Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Kampung A Relevant Life Dear Dr M
Dear Dr M PDF Print E-mail
Written by Haris Ibrahim   
Monday, 27 August 2018 13:59

Dear Dr M,

Posted on August 24, 2018

 

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The Star reports todaythat, to support your proposition of another national car, and as a response to those who have voiced opposition to this idea of yours, you have quipped, no doubt sarcastically, that if we, the rakyat, “want to be a country of peasants, planting rice and catching fish, okay, we’ll do that for you. Don’t have any industries because industries sometimes lose money, you see? Let’s be padi farmers or fishermen. That’s all we can be. If you like, if that’s what you voted for, okay, we’ll do that”.


No, sir, we do not wish to be peasants.


We do not wish any of our brothers and sisters to be peasants.

And we did not vote to just be padi farmers and fishermen.

What did we vote for?


Before I say what we voted for, let me go back a little in time.

In 1984, I left for England to read law. At that time, two of my sisters had each purchased a Honda Civic 1.3 hatchback. Brand new.

If I am not mistaken, for about RM14k, on the road.

You had, by then, launched Proton.


If I remember correctly, it was first touted to be a no-frills vehicle, intended to be within the means of your average Malaysian.

When I returned from England in 1988, Proton was already on the road.

A brand new Honda Civic hatchback 1.3 cost about RM80k.


Yes, Proton was the cheapest vehicle available to the rakyat, but only because huge protective tariffs were imposed on imported vehicles.

In short, the paying public, particularly the wage-earning lower income group, were, for all practical purposes, denied a choice between Proton and any other vehicle.


Last year, at a traffic light in Subang Jaya, I saw a Malay motorcyclist, an overweight woman pillion rider behind him, and two young children, squeezed between the two adults, struggle to keep their balance, as they waited for the traffic light to turn green.

Proton within the means of the average Malaysian? Really? You ask if we want to be peasants?


Let me go back even further in time.

1970, government statistics confirm that of a population of some 10 million people, 50% of those Malaysians were categorised as poor.

Did that make them peasants? I don’t know. You tell us.


Tun Razak came up with the New Economic Policy (NEP). In 1971, I think.

Two-pronged endeavour to reduce the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and the identification of vocation with ethnicity.

Noble goals.


Taking into account the oil and gas revenue that came into federal coffers soon after, had the NEP been faithfully implemented, the high incidence of poverty in the country, or peasants, if you prefer, would have been significantly reduced, if not altogether rendered a thing of the past.

During your 22-year tenure, the country went through a period of rapid industrialisation.

Proton, of course.


Perwaja and PKFZ, to name just a few.

You say industries can lose money?

Yes, we know that already.

Lots of money.


Now, thing is, after all this industrialisation, and the NEP with its stated objects, in 2009, now with a population of 28 million, applying a poverty line monthly income of RM2k for an average family of 4.4 persons, poverty in the country hovered between 30-40%!

Of the some 6.3 million households in the country, more than 2.3 million were poor.

Or peasants, if you prefer.


And I assure you, Sir, that in the elections between 1969 and 2009, as well as the elections this year,no one voted to continue to live as peasants.

So why did we vote Najib and UMNO/BN out, and you, and your coalition in.

The vote for your coalition was a default vote.

We wanted UMNO/BN out at all cost.


It was not a ‘We love PH’ vote.

We didn’t vote you in to see 30-40% of the rakyat coninue to live poor, or as peasants.

We have given you the mandate to administer the nation, with a view to your administration putting in place reforms this nation so desperately needs.

What reforms?


I shall be writing soon to spell out the reforms we want to see put in place.

Whilst we want as much of the money embezzled through 1MDB duly restituted, we want to see the restoration of our institutions of state back to the rakyat so that we never have to witness another 1MDB.

In your earliest days in your latest tenure as PM, you gave me reason to hope that you may perhaps have changed, and were, this time, truly on the same page with the average rakyat.


You announced that you would take on the Education Ministry portfolio.

The rakyat reacted to remind you that PH had assured the rakyat that the PM would not hold any other ministerial portfolio.

You heeded the voices of the rakyat, and dropped the idea.

Cotinue to listen to the rakyat.

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Last Updated on Monday, 27 August 2018 14:04
 

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