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12 theSun | WEDNESDAY AUGUST 26 2009


TO achieve greater unity TO maintain a TO create a just society in TO ensure a liberal approach TO build a progressive society
among Malaysians democratic way of life which the wealth of the nation to her rich and diverse which shall be oriented to modern
shall be equitably shared cultural traditions science and technology

Standing monuments of apathy
ENOUGH has been said on the government’s
efforts to get to the bottom of the Port Klang
Free Zone scandal. Such a move is said to
be the “new” thinking of our leaders who
believe that the people have a right to know
how their money is being or was spent. While
this scandal is of gigantic proportions, there
is another “mini” version that
has been conveniently forgotten. pretext of “helping the oppressed” accountability? Has anyone been brought to The answers and solutions cannot come
Taxpayers’ money amounting to is going to atone for the sins book for yet another financial disaster? overnight. There must be a concerted effort to
RM68 million has gone down the committed locally. No amount of Yes, we go on shouting slogans about good allow the law to take its course and decisions
drain with nothing to show. “doing good” and the publicity that governance, accountability and transparency are made on the merits of the case and not
Those responsible for the accompanies it is going to erase and yet we don’t practise what we preach. because of status or the prefixes to the names
loss are still scurrying along the the fact that public money was We tell all and sundry that we have the best of the culprits. We will wait with bated breath
corridors of power hoping for a misused right under their noses. laws, but they are hardly used to bring the for that day to come.
“new” project or asking for the Do we have a track record of crooks to book. We go on thumping our chests
bailout of yet another. Some have vigorously and relentlessly going that we are a developed nation and yet have
established themselves in high po- after wrong-doers? Do we ensure third world mentalities. When will we able to The Paya Indah Wetlands scandal involving
sitions, believing their new-found that the thieves and robbers of wake up from this slumber to the real world? people’s money is one of the scores of issues ex-
status will give them immunity CitizenNades public money are made to pay for When can we tell the whole world that we posed by this newspaper. But those responsible
from being held responsible. Oth- by R. Nadeswaran
their crime? As we sit back and mean business when it comes to rules and for the colossal loss are still around – making
ers have worked their way into reflect, the question is: “If nothing regulations? When can we claim that we have or brokering deals. The writer is editor (special
the woodwork, hoping to emerge is done, will it ever deter others embraced all the traits of a thriving democ- and investigative reporting) at theSun and can
like weevils when the coast is clear. We are from squandering more public money?” racy? be reached at;
talking about the Paya Indah Wetlands and Need more be said? Here’s what the judge
the money squandered by the Malaysian hearing a civil suit against the wetlands
Wetlands Foundation (MWF).
When it opened in 2001, it was touted as
foundation which was the recipient of the
RM68 million had to say: “(All) gone down letters
the nation’s premier eco-tourism attraction. together with Wetlands … All the companies
Eight years later, the wetlands (or what re- dealing with it … Semua bungkus (folded)”,
mains of it) is a standing monument to the prompting laughter from the sparsely occu-
malaise that has afflicted our nation. It is a
sad reflection of how taxpayers’ money can be
stolen, plundered and pillared with no one be-
pied courtroom.
In the course of the trial, one witness testi-
fied that a due diligence report for the MWF
Work is a better deterrent
ing held accountable. It is an example of how was to be submitted to the Economic Planning IT IS nice to read that the incidence of criminal The private sector should be more conscien-
one could break all the laws in the book and Unit (EPU). Yet, another witness testified that acts in Petaling Jaya is now lower. “Crime rate dips tious and pay its workers better. Employers should
get away with it because their “godfathers” he had tried tracking down the persons who with new strategy” (Aug 21). Besides increasing realise the value of their employees in building the
appear in all kinds of forms and guises. It is a prepared the audit report by the Internal Au- patrols and placing beat bases and CCTV cam- company and give them more trust and better
mirror of what goes on in our beloved country dit Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department. eras at hot spots, the police and the government remuneration. If employers paid their workers
accompanied by shouts of “Malaysia Boleh!” However, he claimed, because the report was should use work as a strategy to fight crime. better, they would not have to resort to foreign
Doesn’t anyone worry that RM68 million 10 years old, the department was unable to Criminals are usually people who do not have labour which, in the long run, is much less reliable
belonging to the people has gone down the track the report or verify the persons respon- employment, and if they do, they do not earn and probably more expensive.
drain? Isn’t anyone making attempts to re- sible for preparing it. enough and do not find satisfaction in their work. If more youngsters were purposefully em-
cover at least part of the money? Shouldn’t There you are, the supposed-guardians People who are occupied in a purposeful activity ployed, and if they saw a clear future, the crime
the authorities be using the full brunt of the of our money had absconded and abdicated do not think of hurting others. Education is com- rate would be much lower.
law to prosecute those responsible? Shouldn’t from their responsibilities. Since so much mendable but there are many educated people Proponents of the minimum wage have sug-
someone be able to tell us how and where the public money was being pumped into the who do not respect the law. Work is a better gested that RM900 should be the minimum. This
money went? Shouldn’t the board of direc- project, did anyone bother to scrutinise pay- deterrent to crime. amount, however, is still too low. An employee
tors be accountable for this colossal loss? No ments? How did they allow one person to sign The government should be less aggressive in must earn enough to pay for board, food, clothing,
amount of visits to foreign lands under the all the cheques? Was there such a thing called promoting subsidised university education and entertainment, and also be able to save some-
make work more attractive to young people thing. For the Malaysian environment, RM1,400
instead. A good number of students who go to would be more like it for a minimum wage.
university would be better off working because Besides paying their workers a sufficient
they do not really like to study. To accommodate wage, employers should also improve working
these students, academic standards have to be conditions, increase mechanisation and provide
lowered so that they can pass examinations. better training so that they need fewer employees
But a bigger problem are students in secondary who can do a better job. The government should
school who do not have a happy family life, do not strengthen the school system so that students are
do well in school and are left pretty much on their ready for the job market when they finish school.
own to solve life’s problems. These youngsters Students should know the language well, be good
are more open to the influence of bad friends and at maths, speak and write clearly, and have good
follow them on the road to crime. general knowledge. Young people who possess
If good jobs were available to them, they would these skills will be an asset to any employer.
stand a much better chance to do well in life. If the government continues to aggressively
Instead, what they can find are positions as sales promote subsidised higher education, and if the
assistants or waiters for RM2.50 an hour. This is a private sector continues to pay pitiful wages,
shameful pay by any standard, yet many employ- those youngsters who do not like to study will be
ers think that it is enough for their workers. They increasingly marginalised and are likely to turn to
don’t mind if the workers change every few days crime as a way to assert themselves.
or every week as long as they don’t have to pay
more. Under the circumstances, many criminals Marisa Demori
really had no choice. Ipoh

