Problem solving, the Malaysian way

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By Saleh Mohammed

I have the highest respect for Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah. It is not because we went to the same school – Sekolah Rendah Jalan Kuantan, Kuala Lumpur – but for his superior intellect and because he has also written numerous articles and spoken on a wide range of issues.

Sultan Nazrin has called upon the authorities to identify and study the factors influencing youth wanting to join militant groups. Sultan Nazrin said identifying these factors could help the authorities draw up more comprehensive measures in tackling the issue.

That call reminds me of the way we try to solve problems nowadays. We either enact new laws or try to enhance or increase punishments. There are also cases where the Rakyat has to incur additional costs and are also threatened.

Take for example security issues in housing estates. Many seem to have lost trust in the police. Maybe because the police are too busy with other priorities.

Residents then put up barricades and engage private security companies. Crime rates show a reduction and Pemandu will report likewise, and indirectly give credit to the police force.

At a time when inflation is creeping up, the cost of living is a major worry and we have to pay so many forms of taxes, besides having to incur extra costs to beef up security.

A few days ago, a minister advised the public to raise more questions about price hikes and to know their rights.

He claimed that 60% of traders in Kuala Lumpur are with the opposition and have raised prices to arouse anti-government sentiments. However, the minister did not mention the source of the information.

He reminded these businesses that they were licenced by KL City Hall (DBKL) and warned that their licences would be revoked if they were found to have pushed up prices as a political ploy.

Corruption ‘givers’ and ‘takers’

The main talking point nowadays is fraud and corruption. For the last couple of years we have heard and seen a lot of fraud and corruption cases.

To address the problem, some were arrested and some were lucky and got away scot free for whatever reasons. Many cases are pending.

The point here is more cases are unearthed as days go by and the amounts involved are enormous. Those charged were “takers” and if I am not wrong, none of them were “givers”.

For all the three cases above, if only our ministers (and lawmakers) and the authorities took heed of the call from Sultan Nazrin to identify and study the factors and reasons that lead to those problems, I think we could easily reduce or even eliminate them. In short, identify the root cause.

The Perak Sultan also added, “Issues of race, religion and culture are exploited for short-term partisan political interest, like a smouldering fire in the husks, having the potential to trigger hostility and ignite anger among the people”.

I cannot agree more and would strongly urge our leaders and bureaucrats not to take the easy way out but put on their thinking cap and look for long-term solutions.

Look at things holistically. If there is a need for training or refresher course, please ask the relevant authorities to arrange for them. Meantime, do rely on facts and figures and not “shoot from the hip”.

We need an effective approach on issues and produce innovative, workable and satisfactory solutions to all the problems Malaysia is facing today. More so, we need leadership.

Not only Malaysians but the world is watching how we tackle issues effectively before confirming that we are a “developed” nation.

Saleh Mohammed is an FMT reader.

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