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REFSA Rojak is our weekly take on the goings-on in Malaysia. We trawl the newsflow, cut to the core and focus on the really pertinent. Full of flavour, lots of crunch, this is the concise snapshot to help Malaysians keep abreast of the issues of the day.
Same old story
The Auditor-General’s Report finally sees the light of day. And some revelations are not pretty. RM3.73 billion overspent – outrageous! Overspending, inefficiency, corruption, indifference etc., are still rearing their ugly heads.
Would you fork out RM11,845 for a laptop and printer which cost RM3,428? The Marine Parks Department (JTLM) did!It also paid RM56,350 (actual price – RM2,827) for a pair of binoculars! And the list goes on. ‘Well spent’ JTLM!
At the receiving end of authorities’ apathy are the young and vulnerable at Kemas kindergartens. Expired edibles, and food stored in toilets, drawers and beside dangerous chemicals was the state of affairs. Tsk, tsk, shame on you, Kemas. Just because children can’t speak out…
Here’s more to make taxpayers shudder : The Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) dragged their feet, taking more than 700 days to settle arrest cases and complaints. Disgraceful! When it comes to the Defence Ministry, poor progress and bad planning are an annual occurence. There was also an alleged overpayment of RM6 billion for armoured personnel carriers. That’s certainly no chickenfeed! Also overpaid were pensioners, by more than RM 4.5 million. The odd thing is some of the recipients are deceased. Not cool, PSD (Public Service Department).
Can we not see this again next year? Am I holding my breath? No.
On a brighter note, the Kelantan is praised for its good financial management and Selangor for decreasing its operating expenditure by RM382.56 million. Penang’s performance was very good – 99% of its projects were successfully carried out, says the A-G. 95% (RM600 million) of state debt was also sliced off, according to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. Way to go!
You perform, we pay
All that money lost, but will we see redemption? In a mitigating move, Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni proudly declares that allocations for ministries will be based on performance, starting 2013. Ironical, seeing how quickly money is disbursed every time ministries ask for ‘extra.’ And has anyone ever been penalised for wastage? Not anyone major!
What now, Tan Sri Muhyiddin??
One day it’s in, the next it’s out. That’s the fate that has befallen the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI). Heaped with accolades when introduced in 2003, now it’s considered ‘flawed’ and viewed with disdain. By whose standards is it flawed you may ask. No one knows.
The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) is pushing the government to reconsider. Parents know best, it says, and reinstating the “option” would be wise. Thousands have registered their support with PAGE. Frustrated students have also jumped into the fray, coming out to voice their disappointment.
Alas, public outcry, support from professional organisations, and evidence of improving student outcomes are not making the Ministry budge. Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong even added more confusion to the issue, saying there is no switch in policy! Does he not know that 2011 Year 1 pupils have started studying the said subjects in BM? Give us some clear answers please. What a mess!
Up, up and away
AirAsia has ‘flown off’ and deserted its passengers. Firefly did the same. Air travellers have become collateral damage in the MAS-AirAsia deal. Bukit Bendera MP, Liew Chin Tong is calling for the cancelation of the controversial deal which has caused more harm than good.
REFSA anticipated this burden on consumers and the economy months ago. It foresaw less frequent flights, higher ticket prices, poorer service levels and reduced job prospects. Its critique of the tie-up was also highlighted in a BFM (Business Radio Station) interview.
One Million whittled down to a few thousand
What happened to the one million supporters for Himpunan Sejuta Umat? The hype over the rally faded into the sunset when only about 5,000 turned up. Perhaps the missing numbers were left stranded by AirAsia and Firefly’s no-show? It’s a success, insist the organisers – we will persevere with our cause. 10 resolutions were proposed at the rally.
Why ‘Rojak’? Disparate flavours and textures come together in a harmonious mix to make this delicious but underrated concoction. Our Rojak weekly is much like this mix, making sense of the noise of daily newsflow and politicking.
It is also our ultimate dream that our multi-ethnic melange of communities can be made richer within the unique ‘sauce’ that is Malaysia. Let’s take pride in the ‘rojakness’ of our nation!