not stop the rally because they feared it might cause more anger. And so they just stood like statues looking at the rally goers carrying a bloodied cow head while chanting racially provocative statements.

What is the difference between that and the planned BERSIH rally? Why can;t the police do the same. Stand guard. Ensure public safety.

I also remember what the Home Minister said after that protest. Here it is.

Yes. The Home Minister sat with the protesters after the protest. He totally understood their grievance. “They just wanted their voices to be heard”, says him.

Well, I suppose BERSIH and those who are planning to join the rally also have voices to be heard and they quite obviously want their voices to be heard. I am sure the Home Minister can afford the same courtesy which he accorded the cow head protesters to BERSIH and those who plan to join the rally, no?

In this respect, I am pleased to note that Ambiga, the Chairperson of BERSIH has agreed to see the IGP to try and find a win-win solution to this impasse. I do hope some kind of agreement could be achieved from this meeting. I am happy to note that the IGP is willing to talk to Ambiga as well.

On a totally unrelated matter, I remember the Prime Minister asking all of us to tighten our belt. I also remember Minister Idris Jala warning us that Malaysia might go bankrupt if subsidies are not reviewed and cut soon.

Recently of course we saw the cutting of subsidies for RON97 fuel. Then sugar price went up. And the most recent is the hiking up of electricity rate. Generally, things are just more expensive than before. And we are talking about daily household stuffs here, not handbags, sun glasses or mobile phones.

As such, I am aghast to learn how much our country pays for rentals, electricity charges and water charges for the PM and DPM’s official residences.

Minister Nazri, in a written answer to a question in the Parliament, revealed that a staggering RM160,000 is paid for electricity and RM33,000 for water every month for these two official residences.

In all, the country pays RM32,972,115.55 for rentals, RM3,581,744.78 for renovation works, RM10,267,868.15 for electricity  and  RM1,967,386.55 for water. See the full report here.

Get that. 10 million bucks for electricity in a year. And 1.9 million bucks for water!

How many Play Stations are there in these two residences? How many swimming pools and water slides are there?

By contrast, Rumah Nursalam, a welfare centre which takes care of about 700 registered children – most are street children around the Chow Kit area – spend about RM50000.00 per month on everything, including food, drinks, electricity, water, staff salaries, programmes and transportation. Their water bill is just RM300 per center per year!

Take just 1% from the 10 million electricity bill and 2 million water bill and give to Rumah Nursalam – which is 120000 – and Rumah Nursalam will be able to survive for TWO years without other donation.

With respect, I find the expenses for the two official residences appalling, to say the least.

28 comments:

KoSong Cafe said...

At that level of expenditures, utility bills seem like capital expenditures and monthly rentals could pay for premises each month. I can still remember the recent Rm65 million for renovation to PM's official residence! Just imagine spending that kind of money to a rented premises! And PM was known to have appealed to us to 'change our lifestyles'! Do what we tell you to, not do what we do?

d'enricher said...

Art,

Know what, with every thing that is against BERSIH, all the soap factory will be in trouble. Now our economy will be in doldrum.

donplaypuks said...

I recalll reading somewhere last year or before that the rental of the PM and DPM's residences in Putrajaya is paid to the company which did much of the construction work in Putrajaya - Putrajaya Holdings or something. They own the houses.

The curious question is why did the Govt enter into a rental arrangement when it could have bought these houses for a few million $ 10 years ago?

Imagine, over the last 10 years, the rental paid would have been in the region of $330 million!!??

To benefit a crony?

The electricity and water consumption is outrageous

dpp
we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

Anonymous said...

I am a pensioner, and we used to be able to survive on my monthly pension and sometimes with 100rm savings even. Mind you, no frivolous spending, only the essentials. These past few months however, I can't make ends meet. I am in the red, so how do I listen to 1PM's advice? Eat 1 meal every two days? I know the worst is yet to come.

Anonymous said...

YES, let us be heard too , ok !?

Anonymous said...

Art

You have stated all that has to be stated on BERSIH's effort. All we can see is KOTOR coming out from BN and the establishment.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have gone to the US with a begging bowl requesting for US volunteers to come and teach English in our beloved country.

Please see the latest in Bernama under the title "300 Fulbright Scholars To Teach In M'sia".

Is Malaysia a sub-Saharan country or a banana republic that does not have its own resources (both competent people and money) to teach our children English? And yet we are sending thousands of bright children to study in foreign universities since time immemorial.

Is this not a national shame?

You might want to say something about this!!

Wake UP! said...

Salam Bro. Yellow is now synonymous with dirty.

Antares said...

RM2,316,000 a year just to pay the utility bills for Najib and Muhyiddin? And they look so bewildered and hurt when the rakyat screams, "Enough is enough!"

indon planter said...

What can I say Art? Tabek (salute)

Anonymous said...

When Marie Antoinette asked her palace guards why the peasants are revolting, they told her the peasants have no bread. Marie Antoinette then told the guards the peasants can eat cake instead.

Our PM and DPM have no f@#&*^# clue about the ordinary malaysian's daily struggles of putting food on the table, paying bills and cost of giving their children a proper education, not the type of education from the Education Ministry. Just because a section of the malaysian public can still afford to dine at the Shangrilas and Hiltons does not mean the masses have the same standard of living.

