Tuesday, May 12, 2015

‘Big issues submerged in Umno feud’

9:17AM May 12, 2015

By Terence Netto

‘Big issues submerged in Umno feud’

Issues of recurrent and grave import are being trivialised in the internecine feuding in Umno, observed a leading DAP politician.

“You won’t suspect it from the rhetoric though these issues have been around for a long time but the trouble they have posed has been submerged by the Umno politicians’ tendency to make light of them in their rhetoric,” said DAP vice-chair M Kulasegaran (photo).

The MP for Ipoh Barat said the biggest issue is whether government should be involved in business, a question that has been around, he noted, for at least three decades.

“The latest instance of this nexus which is troubling is Tabung Haji’s purchase of land at an inflated price,” argued Kulasegaran.

He was referring to the pilgrim fund’s purchase of land in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) from scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (IMDB) at a price widely viewed as profligate.

“The decision to purchase must have been made by politicians who oversee the running of Tabung Haji, and not by the professionals hired to manage the fund.

“This raises the issue of the nexus between politics and business, a connection that breeds corruption and misallocation of resources,” opined the federal legislator.

“Many feel government has no business being in business. They feel the government invites trouble by poking its nose in business.

“Business is the sphere of those who have a flair for it and are motivated by profit, a process that must be regulated but not interfered with by honest government,” commented Kulasegaran.

He also said that the current internecine within Umno pitting former prime minister Dr Mahathr Mohamed and incumbent Najib Abdul Razak involved the question of whether the office of PM allowed for a co-tenancy.

“This new age of media coverage of politics has thrown up the issue of the role and visibility of politicians’ wives in the lives of their husbands,” observed Kulasegaran.

“Matters have evolved in politics these days that you get two people for the price of one, like when Bill Clinton was elected US president, the American voter seemed to have bargained for a co-tenancy in the top office of the country,” elaborated Kulasegaran.

“It appears we are having the same problem here in Malaysia which raises the question of the proper role of political spouses when their partner is entrusted with high office.

“Voters elect one and get two. It looks like a bargain but increasingly it seems they wind up with a deficit that can be disastrous,” quipped Kulasegaran.

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