Tuesday, July 28, 2009

malaysiakini and HOPE for CHANGE or Is IT Just WINDOW-DRESSING?

So they have just announced the KRAs for the government but I am not getting overly excited about the makeover plan.
According to the malaysiakini article, Najib announces KPIs, 6 lead ministers.
It seems that the government has approached the problem of governing as if one is still schooling and needed to pass certain subjects in order to get a certificate.
With a central government like Malaysia where state governments play a subsidiary role, it seems that the government KRAs are too few and too insignificant to mean anything for most citizens.

My perception is that the government has lost much credibility to govern because it has abused much of the powers vested in it and no one has been held accountable even though we have years of reports from the Auditor-General's office. Then the disgraceful and reprehensible events in Perak and the death of Teoh recently show that window-dressing like KRAs will not do much to steer our nation away from failed state status.

As for the use of statistics and percentages, let us all be wary of maths experts who can fool us with their reports.

Let's look at a few of those KRAs according to the STAR:

Reduction of crime rate
1.Reduce street crime, including snatch thefts and unarmed robbery, by 20% by the end of 2010.

What about other crimes? There should be a crime index to determine all criminal activities like drug-trafficking, prostitution, white-collar crime and abuse of police powers.

Upgrade equipment for enforcement agencies and increase the usage of CCTV.

Now if only the MACC had CCTV operations in their HQ, the late Teoh would probably be still alive today. Remember after the first Royal Commission on police abuse was completed, the government also spent millions to upgrade facilities? This seems to be a bottomless pit of expenditure with little to show. If the government had not chickened out from the IPCMC, who knows if this further expense is warranted? Another RM200mil for some nice contracts?

Combating Corruption:
Updating relevant policies, procedures and enforcement to improve global perception.

What more is there to update? We simply don't enforce existing rules. A wishy-washy nice-to-include filler to show the government is aware of but unable/unwilling to reduce corruption.

Use open or restricted tender process for all government projects with the exception of those sensitive in nature.

Who decides "sensitive in nature"? A better target would be a Freedom of Information Act by 2010 that will override the OSA except for matters relating to defined internal security and defense matters.

Widening access to affordable and quality education

I pass on this topic but in general the education system in Malaysia appears beyond redemption with the latest "flip-flop" on English in education. Maybe to ensure the education system is uniform and equitable, all ministers should send their children to schools in their respective homes as a measure of the good quality anywhere? Too much to expect? Otherwise free the education system and let schools operate independently without restrictions on medium of instruction and let school boards decide on such matters.

Raising the living standard of the Poor

I believe more can be done in this area and the concept should be empowering the poor to upgrade rather than merely providing grants to forever live in poverty. For example, some poor families have too many children that they cannot afford to feed and care for them properly and some will become criminals. For such families, the state should require them to stop having more children to receive monthly grants. I would make sterilization for both husband and wife a condition for state aid. Further state aid should be for defined periods like 2months a maximum of 3 months during which period the recipient should be given access to job vacancies in various states.

Out of 25 ministers, only 6 have been selected for the KRAs. I like the idea of having key ministers tasked with the subjects as they should be held accountable if the results can be verified by another independent(?) Panel.

Photo: Thanks to http://img2.timeinc.net/people/i/2007/startracks/070514/kate_moss2.jpg

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