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Get used to it?

By LIM MUN FAH
Translated by Soong Phui Jee
Sin Chew Daily

The National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal continues to fester when the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) revealed that the government had given money to the NFC through a special account from 2008 to end of 2009 but the agreement deal for the project was only signed in 2010.

Government departments are supposed to follow laws but it has bypassed the procedures and given the loan two years earlier before the contract was inked.

The problem is serious because the NFC scandal is only a tip of the iceberg and similar problems have occurred repeatedly for years.

Therefore, PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said that the government needs to revamp the existing management system. He also pointed out that poor management, bad planning and crippling delays in some government departments are recurring patterns.

However, should we get used to such recurring patterns?

Please do not forget that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala said last year that many Malaysians have been living beyond their means.

He also said that the government should start cutting subsidies in all areas or Malaysia will go bankrupt like Greece in 2019 when the debt rises to 100% of GDP!

The government has indeed taken some actions and the people have also tasted the price of subsidy cuts. The prices of sugar, electricity, service tax and fuel have been increased and due to "budget shortfalls", there is a plan to cut part-time teachers' pay.

The people have tolerated it although they are angry. However, instead of reducing spending, some government departments are actually spending ostentatiously and even granted a low-interest loan two years before the agreement was inked. How are those in responsible going to explain such an unreasonable practice to the people?

How could they ask money from the civil society while spending extravagantly? The people just cannot understand it and hope that the government can stop unnecessary grandiose projects and plans while eliminating waste, excessive shopping and false report in various government departments. Only by doing so, the people can be convinced and work together with the government to walk out of the storm.

In fact, every single penny that the government loaned is hard-earned money of taxpayers. Since we are taxpayers, we have the right to know how the money is spent.

Therefore, we hope that the Auditor-General and PAC will continue to stick to their posts and roles, persevere in exposing the shortcomings of the government and be the guardian of the Treasury and public money. The fates of the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) are a lesson to us and we definitely do not want to follow their footsteps!

 

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