The Sun Daily
6 January 2013
A SEARCH of the archives shows that in the past year, more than 100 columns and commentaries were penned covering about a couple of dozen topics.
Away from the office for a fortnight, there was plenty of time to reflect on what had happened in the preceding year, in between reading opinions and commentaries of fellow scribes regaling what a great year 2012 had been.
On reflection, what was there even to put down as a thought after having written on issues ranging from wrongdoing, inefficiency, insubordination, misuse to abuse of public funds and many more? These were issues of public interest – affecting every citizen of this country.
There is no way or equipment to measure the success of this column. The success rate in informing the public of such nuances and allowing them to draw their own opinions may have been excellent.
However, when it comes to getting responses, let alone results in bringing about such issues to the fore, the rate has been dismal – absolutely ZERO!
Thoughts have crossed the mind whether it is worth the time and effort put into producing this twice-weekly column.
Yes, readers like you who are holding this newspaper appreciate these efforts (judging by the scores of letters and electronic mail).
On a personal note, it has been a failure because it has not succeeded in bringing about desired results – not just the prosecution of wrongdoers, but an acknowledgement of the problem and remedial measures taken to prevent a recurrence.
One would think that a government which has been repeatedly described as “listens to the people” would have at least made some attempt to provide some information to some of the many issues that have made the headlines.
But instead, we have had nothing but stock silence which has been the order of the day for the entire year. In an era when our leaders thump their chests and proclaim “transformation”, we have to ask ourselves whether there is any truth in such pronouncements.
It would be certainly wrong to state that people entrusted to enforce the law are not carrying out their responsibilities. They are, but selectively. While they are quick to catch petty criminals and send them to jail, the same cannot be said of their zeal for white collar crimes.
When RM3.8 million of the people’s money meant for our disabled athletes disappears and is written off, not a finger is lifted to bring the culprits to book.
Even the police, the custodians of law and order seem to have washed their hands, passing the buck to another agency which investigates corruption.
It’s not the quantum but the principle. Similarly, after all the promise of “openness” and “transparency”, even the expenditure on the “Road to London” project has become a state secret.
While the sports minister alluded to the fact that there is nothing wrong in being accountable for taxpayers’ money, a minion in the civil service overrules him.
Even at local council level, the little emperors have decided to play God in deciding what can be made available for the ratepayers.
While the Local Government Act provides for minutes of meetings to be made public, some council chiefs have taken upon themselves to breach this law and yet no one can do anything against such people.
These three are just examples of what is wrong with our system. On a larger scale, the National Feedlot Corporation, the Paya Indah Wetlands, the leaking roof at the Expo Pavilion, the collapse of roofs of stadiums and hospitals are standing monuments of the greater ills that afflict this great country.
This columnist and other journos will continue to inform and educate the public, but there will be no results to show. We are banging our heads against a concrete wall.
Will 2013 be any better? Let’s hope so for the future of this nation and its people.
R. Nadeswaran is editor (special and investigative reporting) at theSun.