Friday, June 27, 2008

MALAYSIAKINI: The failure of federalism?

The latest batch of Malaysiakini reports; Opposition pledges yet to be fulfilled, Koh tells Lim to make up his mind and, Penang fumes over scrapping of mega-projects is, to me, further evidence of the major mistake made by the drafters of the Federal Constitution.
One of the key features in the brief given to the Reid Commission was "the establishment of a stong central government".
Concentration of financial power at federal level
Upon that feature alone is built the ridiculous edifice of the Malaysian constitutional structure where easily 95% of ALL revenue collected goes to the federal government. Yes, there are state grants under Part VII of the Constitution, but it is a pittance. It is hardly sufficient to keep each state afloat in operating expenses.
The states are left with powers to collect revenue from quit rent, assessment and entertainment duties. As I said, hardly enough to cover costs. It is no wonder that Guan Eng's Penang state govt has had to immediately look into austerity measures upon assuming office.
This unfair constitutional bias towards the federal govt also explains Najib's smug position as posted in Malaysia-Today.Net which I extract here:-
There are strong murmurs that the Pakatan Rakyat Government is not leaving the “lost of ideal funding” for these two projects to providence or any justification that their needs are not “people-friendly”.
The PR, arguing in principle that the BN lost of way among the plebiscites was the primary reason why they lost far too many seats on March 8, is determined not to be dragged that way too if they fail to get these projects moving.
Some would say that getting the projects done at all cost would be their flagship election issue five years from now. The business savvy among the PR crowd may now be thinking of alternative and independent means to raise funds for the two projects. That’s what it is: a mere lack of funding rather than lack of resolve, resourcefulness and some third party angel investors willing to fork out a cool RM3.5 billion in a coterie of investments and soft loans.
But Najib seemed to have anticipated this economically subversive thinking. When he was asked whether Penang could carry out the deferred projects on their own, Najib pointed the issue as a matter subject to the Federal Constitution. “You have to decide whether it is under the state or federal list. Secondly, if the state want to borrow (a loan), they still need permission from the federal government," he said in underscoring the Federal Government’s stand.
Article 111 of the Constitution requires states to borrow from the federal govt. So, Najib believes that he's got Guan Eng checkmated. Or, has he? Believe me, there ARE ways to work around Art. 111. But that's another story.
For now, I want to say that our M'sian constitutional structure has engendered an unfair situation where states that are governed by Pakatan are being deprived of their right to development.
What happened to EQUALITY & FAIRNESS to ALL M'sians, even Penangites?
The Constitution contains the principle of EQUALITY. That means the BN federal govt is acting unconstitutionally by granting more funds to BN-controlled states at the expense of Pakatan-controlled states. We have seen this happen with RM1 billion "goodies" being given to Sabah and Sarawak.
What about the RM30 billion under 9MP? Obviously the funds are not going to Penang.
What the BN federal govt has shoved into M'sian voters' faces this time around is that until such time Pakatan has a majority in Parliament (and, therefore, forms the federal govt) the 5 Pakatan states will be starved financially.
Lessons from Sabah
The BN seems to have forgotten about Harris Salleh's experience in 1985 when he starved Tambunan because of Pairin Kitingan's recalcitrance and audacity to leave Berjaya Party to be come an independent Assemblyman. There was a landslide against Harris and Berjaya Party!
Why the crossover is necessary
Given the above scenario, if fair-minded M'sians still maintain that crossovers are morally wrong, then they should ask themselves (and BN) if depriving Penangites of their right as tax-paying M'sians to the development of their state and LIVELIHOOD is morally right?
Let's not be sanctimonious about illusory principles about crossovers. I say here that the morality of development and livelihood outweighs by a billion times (or RM3.5 billion - take your pick), the morality of crossovers.


Anonymous said...

All Penangites.. how much do you all love Penang.. show it if you love Penang..

My proposal is..
1. Since the road tax goes to the fucking FED GOV, lets all stop using CARs, so we do not have to pay road tax.
This way we do not have to pour petrol since even the petrol money goes to fucking FED GOV.
2. This helps the environment too
3. Let LGE and co build Trams in Penang.. This is less costlier and more environment frendly then monorail.
4. Lets use the Ferry instead of the Penang Bridge since the toll money goes to the Fucking FED GOV.
5. Penangites, lets use bicycles and trishaws and if possible re-introduce the Mini buses.
5. Lets get rid of the fucking FED GOV's rapid bus company as this is a crony company
So how about it Penangites??

de minimis said...

slurpee, what a radical idea! sounds good, especially if u live around the city centre. really good for the environment ... and your health!

Anonymous said...

