Of late, Patriot continues to witness and read reports of sheer wastage in the country.
Such unprecedented expenditure – approved by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, including continuing the policy decisions made by his predecessor, the unelected Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin – lacks compassion and does not reflect a truly caring government and leaders.
Malaysians are reeling under the yoke of the rising cost of living as essential food items are increasingly becoming unaffordable by millions of Malaysians who are drifting into the low-income category.
The world is facing a serial recession on its horizon, and Malaysia will not be spared either, as the global food supply chain buckles under the pressure of geopolitical manoeuvres.
In the wake of these unprecedented sufferings being endured by Malaysians, any arithmetic arguments – as was recently dished out by a minister, claiming that pay cuts from ministers and their deputies, for example, will not make any impact on inflation – clearly register a failure on the part of leaders and government decision-makers to place compassion and care above mere statistics.
In echoing the voices of concerned citizens, Patriot hereby demands from the prime minister that his government needs to register and demonstrate that he and his cabinet members are placing the citizens’ needs above personal, political and any hidden or self-enrichment agendas.
We demand with a resolute will the following from the government:
- That with immediate effect, the size of the cabinet must be trimmed or a substantial pay cut for the ministers and their entourage of deputies be implemented to reflect a worthier ‘keluarga Malaysia’ (Malaysian family) spirit
- That the four appointments of special envoys with ministerial status, namely, Pas president Hadi Awang for the Middle East, Progressive Democratic Party president Tiong King Sing for China, Serian MP Richard Riot in East Asia, and MIC president S Vigneswaran for South Asia be terminated and the nearly RM1m spent on them annually be channelled towards aiding the people, especially farmers and fisherfolk
- That all political appointments involving the heads of government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies be reviewed and a sizeable salary and benefits reductions be implemented to better reflect the hardships being increasingly felt by people all across the country
- That all foreign business acquisitions and purchases of prime properties overseas by the government and its agencies be put on hold in view of the global uncertainties. Instead, any such public money at the disposal of the government should be channelled into rebuilding and strengthening the domestic economy, including nurturing and caring for our home-grown small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are buckling under the pressure of spiralling inflation
- That policing the local business environment should be beefed up to ensure that hoarding, profiteering, smuggling out and any such exploits of subsidies are strictly monitored and stopped without fear or favour. There is no need for studies and consultancy engagements. Patriot knows that our uniformed military and police personnel can be courted by the enforcement agencies and relevant ministries to do a good job of sealing all ‘rat holes’ and border conduits as well as going after these ugly profiteers
- That spending of public money must be transparently accounted for in order to instil confidence and trust among the people. The lack of and often, the opaque explanations dished out by the authorities rob us people of our rights to a compassionate and caring environment
- That all monopolies crafted and put in place by the current and previous governments be immediately reviewed, and ensure that all profits are returned to the people to make the economy of the nation more resolute and resilient as we head into a challenging future.
Retired Brigadier General Dato’ Mohd Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)