(Will Putrajaya makes decisions that involve taxpayers money that will benefit Malaysians as a whole or make decisions solely based on the political standing of the State Governments? Image source: http://mir.com.my)
Another case of the Federal Government helping out the politicians at the State level based on their political affliction – from theStar:-
The Federal Government will provide matching grant to Sarawak’s Barisan Nasional MPs and assemblymen on whatever financial aid they receive from the state government next year.
Mawan, also state Social Development and Urbanisation Minister, said in his presidential speech earlier that due to the constraint of resources, the elected representatives’ performance might fall below par and reflect poorly on the Barisan government.
“If lack of resources remains a problem and affects their performances, the elected representatives may be lured by temptations as abuse of power and corrupt practices to short track their course.
“If they do succumb, they will be at the mercy of some unscrupulous powers,’’ added Mawan.
He urged the Barisan supreme council to resolve the problem and work out “some kind of arrangements’’ to help the Sarawak elected representatives assemblymen to better serve their constituents.
Now compare that with this report posted in 2008:-
Tourism memorandums of understanding with Opposition-ruled state governments will be terminated given the change in leadership, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said
Another is this, reported in September 2009:-
ARE federal earnings funded by taxpayers in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) states returning to benefit the public in those states?
What’s clear in the case of Selangor is that funds are used for development but are not channelled through the state government. That has become clear in Penang as well, where promised funds for Georgetown’s heritage status have not been delivered to the PR-governed state.
A more idiotic one of course is this report, posted in October 2009:-
The Barisan Nasional-led (BN) federal government should stop funding all parliamentary and state constituencies controlled by Pakatan Rakyat (PR), Umno Selangor information chief Abdul Shukur Idrus told the party’s delegates today.
“(The government should) give only to those areas in which we (BN) won so people can differentiate how the BN works compared to the opposition,” Abdul Shukur said during debates of Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s policy speech.
(Source: The Edge)
Of course, when one is talking about the way the BN led Federal Government treats the States ruled by Pakatan Rakyat in the past, we only need to see the State of Kelantan where agreed oil royalty money has been held back and channelled to entities that are not related to the State Government.
After reading the recent story at theStar, several troubling questions arise:-
Question No. 1
Who the Federal Government is representing?
Does the Federal Government represent all people under the Federation (regardless of their political affiliation) or the whims and fancy of certain political parties?
Wikipedia states that a federation is defined as:-
A federation is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central (federal) government.
In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of the central government.
Question No. 2
If the Federal Government suppose to represent the people under the Federation, then why the abuse of taxpayers’ money for only Barisan Nasional MPs and assemblymen?
The money to the Federal Government comes from people in form of taxes, commissions and charges and that includes people in the constituents under the opposition party?
So, why the distinction when it comes to the disbursement of the said money to Pakatan Rakyat controlled States?
Question No. 3
As “the lack of resources” is deemed as something that will “adversely affected their effectiveness in serving their constituents”, by denying the same to opposition MPs, is the Federal Government sabotaging the people who have elected oppositions?
Using the same analogy, a lack of money for opposition MPs will also adversely affect their performance. Every elected politician is entitled to some kind of grant and allowances for them to perform their duties.
What makes a BN politician be more eligible for more money compared to a PR politician when the end-users are going to be the people? If so, do the people in these constituents (held by PR politicians) have the right to hold back their taxes and channel it back to their local MP or State Government?
Question No. 4
Then do we really need a Federal Government?
Having a Federal entity that unites the various administration aspect of the States is necessary and therefore it is critical for us to have a strong Federal Government.
But the thing is this – there is clear favouritism from the Federal Government who seems to be only working for the benefit of their own political party members and do not concern much on the state of the Federation as a whole?
If they are picking which of the states deserves more money and that the criterion is sorely based on the political affliction, rather than the actual need of the people or development of the State, then do we really need a Federal Government that is bias and unfair?
Question No. 5
Mawan said, “the elected representatives may be lured by temptations as abuse of power and corrupt practices to short track their course”. What does this mean?
It is not a secret that corruption is high and remains much unresolved in Malaysia. Now with this little revelation from Mawan, is he trying to say that the MPs and assemblymen are just too corrupt that the Federal Government has to keep pumping in more money just to make them happy and be away from alternative sources (bribery or other illegal means)?
Why can’t MPs and assemblymen have some sense of duty and sense of obligations to the people who have elected them? This way, despite the shortcomings in money, they can still uphold a sense of integrity and avoid falling into the usual trap of corruption and bribery.
In Malaysia, the role of the Federal Government is quite wide and powerful, for they are handling external affairs, defence, internal security, justice, federal citizenship, finance, commerce, industry, communications and transportation.
And when it comes to money issues between the State and the Federal Government, the 9th Schedule of the Constitution, among others, states:-
7. Finance, including –
(c) Borrowing on the security by the States, public authorities and private enterprise;
(d) Loans to or borrowing by the States, public authorities and private enterprise;
(f) Financial and accounting procedure, including procedure for the collection, custody and payment of the public moneys of the Federation and of the States, and the purchase, custody and disposal of public property other than land of the Federation and of the States;
(g) Audit and account of the Federation and the States and other public authorities;
Does the Constitution mentions “State governed by Barisan Nasional and excludes States governed by Pakatan Rakyat”? It only mentions State. And what that means? It means that the Federal Government is supposed to work for all States and not just some States.
If Najib as the PM for Malaysia (and not PM for States controlled by BN) wants to portray a fairer style of governance and promote his 1Malaysia kind of branding to all Malaysians (with different political afflictions), then he should get his Federal Government to start acting as one who represents all States with equal treatment and fulfilling any agreed agreements.
This should also include scrapping any policies that call for bypassing the State Government and the Federal Government ending up playing the State Government’s role with duplication of work and waste of precious taxpayers money.