I suggest that Penang pulls out of Malaysia and be an independent country. We will be successful and can do even better than Singapore. Why did the majority of the Chinese and Indian Malaysians voted for the oposition? Because UMNO/BN are not treating us as equal citizens of this country. We feel like second class citizens in our own country. If we pull out of Malaysia, we will implement a meritocratic system and every citizen will have full equality before the law. Everyone will have an equal opportunity to jobs, education and business opportunities etc... We have been paying taxes to the federal govt for 50 years, what do we get back in return? All our monies have gone to UMNO and BN cronies who are CORRUPT to the core. The Penang Peranakans wanted Penang to remain under British rule. If we had stayed under British rule, we would now be as successful as Hong Kong or Singapore. Wake up Penagites, do we still want to remain in Malaysia ???

de minimis said...

anon, i suspect many share such sentiments. but secession is not a practical or viable option, unfortunately. the problem is that 50 years of control has created arrogance in UMNO. they act as if they are absolute monarchs with power of life and death and they behave as if every single sen of taxpayers' money belongs to them personally.

but don't be sucked into thinking in chinese & indian & malay terms. that is the low-level that BN (UMNO, MCA & MIC, etc) want the rakyat to think at. NO! we should turn our energy and focus to issues like corruption, meritocracy and abuse of power.

Anonymous said...

however we want to think or position ourselves, i still believe we should do a singapore..and we would be so much better off..

de minimis said...

maybe so. but it's not going to happen. sigh!

Nostradamus said...

Nostradamus Quatrains on Malaysie

In the year of the great games started by the greeks
Hosted by the nation of heavenly emperors of times before
In a land called Malaysie
Great turbulence and strife engulf

A land where a Genghis Khan’s Descendant was shred to bits
Blown by the winds to the heavenly clouds
Where the accused are finally crowned
Amid great trepidation and acrimony

Then arose among men of honor
A man of the faith of Mohammedans
Kings and Rulers let him reign
And a new nation was born

Great leaders bring forth divination and revelations
A land of many tribes divided was thus united
The color of men was blurred and lost
By great competition to give their best

Herein lies the destiny of men
Who showed the meaning of democracy and humanity
Religions and languages flourishes as times before
A land as peaceful as Shangri La

Malaysie, a stopping point of travelers must see
Back to the days of great Sultans and Rajas
Nations and men afar come to seek their wealth
Knowledge, trade and life flourishes as before


de minimis said...

excellent poem with classical & historical analogies. good points contained in the verses, man. thanks

Anonymous said...

Our current malay generation is racist now because they desperately want to hang on to privileges which I frankly believe it slowly causing the malay race to rot away and become a pathetic race on crutches dependent.

I think that malays are the most stupid idiots on earth - they might have big sized bodies bud in their heads, but they have puny brains.

Thus coming to the conclusion that they are the most stupid black blocks on earth - they are coloured black and stink like a garbage dump.

Does malays ever think twice about their religious? What if yours believe is not what you think!

You malays will rape anybody just for sexual pleasure. You didn't read about the malay who raped his own sister?

Not only that! They yell 5 times per day and expect to go to heaven! After committing so many sins like steal, rape, killing!

Malays are so stupid that deserve to be robbed by their own government. They in fact deserve to be raped as well. Maybe we were better off as British rule Malaysia after all.

Malays are jealous of Chinese, that is why they hate them. Americans are not jealous of Chinese, because they don't need tongkat. They buy a lot of Chinese goods. If they hate, they would have boycott the products. Bodoh!

Oh! Bodoh! Only blind man needs tongkat.

If Americans don't hate the malays, why is there so much bad press against Mahathir when he scolded the Americans? You malays are brainless and never read the newspaper. Everyday special rights here and there……….still like your tongkat so much!

You go to American embassy and see which country now is blacklisted? Did they blacklist Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong?

Even the Japanese look down upon the malays because they are just a bunch of fool, corrupt, lazy person who feed on the Chinese income tax for their existence.

The malays want to produce as many pig babies as they want, but doesn't teach them what is honesty, hardworking, civilisation!

Anonymous said...

Bodoh punya melayu babi……….

Baik balik ke tanah melayu la. We are natives of Sabah and Sarawak land - buat apa kamu punya orang datang sini menjajah kita oh?

Kita tak suka kamu orang datang sini mengorek sumber petroleum tanah kita - this Sabah and Sarawak land not belongs to your malays.

Get out from Sabah and Sarawak la!

Bodoh melayu babi!

Anonymous said...

Yes, a lot of non-malays in Malaysia are leaving this country. But what the hell, they (babiputras) don't care. They are happy that we leave.

