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NST : EDITORIAL: Wh ere’s the beef?

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  • Uncle Yap
    From The New Straits Times 4 January 2006 EDITORIAL: Where’s the beef? LEST it be forgotten in all the excitement, Datuk M. Kayveas has better things to do
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3 5:11 PM
      From The New Straits Times
      4 January 2006

      EDITORIAL: Where’s the beef?

      LEST it be forgotten in all the excitement, Datuk M. Kayveas has
      better things to do with his mouth than put his foot in it.

      To an extent, Kayveas is a casualty of the provocative soundbite —
      what makes the headlines the next day was rarely the principal point
      of his remarks. Just a couple of months since he stirred up a storm by
      contending that local councils operated like "secret societies", this
      renewed hoo-ha between him and local councillors was sparked by his
      suggestion that some of them may have "vested interests" and were
      "playing it safe" by turning a blind eye to underhanded activities in
      their midst.

      This was actually an off-the-cuff remark, in response to a reporter’s
      tangential query, after Kayveas had been speaking about local councils
      over-paying contractors and charging prohibitive fees for municipal
      sports facilities such as badminton courts. These matters were
      substantial enough, but they were surely doomed to be elbowed aside by
      yet another Kayveas controversy. Once his comments are out of the bag,
      however, the irascible president of the People’s Progressive Party,
      Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Member of
      Parliament for Taiping isn’t one to hush the caterwauling.

      Perhaps he should be. With all due respect, Kayveas should put up or
      shut up. If he or any other public servant has evidence of the "vested
      interests" he suggests, they are obliged by office, if not law, to
      make it known. Otherwise, such allegations are potentially actionable
      themselves. Worse still, they promote the sort of public cynicism that
      is most corrosive to the system.

      There’s too much of this. "Everybody knows" who the venal are;
      corruption and collusion are "common knowledge" — except, for some
      reason, to the authorities. But who are the "authorities", when
      senators can be moved to apologise for their ineffectuality on
      legislation, and even a deputy minister is apparently powerless to
      pursue the prosecution of known crooks? The electorate must wonder
      what they elected some people for, if senior parliamentarians and even
      Cabinet members profess impotence in righting the wrongs that assail

      In all fairness, Kayveas’ sniping has done much to shake local
      governments out of complacency. His fulminations against apathy,
      inefficiency and collusion among local councillors struck a nerve and
      prompted wounded protestations from many in his line of fire, but
      focused the scope where it was needed. That’s as far as it’s gone,
      though: he said, they said; when all is said and done, nothing is
      done, back to square one — until the next thunderous j’accuse from
      someone "in the know".

      Let these matters be resolved. Are these claims unprovable? Are they
      based on hearsay, rumour and innuendo? Is that why no measures are
      taken beyond long-distance potshots, no names mentioned? If so, no
      matter how such heroics play to the gallery, the sound and fury
      signify nothing. In our democracy, it is unfortunate that those who
      would champion the people’s cause should take an us-and-them attitude
      vis-à-vis the establishment. When they’re in the Government, it
      becomes a zero-sum equation: If they’re not part of the solution,
      they’re part of the problem.


      *************From Uncle Yap**************
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