All posts by rafiziramli

Sumbangan Ramadhan, Berbuka Puasa & Wang Ehsan

Semalam, Keadilan Kemaman sempat mengadakan sedikit majlis menyampaikan bantuan Ramadhan kepada kaum ibu/keluarga yang memerlukan di sekitar Kg Dusun Nyior. Kg Dusun Nyior adalah sebuah penempatan di belakang bandar lama Chukai dan berdekatan dengan Sg Chukai.

Semuanya berjalan baik, kecuali pada satu ketika Hj Alias (Ketua Penerangan Keadilan Kemaman) semakin berkobar-kobar memberi ucapan, beliau ada menyentuh sedikit mengenai dasar-dasar Barisan Nasional yang tidak memartabatkan Islam.

Serta-merta ada isyarat dari bawah meminta supaya dia berhenti, atau tidak bercakap sebegitu. Ha ha kadang-kadang saya sendiri terlupa realiti berada di bawah kerajaan Barisan Nasional yang masih membelenggu negeri-negeri seperti Terengganu, kerana sudah lama berada di bawah Pakatan Rakyat di Selangor.


Rakan-rakan Keadilan Kemaman

Ada perkembangan positif dari segi keberanian mak cik2 yang turut hadir, walaupun kita tahu ada amaran keras jangan hadir ke program Pakatan Rakyat kalau mahu menerima wang ehsan. Bila diulas mengenai keperitan hidup akibat gaji yang tidak meningkat dan kos sara hidup yang main menjadi-jadi, maklumbalas dari mak cik2 dan kaum hawa yang hadir menunjukkan ia satu isu yang benar-benar meruntun rakyat di bawah.

Malang sekali apabila harta rakyat, hasil minyak yang menjadi milik seluruh rakyat Terengganu digunakan sebagai senjata politik. Saya sukar menerima bagaimana orang-orang tua ini boleh diugut dan diberikan maklumat sedemikian yang merunsingkan mereka, sedangkan pada usia sebegitu mereka sepatutnya dibelai dan diberikan perhatian tanpa bersyarat. Alangkah baik kalau pendekatan bantuan rakyat yang tidak mengenal pegangan politik seperti yang diamalkan di Selangor, juga diamalkan di negeri-negeri Barisan Nasional. Bayangkan kalau kita membuat syarat menyokong Barisan Nasional sebelum memberi air percuma ha ha, pening kepala pembaca meter Syabas!

Program disudahi dengan jamuan berbuka puasa bersama-sama penduduk setempat, lebih 200 orang hadir.

Terima kasih dan tahniah kepada rakan-rakan di Kemaman – Sdr Laidin, Sdr Chin, Sdr Din, Sdr Din (yg seorang lagi), Sdr Jamal, Sdr Anies, Sdr Suffian & lain-lain yang kian giat merancang dan mengaturkan program di Kemaman.

Pendapatan Minima RM4,000 Bagi Setiap Isi Rumah: Nota 1

Sejak diumumkan pada hari Khamis (19 Ogos 2010), ada beberapa perkara yang ditimbulkan oleh pembaca laman-laman web sosial mengenai sasaran pendapatan minima RM4,000 bagi setiap isi rumah, dalam tempoh 5 tahun Pakatan Rakyat berkuasa.

Ada 2 perkara yang perlu dikupas – pertama (seperti yang dijangka), persoalan bagaimanakah perkara ini akan dapat dilaksanakan. Maka ada sesetengah pihak yang dengan cepat menyatakan bahawa ini satu gula-gula dan retorik yang tidak akan dapat dilaksanakan.

Saya mengakui bahawa persoalan polisi dan kaedah mencapai sasaran itu perlukan penelitian dan perancangan yang besar. Komen-komen yang mempersoalkan bentuk langkah-langkah yang akan dibuat adalah komen yang berasas (cuma kadang-kadang saya khuatir sama ada komen dan keraguan sebegitu hanya diajukan kepada Pakatan Rakyat, sedangkan setakat ini semua pengumuman besar yang dibuat oleh Barisan Nasional tidak realistik dan mengenepikan hakikat bahawa semua sasaran RMK8 hingga RMK10 tidak pun dicapai).

Namun bagi saya, persoalan yang lebih penting adalah konsep yang ingin dibawa oleh Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim berbanding pendekatan pembangunan ekonomi yang dilaungkan oleh Umno/BN.

