A former MP from DAP, Fan Yew Teng, passed away in Bangkok. Those in their 30s and 40s would hardly know about him, but for those of us inthe 50s, he was the voice of DAP after MAy 13. He was also one of the victims of the Sedition Act, which was amended after May 13, ostensibly to avoid people from touching on sensitive issues, but in real fact, it has helped stifled the debate of constituting a fair and equitable society.
I do not know him personally but he was one of those whom I admired greatly in the late 60s and early 70s. At that time, i was finishing high school and entering university, and as a young man, I had great respect for those who had great ideals and those who never once abandoned their ideals despite all the hardship and difficulties. Farn was one of these.
LKS, the organising Sec, was then incarcerated in detention camp under ISA after May 13. At the time of May 13, Goh Hock Guan was the Sec gen of DAP, but being a smart person, he went on exile after May 13 thus avoiding spending time in detention camps, leaving the party in the hands of Fan who did a good job to keep the party afloat at that difficult time. ( correct me if I am wrong about LKS being the organising sec and Goh the Sec Gen.. I recall from my memory and it has been some many years, 41 to be exact, after May 13).
I believe Fan was one of the few politicians with high morality that made it to Parliament. At that time, we could still find some people with integrity and high morality in Parliament, but it is now getting rarer and rarer– becoming extinct perhaps..Why is it so– you have to go and ask the OLD HORSE!
However, as a person with high morality, he could not survive the backstabbing and ‘thick-black’ culture and that resulted in his fall-out with LKS. He was one of the first of many capable DAP leaders who could not see eye to eye with the supremo, and was thus sidelined and dropped. If only his character was like the exMIC chief, he would have used his position of acting Sec Gen to consolidate his power and be the supremo instead of LKS.
In Malaysia, in both sides of the divide, there is really no place for idealists with high morals. The ones who succeeded are all shrewd and cunning characters who play politics to the hilt…It is really a sad thing for Malaysia; otherwise, we would have become a paradise.
Petrol and sugar subsidies were further removed last week. As the country is facing huge and many straight years of deficits, cutting subsidies may be one way out to cut the deficits. Otherwise, what Idris Jala has predicted– that the country would become bankrupt in a few years time– may come true.
But I cannot understand the rationale of cutting subsidies to save a few hundreds of millions, but spend a few billions on building a 100 storey high building.. I have voiced out repeatedly on this type of mentality– it gives a perception not unlike that of taking out money from the pockets of the rakyat and putting it into the pockets of those involved in the project.
Although I am an advocate of cutting subsidies and using these savings to help the poor, what we have here is just cut and ‘build’ and not cut and ‘help’.
It reminds of the previous Sleepy Head Chief who at one time cut subsidy so much that petrol went up to 270 sen per litre overnight. He promised to use the savings to help improve public transportation, but even till the day he was forced out, there was just no improvement in traffic management. If anything, traffic jams have become worse, and it is really unfair to the rakyat that they have to endure worsening traffic but at the same time, pay higher petrol prices.
ANy cut in subsidies must be followed by a concrete plan to help the poor, but it should not be the case of using the money to pour concrete to build a mammoth high-rise.
Already, life is difficult living in the city. It has now become worse. And be assured that further cuts will be in the pipeline, and if things don’t improve, more and more will join the rank of the urban poor.
Any wonder why people buy pirated DVDs in most urban areas?