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How about a pay cut to show you care?

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If the Pas MP who criticised public entertainment events is really concerned about the suffering of Malaysians, there are other more meaningful ways for him to express his concern, Mustafa K Anuar writes.

Kuala Krai MP Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman recently criticised organisers and fans of public entertainment events and programmes for being insensitive to the sufferings of Malaysians who have to endure economic hardship brought about by the pandemic.

The rebuke is also underpinned by his religious contention that public entertainment is inimical to Islamic teachings, which explains his reported call for it to be prohibited.

Even if the reprimand is aimed at Malay-Muslims, he’s still wading in troubled waters as entertainment also nourishes non-Muslims’ desire for the arts.

The Pas lawmaker has to take cognisant of the fact that any form of entertainment, like anything else that matters in life, exists and is nurtured in our multi-ethnic and multicultural society. In other words, he should be sensitive to the needs and preferences of the non-Muslims, as well as respect differences found in our diverse society. At times, there is a necessity to strike a compromise.

It is noteworthy that the entertainment industry is also hit by the pandemic, with musicians, singers, and stage actors and production crew, among others, losing jobs and struggling to make ends meet. Surely, we also need to be sensitive to their plight, and they also deserve financial and other forms of assistance from the government and others who are well endowed.

Like many other concerned humans, artistes are also known to have the sensitivity and capacity in normal times to come together to help people in need. Malaysian bands had organised, for example, charity shows in the past to raise money for the disabled and less-fortunate children just as at the international level, top guns in the music industry had gathered together to raise funds for a good cause, as exemplified by Band Aid for Africa in 1984.

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Be that as it may, the supposed sensitivity expressed by the Kuala Krai MP sounds a bit rich coming from a politician whose comrades in Kelantan, particularly the state executive councillors and lawmakers, had no compunction about raising their monthly allowances in the midst of the financial hardship suffered by the less fortunate.

If this is not insensitivity towards the plight of the needy, we don’t know what it really is. Let us not get started with the purchase of Mercedes-Benzes for “official use” by certain politicians.

Some of the ordinary people are so desperate that they regard a withdrawal of a portion of their Employees’ Provident Funds (EPF) savings as a lifesaver, even though it may later adversely affect their retirement.

To give greater weight to his purported sensitivity and deep concern towards the sufferings of the rakyat, Latiff should urge his party comrades and those from other components of the Perikatan Nasional government to give due consideration to a suggested pay cut.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for one, suggested that the 70-strong federal cabinet take a 30% pay cut, while Pandan MP Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail called for a 10% cut for ministers and a 50% cut in allowances and chairperson’s fees for MPs who head government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies.

The savings can be put to good use, particularly to be channelled to the Covid-19 fund.

There is no better time than the present for the lawmakers concerned to give such sensitivity a concrete form.

Source: themalaysianinsight.com

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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Gursharan Singh
Gursharan Singh
3 Dec 2020 10.50am

Rakyat important to politicians only during elections and after being elected is it not common for some [or is it most? of the elected to forget the voters and work for own benefits?
Also with all the frogging and change of parties are those frogging not breaking their own promises and deceiving voters?
If the voters are happy with them and vote for them again what is the objective of some showing their concern for the rakyat is beyond anyone’s thinking?
Bless all

loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
3 Dec 2020 5.40am

Let it be the backdoor PM to take the lead!!
What is a 30% pay cut when allowances almost double the basic salary[thanks to Syed Siddiq’s information]
But the symbolism of it is important!

Thank you, Mustafa for calling out that hypocrite Abdul Latiff. Yes, where is his concern when the Kelantan state government raise monthly allowances for its EXcos and purchase Mercedes Benzes for their use?

Yes, I know nothing will come of this call but let’s shame these pengkhianat nasional politicians for their hypocrisy.

As an aside, wonder if anyone can confirm that Khairuddin really donated 3 months of his salary for the covid 19 efforts because of him not obeying quarantine procedures as he claimed initially ?

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