Perception versus reality

Today, I am posting an article from the Aliran, to enable the readers to know what is happening…

Even though some of the States are under opposition rules, I have, after 308, written that Federal funds must be made available to these states. We must be fair and just, since these states contributed to taxes. Read my old article on MArch 15 2008 here titled ” Do not punish the people” .

I may be the odd man out but I feel strongly that every state must be given the same weight as regards federal funding. People are the bosses and they  are like the shareholders of a company. Any profits must be given back to the shareholders, and any tax collected must go back to the people.

Penang, perception versus reality — Aliran

MARCH 11 — A common perception is that “nothing is moving in Penang”.

The reality is how to really move when Penang received only a mere RM0.45 billion of Malaysia’s annual budget of RM207 billion, our correspondent points out.

Many people are very critical and, in fact, extremely negative about Penang’s direction post-March 2008 elections.

I constantly hear the rumblings of many and this has been thought provoking. But a chord struck home when I attended a recent NGO forum in Penang.

The forum aimed to address whether anything has changed in Penang after two years.

At lunch, a retired finance professional (from a multinational company) spoke to me and commented that she did not know that federal and state relations were so complex.

She also said that she just realised that the Penang state authorities were left out of important local matters and they were faced with tremendous challenges.

There must be so many more like this lady who would be clueless, if not for their own initiative to find out more through alternative media, networking and analysis of information. Many perceptions are formed based on one’s observations and information at hand.

To the ordinary folk, Penang is perceived to be the same old place. There is no visible difference — pre- or post-March 2008.

Traffic is still crazy, drains are still clogged, illegal parking is rampant and everyday life still plods along in pretty much the same manner. That’s the general perception. But the reality is that there has been a flurry of activity behind the scenes post-March 2008 that is not visible to the layperson.

Traffic jams and clogged drains are the least of my worries at this point in time. The unaccounted for billions of ringgit squandered in this country is one of my major worries.

A common perception is that “nothing is moving in Penang”. The reality is how to really move when Penang received only a mere RM0.45 billion of Malaysia’s annual budget of RM207 billion.

Although Penang contributes close to 9 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product, it received an allocation of only 0.2 per cent. Simple math will indicate gross injustices and unfair practices by the federal government.

Another example is the Auditor General’s 2008 report for Penang, which received praise for effective cost-cutting measures and prudent ways.

The report says the state’s expenditure was reduced by RM35.4 million or by 11.1 per cent and it was the first time that the state’s consolidated funds rose above the RM1 billion mark (The Edge, 21 October 2009).

However, what does this translate to for the layperson? There is no visible impact, thus the general perception remains as it is.

The reality is that this accomplishment speaks positively for the management of the state, and these are the favourable management practices we want continued.

These are important messages to pass on. Perception can be totally unreal. Let us keep ourselves well-informed. Let us take the initiative to find out more about what’s real and what’s unreal. Let’s contribute positively to the change process that we so desire.

For every grouse and concern that we have, let’s think of probably solutions and find ways to channel these ideas. Let’s vote for a total change in favour of PR in the next General Election and give them a chance to turn the situation around for the betterment of the nation as a whole. —


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 12:26:45

    I wonder why people in Penang would bother to pay tax to the federal govt.


  2. Dr Hsu
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 13:32:10

    As citizens, we have the duty to pay tax, but as boss of the country, the taxes must be used to give us development.

    That should be the basis of “Government of the people, for the people, by the people”.

    The leaders have forgotten all these because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely..


  3. klm
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 13:35:34

    Dr. Hsu. I just cannot agree with you.


  4. klm
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 13:38:49

    It is our duty to find as many way as possible not to pay tax. We should follow the example of the people of Italy. They had corrupt and useless govts for many years. Why pay the govt? Because of this, there is a huge healthy underground economy.


  5. CYC
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 14:21:43

    KTK should let Penang people know whether 0.2% of national budget allocation to Pg is in compliance with KPI. This is the question LGE should openly ask KTK to answer so that he can finish off Gerakan earlier.

    I wonder why that Oh Tong Keong is keeping quiet on this and fart shamelessly on senior citizens welfare entitlement of RM100.


  6. A true Malaysian
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 15:37:41

    The problems that we are facing right now are all point to Umno.

    Umno, to me, is like an old man whose mentality is somehow fixed, rigid and can never be convinced to change. To this ‘old man’, Federal & State Governments belong to him, Petronas also belong to him, Proton, MAS etc, etc though in law, these are separate legal entities, but to this old man Umno, all are theirs. This lies the main problem that we are watching right now in Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Selangor & Kedah.

