The Talam and water issues may be BN's powerful weapons but they can also hurt the ruling coalition
For ‘Talam accented properly and translated literally in Cantonese is ‘hit-collapse’. But used in a sentence it means to defeat one’s rivals, for example: “We will ‘ta-lum’ all our rivals in the competition.”
BN and especially MCA, most notably Labis MP, Chua Tee Yong, has been using the Talam Corporation issue to ‘ta-lum’ the Selangor state government helmed by Pakatan Rakyat.
So far, the Pakatan Selangor state government is holding up well. Although much time and energy has been expended to clarify matters, the state government’s explanations rarely get highlighted in the mainstream media in a prominent manner.
The Talam debate on Sept 12 saw the Labis MP refusing to debate with Pakatan MPs: Tony Pua (DAP, Petaling Jaya Utara), Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS, Kuala Selangor) and William Leong (PKR, Selayang).
Of course, Chua does not have the level to debate with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim. Thus the debate arranged by MCA on Sept 12, knowing that Khalid will be away, is a cheap publicity stunt in order for MCA to do damage control as the sudden emergence of the Tan Koon Swan saga will surely greatly damage MCA.
It is impossible for MCA not to know that Khalid will be away on that particular day. This is therefore an MCA stunt to claw back popularity from the Chinese who are increasingly losing respect for this party who only voices out on selective issues.
Most conspicuously missing is the MCA voice in the Jalan Sultan-Save The Heritage issue where the property owners are unhappy with the MRT tunnelling beneath their properties. The property owners’ contention is that the MRT can tunnel beneath Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (formerly Foch Avenue) in front of Kota Raya, Kuala Lumpur.
According to Shah Alam PAS MP, Khalid Samad, MCA does not know all the facts and figures. Said Khalid Samad: “KPMG which audited the Selangor state government’s handling of the Talam matter is very well-known, established and professional auditor and it has cleared the Selangor state government of any wrong-doing.”
“The Selangor government has recovered all its loans and got back the lands. The state government has profited from the whole venture and the auditors even praised the Selangor government’s professionalism in this matter,” he added.
Till to-date the water and Talam issues are BN’s weapons to hit out at the Selangor government in order to cause its collapse. But it is MCA which is going to get hit and collapse before the 13th general election as MCA has almost lost all credibility among the Chinese voters. Only BN’s cronies support MCA now.
BN has never sat still since it lost Selangor in the previous general election. It has continuously tried every trick in the book to recapture Selangor by hook or by crook. This is not surprising as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is the head of Selangor Umno. Previously he was the head of Perak Umno and we know what happened there.
Many people are now getting very tired and fed up with the intense and non-stop political activity since March 2008.
It is BN which is responsible for this as it controls all the public institutions, the mainstream media and the government machinery which it enjoys using at the expense of the rakyat. Pakatan has no choice but to respond to BN’s attacks and it is this factor that contributed to the intense politicking.
BN leaders seem to ignore the fact that their politicking does not augur well for the investment climate. The Felda shares have suddenly dropped to below the psychological benchmark of RM5 and this is not a healthy sign.
PAS Kuala Selangor MP, Dzulkefly Ahmad, mentioned that the incoming foreign direct investment (FDI) figure is RM7 billion but the outgoing is RM16 billion. That means the outflow is RM9 billion.
The BN federal government keeps harping on the inflow figure but forgets to inform the citizens of the outflow figure and this shows that the government is adept at being economic on the truth.
With so much hidden under the carpet, we will not be able to know the truth concerning the nation’s economic health until an implosion occurs. By then, it will already be too late.
The BN federal government cannot hold on much longer. After winning the 13th general election, it will surely increase the price of RON95 by leaps and bounds as had happened after the March 2008 general election. The goods and services tax (GST) will then be introduced and this will certainly burden the poor and the low-wage earner.
The situation in Malaysia is dire. But the incumbent government is telling the rakyat: “Everything is fine. You are in good hands. The economy is robust and thriving. BN has a proven track record unlike Pakatan Rakyat.”
Proven track record aside, we need to see how the government is going to curb expenditure in the 2013 Budget which will be tabled on Sept 28. By right the Auditor-General’s Report should also be tabled on the same day.
But last year, the budget was tabled on Oct 7 and the Auditor-General’s Report was only tabled on Oct 24, which was 17 days late. This is against parliamentary procedure. Let us see whether the same bad practice will again be adopted this year. By the way, the budget will of course be passed because the opposition MPs are outnumbered.
Selena Tay is a FMT columnist