No room for under-reporting
I REFER to “People’s cooperation vital to fight house enough water to breed them? We have
pandemic” (Letters, Aug 25). I do not agree with to approach the situation in a practical manner
the writer on certain points. How does he validate that is not only economically viable but also one
his statement that the government is under-re- that will not cause panic among the public and
porting cases. The figures declared are based on tourists.
confirmed cases per se and as provided by the Children at hospitals may look healthy to the
World Health Organisation, we can safely multiply writer but he may not realise that not many par-
that by 20. So the issue of under-reporting does ents can afford maids and day care. If the parent
not arise. is seeking medical attention in a hospital, she may
It is time the writer does some homework not have a choice but to bring along the children.
on how viruses behave and the differences Where else to put them. Has he thought about
among the different subtypes. Mass closures that before making conclusions.
on public amenities and entertainment outlets The government is doing more than required
even for a day or two will result in huge losses to address the situation but it just boils down to
to the business community and government. He the individual at the end of the day. Blaming the
should realise that though Mexico did take such different agencies for our own ignorance is not
drastic steps, it had not been able to eradicate helpful. Basic hygiene, adequate fluid intake and
the problem in entirety. And how do we know if sufficient supplements can definitely help. The
the data revealed by the Mexican government are virus will run its cycle no matter what is done.
indeed accurate. This is a fact. The fear now is will it become more
There are more deaths in Malaysia resulting virulent (aggressive) in the near future. We must
from dengue than any other virus that we know be prepared for that if it happens.
inflicting Malaysians. Do we also shut all construc-
tion and development projects which more often Narinder Pal Singh
breed mosquitoes in discarded materials that may Shah Alam