Malaysiakini Opinion

Missing money, missing people, missing integrity

Thor Kah Hoong  |  Published on  |  Modified on

COMMENT | For many years a lot of things went missing in this country.

What went missing first was a government whose stewardship enriched the nation and the lives of the people.

Instead we got “affirmative action” to enrich a growing coterie of yes-sir-I’m-your-man sycophants happy to stick their snouts into the public trough.

An inexterminable virus that kept spreading all over the profusely spreading, overgrown civil service, a new subsidiary here, a new ‘jabatan’ there, the government doing business in many areas where they had no business to be.

From that basic void, the lack of a government, ensued missing money, missing people (both ordinary and criminal), missing accounts for how public funds are being spent, a missing motive for the slaying of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The latter particularly irks. A whodunit is not complete without a reason.

Kidnap her for ransom or to rape? Anger over something? Unacceptable but understandable. Grab a stranger, take her out to the boonies and use explosives? No why? Only who? C’mon.

A person may not have thought of it, but all action is motivated, physically, psychologically. Tell me otherwise, and I will have wasted years studying literature and psychology.

What went missing too, from public discourse was an engagement with all communities, leaders who enlisted their participation, listened to their concerns.

It was replaced by an abrasive assertiveness, unabashed display of paranoia that Malay rights and institutions were under persistent siege, circle the wagons and send out the Red Shirts.

What went missing was the free space for public discourse. Laws were tightened, offence was taken easily, and publishers of alternative views and news, critics and political opponents were harassed.

Over time, finally, what went decisively missing was the trust and belief of many Malaysians in the government and the profligate prime minister adding to the nation’s debt and his own wealth.

What went missing was a belief in the government’s insistence that everything was good, when the GST’s impact on wallets and bank accounts clearly showed otherwise.

Now, every day and week, the new government is filling in missing pieces in the country’s financial picture, and excising some of the bloated parasites.

The first shock of a trillion had people asking about the number of zeros in it, but the figure is too large to think about for many folks.

They focus instead on the daily mounting Tabung Harapan sum of eight figures. It may be a long, long way from one billion, but it reflects the new belief that the people finally have a voice, a share in the...

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