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speak up! Managing Editor: Chong Cheng Hai
Consultant Editor: Zainon Ahmad
Executive Editor: Lee Boon Siew
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Editor: R. Nadeswaran (Special Reporting and Investiga- Fax: 03-7784 4424
tions) Email:

The lies people tell
and decreed: “The land does not unauthenticated surveys proclaim
belong to me. It belongs to the this or the other, would it be a
party.” After sending a demand damned lie or a statistical one?
letter from his lawyers and when If more Singaporeans cross the
presented with the documents, he causeway and choose to do their
retreated and claimed “there had shopping in Johor Baru because it
been a mistake.” is cheaper does it mean that tourist
When you build a palace on land arrivals are on the rise?
“There are three types of lies -- lies, evidence he had given under oath. meant for low-cost housing and Almost daily, gems come out
damn lies, and statistics.” In a subsequent court case Archer then declare that the owner had from the mouths of some people
Benjamin Disraeli was found guilty of perjury and done nothing wrong and then say who say it with a straight face and
sentenced to four years jail. that a compound fine of RM22,000 could only be described as unbe-
THE London-based Independent Jonathan Aitken, a former jour- is what the law allows, it would be lievable. However, as long as there
newspaper has compiled the list nalist and Tory MP sued The Guard- a lie too. When you take a helicop- are gullible followers and cronies
of the world’s most notorious liars ian newspaper which claimed ter ride with the prime minister to who continue to propagate the lies,
and among those who get into this he had dodgy dealings with high view the greenery that has been there isn’t much that can be done.
honourable list are two former US profile Saudis. “If it falls to me to shaved off the hill slopes, and then How many times have we come
presidents. Bill Clinton’s immortal start a fight to cut out the cancer of across advertisements
words were: “I’m going to say this bent and twisted journalism in our When you accept a handsome from developers which
again. I did not have sexual relations CitizenNades country with the simple sword of state “only 15 minutes
with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. truth and the trusty shield of British
bonus very well knowing you from the city centre”?
I never told anybody to lie, not a by R. Nadeswaran fair play, so be it. I am ready for the don’t deserve it, can it be justified by The only way to get there
single time. Never.” Six months fight. The fight against falsehood saying: The company made profits and so fast is by helicopter?
later Clinton refuted his denial in a during an interview with British and those who peddle it,” he said. I as the chairman am entitled to it?” A lie or a damned lie?
grand jury testimony where he said journalist David Frost in 1977. His attempt to sue The Guardian for Supermarkets claim that
he had had “an improper physical Well-known author and British libel was unsuccessful and he was declare: Semuanya OK! what would “we are the cheapest in town” but
relationship” with Lewinsky. MP Jeffrey Archer claimed he had found guilty of perjury over false that amount to – a damned lie or has it been tested?
Richard Nixon was heard for- an alibi when he brought action claims that his wife had paid for a statistical one? So, the claim-making goes on
mulating a plan to block scrutiny against the Daily Star after it alleged disputed hotel stay in Paris. When you take your wife on unabated. The lies are seldom chal-
into Watergate by getting the CIA that he had had sex with a prostitute. On the home front, if such a state-paid holiday and then declare lenged. The perpetrators get away
to mislead the FBI and say that na- The case was found in Archer’s fa- list is drawn up, it will be difficult that there is nothing wrong with it, with them. Unless we have the
tional security was involved. Having vour and he was awarded £500,000 to short-list the rich, famous and would it tantamount to a statement money and resources to call their
claimed to have had no knowledge (RM2.7 million) damages. Years titled to just ten. How many times of fact? When you accept a hand- bluff, they’ll continue being part of
or involvement in the scandal before later, his friend Ted Francis and his have we heard that famous line: “I some bonus very well knowing you our lives for a long, long time.
the emergence of such damning former personal assistant Angela did not say that”, despite enough don’t deserve it, can it be justified by
evidence, Nixon was left red faced. Peppiatt claimed he had made up people hearing such utterances or saying: The company made profits R. Nadeswaran is editor (special and
“I said things that were not true. I an alibi. Peppiatt had kept a diary of having been captured on tape say- and I as the chairman am entitled investigative reporting) at theSun.
brought myself down. I gave them a Archer’s movements from around ing that? How many times did one to it?” He can be reached at: citizen-nades@
sword and they stuck it in,” he said the time and which contradicted former minister challenge theSun When statistics and data from


Time to invest more
Mothers play crucial role in public transport
IT was the norm for a long time that children has dipped tremendously. maids. Some parents even instal
the husband ventures out to earn The food (lunch) for the family is CCTVs in their homes to have a IN the past five years that I have been investing in new Komuter carriages that
the income for the family. Of the prepared in haste and often not as first-hand look at what is going analysing public transport issues in are desperately needed.
