Let’s keep our focus on things that matter

By TK Chua
Free Malaysia Today
January 27, 2017

We should stay focused on the big picture and, instead of harping on past problems, be more realistic and practical about issues such as racism, graft, and massive development projects.

There are just too many incongruous arguments going on in Malaysia today. I consider all these deliberate distractions and diversions from the more fundamental problems confronting us.

The first distraction is the assertion that Lim Kit Siang will become deputy prime minister should the opposition take federal power. There is nothing wrong in Lim Kit Siang becoming DPM if the situation warrants it. Why would the race of a person become an issue unless it is the embedded racism being voiced? Has racism become so entrenched in Malaysia today that even the racists are not consciously aware of their own behaviour?

We must not get distracted; fight we must against racism and bigotry before it is too late.

Second, I wouldn’t say Malaysia will lose its sovereignty anytime soon as is being debated at the moment. It is more Malaysia’s wanton adventurism in development that should be of concern. We rely on foreign capital and investment to build massive infrastructures that are of no immediate need. We depend on foreign buyers to build mega cities not knowing who is going to occupy them. Are these not a concern for all of us?

Third, going back to Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s past “misdeeds”, including the latest CIA revelation on the BMF scandal, is another distraction. Are we trying to compare who has committed the greater blunder here? We should learn to be more practical and realistic. It is useless to harp on past problems. Instead, we should focus on matters we can do something about now. I think it is not difficult to distinguish between the two.
Fourth, we should not be constantly distracted by so-called external factors such as, Donald Trump’s presidency in the US, commodity prices, the Trans-Pacific Partnership etc. All countries face external factors, not just Malaysia. It is how competent and resilient we are in our ability to handle the headwind that matters.

The debate should rightly focus on our incompetency, vulnerability and profligate ways and not at trying to find excuses or apportion blame on factors beyond our control. We must focus on how our ringgit is managed, not the price of oil or US interest rates affecting the ringgit. What about countries with no oil? Did their currencies go to the dogs?

Fifth, we should not be too impressed by the increasing number of investigations and arrests on those suspected of corruption. We should focus instead on why corruption has become systemic and widespread. Are we losing control over our monitoring mechanisms and governance systems? Seriously, what is the point of more people being charged for corruption when it has become so rampant?

The auditor-general has revealed that 30% of the value of public projects is lost due to graft. This is equivalent to RM15.6 billion a year, if the total development expenditure of RM52 billion (2016) of the federal government is taken into account. This huge figure does not even include leakages and graft in government-linked companies which are off-budget agencies. Again, it is good to remind ourselves to stay focused on the big picture, not a few high profile arrests here and there.

We must focus on the right issues; otherwise it is futile to argue.

  1. #1 by drngsc on Saturday, 28 January 2017 - 10:12 pm

    Let us be focus, on the issues at hand, as well as on our principles. We must always remember our struggle what we stand for. The end does no justify the means. Both means and ends are important, please.

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