    Tax revenues collected, which is under the jurisdiction of Federal Government are not being disbursed in equitable manners, as a results, lay voters cannot understand this and blame on Pakatan Rakyat. Just look at the complaints our Indian friends, especially the Hindraf leaders (mind you, they are educated people), they look at this the same way as many lay voters.

    I am not sure how other Gerakan members look at this. Are there many Dr. Hsu in there that can understand the different of being partisan & governments? Dr. Hsu said that there are many good people around like him in Gerakan, but I doubt that. If not, why so few members voiced out these injustices.

    Well, you want back people supports, you need to be able to fight for these injustices, even if this offended Umno. Having said that, I doubt you people would do that.

    It is time not to think so much but just close one eye to vote Pakatan Rakyat the next GE, even if they put a monkey to contest.

    Umno is dying of natural death. The mindset that I commented above just wouldn’t change. Take my words.


  7. A true Malaysian
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 16:07:46

    Further points, even if the Federal Govt disburse tax revenue to the State Govt under Pakatan Rakyat, very likely the funds are disbursed through Federal agencies in the respective states, not directly to the Pakatan State Govts.

    A very clear example is disbursement of compassionate fund of RM20 million to Kelantan. The money will go through Federal agencies under control of the Federal Govt. Kelantan State Govt has no control at all.

    It is this kind of mentality that we see in Umno & Perkasa type of Malays. They can do what they like. To them, this is logical and make sense. I am afraid non-Malay BN members think likewise. Dr. Hsu knows better since he is in there. Perhaps he choose to clarify to us on this.


  8. romerz
    Mar 13, 2010 @ 02:53:17

    Dr Hsu,

    Since my last spat with you (for which I’ve apologized), I’ve made it a point not to comment in your blog lest I get carried away when responding to members of Gerakan who at the moment is still part of BN and that racist UMNO which caused all the problems that Malaysia faces now.

    Since you are big enough to carry a report by Aliran, I thought I’d just share with you some experiences I have of Penang.

    In case you are not aware doc, there is a finance group made up of representatives from all the 13 states which decides the allocation that should go to the states from taxes collected. And this is constituted for in our federal constitution.

    At the present moment, the seats of this group stands at 9/4 which is why UMNO/BN is so keen to destabilize the PR states and regain the 2/3 majority since they know that once PR controls 7 states, it would be the end of unfair distribution of our hard-earned taxes, especially when Petronas is in deep shit and can only bail them out for a few years at most.

    Remember, Malaysia is a federation of autonomous states and not top down politics which UMNO needs to feed their cronies!

    Sorry doc for having commented. I will most probably stay away from commenting in your blog for the next few months as I will be busy engaging Mark Ooi if you follow my blog.

    As a friend of mine remarked yesterday, Gerakan has no platform to stand on and give their views so long as they remain in BN with that “fucked-up” UMNO!


  9. Dr Hsu
    Mar 13, 2010 @ 09:36:13

    I welcome u for commenting and hope to hear more from u..

    Please feel free to say your piece. Even though I am still a member of Gerakan, I am not partisan and I am not supportive of Gerakan’s association with BN.

    I feel that we should be less partisan and speak to praise the good and condemn the bad, which I have being doing, although there was someone commenting in other blogs calling me all sorts of names like running dogs. I do not do the bidding of UMNO and Gerakan top leaders, and that is not the trait of running dog.

    Just 3 days ago in State liaison meeting, I had blodly told the chief off, i will email u the details, and on the next day, a member from another state called me and said he heard news that I criticised the chief as well as the adviser.News spread fast.

    Yesterday me letter in Malaysiakini asked all the smaller component party memebrs to call for referendum for their respective parties. I am not a politician, so i would not go to the extent of asking sponsors to give money for a campaign to
    go round country to call for referendum ( that type of politics, I call money politics , and is very wrong, asking for sponsors)..

    . I do it in my style, by talking and writing, emails and phones. And when i do travel, I need to close my clinic, suffer loss of income and pay for all my expenses from my own pockets ( i have been doing that).

    Of course, as A person who cannot/ and will not dispense any goodies, i would not get the support of those who are in for kangdao, but at least the younger ones and the old conscientious members would slowly and surely be changing their views, after consistently and doggedly talking to some of them. Now even our national wanita may be asking to leave BN. Pemuda head has already been quoted in SIn chew asking the party that it is time to go out, although I do not know whether this is sincerely from his heart or just politicking.



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