In Malaysia, some things are very predictable. In fact, they are as predictable as the sun rising from the East.
One of them is, whenever someone from Umno, not even from the top echelon of leaders but one of the second or third tier of wannabes, utters certain racial slurs, the component party’s leaders will raise a great hue and cry. Police reports would be made. Demands that action be taken against the fellow would be made. In the end, everything will quiet down and nothing much will come of it.
The recent case of an Umno division chairman is a good example. The PM has already said that this fellow did not mean what he said. Perhaps what this means is that all of us can go around scolding and insulting people and then say, I do not mean it. But in the end, I am sure nothing will come of the whole incident.
The next predictable thing is the Auditor-General’s report. Year in and year out, there would be the same abuses and the same wastages reported and the same promise of action. But again, no action is taken to punish the errant officers and the wastage will go on unchecked.
A company, with no previous experience and not even licensed to handle radioactive materials, was given a contract to supply PET scan machines, which are highly sophisticated imaging machines, requiring special expertise in knowledge of radioactivity. And the contract is worth millions. We can cry our heads off, but I can assure you this kind of practice will continue unabated and no one would even lift an eyebrow.
All these are about rules and laws. There must not be two sets of rules, which is exactly the case in our country. One for the lay people and one for the power brokers or senior officers.
In the first instance, without any action being taken against this division chairman who uttered racial slurs, others will be emboldened and racial insults will be hurled again and again. Although no action has so far been taken, the power-that-be must not forget that the people are smart now.
They know they are the masters, even though only on one day every five years. If the government does not buck up, the rakyat will know what to do when the next round of elections come along. In the end, not only the component parties will suffer because of the arrogance of Umno members, Umno candidates themselves will be rejected, as more and more people realise that racial politics are not good for the advancement of the country.
Similarly, with all the government abuses and misuse of funds, if these things are left unchecked, sooner or later, there will be a day when our coffers will run dry and nothing will be left for our future generations.
But will things change? Again, this is predictable. Things will likely be the same.
There is a saying that goes “spare the rod and spoil the child”. In the case of Singapore and Hong Kong, they do not spare the rod and they have efficient government and civil service to face the challenges of globalisation. In our case, sadly, it is again predictable that the rod will never be used against certain politicians and those elites with connections.