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Malaysian NATO

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No Action Talk Only” – it is almost a Malaysian national slogan these days…

There are no people in Malaysia who champion the concept of “NATO” other than the local politicians (perhaps in other countries, things are fucked up as well). Local politicians waste no time (and shame) in using the public media to promote their so-called wisdom in making lame and bull-shit statements. This includes ideas and warnings that don’t sell and is hard to swallow.

Yesterday, I saw such statements in the Star post titled “Warning to canteen operators” and it shows an excellent example of NATO in action:-

KUALA LUMPUR: Canteen operators be warned – those caught serving contaminated food will have their contracts terminated immediately and be blacklisted as well. Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim said those blacklisted would not be allowed to operate in any other school. “We need to get the message across to all canteen operators that there should be no compromise in their quality of food,” he said at a press conference here yesterday after meeting with health officers from the state education departments on the issue of food poisoning in schools.

School heads would also be held responsible, he added. “The quality of food must be maintained at all times. We must take action against those responsible,” he stressed. According to Hon, there have been 15 cases of food poisoning in day schools over the past six months, including cases under the milk programme. The latest cases involved two schools in Kedah on Sunday. In Kuala Nerang, 39 pupils from SK Tandop Besar sought treatment for stomachache, diarrhoea and vomiting after eating rice with squid sambal in their school canteen. Fifty-three students from SMK Ayer Hitam in Ayer Hitam, 25km from Alor Star, experienced similar symptoms after eating nasi lemak with sambal ikan bilis.

“This is a serious issue and I don’t want to look at anymore reports on such cases. It is always the same story. Enough is enough,” said Hon.

Hon, I got couple of questions for you:-

1. Contracts terminated and blacklisted only? What about jail terms? Or hefty fine?

2. When will a harsher punishment be given? After a school children had died due to food poisoning? Maybe more? If it is just a simple case of “stomachache, diarrhea and vomiting”, then the punishment is nothing more than contracts terminated and blacklisted?

Contamination is equal to poisoning and to affect small children is reckless and dangerous and all that the politician wants to do is cancel some contracts and blacklist them? By the time, some “pegawai kerajaan” open the file and start looking into the matter, the canteen operator will continue to operate the business without any punishment and in the process, making more students sick (have you heard of rogue contractors who been blacklisted so many times but continued to be in business and one day killed someone in the process?)

Food poisoning been around in schools since the time I was still in Standard One, almost 20 years ago and nothing much been done since then. 15 cases in the last 6 months are very alarming and it took almost 6 months for Hon to get an “erection” on the issue and made a passing statement that “enough is enough”. We say the same thing about politicians who make such statements – enough is enough!

Maybe jail terms are too harsh to start with but stop doing empty talk and start acting – have you cancelled and blacklisted the canteen operators in the previous 15 cases? Because if you had, then it would have been a whole different story.

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