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Friday, February 28, 2014

KL Mayor's rate hike letter in 6 LANGUAGES shows BN'S UTTER FAILURE in building 1 nation, 1 people

KL Mayor's rate hike letter in 6 LANGUAGES shows BN'S UTTER FAILURE in building 1 nation, 1 people
Way back in the 1960s, Mr. Koh, a DTC trained teacher was posted to a Malay primary school in a kampung on the outskirts of Sg. Pelek, Selangor. He taught English and Bahasa Kebangsaan (BK) in the school. Being the only non Malay teacher in a kampung Malay primary school, he started more as an object of experiment and curiosity in that remote area.
Soon everyone in the Sepang district noticed him because during those days the fever of promoting BK was very high. His school and team won all the competitions held during the month long festival-like promotion of BK. That is where our friendship too started. The ‘bulan BK competitions’ were from school level to national level. The slogans and songs about the need to use the BK were displayed and sung everywhere.
Mr. Koh’s popularity as a BK teacher became well known among the HMs in the Kuala Langat district. After a few years, he took study leave to do a degree in language especially Malay at the University of Malaya. After completion, he was posted back to Sg. Pelek. He was the first graduate teacher at Sg. Pelek Secondary School.
His dedication to the profession and welfare of the students was admirable. After a few years I was glad that he got a job at the Education Faculty of the University Malaya because as a teacher trainer he would be the best choice and Malay Language was his first love. This is the story of the late Prof. Dr Koh Boh Boon. If he were to be alive today, he would be the most disappointed man to receive the ‘Mayor of Kuala Lumpur letter’ about rate hikes in four languages.
I cannot think or justify any reason for using four languages in an eight page long document with eight coloured images (4 mayor’s pictures and 4 KL logos) apart from wasting public funds and that too in a letter to increase rates.
English, being the language of our colonial masters, being one of the five languages at United Nations, being the language of commerce and industry, can be given an excuse to be used in the Mayor’s letter, but why Tamil and Chinese? Do you see Tamil and Chinese being used in Income tax returns or even bank forms? Don’t the Punjabis, Telegus, Malayalees, Bangladeshis and Indonesians also live in KL? Why should they be short-changed and sidelined in this DBKL effort to create a new vision for the capital city? Why should they be deprived of the colourful Mayor’s picture?
Since History is a compulsory subject, let me give our Education Minister and DBKL a history lesson. A child going to school in 1957 would be (7 + 57) 64 years old today. In his school life, he would be exposed to Bahasa Malaysia (BM) for (6+5) 11 years. If he went to local universities, BM would be the medium of instruction in most subjects. If he worked for the government he would have to do most of the work in BM. If he worked for the private sector he would still have to use BM when dealing with government departments or filling forms for passports and other licenses. He would have to read all road signs and place names in BM. He would hear all the leaders’ speeches in BM. He would have to read and sing all our government’s slogans and songs in BM. So why use four languages in DBKL letters, which are sent to everyone regardless of race? If these letters are printed on napkin papers, at least I would have six irrelevant sheets to blow my nose. Waste of paper is not environment friendly.
Except for our first PM, all other PMs have held the portfolio of Minister for Education. Today, three of them are still active to witness the shame of their failure to all Malaysian children and citizens. They spent billions on slogans, bill boards, education reports, which carry their names and policies to ‘martabatkan’ (dignify) BM to meet national aspirations. That Malaysian dream, hard work, time and billions of ringgit spent, to make BK or now BM, the language of unity to fulfill every high ideal of a nation, have burst like an over inflated balloon. As I have said in my previous articles that our BN government uses BM like a tool to win GEs. During election time they whip up Malay sentiment about BM to win votes while they go easy on BM use during non GE periods like what DBKL is doing now. I don’t think this tactic will work anymore. We have given BN 64 years to complete this BM race and the DBKL letter shows that our runner is disqualified for a false start. We need a new government to start again.
I wish the minister for FT and DBKL will tell us how much this exercise to increase rates involving announcements, meetings, letters, replies, and other miscellaneous expenses totalled. KL has more than 1.6 million residents. With four in a family we have a total of 400,000 houses. Ordinary non coloured photocopying costs about 3 cents per A4 page. Printing this eight page coloured document would be at least RM1 per A4 page (my estimate). It would cost (8 x 400K) RM3.2 million. The extra accompanying letter, envelope and postage charges would easily show that the whole exercise before anything is collected is at least more than RM5 million on the DBKL side. On the residents’ side we spent time, effort and postage money to register our objections and attended time wasting meetings. Page 08 of the Sun, Feb. 10, says ‘Disappointing rate hike hearing’ > RAs say City hall did not allay assessment concerns raised by residents. ….. Some even called the hearing a joke. ‘
What a costly way to waste money on a futile exercise because DBKL’s letters do not show why and how they arrived at the new estimates which are ridiculous in many cases and should be and will be challenged in court.
Table 1 shows us that there was no need to print the Mayor’s letter in four languages because only 2. 5% KL reisdents did not study under our education system. If they had followed race distribution then only 13.4% or about 50,000 of the letters should be printed in Tamil. Instead DBKL printed 400,000 thus wasting 350,000 papers. In Chinese, they printed 210,000 extra letters. When we sum up 460,000 at RM2 each that would total to a RM920,000 - a blatant waste of money to produce rubbish.
In Malaysia, the words ‘government project’, have a lot of corruption connotations and have become ‘dirty words’. Malaysians can’t help thinking of some dubious ‘haram’ money making ventures among the government side (initiator of the project), rent seekers (the empty shell companies or middlemen who have connections) and the contractors, who cut corners and get pittance.
The pavement and junctions with block tiles have become a danger to users. Within a very short period these tiles have moved leaving gap holes and uneven roads and walkways. Just visit Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi in Taman Tun Dr Ismail to see what I mean. The pedestrian walks built a few years ago are a death trap for the elderly to fall. The road humps built a few months ago are now full of holes and death traps for motor-cyclists. Wouldn’t the RM 920k saved from the extra wasteful letters in Tamil and Chinese rectify all these?
There is junction in Jalan Kg. Pencala near the Muhibbah restaurant, where about five roads converge. They have about 16 sets (about 48 lights total) for traffic to flow but nobody obeys that ridiculous system because two of the roads have traffic volume of one car every five minutes or so. Who has the patience to wait and cause congestion at the food stalls nearby? At Jalan Datuk Sulaiman too, there is a junction with a carnival of misleading traffic lights. The road to the once abandoned flats has a volume of one car every hour. The RAs have complained many times about this but DBKL does not seem to care. You do not need a degree in Town Planning to tell that roundabouts at both these junctions will solve the problems and save money on traffic lights, which have the habit of going out of order frequently.
All these are happening because DBKL is not run by the elected MPs. The Minister for WP elected in the Putra Jaya seat, which has a ridiculous number of 15K voters, the smallest in the country does not seem to care much for KL. With this assessment hike exercise, BN’s chances of ever winning KL seats in GE, have become impossible.
Looking at the efficient PR government in Selangor, we KL folks wish we were still part of Selangor. Let our elected representatives run DBKL and things will be different because they will be accountable to the electorate. -Harakahdaily

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