So what's the difference between the PM and DPM telling malaysians to tighten their belts and Marie Antoinette telling the peasants to eat cakes? Lucky thing in this day and age, malaysians do not go around guillotining the heads of idiots except for the Perkasa and 50,000 seni silat dudes.

Anonymous said...

Art, I guess you and your other PR die harder supporters do not need to march in Bersih la, since the theme "..marching to Putrajaya" very much ingrained in your writing..., go out and living your life like Nick Ajis. No need Bersih Bersih ni..mana ada 100%bersih dalam dunia ni. Tunggu PR13 ajela. Udah ler yeop, stop fanning emotions. Be honest, at least to yourself.

Anonymous said...

one not so silly question for you Art.

If bersih claims that Malaysia does not practice fair elections, how the hell did the opposition win 5 states in the last GE? a simple honest answer would suffice... TQ

Anonymous said...

to answer anonymous,

how did PR win 5 states if the election wasn't BERSIH the last time? we also have the PM n all his ministers asking the same dumb question...

the answer is simple if the 2008 election was so called BERSIH, the bloody BN wouldn't b sitting in Putrajaya now... so comprande senyor? stop asking questions to which u know the answer...

Anonymous said...

YES, kalau 100% BERSIH in 2008 : pm & dpm would NOT be shitting , oops ...sitting in putrajaya !

Anonymous said...

Also mind boggling is the cost of official trips for the PM and DPM (and spouses) of RM25.1 mln from 2008 to June this year as revealed in parliament a few days ago. The PM's share was RM17.1 mln. For the first 6 months of this year alone, it was RM5.4 mln, greater than the RM5.1 mln spent for the whole of 2010. Can WE tell the first lady and her husband to change their lifestyles?

Captain Obvious said...

Dear ART,

There are three types of people that you don't mess with: I- Your family, II- Your friends, and III- Your neighbours. And these are the three that can make your life very happy or very miserable. Obviously UMNO the Obscure just don't get it.

By the way, I asked my wife the other day to take me some where expensive, so she took me to the petrol station.....

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

You see, Art! Najib, Muhiyidin and all the BN people think it is their birth right to plunder the country. As for the ordinary Malaysians, it is their destiny to kowtow to Barisian Nasional.

So, are you joining the Bersih rally on 9 July?

Anonymous said...

Pukul Art pukul,

Pak hang dulu pukul padi, tarik hidung kerbau, kepak tengkok ikan haruan. Lani anak dia dok pukul kepala penyamun.

Anonyny said...

RM160K p.m for PM's residence?!! Must be those high powered hair dryer our "First Lady" use daily to make her look like Lion King. Change our lifestyle? Why don't you change yours!!

amoker said...

I find it amusing that the government claim that the election is fair based on 2008 result.

1) It is the people who voted for the alternative block. EC did not estimate that well and could not refuse the choice of rakyat.
2) Many things have happen since 2008. Boundaries were redrawn, people shifted about etc.
3) Why is EC so defensive about getting feedback to its process?

So please, don't be a parot of Utusan and just say things without processing it in the brain. North Korea & previous east europeans also have election. A strong and fair election process is what we seek.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so articulate. So unlike another well-known blogger who is now showing his true colours, albeit in what he seemingly professes to be still truthful. He is now using subtle methods to be supportive of BN, using titles like "I support so-and-so", then qualifying his stand in the text. Surely, he must know that subject titles are important, and can be taken out of context. Hope that people are not fooled by such clumsy spinning techniques.

Anonymous said...

OMG.... if BN is so "pantang" to see yellow colour,then I think it's high time they change the UMNO emblem which also comprises of yellow stuff. What a silly EXCUSE to be so PARANOID over a colour which happens to be ROYAL too. Real bunch of IDIOTS running if not such a blessed country by GOD.Time for CHANGE has come and will happen this GE 13th.GOD will see to it.Finally GOOD will overcome the EVIL!

Anonymous said...

home minister balls.....one big one small...hanging on the wall....

BOGO said...

i love ya ART! The country needs you and more like you to rid the blardy corruption and 'control-freaks'! Malaysia will truly be a better place then!

Papabear said...

Does hypocrisy does not have any meaning anymore? To be honest Malaysian Ministers knows jack bout what they talked bout. They say something and practice totally the opposite. And no wonder they have to cut the subsidies, if not they won't be able to pay those bill. Btw, how many people staying in that house?

flyer168 said...

Art,

Very well said, bravo.

“There is...an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents....

The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provisions should be made to prevent its ascendancy.”

Thomas Jefferson quotes (American 3rd US President (1801-09). Author of the Declaration of Independence. 1762-1826)

“Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will.

But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”

Thomas Jefferson quotes (American 3rd US President (1801-09). Author of the Declaration of Independence. 1762-1826)

“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government...”

Thomas Jefferson quotes (American 3rd US President (1801-09). Author of the Declaration of Independence. 1762-1826)

You be the judge.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Bro,

How come you haven't commented about article 8 in relation to judges' remuneration, with particular reference to the new amendment?

Anonymous said...

Definitely APPALLING!!! Those expenditures should be cut and channel some of those $$ to the welfare homes in order for them to have decent facilities and amenities!!