Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Of political will and self interest... with fame and fortune thrown in

Nomination day is days away but the heat is on.

So far, caretaker Najib is back-pedalling and is grappling whatever he can for PRU 14 victory.

Some say it's a foot deep and some say it will be reverse Malay tsunami.

When Najib says no Malay tsunami, then take his Malay tsunami. However, what Najib fails to understand then it is not Malay tsunami in rejecting UMNO, it is going to be a Malay tsunami to reject him.

But that is not all. It is just a beginning. I see possibility of Rakyat tsunami in rejecting a common entity known as BN. That is why, many are in panic mode when they placed their self interest above nation.

Trust Husam to come up with something spectacular when PRU is near. This time, his bombshell is about ECRL (East Coast Rail Link) and GST. What is Husam revealing thus far?. Well :-

1. ECRL main contractor was granted relief from paying GST;
2. The relief was granted under section which concerns Finance Minister to grant GST relief;
3. The GST relief came in the form of letter from Finance Ministry dated 7th Feb 2018 and effective from 26th Sept 2016(?);

Husam's claim was later confirmed by Government as per The Edge market's news " Malaysia confirms GST relief for Chinese firm behind ECRL"

Let's not talk about reducing project cost as that can be manipulated. Questions that need to be answered by caretaker Najib are :-

1. Why is ECRL contractor granted GST relief? On what basis? And if this is about project cost reduction, is there any clause in the Contracts document that says so? If not, then the project cost remains high despite GST relief. What are the failsafe mechanism put in place to prevent the contractor from "misusing" the GST relief grant?;
2. If ECRL is a government project, what about the newly awarded HSR? Will the project contractor awarded the same GST relief from Finance Minister? Bear in mind that HSR contractor has local component inside and this should be a plus point for them to get GST relief;
3. What about Bandar Iskandar? Forest city? Will they be given GST relief too?
4. If this is about project cost reduction, then why not it be applicable to all government projects especially those affecting local contractors who are now struggling to meet project dateline?
5. ECRL project cost is RM 60B. Assuming that 60 % are material cost and applicable for GST relief, this comes to a whopping RM 2.2B. Did the former Finance Minister reveal this in cabinet meeting? in parliament? Or can someone gives the benefit breakdown derived from GST relief? Or worse, is RM 2.2B untraceable?

It is easier said than done. What Husam did is opening another can of worms, courtesy of mismanagement of government fund and income. If this exposure is made after PRU 14, it will be a "non-effect". It is worth noting that the Finance Minister issued the GST relief in February 2018. It is puzzling for it to be effective, backdated to September... smells of rotten fish.

PRU 14 is now becoming a battle of wits. It is about the rakyats political will and courage to make a decision unfamiliar to them . On the whole, many believed that there is a need to change the skipper. And is the crew is still loyal to the skipper, then they too should go as rakyats are the passengers. As passengers, they want a safe passage not the action taken by skipper to sink the ship.

Why are politicians so hardworking this time around? They are blending their self interest with rakyats inspiration. There are those whose self interest includes :-

1. Protecting their legacy and their source of income via patronage, influence and power;
2. The need to stay relevant and keeping their own cans of worms shut from public eyes;
3. The opportunity to hoodwink for the next 5 years;
4. The perks, priviledge of red carpet weolcoming party, sirens blaring, VVIP treatment and the freebies that comes along;

Is this what the caretaker person afraid of losing? Or is it due to the pressure from those he umbrella through the years? The stakes are high and if the groundswell continues, there will be changes in Malaysia comes 9th May.

The caretaker may has his own ideas of how to stem the tide. It is not the time to speculate what might be done in efforts to cling to power. The world is watching and Malaysia will make its choice.

For some, regardless of May 9 outcome, they will still be perched up high and may need minor twerking to suit their self interest. These may include those in high positions across the nation whose political alliance and allegiance will be scrutinise. Some may be shown the exit door whilst some may be reprimanded. All can happen...

Whatever it is, life goes on for the 25 million plus rakyats.. and many hope that 10th May will be a new dawn.

Politically, come what may UMNO need to change regardless whether they win or lose on 9th May. PAS, unfortunately, needs to look inwards and maybe some major changes in their set-up to meet a new challenge. Bersatu? Well, it is up to ROS and whatever ROS decision will hinge on 9th May results. PKR will be stronger with Anwar is freed in June. AMANAH maybe new and may get good spoils, but can they shake off their old belief that PAS is the party for them? DAP will be lead by new leaders whilst MCA, Gerakan will be looking for burial grounds. Sarawak PBS will be forced to work with the government of the day and will still remain relevant there. Warisan's future will be determined by Shafie Afdal...

Me? I will be looking for friends to enjoy D'Vegas coffee...

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

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