I refer to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan’s words that using the authorities to maintain public order in a street protest is a waste of funds.
It is rather ironic, considering the number of ridiculous investigations being conducted by the authorities which includes how raising a middle finger is now being investigated for “outraging someone’s modesty”.
But more to the point, if we are talking about a waste of funds in governance and such, there is a lot to talk about in terms of both public and private institutions. Let us start with the most obvious.
According to the compilation published on iMoney.my, public is paying RM16,000 in salaries, RM1,200 for a drivers allowance, RM1,500 for entertainment allowances, RM1,500 for travel allowances, RM900 for telephone allowances and RM200 a day for each of the 222 lawmakers in our current government.
The prime minister gets an add-on of close to RM23,000 a month, deputy prime minister gets RM18,000 monthly, and the head of opposition close to an additional RM4,000 respectively. All of which is above and beyond the allowances and salaries they already get.
Considering the costs above, isn’t it considered a waste of public resources for the obvious redundancies? For example, why does everyone get a RM200 allowance for coming to parliament and doing their jobs?
Plus, why do they need a car if they’re based in Kuala Lumpur when they can use public transport like the rest of us?
Furthermore, isn’t traveling also part and parcel of a lawmakers duty? On top of that, do we really have to fund MPs phones?
In addition to all of this, parliament sessions in Malaysia have been less than 100 days. This is even highlighted on Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong’s blog, dated November 14, 2014. He had asked for more days for parliamentary debates in 2015, from a mere 61 days to 80 days.
You read that right, our lawmakers are sitting in parliament and debating less than a third of a year, and God knows what else they do with their high monthly salaries and allowances when they aren’t yelling at each other in the Dewan Rakyat.
As a result, the entire process of lawmaking has been delayed to the point that even now we have yet to have any amendments regarding anti corruption, the use of the AES system, and even the vaping regulations.
In fact, with only so few days to debate acts of law, how exactly is the government going to amend 18 laws for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by this year end, as mentioned by Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, earlier this year in March?
To cut it short, since lawmakers and ministers are all inefficient and not working to actually make laws as a measure for “wasting public resources”, should we not in the same mindset just shut down our government?
Of course not.
This is because value in having a democratic government, just like the freedom of expression through street protests, that cannot and should not quantified.
You cannot measure it in man hours, productivity figures, contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) or even the gross national income (GNI).
So if Nur Jazlan truly wishes to talk about the wasting of public funds and start measuring matters relating to governance and efficiency in government, then he should do so to the utmost importance without bias.
And if we do so, then I am certain such a feasibility study will show that our entire lawmaking process, the civil service and even the multiple government agencies would all rationally be said to be wasting public resources, which we can do without.
Thus, perhaps he should look to his own cabinet ministers and even the government as a whole. Start by cutting the bloat from there while raising the salaries for the cops who have done their duties admirably, instead of looking to stifle democratic rights over cost concerns.