No shortage of crises ahead of Muhyiddin’s maiden Budget

Photograph: Choo Choy May/Malay Mail

The pandemic, water supply disruptions and the housing crisis all demand immediate attention. JD Lovrenciear writes.

Sabah is facing a deep crisis, and it can only get worse. Not only that. The situation in peninsula too is threatening to worsen. 

Admit that we honestly do not know what the outcome will be while the nation reels under a third wave that was expedited by political greed and a desperation for power and control. 

Caring citizens are again voluntarily coming together to attend to the serious crisis in Sabah. Appeals for donations to take care of the safety needs of frontline personnel are making the rounds.

We must call for accountability and not let off our politicians so easily with our healthy social conscience, ie raising funds from the goodwill of the people to provide aid in a crisis. 

All ministers in the bloated cabinet, along with their appointees helming government-linked companies and investment companies, must be made accountable for this third wave. 

They should all be put on a 50% pay cut immediately. All expenditure on their many unpublished perks must be stopped immediately. That money should go to finance the battle against the pandemic in Sabah. 

We, the people, must stop politicians from hiding behind our goodwill and charitable disposition.

It has to be now or never. Accountability and redress cannot be second to charity. Covid-19 must shake up this nation for the better. 

Water supply disruptions have gone too far 

This is insane. How many times have consumers been left high and dry with sudden and frequent water supply disruptions? 

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It is frightening to know that pollution of our water sources with dangerous toxins is happening so often, right under the eyes of lawmakers and enforcers. 

Despite netizens repeatedly raising the alarm, we continue to hear the same rubbish: “We are doing all we can.” 

People are thinking aloud: is the country’s security framework so weak that anyone can just dump pollutants and poison our water sources so easily? 

Others question: what guarantee is there that millions of households are not being poisoned slowly over time, given the detection by the authorities after contaminated water has flowed into homes and hospitals? 

Or has the greedy political clawing for money penetrated our water business? There is speculation of some hidden hands allegedly wanting to take over the revenue from water treatment and supply in the country, especially Selangor? 

What is going on, MPs? If we cannot even be free from such contamination and water supply disruptions, how are you going to save the nation? 

Housing predicament demands urgent rethink

Are houses affordable for the average Malaysian? No. 

Is buying a home the second most major consideration in life (after marriage, that is)? Yes. 

Many see the property market as an investment option in Malaysia, rather than providing a basic social need. And so, the ‘free market’ is allowed to dictate prices, hence making the function of providing decent reasonably affordable homes, within controlled pricing, impossible.

Allowing housing to be an ‘investment’ is the critical factor that has entrenched a class-tiered society. It has led to a social imbalance between the rich and the poor.

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Our leaders need to rethink. Too many empty promises have flown under the bridge. 

Providing a decent roof for every family is part of the social contract and a heavy responsibility for all governments. 

But the government cannot fulfil this service, obligation and fundamental duty to humanity as long as it allows housing to be under the mercy of the free market and as long it allows housing to be seen as an investment.

Let us not fall prey repeatedly to the antics of those with self interest, ie those who are out to profiteer at the expense of social wellbeing. They would have us believe that our national economy would crumble if we see the provision of affordable housing as a social responsibility instead of an investment opportunity. 

But you cannot provide ‘affordable homes’ on the one hand while touting housing as a ‘smart investment’, on the other. 

Will the new minister of housing who seemingly champions homes for everyone volunteer a comment? 

Budget 2021 must not be a showcase budget

Soon we are going to hear of what is in store for all Malaysians at Budget 2021. There is talk of a politically correct “green Budget”, targeting sustainability and care for our fragile environment. That would be aimed at telling the public that the backdoor government has the welfare and wellbeing of citizens at heart, given the lessons of Covid-19. 

Nice. Convincing. In fact, it is also a great way to showcase a seemingly caring government at work. 

But let’s get to the bottom of things. This country will make greater progress if it had the political will and honesty to tackle the root cause of repeated failures, whether social, economic or environmental: corruption. For as long as lip service supersedes action to plug corruption in any form, any amount of budget allocations for a greener environment would end up as wasted taxpayers’ money. Many will also try to make money out of the public’s misery. 

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It is no use trying hard to superficially dress a wound to earn brownie points. We’ve had enough of that these past decades. We could have been a model nation, like some progressive Nordic and other European nations. 

It is equally irresponsible to have preached against corruption these past decades when we do not have the integrity and honesty to penalise the culprits of the infamous 1MDB scandal.

Please use the people’s hard-earned money to cleanse the minds and souls of the corrupt who operate at all levels of society, in both private enterprises and the public sector.  

Until we reach a globally acceptable standard in curbing corruption, any Budget that is coated to look like a “people friendly” budget will again surely go to waste. 

One year’s national Budget along with tough action against corrupt leaders, business people, politicians and thieving folk would reward the people with a long period of peace, progress, social wellbeing. We would also earn accolades for greening the nation. 

Whether Muhyiddin will measure up or fail pathetically despite his bloated cabinet will be exposed when he tables Budget 2021 in November.

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loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
28 Oct 2020 9.41am

JD, lovely piece – well written with advice to Muhyiddin on the way forward.
Sadly, I think Muhyiddin will ignore your advice – he is more interested in hanging on to power.
As such, I think he will try to placate the UMNO faction involved with more dedak.
Yes, Muhyiddin will win much lacking goodwill if his bloated Cabinet take a 50% pay cut & cut of all allowances, as u suggested JD – with the money going towards battling covid 19 in Sabah.