Malaysia a safe country: The spinning goes on | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Malaysia a safe country: The spinning goes on
Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 15 Jun 2012

The morning newspaper had on the front page a story about security in housing estates. How foreign guards are better than local ones. How illegal foreigners are getting jobs as security guards. How if we pay peanuts we get monkeys as security for our family and property.

That evening I tuned in to a radio station and was, at first, pleasantly surprised to hear that master of spin, Idris Jala, guesting on a show.

And one of the things that he was talking about, in answer to a listener’s question, was how safe Malaysia was compared to some other countries.

Idris Jala said that before we all start to laugh at that statement we should remember that the survey took into account the safety of the whole country and not just cities.

For example, he said there is no crime at all in the kampung that he comes from.

So added all together it makes Malaysia the safest country in Southeast Asia.

I do not remember the context but Idris Jala also referred to the fact that a lot of housing estates are operating their own security systems with boom gates and security guards paid for by the residents. He indicated that this was a good thing.

And that got me pissed off.

Why? I suppose you, like so many urban Malaysians have forgotten that home security is our basic right for paying taxes.

And here is one guy from government saying in effect that paying to augment our home security is the done thing.  And so many of us are falling for it.

These days we happily pay up to RM1 million for a house that would have cost a fraction of that just two decades ago. And being a typical Malaysian house we would then have to spend up to a couple of hundred thousand ringgit more to “renovate” the house to a standard that we deem liveable.

And these renovations will include fitting in a state-of-the-art water filter. Why? Because the water that comes through the system is undrinkable.

And so we go out and buy the best water filter we can find or afford. Not just because we want to keep our family and children safe from polluted H2O but also because we cannot have anything less than that diamond standard water filter that the next door baarger has installed.

Hmmmphh! Action only. See? Now ours better than theirs.

But it never occurs to us that our rights have been violated. Ok la maybe violated is too strong a word la.

But our rights certainly have been compromised right?

Clean, potable water is a basic right. Isn’t it? If those who can afford to dole out the moolah for water filters etc. what about those who can’t? Are they going to just be poisoned by whatever it is that the other people filter out of their drinking water?

Of course there are some YBss who tell us that our water is quite drinkable. It’s just a bit of discoloration due to old pipes and all.

Oh really? I’d like to visit these YBs’ homes and see if they have installed water filters. But then they’d probably say, “It’s just to filter out the colour la. You see, my wife doesn’t like the colour brown lor. You know how fussy women are. Heh heh heh.”

And so it goes. As more and more of what we used to take for granted become things that we need to pay for.

We pay taxes, we should get clean water. We pay road tax we should get roads to drive our expensively-taxed cars on. No? Well, yes. But you will have to pay tolls to private companies awarded the concessions to operate the highways.

But why? Because government can’t be expected to build highways and all. It is (this is where they pull out the U word) unsustainable.

In other words government thinks it cannot afford to spend taxpayers’ money to build these roads because it cannot “sustain” la. But of course a year later you will read in the newspapers about the huge profits that the highway companies are making.

But…but…but if the private companies can make money from these highways why can’t the government have done it and let the citizens benefit from the profits instead?

But I suppose by the time that question comes along you will be hearing another Idris Jala type fler telling you about how good Malaysia’s road systems are.

There’ll be more talk about “sustainability” and how the rakyat must not be burdened and all.

Worse you might have to organise a group of friends just so it’s safe to go to market. And if you can afford it some minister might tell you that it is advisable to hire a bodyguard or two to protect yourself and your family. Because what used to be your right is now your personal responsibility.

And you will definitely be thinking of how you are going to make enough money to pay for the upgrade to your domestic water filtration system.

Excuse me now. I have to go put coins in the air meter for clean air to breathe. Thanks.



 Selangor Times



Also by Patrick Teoh:

Quit the wishy-washy themes

few weeks ago my daughter who lives in Singapore sent me the link to a Singapore National Day promo video. 

It has to be bleep, bleep and bleep!

When I first coined the word “Niamah!” a lot of people asked me what it meant. Well, for those of you who don’t speak Cantonese, when spoken aloud the word means your mom.

Those damn illegal parkers

By the time you sit down to read this, the memories of Bersih 3.0 would be more than two weeks old. But I’ll bet that people will still be talking about the rally. Exchanging experiences. Telling some tall tales.

Transforming to what?

Just a few days ago I was driving past the Umno building in Kuala Lumpur. It was raining and the infamous bottle-neck traffic jam in that area of the city was worse than normal. I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic right beside the Umno building.

Absurd cost of … everything

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Along with the perennial, prerequisite hoo-hah that accompanies it.

End of the world?

In just a couple more weeks the Year of the Dragon is going to roll in. For the Chinese flers it is always an extra-auspicious period of the Chinese Lunar calendar. So what we can expect this Chinese New Year is an even more garish display of the colours gold and red in the shopping malls. Actually, the incessant Chinese New Year musak is already playing endlessly. Petaling Street vendors are going to drag on their sales of made-in-China new year “must-haves” until the last minute of the 15th day of the Lunar New Year of the Dragon.

Your right, my right, and all the ‘goreng’

In just a couple of weeks it will be the new year. Yes, 2012. Another year. But as with every new year for the past decade, I would say we Malaysians step rather tentatively into the next 365-day period.

Time to take the wheel

For a very long time now there has been almost complete anarchy on Malaysian roads. There appear to be no laws governing traffic, nor does there appear to be anyone bothered to obey them if there were. I am sure you see, as I do, on a daily basis motorcycles and motorcars ignoring red lights, double lines and stop signs.

Come on, get happy!

The past couple of weeks has been sort of tough. On the old brain I mean. Mine. Having to remember lines from a script that is not exactly Shakespearean quality and having to say them while moving around without knocking into the furniture on stage. Things were so stressful that I missed the big event of the month: the announcement of the Budget by the prime minister!

Manifestoes un-manifest

Last month I attended a fundraising dinner for a political party. For an opposition party la. When have we ever heard of the ruling coalition ever needing to organise a FUND-raising party? No, right? No need what. Fund-giving got la. Especially near elections time. But I digress.

Conditional love…?

JUST a few days ago a friend of mine sent me a Tweet message in which she referred to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as our Conditional Prime Minister. I laughed out loud when I received that. What a wonderfully apt description of the man, I thought.

The Great Clean-Up

For the past week or more the whole of the Klang Valley has been quavering with excitement, fear, anger, frustration and maybe a little despair.People have been arrested. Threats have been issued by both government and normally level-headed Malaysians. Balai Polis stores are bulging at the seams from overstocking of bright yellow t-shirts which everybody wants but cannot have. After all they’re perfectly good shirts. 100% cotton some more.

Harsh realities of this flawed paradise

As we turn the corner and head for the second half of 2011, things sure ain’t looking that hunky-dory. My family and I enjoyed a few days in the remote beaches of Cherating, Pahang. Those four carefree days of rushing waves and gentle breezes and oh-so-calming peace and quiet were elixirs for the much-stressed average Malaysian soul.

Who copied who?

By the time you read this the good folks in the little red dot, Singapore, would have been to the polls and either a) elected the almost all-powerful PAP again as their government of choice, or b) elected a much younger, more change-oriented government from one of the opposition parties like The Workers Party or the Singapore Democratic Party.

He who laughs last…

As I sit down to write this a lot of funny things are happening in my country. Sex scandals. Snap elections threats. Detailed explanations of when a Bribe is not a Bribe but a Gift.











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