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Time for Pakatan Harapan to make their case clearly

May 16, 2017

Opposition should not indulge in ambiguity to suit everyone, or they will end up pleasing no one.

COMMENT

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By TK Chua

There is no time to waste further. It is time for Pakatan Harapan to be clear and resolute. It is time for them to be bold and state what they want to do if they win the next election.

No more indulging in ambiguity to suit everyone. It will only end with pleasing no one.

When voted into power, please tell us clearly and unequivocally how the following should be tackled (this is not an exhaustive list):

First, the privileges and power of public officials.

I think public officers, be they politicians or government servants, have too much arbitrary power and privileges.

They are given too many freebies, perks and luxuries. All this must end if we want to attract the right kind of people into public service.

If they love money, shopping and jet setting too much, they should do business or go into the private sector. Public service is about serving the common good of the people and preserving the common interest of the nation. They must understand this is a conscious choice – to serve, not to make money.

This is not idealistic talk. This is deliberately trying to make the public service not attractive to those who love money, perks, and luxuries. If they can’t stand it, then don’t become a public servant.

No one is forcing them to be politicians or government servants. Pakatan must promise us it will prune the privileges, perks and luxuries of public officials from top to bottom, with no exception.

Second, deal with corruption – past, present and future.

There must be clear pronouncements on how we want to deal with corrupt officials. There mustn’t be blanket forgiveness. There must be clear policies on how to deal with them.

Otherwise, history will repeat itself as manifested in so many developing countries where one tyrant is replaced by another.

Present leaders must deal decisively against corrupt practices committed by past leaders. Future leaders must similarly deal with present leaders who are corrupt.

Third, spell out clearly the policies and mechanism of GST, tolls, subsidies and other tariffs.

If GST is no good, please give a clear indication how government finances should be managed going forward. Which public services, if any, could be affected?

If tolls must have limited timespan, please tell the people how highways should be constructed, financed and paid for.

Please tell the people which subsidies should be cut and which maintained.

Perhaps it is time to do “target budgeting”, that is, money saved from any subsidy cut must be channelled for another public service programme and not, as presently done, by going into the consolidated fund where it is then used for gallivanting and jet setting.

If budget formulation is more stringent, spending will be more prudently done. It is as simple as that.

Fourth, there must be clear policies on sales and management of national assets.

Key national assets, such as land, forests, parks, timber, seas, beaches, sand, coastal water, catchment areas and rivers are not the private properties of politicians and government servants. These are Malaysia’s common heritage.

Too much nonsense, siphoning, stealing and irreparable damage is occurring right now. We need clear and unequivocal policies on all this.

Fifth, there must be clear policies on immigration and use of foreign workers.

There is too much ambiguity right now. Foreign workers are “money-making machines” for the well-connected, not so much to serve the enduring economic interests of Malaysia and the welfare of Malaysian workers.

A coherent human resource policy is needed before it is too late. Please don’t make this country a giant garbage dump of unwanted people from all over the world.

Please think of the above five first.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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