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<b>Penang</b> government to allocate RM40000 to each Umno Adun

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 03:40 AM PDT

In a step in the right direction, the Penang state government will allocate RM40000 each to each Umno Adun for small projects from 2014.

But I am not so sure of an earlier move: in July, the state government announced it would appoint officers in each of the 10 BN-held seats in the state. Each officer would be paid RM2500 per month. The role of these coordinators, six of whom lost to BN candidates in GE13, seems to be modelled after the BN coordinators' role in seats which the Pakatan won. These coordinators/officers are unelected; so who do they represent?

In January this year, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj failed in the Federal Court in a bid to get the government to grant RM1m in special constituency allocations to all MPs – and not just BN MPs.

But Jeyakumar did not consider it a defeat as he had succeeded in highlighting the issue:

Apart from exposing this malpractice, this case has led to the creation of a consensus within the Pakatan Rakyat and its supporters that the PR should not do the same onto the BN should the PR succeed in winning federal power. Many PR MPs have endorsed the call that under PR rule, constituency funds should be allocated equally to all MPs whether from the ruling party or the opposition, with the caveat that the funds must be handled more transparently and with annual public accounting by all the MPs.

Aliran president Dr Francis Loh wrote at that time:

Indeed, for a long time prior to the 2008 political tsunami, only elected BN officials could afford to run service-cum-complaints centres in their constituencies. Or if the wakil rakyat was unavailable, they would appoint service assistants to handle urgent matters on their behalf.

Apart from launching minor development projects for schools, villages, road and drain repairs, etc, the services rendered by the wakil rakyat range from filling out application forms for passports and MyKads, applying for government subsidies or low-cost houses, getting into schools of the parents' choice, settling disputes with those providing utilities, and so on.

Additionally, these wakil rakyat organise service task forces whose volunteers were recruited from the ranks of the local party branches. Providing service to the public often became the principle activity, even the rasion d'etre for the local branches when party and general elections were not around the corner. Nowadays, the wakil rakyat also have websites where they announce to the public the various services that they have been providing.

Plain and simple, the service centres would not have been half as effective if funding was unavailable.

Indeed, such distribution of funds via a Special Constituency Allocation is not a bad idea at all. Indeed, the opposition parties have also opened their own especially in those states that have fallen under the control of the Pakatan Rakyat. Unfortunately, the PR governments appear to be following the lead of the BN by now giving such SCA only to their own elected representatives and not to the BN ones. Tit for tat, apparently!

Since the 2008 political tsunami, in constituencies where the BN was defeated, special constituency coordinators have been appointed by the BN. These coordinators have indirect access to federal funds or allocations and are able to make recommendations as to how such funds should be disbursed in the constituency. But who are these unelected coordinators and why should they exercise such influence?

All this is wrong! The SCA must be made available to all elected officials, BN or not. After all, this is money that belongs to the rakyat.

As we approach GE13, let us pressure both sides, the BN as well as the Pakatan, on where they stand on this issue. We should get assurances from both sides that they will allocate these funds to all, regardless of party.

And this is Penang CM Guan Eng's statement today:

10 Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Pembangkang UMNO Di Pulau Pinang diberikan peruntukan untuk projek pembangunan kecil sebanyak RM40,000 setahun mulai 2014. Keputusan ini dibincangkan dalam mesyuarat EXCO negeri pada 18.9.2013 dan telahpun diluluskan secara prinsip. Selepas mekanisma peruntukan RM40,000 setahun ini ditetapkan, maka ia akan dibentangkan dalam Belanjawan 2014 kepada Dewan Undangan Negeri Pulau Pinang pada akhir tahun ini.

Selepas kemenangan PR dengan tambahan undi popular sebanyak 10% ke 68% dalam Pilihanraya Umum 13(PRU13) pada bulan Mei ini, ada 30 ADUN PR dan 10 ADUN UMNO. Sebelum ini Kerajaan negeri telah cuba menjemput ADUN-ADUN UMNO untuk menyertai keahlian jawatankuasa Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri agar mereka ada buat kerja sambil menerima peruntukan. Akan tetapi tawaran ikhlas kerajaan negeri telahpun ditolak sama sekali dengan begitu angkuh sekali oleh ADUN UMNO kerana tidak mahu bekerjasama dengan kerajaan PR.

Kerajaan negeri mahu ADUN UMNO menjadi ahli jawatankuasa Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri kerana bimbang bahawa ADUN UMNO tidak akan ikut "standard operating procedure" yang ditetapkan seperti tender terbuka secara kompetitif, berintegriti dan melarang penglibatan ahli keluarga pemimpin-pemimpin daripada melibatkan diri dalam urusniaga dengan kerajaan. Keengganan ADUN UMNO bekerjasama dengan kerajaan PR seperti dapat kuasa peruntukan tanpa perlu bertanggungjawab langsung.

Ini adalah selari dengan sikap konfrontasi yang diamalkan oleh BN dan UMNO terhadap PR sungguhpun Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak melaung-laungkan semangat pendamaian nasional (national reconciliation). Janji pendamaian nasional atau national reconciliation memang janji kosong bila BN mengambil sikap terbuka berdiskriminasi di antara penyokong PR dan BN serta secara terus-terang memusuhi rakyat Malaysia, khususnya kaum bukan Melayu, kerana mempersalahkan mereka tidak sokong BN dalam PRU13.

BN harus dikecam kerana tidak menghormati suara rakyat bila BN adalah kerajaan minoriti kerana hanya memperolehi undi popular sebanyak 47% berbanding dengan 51% yang diperolehi oleh PR dalam PRU13. Dasar permusuhan ke atas penyokong PR dan kaum bukan Melayu dengan kenyataan pemimpin UMNO bahawa tidak perlu rasa bersalah kerana mencadangkan dasar diskriminasi kaum menunjukkan prinsip1Malaysia Perdana Menteri sudah mati.

PR mengamalkan sikap terbuka yang menghormati prinsip dan semangat demokrasi yang bertindak adil kepada semua bangsa dan agama tanpa berdiskriminasi di antara penyokong BN dan PR. Bantuan kerajaan negeri PR diberikan kepada semua berdasarkan keperluan.

Oleh itu sebagai perbezaan dengan konfrontasi kebangsaan yang diamalkan oleh BN, PR menerima pakai dasar pendamaian nasional (national reconciliation) maka EXCO Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang memutuskan untuk membenarkan RM40,000 pembangunan projek kecil setahun kepada 10 ADUN pembangkang UMNO di Pulau Pinang mulai 2014 mengikut mekanisma ketat yang ditetapkan.

LIM GUAN ENG

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