By Stephen Ng
A response to Najib's report card
A friend asked, "Aren't you concerned about the state of the state? Don't you want to listen in to Premier Najib Abdul Razak's report of the achievements by the BN government over the past five years?"
My answer to him was simply, "No! I have already anticipated this was going to happen the moment the government announced the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programme, and all its National Key Result Areas (NKRAs). And, I already knew what he was going to say five years ago."
True enough, when I read in the news this morning: "All the NKRAs have been achieved with flying colours! Crime index has gone down, income of the household has gone up, and corruption has been addressed."
I am cynical about the report. The reasons are just simple, if you follow the logics of a simple Malaysian citizen like me.
Crime Index has gone down
If the crime index has truly gone down, why are residents of housing estates forced to set up their security measures, each household contributing RM50 to RM80 to hire nothing but foreigners as security guards to man the entrances and exit points?
How often is it that a rakyat can walk in our local 'New York back lanes' and not feel afraid that there could be a snatch thief or an extortioner, lurking around the corner?
With the number of crimes done to the children, as parents, do we feel safe to have our children running around unattended? Or, are our women feeling safe to walk alone at night?
While waiting at the traffic lights during office rush hours, do we feel safe having our handphones or laptops on the passenger seat without having the window smashed by some snatch thieves?
How many of us can leave our doors or even gates left open for even a minute, the moment we drive into our homes, without fearing that robbers would dash in with a parang?
I know many of my friends have been complaining about the presence of foreigners from certain parts of Africa. Truly, how many of them are here genuinely to pursue their higher education? Or, are they here to cause trouble?
How many police reports have been lodged, and how many of these crime cases have been solved?
A more meaningful and measurable index, that is clearly linked to the effectiveness of the police force would be to track the number of cases solved.
People's confidence of the police force would be boosted, if they know that the police report that they lodge will be treated with a high degree of professionalism - and the burglars or robbers will be picked up the next day, due to a high level of performance by the special branch.
Ask any Sabahan today and see if they feel their state is safe from further intrusion by the Sultan of Sulu, especially after 300 armed men had entered the state without being detected. Was there no military intelligence to alert the security forces?
What we see today, in our political landscape, is the use of special branch personnel to spy on rival political leaders and even civilians, instead of fighting crime, and the police is used to fight the civilians in what would be otherwise Bersih (clean) rallies, instead of the snatch thieves, the robbers, the extortioners and the burglars.
Household income has gone up
The prime minister compared the GNI per capital in 2012 of US$9,970 against the figures of 1957, where it was merely US$257. By calculation, this is an impressive 4,000-fold increase of the nation's income.
If you go a little bit further, why hasn't the prime minister instead compared the income per capital of this nation in 1857?
The statistics would have been so much more impressive, but there are a number of issues with the comparisons made, despite the so-called impressive growth!
First, why do we compare 2012 figures to 1957? In 1957, the country had just obtained its Independence. The hills were still covered with forests. People were still mainly dependent on agriculture.
Most of the money was being siphoned back to the United Kingdom, instead of being used fully to develop the nation. There is simply no basis for comparison.
Second, the GNI per capita is a measure of the country's growth, but it is never meant to measure the average income of the household or the individuals.
GNI per capital is only meant to measure a country's wealth against its population, compared to that achieved by another country. For example, Najib should measure the country's GNI per capital against Singapore.
If we want to move forward, as a country, we should benchmark ourselves against the best, instead of talking about the past which has no relevance in the way we have progressed.
A country like Malaysia, which is so much richer in resources compared to Singapore, could have shown an even more impressive GNI per capital compared to the 4,000-fold increase reported by Najib.
The GNI per capital has little meaning to the average household or individuals.
I give you an example. Mr T may have earned millions in one year through the logging activities in Sarawak. Fair enough, much of this may be reflected in the country's GNI.
But the money is not filtered down to the average Malaysian because Mr T is the biggest beneficiary. It is this kind of distortion to the country's GNI that makes statistics like the GNI as an unreliable measure of the people's wealth.
In my mind, while Najib is talking about fighting corruption, why has he not even taken any action against the family of Mr T for alleged corruption?
Again, Najib's comparison of the Average Household Income of Malaysians has risen from RM4,025 in 2009 to RM5,000 in 2012. This is another national statistics, which has little meaning to the average man on the street.
True inflation, as opposed to the government's published rates, is what makes the average Joe having to tighten the belt just to make ends meet, and drive crime rate up!
Najib should look back at his own statistics why as high as 22.2 percent of the country's population, eligible for BR1M 2.0, have an income of below RM3,000 per household.
Ask the soldiers and the police, who recently received their salary raise, are they enjoying a RM3,000 per household income, when their counterparts in Singapore, a country which started with zero natural resources, are earning much more.
The money in billions of ringgit dished out under the BR1M is after all ending up in the hands of restaurants for some, while for others, it is back to the tobacco manufacturers or breweries, while there are still thousands of street people being fed by various charities.
Honestly, Najib has failed to realise his much trumpeted goodies have gone to waste.
Corruption is down
On the contrary, Mr Prime Minister, the people's perception is that corruption has gone up.
Forget all about the statistics. Ask the average Joe on the street what he thinks about corruption. In my opinion, since former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad's time, corruption has penetrated into every level of the government machinery and at every level of the hierarchy.
Ask yourself this question: when was the last time that the City Hall enforcement officer visited the shops or hawker stalls, without asking for some form of bribery?
When was it that you saw blue-uniformed policemen setting road blocks and issuing summonses for traffic offences when they should be focusing on the bad hats?
Najib's report card is as hollow as his lack of answers to the allegations of corruption involving himself or his dear wife, Rosmah.
We, the rakyat, want to know who demanded US$1 billion from the Scorpene manufacturer back in those days when Najib was deputy prime minister and minister of defence?
We also want to know who killed Altantuya Shariibuu, and on what basis was she demanding money from Razak Baginda?
The revelation by the late PI Bala and Deepak's exposure of millions of wang rakyat, has shocked this nation, but Najib is still unable to answer the serious allegations thrown at him and his wife.
The NFC scandal, which has become the highlight recently, is still an issue which makes people sceptical about the government's intentions to raise the standard of living of every Malaysian. Instead of cows, we have condos.
Germany, an industrialised nation with a population of 81.7 million, compared to Malaysia's 27 million, is able to produce its own food, but Malaysia has to import nearly half of its food products.
Just the other day, NGO Global Witness published a video clip showing how licences are abused in the state of Sarawak, what has the government or the MACC done about it?
I know the former head of MACC has settled out of court and apologised to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, over some allegations, but this issue which has been burning in the hearts of every Malaysia, the prime minister has failed to address.
Until justice is done, no Malaysian will believe in the prime minister's sincerity in fighting crime.
Given what the rakyat think, the PM and the entire BN government might as well pack its bags and leave Putrajaya graciously.
What it tried to do in the past five years is clearly what it has failed the people after 55 years of being given the mandate.
It has only scored a distinction in the way it hoodwinks and wages war against the people as witnessed during Bersih 3.0, and the way it channels the rakyat's money to its own cronies since Dr Mahathir's time.