income earned, the bulk of it was nutritious as it should be. on in their house. Malaysia, the phrase “penny wise and When it was recognised that there
spent on food, shelter and clothing. Now, in more than 75% of Previously, the children spent pound foolish” keeps coming to mind. was a need for mass-transit in the cities,
The wife was given the honour families both husband and wife are less time with their fathers and This phrase refers to the idea that the government allowed private com-
and trust to take charge of the wage earners. This means the chil- it was treated as normal. How- someone can be so focused on small panies to take charge of the planning,
home, cooking and children. One dren are under the care of a maid ever, today the time children amounts of money that he does not pay financing and operations of the LRT and
should acknowledge that these (most of whom don’t speak Eng- spend with their mothers has attention to the larger amount that is monorail systems. Back then the govern-
are not easy tasks unless the wife lish), nanny (who are reasonably been reduced too. As a result, lost. ment was not ready to take on the mas-
is reasonably educated, dedicated, educated) or with acquaintances. the younger children are more The government never wanted to sive costs of investment in “light” rapid
disciplined, and most importantly Often, the amount earned by attached to the maid, nanny or take up the cost of investing in and transit, so allowing private companies
fulfils her responsibilities with love. one of the wife is not significantly others in the house as compared operating a public transport system. For to take charge reduced the amount of
It is really not an over-statement to higher that than that paid for all the to the mother. that reason, the bus industry was largely money the government would have to
call her the “queen of the house”. household chores. Some children fall sick when privatised. This system operated well for spend. The result of the government’s
What is happening today is pav- The working parents are rest- the maid or nanny takes leave. many years, until the government made “penny wise” decision to let private
ing the way for the destruction of less and not at peace away from Some mothers are envious or two crucial decisions that hurt public companies take charge is that the
the family institution. The moral home. Many call home frequently jealous of this scenario. Even transport. First, the government invested Klang Valley has three separate public
values and the discipline among to check on their children and their if the maid or the nanny seems in private cars, and second, as part of an transport lines that are poorly integrated
very caring, there is an element effort to increase “competition” and cut and use different technologies. And all
of doubt in the sincerity as there costs, the government allowed too many three companies were unable to meet
is no blood relationship between companies to enter the public transport their projected revenues, which required
the child and the nanny. markets. costly government takeovers.
Working couples claim that it The result of the government’s “penny Today, Prasarana has taken over the
is a necessity for both to work as wise” decision to not invest or operate operations of STAR, Putra, CityLiner and
the salary they get is low. public bus transport led to massive con- Intrakota and replaced them with the
Why do wives shun being gestion in cities that has cost the local RapidKL public transport service and de-
queen of the house, and opt to and national economy billions of ringgit mand for public transport has declined
work? Many of them are now every year in terms of lost productivity, to 16% in Malaysia and less than 20%
highly educated and it is seen as wasted time and air pollution. in the Klang Valley – and the economic
a waste of resources if they stay at Instead of spending a little money losses have continued to mount.
home. The husbands too are to be and increasing regulation and enforce- Unfortunately, we have not learned
blamed for not valuing, honouring ment, the government made the “pound our lesson and continue to apply the
and respecting the contributions of foolish” decision of taking over bus firms same “penny-wise, pound-foolish” ap-
housewives. to create Intrakota which it then merged proach. The KRA Urban Transport Panel
There are a lot of mothers who with CityLiner to become RapidKL. And knows that solutions have been clearly
are in dilemma between choosing congestion has only got worse. identified but they are still asking the
their family’s wellbeing and having When it was recognised that there operators for feedback – continuing
a successful career. In the end they was a need for a higher level of public the “penny-wise” approach. The public
end up choosing one lackadaisi- transport in the form of a rail network, blames KTMB for inefficiency and sug-
cally. I am sure if many half-day the government allowed KTMB to gest that they should be “penny wise”
positions (four hours a day) are introduce the KTM Komuter service. In and cut costs but they forget that the
created, many such mothers would the 1990s the government and KTMB problems are caused by the lack of
gladly accept such positions as made “penny-wise” decisions by using investment – which is only going to cost
it would give them more time to existing tracks, building simple stations more in the future.
spend with their family. Some can with small roofs and stairs but no lifts, Other people are expressing a
work in the morning shift and the and buying a small fleet of 60 Electric “penny-wise” concern that Prasarana
others in the evening. Multiple Unit trains. has moved to a new office, but they are
I hope the Human Resource The result of the “penny-wise” deci- not concerned about the RM15 billion
Ministry will allow half-day work sion to build the KTM Komuter service at cost of the proposed LRT lines.
for mothers. the most basic level has led to massive The only way we are going to see
My conclusion is that, the par- congestion on the Komuter service as real improvement in public transport is
ents should assess whether there demand has increased by 200% while when we start investing money in public
is a need for both of them to work. the number of trains has decreased by transport to build a system that is well-
Serious consideration should be 65%. KTM Komuter is carrying three planned, efficient and effective.
given to non-monetary aspects. times the number of passengers with
half the trains required. And yet, the Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
P. Sritharan government still shows no interest in Petaling Jaya