I do agree with you of those you mentioned, our country is stepping backward, we are loosing in all aspects and yet overdue and retarded ministers are still available on shelf. The ministers think that they are the only ones capable and qualified to be there and not replaceable, otherwise the country could collapse.

Looking at Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq likes looking at this country future. The well connected babiputras are getting richer. This government is spoon feeding the babiputras at this nation expense. I am sick of this country too.

My advise is let them rot in their own stew.

The Barisan government has achieved 0% in reversing the trend of racism.

While South Africa has disbanded racism through the government's initiative after the global news onslaught, our government leaders are propagating FACISM and RACISM in every way.

In term of racism, we are the most uncivilised country in the world. Look into our neighbouring countries of Asia, they are advancing economically on a straight forward objective, for their citizens.

Whereas we are moving in deviationist path, widely off the international economic theory for the sole objective, of propelling the well being of a supreme race.

Mahathir era is over, here we have Badawi. Is he changing the trend? Not a single sign of it.

How about the future under Najib? Sad, sad. They have more camouflage in readiness.

Anonymous said...

are we only able to take out corrupt leaders during the election?
maybe i read too much spy novels, espionage series, counter intelligence and what have you about modern technologies that can swoop information. recently france was trying to pass a law banning publication of phone eaves dropping. the politicians are embarassed. i believe there are much going on in the air between the corrupt that there are some among us who can get hold of. no need to publish in the controlled papers but expose them. i believe it could be useful info for the general public through blogs and maybe an occasional slip to the malay opposition leadership for their arsenal. put the word out sure there are some smart malaysian who love their country.

de minimis said...

The ethnic discourse is an emotional issue, of course. But I hope we can all remember that the problem is not with ethnicity. The problem is politicians in UMNO hijacking taxpayers money for themselves & cronies in the name of ethnic policies. Most Malays are not benefitting from the NEP.

Also, we should take issue of UMNO's co-conspirators in MCA, MIC and Gerakan. These guys have really been part of the problem.

So, stay cool with your emotions. Direct it to the politicians and political parties that have created this policy of UMNOputra, MCAputra, MICputra & Gerakanputra.

It's not the Malays/Bumiputra that is the problem. The real problem are the politicians who frame the misinformation. If you argue on race & ethnicity you fall into their trap. Don't do it, guys.

sharkpitt said...

dear ctchoolaw,i think branding the malays as babis or what not further shows how deep rooted BN generally and UMNO especially makes us malaysian fall into their trap.though it is sad for me as malay being labelled as a pig because of UMNO and gang it just shows that for the forward thinkers on how much we need to bridge the RPK pointed out in one on his previous post malays have always been divided in choosing the gomen its the others who are as responsible!as long as we have people branding others melayu blames chinese,vise versa,indian blames malays,bumi non bumi...aiyaa...the divide and rule will work for for the brain drain....brain drain does not know colours.pelik kenapa melayu dipersalahkan abih tu MCA?MIC?komponen BN yg lain?melayukan mereka?i don't think so.i proudly support my DAP rep.does that make me less of a malay?or does that make me a kafir?hell let us all work together for a better malaysia although i might be leaving in the near future!wish me luck!haha..

de minimis said...

sharkpitt, whether u go or stay this country is part of u. we r all connected by this land whether we like it or not. this is what binds us together...we're in the same boat. so, we shld not feel too helpless. there are political champions who are mirroring the rakyat's sentiments. many are in the Pakatan. but there are some in BN, too.

i know there's a lot of of anger & frustration. but while it is ok to vent it in cyberspace, the real challenge is to channel that energy to getting something done. judging by the sodomy allegation against anwar, Malaysian politicking has just gone to the level of the sewer just like Dr M's time in 1998.

Anonymous said...

I sense a lot of anger...
We need to control this or else we are no different from UMNO, BN.
So cool down and stop criticising the Malays.
My personal opinion... the normal Malay person is also struggling like any non-Malay..
I work in a factory and I know their problems and financial diffculties
It is the Malay cronies and their links who are enjoying everything
We need meritocracyin everything for Penang to excel...

Cool poem... great mind u have..

Anonymous said...

great. we are a group of malaysian who love our country. rightly said that we need to do away with harping on the ethinc issue. the current issue - corrupt politician. how do we handle them?

de minimis said...

situ, on the matter of corrupt politicians, there are 2 aspects. PREVENTIVE - open tenders, transparent procedures and a strong 2-party parliament. REMEDIAL - investigate, charge, convict & jail the bastards! that's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

do we have the remedial in place? if not can we initiate one? let's get some momentum on this.