RM100 fine for not collecting Mykad, post-election “jobs for the boys” and inter-Ministry turf war n for more funds are disturbing signs that Barisan Nasional leaders are  getting the wrong message from  the landslide BN election victory with unprecedented nine-tenth parliamentary majority, becoming more arrogant  and forgetting the  election pledge of a trustworthy and more responsive and people-oriented administration

Media Conference Statement (2)
after the courtesy call on Parliament Speaker, Tun Mohd Zahir Ismail, by a delegation of  DAP MPs in Parliament House
by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala LumpurWednesday): There are more and more  disturbing signs that the Barisan Nasional leaders are  getting the wrong message from  the  landslide  BN general  election victory with unprecedented nine-tenth parliamentary majority, becoming more arrogant  and forgetting the  election pledge of a trustworthy and more responsive and people-oriented administration. 

It is only such  amnesia coupled with growing arrogance that could explain the high-handed announcement by the new  Home Affairs Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid that  with immediate effect yesterday, all Mykad applicants who fail to collect their cards within three months of the date of the reminder to do so will be fined RM100 each. 

Azmi said the decision to shorten the period from two years to three months and raise the fine from RM30 to RM100 was made to prevent unclaimed Mykads from piling up in National Registration Department (NRD) offices. 

A test of whether such a decision is high-handed and people-insensitive is whether the government would have qualms in announcing it during the recent general election – and if the answer is in the negative, as it must be in this case, then it falls into the category of amnesia about its election pledge coupled with arrogance over its landslide election victory. 

As  applicants need to pay a RM20 fee for the Mykad after 2005, why can’t the national registration department announce a deadline for all the uncollected MyKads to be destroyed, with the requirement that those who had not collected their MyKads and will have to apply for new ones will be required to pay an additional RM20 to meet the costs of replacement, without imposing  uncalled-for punitive measures as those announced by Azmi? 

The post-election “jobs for the boys” syndrome is totally alien to the Barisan Nasional pledge for a clean, incorruptible, efficient, trustworthy and people-oriented administration.

The new Cabinet, for instance, was an all-round disappointment. Apart from failing the criteria of integrity and perception of integrity, it is even more bloated and flabby than the previous one – with grand total of 93 members comprising 33 Ministers, 38 Deputy Ministers and 22 Parliamentary Secretaries, or almost one out of two Barisan MPs!

Now, the Barisan Nasional is engaged in  a new distribution of “jobs for the boys”, in the farming out of Senator posts to political has-beens, rejects  or those who were passed over as candidates in the last general election.  This a gross abuse of power as well as being most unconstitutional – as the establishment of the Dewan Negara in  a bi-cameral Parliament in the Merdeka Constitution  by our founding fathers was not to provide a rubbish dump for Barisan Nasional political rejects and also-runs, but to have the services of worthy citizens who have distinguished themselves in different professions and walks of life.   At present, the overwhelming majority of Senators have only distinguished themselves as “apple-polishers” of the powers-that-be!

The emerging  turf war among the Ministries for more funds and influence in the new government is also a matter of grave concern. 

The newly appointed Information Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said yesterday that Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) needs RM385 million and an additional 1,000 staff to improve its services nationwide.

I have no doubt that if a public opinion survey is conducted as to whether RTM needs RM385 million and an additional 1,000 staff, the answer will be a thundering “No”, unless RTM can end its misuse and misallocation of funds, personnel and resources as the propaganda arm of the Barisan Nasional, spreading  half-truths and falsehoods against the Opposition and dissent in the civil society. 

Furthermore, Information Ministry with its incongenital misuse of its resources  for the benefit of the ruling parties is never very high in the national order of priorities, as any time, Malaysians would prefer the police to have the extra RM385 million and additional 1,000 staff to ensure that the communities, schools, streets, public places and even the privacy of homes are safe and crime-free!


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor