Friday, March 26, 2010

PR 'Selamatkan Malaysia' Roadshow 22nd March - A Review

I had the opportunity to attend Pakatan Rakyat roadshow with the theme ‘Selamatkan Malaysia’ at Selayang Stadium on 22nd March.

Pakatan Rakyat were confidently expecting 10,000 people, but there were actually only about 3,000 people gathered there, perhaps they would have attracted more if it was held on weekend. When I arrived at the entrance of the stadium, a 4 page leaflet was handed to me. The contents were an opening statement by PKR Secretary claiming conspiracy on Anwar’s sodomy case.

The 2nd and 3rd page is all about Pusrawi Hospital medical report indicating the accuser, Saiful was not sodomised, no matter that no one has verified if the reports were in fact authentic and true . I think that is for the Doctor concerned to testify, if he is called for the trial and also the judge to determine if indeed the medical report was true. For PKR to distribute these leaflets, some say it is contempt of court, I see it as a desperate attempt to win public opinion. More so when there’s hardly anyone bothered to show support during the recents court hearings.

Segambut MP, Lim Lip Eng was on the rostrum when I arrived. He spoke about lost jet engines, which he claims to be worth millions, together with the allegation that it should be been more people involved citing that it would have been impossible for two people to carry the 2 engines, weighing probably a tone each, out of the warehouse.

As far as I know, the trial of the 2 individuals charged for the theft has yet to start, but the Segambut MP, despite being one of the more hardworking Pakatan MPs, chose to politicise and speculate on the incident. Can Pakatan Rakyat guarantee that there will be no theft of such assets when they are in power one day. I don’t think so. These allegations and speculations will one day definitely backfire on them when it happens under their watch.

He also spoke about the non diving Submarine, which he claims he saw in Sabah on his recent visit. He says that the government did not test the submarine before purchasing it, citing analogy of routine test drive that we undertake before we purchase a car. The MP has conveniently omitted the fact that the submarine actually dived all the way without a hitch from France before developing problems in Malaysia. He also failed to enlighten the crowd that the same submarine is already used by Spain, Brazil, France and Chile. Good example of how to manipulate issues to your advantage.

Dr Hatta Ramli came next, harping on the One Malaysia, One Israel issue which needs no further elaboration. He was bent on claiming that APCO was headed by Jewish stakeholders, therefore it was unIslamic and demanded that the government terminate their contract. No one spoke about One India campaign, which started was back in 1997. Why only one Israel, what else if not for scoring some political points. His speech was however, rather inaudible, but I do not think he spoke anything significant apart from the One Malaysia, One Israel issue. It’s not that we expected him to speak about some national or international policies!.

Ronnie Liu came next, with the MC introducing him that someone who was alleged to be corrupt but there are no case against him by police or MACC. Hmm.. how come MACC is made to sound credible here… Ronnie went on saying that in the cabinet line up, none of the Ministers are clean, at least none of the Ministers have declared that they were clean, he says. No evidence or even a hint was provided to back his claims.

This reminded me on the ‘Asset Declaration’ circus by the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor where an ‘income declaration’ rather than asset declaration was published. The ‘Income Declaration’ is now not available at the state government website, or at least I can’t find it despite a through search of the website. As far as I can remember, the MB did not declare his shares in Guthrie on that statement. Other Pakatan State governments have chosen to ignore this promise as per their standard of ‘Competency, Accountability and Transparency”.

Can Mr Ronnie Liu declare that all Pakatan Rakyat MPs are clean? He can’t and he never will, as Pakatan Opposition leader himself appears to have wealth beyond his means. Mr Ronnie should have harped on other issues. He also spoke about Middle Malaysia, Pas For all and One Malaysia. His idea of One Malaysia is equality for all appeared not well received by the Malay majority crowd.

Ronnie also made a false statement. He claimed that the country petroleum reserves will be depleted in 3-4 or 5 years time. Recent report says that our reserves will be depleted in 2017 if no new reserves are found. This is probably a genuine mistake on his part but when he kept on quoting the same figure over and over again, I had the impression that he is deliberately trying to mislead the crowd. His main argument was that the government is bankrupt of ideas on how to survive without the petroleum money.

Teresa Kok came next, introduced as Senior State Government Exco with muted response from the audience. She spoke about all state government’s programs which amplified ‘Merakyatkan Ekonomi’ theme. She also spoke that he water bill is so low due to the ‘free water’ policy by the state government.

What she failed to highlight that the free water is not actually reaching the poor and other target groups residing in flats and apartments. I myself have not paid water bills for months as the bill is still in the negative due to the policy. I do not need the subsidy while a friend of mine in an apartment nearby continues to pay in full as the apartment does not have individual water meters. The state government shown no interest to solve this while continuing to trumpet that the free water benefits the poor when it is actually not.

She also spoke about various freebies and handout initiated by the State Government, some which are no different than what BN has done in the past. She also spoke about the 50 Million Micro-Credit fund, apparently created by the recovery of dues from Talam Corporation. There are various disputes and issues of transparency on the Talam debt and recovery. The state government has yet to respond to it, but yet they chose to publicise the Micro Credit fund more than explaining how the fund will come about. No other details or mechanism of the fund was revealed.

She also spoke about Investments brought in by the State Government. The figures are also currently being challenged by the state opposition. Teresa spoke glowingly on their achievement, ignoring the fact that they did not achieve their own target.

The were round of applause though when she mentioned that the State government is close to resolving issues faced by Bukit Botak residents, not without blaming the previous BN state government for the source of the problems.

I left when Teresa was mumbling about BN was corrupt of ideas etc. I wonder how the crowd lasted that long, the speeches were boring and unenthusiastic. It was unlike the ones held early last year at the same venue with MB Khalid present where the crowd were bigger, more responsive and enthusiastic.

I can summarise by saying that actually the Selangor State Government, while maybe more efficient and transparent selectively, they are equally bankrupt of ideas. TheMP who took the stage manipulated issues to their advantage and deliberately chose not to explain issues and disputes challenged by BN and others. I must say that the ‘matured’ and gullible crowd may yet believe them. Overall, the quality of the arguments, explanation and information were poor and pathetic, so was the crowd response.

This campaign should be now renamed as ‘Selamatkan Pakatan Rakyat’ instead, looking at serious allegations against their past conduct, being revealed in installments by their ex-members and not really BN.