Disclose the truth and damn the consequences

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LETTER | Dear politicians and political parties in Malaysia, I think the people have had enough of inordinate and loose talk. We just want you to focus on three issues today – taxes, minimum wage and water. We want these issues discussed coherently and transparently for the benefit of all.

I maintain that taxes alone will not solve our fiscal problems. No amount of revenue can fill up a bottomless pit. So spare us the argument on the need to have new taxes or the need to continue with the GST. Tell us clearly where has the bulk of government revenue gone till today?

Tell us the effectiveness of these spending. Please don’t tell us the same old story – government spending is to stimulate aggregate demand. We want to hear how government spending has led to capacity-building and productivity improvement. How has government spending led to a higher standard of living and better life in a sustained way?

For example, tell us what can a RM42 billion debt in 1MDB build for Malaysia – how many bridges, roads, hospitals, schools, and universities? Today, we still have so many double-session schools in the country. Why?

Why do politicians and political parties keep competing to offer a higher minimum wage for workers? You know what, instead of competing, I think it is easier if they just ask the central bank to print more money and dish it out.

Issues on minimum wage are intricately linked to the use of foreign labour in this country. It is also linked to growth strategy, economic transformation and income distribution policy.

So far, after many years of ETP, GTP, Pemandu and Talent Corp, have we seen any obvious change in people moving up the value chain? If so, please tell us who and where? Which sector has transformed and who have benefitted from it?

I have always maintained that if we can’t manage water, which is our most basic resource, I don’t think we can ever manage other national resources properly.

We have endless contamination of water in our catchment areas. We have endless “maintenance problems” associated with water management. We also have endless tussles among cronies for water concessions.

We have come to a stage where we do not want to hear the reasons why contamination has taken place, neither do we do want to know why the pipes and valves are old and faulty or the cronies are not able to get along.

We want all the problems discussed and settled openly. We want to know who are protecting the polluters. We want to know who is responsible for all the maintenance work. We want to know who are the main culprits from among the water concession cronies. We want to know who is protecting these cronies.

Politicians and political parties mustn’t be afraid of the truth. If the truth is with them, they should disclose it and damn the consequences.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.