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Another good year ahead?

  • As our political leaders are not prepared to implement true reforms anytime soon, all the irregularities will very likely extend into the new year.

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

As a customary practice, we will look back at the year behind us at the year closes.

I have come to the realization that this country is facing more or less the same problems year in and year out. A series of events taking place towards the end of the year shows that we have been making indeed very little progress, if any, over the years.

For example, the RCI report on Bank Negara's forex losses released on November 30 triggered a heated round of political war of words, with Mahathir accusing Bank Negara of incurring up to US$39.6 billion (approximately RM160 billion) between 2013 and 2015, much higher than the losses made during his premiership.

As a matter of fact, forex losses, capital outflow and the 1MDB scandal are all consequences of mismanagement. As we have never improved on our management, the national economy will continue to suffer in 2018

The recent cancellation of Imams (integrated manasik monitoring system) on its first day of operation once again reflects our poor management and enforcement.

Who gave a single company the green light to run this system? DPM Ahmad Zahid revealed that the outsourced company was not the same as the one discussed in the cabinet. Then who made the decision that was different from what the cabinet had agreed on?

Outsourcing has become a customary practice of the Malaysian government. Unfortunately this has not helped boost the enforcement efficiency. Similar incidents are poised to happen again in the coming year.

Another year-end issue that has drawn widespread concern is fake milk powder. The confusing actions by the domestic trade and health departments highlight a severe lack of operational efficiency on the part of our enforcement agencies. It is unbecoming that laboratory tests on fake milk powder will require two whole weeks.

Talking about efficiency, we cannot help but make mention of the recent murder at a JB gas station. The police and home minister both said it was related to gang activities, although the police claimed that it had successfully weeded out gang violence years ago. The viral video clip of secret society members executing the victim in broad daylight has dealt a fatal blow on the image of the country's police force.

Battling crime is one of the national key results areas (NKRAs) which have been met or even exceeded year after year. However, a single murder case is enough to expose the emperor's new clothes. Crime will continue to be a major headache for our society in the year ahead.

Another incident that has serious implications on the country is the human trafficking case and Wang Kelian mass graves:in 2015, with new evidences pointing to government cover-up. The smuggling case of Bangladeshi workers through KLIA is yet to be closed and this has further bruised the credibility of Malaysia's enforcement agencies.

A comprehensive study conducted by the Royal Malaysian Police Special Branch has shown that 80% of security and enforcement personnel at border posts have been involved in corruption. Unfortunately, our government has opted to sit on the report and do nothing, allowing corruption to happen over and over again.

A reassuring development is that the deputy prime minister has admitted that our preventive measures and drug battling efforts have failed because of a rise in the number of new drug addicts.

As a matter of fact, lax control on the part of immigration department has further complicated the drug trafficking issue, and many youngsters have fallen prey to drugs.

Education, along with social and family problems are crucial factors in the battling of narcotics. Of course, tighter immigration control is also important to effectively ward off any potential smuggling activities.

It is better to admit our own mistakes than whitewashing them, but we must also have effective strategies to tackle the drug trafficking issue or we may have to use up our resources to save our young drug addicts in future.

2017 has seen a fair share of racial, religious, political and economic problems. In the Malaysia Economic Monitor Reports recently released by the World Bank, the country's per capita GNI will cross the US$12,236 (RMt49,923) threshold for high income countries between 2020 and 2025. That said, more than half of Malaysians are earning less than that amount today.

The fast rising cost of living has taken its toll on the low-income group, with the bottom 10% spending almost 70% of their salaries on food and basic needs alone.

It is therefore anticipated that Malaysians will continue to worry about day-to-day cost of living in the coming year.

GE14 will be the focus of the new year, but as our political leaders are not prepared to implement true reforms anytime soon, the above irregularities will very likely extend into the new year.

We have been beating around the same old questions year after year, as watch the precious time fly past us helplessly.

 

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