Not only has bunkum become the art of governance by the incumbent government but talking nonsense is also another art form.
Take the Cowgate fiasco. A former prime minister’s son-in-law had tried to defend the project but only ended up in giving lame excuses which can be labelled as “pure bunkum”.
The general public dismissed his excuses and instead listened to the facts provided by Rafizi Ramli, the PKR director for strategy who made headlines for exposing the issue.
Another instance is when a government agency has announced that the federal government has managed to rope in investments amounting to RM179 billion. But actually this was only the committed figure and not the actual figure, according to a non-governmental research agency.
The actual figure at nearly RM13 billion does not even amount to 10% of the committed figure. Therefore, can we label the government agency’s figure as “plain bunkum”?
Case No 3 pertains to a local television news station which recently (on June 30) showed that there are currently many vagrants and homeless people living on the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
This indicates that the disparity of wealth and income is getting greater by the day and yet the government is saying that it is on track towards becoming a high-income nation.
That statement is a great bunkum as NPLs (non-performing loans) are also increasing and that means more and more of the rakyat are getting into debt.
Bunkum No 4 pertains to the national debt which is said to be at 53% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Parliament has set the law that the nation must never surpass the 55% level.
However, if one adds contingent liabilities, then the benchmark has been breached and the national debt ratio stands at 63% of the GDP, said Tony Pua, DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP who is also an economic expert.
Contingent liabilities is off-the-record and due to this sleight-of-hand accounting, Malaysia is still at the comfortable level of 53%. But when it is at 63%, we are only 7% short of the Grecian level of 70%. See, now we even have bunkum economics!
Not only has bunkum become the art of governance by the incumbent government but talking nonsense is also another art form. Saying that salt and bottles of mineral water can topple the government is the art of bunkum in itself.
Art of bullying
In addition to this art, the government is also well-versed in the art of bullying.
Why did Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) or City Hall slapped a bill of RM350,000 on Bersih co-chairperson, S Ambiga and Bersih steering committee member, Maria Chin Abdullah, for expenses incurred by City Hall pertaining to the Bersih event on April 28?
What happened to the other Bersih co-chairman? Why only target these two ladies? Why should a civil movement be penalised? This is certainly outright bullying!
Of course, the Bersih participants who have been brutally treated and had to suffer the ill-effects of the tear gas on April 28 can be termed as being bullied too.
And so is the inefficient bus transport which forces commuters to suffer its ill-effects daily – this is also a form of bullying by the current BN federal government towards the rakyat. And not only is the rakyat being bullied, the Pakatan Rakyat is being bullied too.
And this is a classic example of the federal government bullying Pakatan. According to DAP’s Serdang MP, Teo Nie Ching, every state has its own JKKK which stands for Jawatankuasa Keselamatan dan Kemajuan Kampung (Village Security and Development Committees) to look after the welfare of the community.
But in the Pakatan-helmed states, the BN federal government has set up JKKKP which stands for Jawatankuasa Keselamatan dan Kemajuan Kampung Persekutuan (Federal Development and Security Village Committees), which is directly under the federal government and the federal government channels funds to it.
Not only does JKKKP duplicate the job of JKKK, it is also a means for the federal government to channel funds to its goons and lackeys.
After Perak fell to BN via undemocratic and illegal means, its JKKK, which was previously appointed by Pakatan, was replaced by a JKKK appointed by BN while BN’s own appointed- JKKKP which was set up during Pakatan’s tenure was automatically dissolved.
This shows that in Pakatan-helmed states, BN has installed its own people to run the show although Pakatan has already got people to do the job. This example is a clear illustration of the BN federal government bullying the Pakatan states.
Another classic example of the BN federal government bullying PAS and the rakyat is the denial of oil royalty payments to the people of Kelantan ever since PAS formed the state government in Kelantan in 1990 till now. Thus, the Kelantanese have been bullied for over two decades.
Besides the above example, racist remarks directed at Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and S Ambiga are also a form of bullying. Sad to say, lately this is becoming the norm. This question must be asked: Why is the prime minister keeping quiet?
Will we see an end to the world of bunkum and bullies?
Selena Tay is a FMT columnist