The RM38.5m spent on renovating Seri Perdana, the official residence of the prime minister, has kicked up a storm over social media.
Contrast that amount with the government-approved RM15m allocation to be shared by 63 Chinese non-profit independent schools nationwide. Meanwhile, the absolute poverty rate has soared to 8.4% from 5.6% previously.
That is the contrast between the ridiculously luxurious lifestyles of elite politicians and the reality on the ground. It is crumbs for the ordinary people and pudding and pie for those within the corridors of power.
While most bumiputera students in higher education use borrowed money (PTPTN study loans), policymakers want to impose a 51% bumiputera equity requirement on freight forwarding and logistics businesses owned by minority ethnic groups. The ones who will laugh all the way to the banks are not the Malay farmers, rubber tappers or fisher folk. Guess who stands to gain.
The economic fallout has ripped into the working class of society, from the middle class to the lower-income group.
Yet we continue to witness the immoral lifestyles of well-cocooned politicians. The news that up to RM100,000 in monthly pensions could fall onto the laps of some retiring ministers and MPs may only be the tip of the iceberg. The well-connected and their proxies and kith and kin may eventually enjoy the spoils of the 51% bumiputera equity stakes in the freight forwarders and other business entities.
The clothes some of these politicians wear, along with the pearls, diamonds and gold that adorn their wardrobes at home, will make many thinking Malaysians choke.
That is what our politicians have turned out to be, with their successful spouting of the intoxicating mantra of race and religion, which holds some segments of the people spellbound.
When will all this opulence, wastage and exploitation end? When will reasonableness and morality return to become the glue that holds our nation together? Will it ever?
While many other nations are progressing with transparency, accountability and meritocracy, we are stuck in blinkers that allow politicians to plunder the wealth of our nation to feed their lavish lifestyles – on our shores and overseas.
Faced with all these ugly truths, what do we tell our children?