Saturday, October 16, 2010

What’s Worse Than Corruption?

Stealing money from the poor. Seriously.
I have refrained from making direct comments about the mindless cacophony UMNO has been trumpeting about the alleged use of gambling-derived income for state-sponsored aid programmes for senior citizens and the poor in Penang.
In my previous post, I made a passing observation on the issue, which I felt at the time was merely the latest in a long line of ‘baseless allegations of the week’, and that the matter would soon meet its natural demise. In any case, how many times can you tell the same lie and hope to get away with it?
Quite a few times, as it turns out. One, two, three sessions have so far been organized to steal money from the poor.

It all started two weeks ago when UMNO Youth Information Chief Reezal Merican, lately devoid of publicity, mooted the idea that the Penghargaan Warga Emas and Rakan Anti-Miskin programmes could have been funded by a sizable donation from the Penang Turf Club.

Of course, if we lived in a world of facts, where logic trumped lunacy, then the suggestion would have failed to ignite, due to any number of the following reasons:
Failure 1: The donation, as the state government has already clarified, has yet to be touched.
Failure 2: Moreover, the money has been allocated to non-Muslim poverty cases. (Already, on its own initiative, a clear delineation.)
Failure 3: Not a single sen will be/has been used for the warga emas programme.
Failure 4: Notwithstanding the above, even if the money were to be used, as Dr Asri states, it wouldn’t even be haram. If it were, then our federal government’s consolidated fund [a collection of, amongst other things, sin taxes from alcohol, cigarettes and gaming revenue], which funds the government’s salaries, development, etc would also fall into this category.
As we are all too painfully aware, however, we do NOT live in such a world, and thus we have to put up with unnecessary instances of gross stupidity.
The first two sessions, which saw a total of 100 senior citizens return their ‘ill-gotten gains’, were organized over a weekend by (no prizes for guessing) Penang Opposition Leader Azhar Ibrahim. This was followed by a demonstration by a group of ‘conscientious youths’ upon the return of the Chief Minister from overseas.
At this point, I thought the issue, which had absolutely no gas of truth to begin with, would begin to dissipate. But this is what you get for wishful thinking: a third ‘return the money’ session was organized last week, this time graced by Dr Hilmy Yahya, a former Deputy Chief Minister of Penang.
Prior to this, I’ve heard very fair comments about Dr Hilmy. He is said to be a good worker, intelligent, and happy to do his bit for the people. In short, I thought he had some semblance of credibility. Not any more.
It is really shameful and disappointing to see these purported ‘leaders’ perpetuate and encourage blatant lies, and all without a hint of guilt or irony! And the most frustrating part of it all, at least for me, is that I know for a fact that every one I have named in this article knows better. Sigh.

As the veritable Malay poet, Hishamuddin Rais, puts it [excerpt edited]:
Melayu kena tipu gerombolan…
Kesian mak cik dan pak cik miskin…
Sudah laaa miskin… Melayu pulak…
Sudah lah Melayu… kena tipu pulakkkkk…
Stealing from the poor. Seriously??

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