Malaysia Today
Monday, 10 March 2008

So remember who put you where you are today. Remember who gave you your job. The rakyat can hire and the rakyat can fire. We, the rakyat, made you and we, the rakyat, can break you. Just remember that and with God as our witness we shall not fail to do that if you fail to do what you promised to do.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Since yesterday I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from people who keep asking me what position I am going to hold in the government. I also have tons of e-mails in my in-box which I have either not read yet or have not replied to thus far. Firstly, can you please stop phoning so that I can get down to writing my article (anyway, I have switched off my phone so that I can complete this article). We can 'chat' about what the opposition needs to do later plus I will reply to all your e-mails once the dust settles.

Now, with regards to my 'position' in the government. No, no and no! I do not wish to hold any position in the government. I know some of you have threatened to 'protest' in front of the party headquarters if I am not offered at least a Senator's post. Hey, I do not want to be a Senator or Wakil Rakyat or anything at all for that matter. I just want to continue being plain Raja Petra Kamarudin, Editor and Webmaster of Malaysia Today -- so please drop all this talk of me 'holding a position in the government'.

Secondly, Malaysia Today is going to continue playing the role of watchdog and the conscience of the nation. We must continue to be the eyes, ears and voice of the rakyat and this must be done with me outside the government. Malaysia Today, which is already a nightmare for the ruling party, is going to now also be the nightmare of the five opposition-led state governments. And we are going to monitor these five states even closer than we watch the federal government.

Now, with regards to the talk floating around that Tok Guru Haji Abdul Hadi Awang has announced that Kedah is going to introduce Hudud laws; this is not true. Tok Guru confirmed he never made such an announcement. The trouble is, many of you wear these 'boycott the mainstream media' T-shirts yet you still read and believe what the mainstream media spins. Would you become terrible offended if I shout 'Bodoh punya orang!'? I really don't know what else to shout under these circumstances.

Let me repeat what I have said many, many times in the past. PAS does not have 150 seats in Parliament. In fact, PAS, DAP and PKR combined do not have 150 seats in Parliament. Read my lips. "PAS NEEDS 150 SEATS IN PARLIAMENT TO CHANGE THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY OR OF THE STATES!"

Anyway, 150 seats or no 150 seats, PAS does not intend to introduce Islamic laws, PERIOD.

Okay, can we now get down to some serious work? Our first task in hand is to set up an Ombudsman committee that will monitor all the five state governments of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor. A man such as Tun Salleh Abas or anyone of his calibre must head the Ombudsman committee which will comprise of men and women of standing and with squeaky-clean reputations. They must be people like Gandhi and Mother Theresa both rolled into one. Yes, Malaysia does have plenty of such people.

The Ombudsman must be above the Chief Minister and Menteri Besar. It must have the power and authority to summon even the highest man in the state to come before the committee for questioning on anything at all that may be perceived as wrongdoing, transgressions, deviations, etc. And the Ombudsman must have the power and authority to recommend the removal of any public servant or politician who may have committed a breach of discipline, even if he is the Chief Minister/Menteri Besar.

This Ombudsman shall be responsible to the rakyat. The meetings and official inquiries it conducts must not be behind closed doors but shall be open inquiries where members of the public who may be interested in the goings-on can attend and witness the proceedings. Everything must be transparent and open to public scrutiny. There shall be no secrets. Public servants and elected officials work for the rakyat. The rakyat are the boss. So the 'boss' must be allowed to witness any public inquiry and proceedings convened to look into the conduct of their 'employees'. There must be no compromise on this issue.

The government must not be race-based, and certainly not religion-based. People chosen to head the agencies in any of the five states must be based on capabilities and not because that person is Malay, Chinese or Indian. Granted, the Federal Constitution of Malaysia may state who can be Menteri Besar while the election promise was, if the opposition wins Penang, then a Chinese shall be the Chief Minister. But that must be as far as race considerations prevail. For thereon no positions should be filled because we want more Malays or more Chinese or more Indians in the government.

If qualifications and capabilities become the criteria, then Malays, Chinese and Indians would automatically be represented at all levels of government. Just give him or her the job because he or her is the best person for the job and the racial balance would automatically happen. You do not even need to try too hard.

All ongoing projects must be reviewed. Those that have not taken off yet and which are clearly white elephants, projek mewah, above the recommended cost, etc., should be aborted. Of course, those that have contractual obligations will have to go on lest the state becomes embroiled in legal tangles. But they must be aborted not for the sake of aborting them or because they have been awarded to cronies of 'the other side'. This would smack of political persecution and witch-hunting, something the opposition has accused the government of perpetuating and something we should not do as well.

Take note that the federal government will certainly squeeze the states of funds so money will be very tight. The states will have to engage a high-powered team of financial consultants to advice them on how to run a state government and still develop the state with no money. Kelantan has done it for 18 years. They inherited a colossal amount of debt when they took over Kelantan in 1990 and yet still managed to pay off all the debts plus carry the cost of running the state in spite of no money.

The local councils are more corrupted than the infamous Royal Malaysian Police. This needs to be immediately addressed and many heads should be on the chopping block. The state governments must be ruthless with no quarters asked nor any given. Let there be a 'bloodbath' if necessary. And send the files of all these crooks to the Anti-Corruption Agency and demand that they be hung from the highest tree. The rakyat will gladly pay for the cost of the tree.

The Malays should stop talking about 'percentage of Malay representation', as should the Chinese and Indians as well. We certainly want a meritocracy rather than a race-quota-based system. Nevertheless, no race or community must be left out of the government. So a delicate balancing act between meritocracy, yet taking into consideration racial representation, has to be the game plan here.

Remember, the opposition won these five states plus denied Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament through promises and rhetoric. The consideration of the voters the next election will no longer be based on promises and rhetoric but on performance and delivery. Many promises were made this election. Now is the time to deliver them. Then, come the next election, the voters will either continue electing this same government into office or opt to change back to Barisan Nasional depending on how well or how bad the five state governments have performed.

If you think that winning these five states and denying Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament was difficult, then you do not know what difficult is. Winning five states and denying Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament was the easy part. The difficult part is going to be in maintaining the confidence and support of the voters. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi won 92% of the seats in 2004 based on promises and four years later got massacred when he did not deliver. The same thing can and will happen to the opposition as well come the 13th General Election if it does not perform and/or deliver its election promise.

Malaysia Today is watching. And we shall whack the daylights out of anyone and everyone who misbehaves or forgets his or her promise. The opposition won the five states and 82 seats in Parliament with the support of Malays, Chinese and Indians. It needed all the races to cross the finishing line. Just two races would not have achieved that. One race would have been even more impossible.

So remember who put you where you are today. Remember who gave you your job. The rakyat can hire and the rakyat can fire. We, the rakyat, made you and we, the rakyat, can break you. Just remember that and with God as our witness we shall not fail to do that if you fail to do what you promised to do.