Ilusi mengenai sasaran pegangan 30% ekuiti Bumiputra telah menjadi begitu tebal di kalangan sesetengah kita sehinggakan sebarang ulasan dan kritik membina pun dituduh sebagai mengkhianati kedudukan istimewa orang Melayu, yang turut menyentuh penglibatan ekonomi orang Melayu.

Sedangkan selepas 40 tahun, bukan sahaja sasaran 30% itu langsung tidak tercapai – jumlah orang Melayu yang mendapat nikmat secara terus dari kegilaan mencapai sasaran 30% ini terlalulah sedikit.

Hakikat ini tidak boleh dinafikan, kerana statistik yang dikeluarkan oleh kerajaan persekutuan sendiri mengakui bahawa 40% pendapatan isi rumah rakyat negara ini masih lagi berada di bawah RM2,000 sebulan – sedangkan paras pendapatan yang membolehkan sesebuah keluarga menerima bantuan di bawah Skim e-Kasih adalah RM1,000 sebulan (desa) dan RM1,500 (bandar).

Daripada sejumlah 2.4 juta keluarga ini, 75% daripadanya adalah keluarga Melayu dan bumiputra seperti yang dinyatakan oleh Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Arif.

Beza di antara RM2,000 pendapatan purata sebahagian besar keluarga Melayu dengan aras RM1,000 – RM1,500 yang dikategorikan sebagai miskin adalah terlalu dekat. Maknanya sebahagian besar keluarga Melayu hidup tidak ubah seperti kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang.

Sebab itu, selama-lamanya sasaran 30% ekuiti bumiputra yang dikira keramat oleh Umno ini tidak akan dicapai dalam kerangka pelaksanaan sekarang – kerana tumpuan bukannya untuk menjamin kesejahteraan rakyat terbanyak, tetapi pegangan ekuiti yang boleh sahaja dipusatkan di tangan beberapa orang kroni sahaja.

Pendekatan Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim bahawa kedudukan ekonomi orang Melayu/bumiputra perlu keluar dari kerangka awangan sebegitu dan ditumpukan kepada sasaran yang benar-benar ada kesan kepada kesejahteraan ekonomi orang Melayu terbanyak – adalah pendekatan yang perlu dialu-alukan, kalau pun ada sedikit keraguan tentang kaedah pelaksanaan.

Polemik ekonomi Melayu bukanlah monopoli Umno yang bercakap dalam kerangka yang hanya mereka fahami dan langsung tidak mencerminkan realiti di bawah.

Cadangan yang Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim bawa ini sepatutnya dikupas dengan baik oleh semua pihak (terutamanya Umno), sekiranya kebajikan orang Melayu terbanyak yang diperjuangkan.

Ceramah @ Temerloh

Musim ceramah tetap hangat nampaknya, walaupun dalam bulan Ramadhan.

Saya memang dalam perjalanan balik ke Kemaman untuk program penyerahan bantuan bersempena Ramadhan kepada anak-anak yatim anjuran Keadilan Kemaman, jadi diminta oleh penganjur untuk sama-sama memeriahkan majlis.

Alhamdulillah, ramai pimpinan Keadilan yang turun bertandang ke rumah Hj Suhaimi Said, tokoh aktivis yang telah lama berjuang dan kini terkedepan membawa isu-isu penindasan masyarakat Felda.

Antara pimpinan Keadilan yang mengunjungi Temerloh malam tadi: YB Azmin (Naib Presiden), YB Sivarasa (Naib Presiden), Sdr Shamsul Iskandar (Ketua AMK), Dato’ Fauzi Rahman (Pengerusi MPN Pahang), YB Fuziah Salleh (Pengarah Pilihanraya), YB Amiruddin (ADUN Batu Caves), Sdri Latheefah Koya (Ketua Penerangan), ahli-ahli MPP yang terdiri dari Pak Khalid Jaafar, Hj Ismail Yusuf, Sdr Zakaria Abdul Hamid; selain pimpinan di peringkat negeri dan cabang.

Ceramah menarik: YB Sivarasa menerangkan perkembangan terbaru kes beliau mempertahankan peneroka Felda, Sdr Shamsul Iskandar tentang laporan qazaf beliau berkenaan fitnah yang dilemparkan terhadap Dato’ Seri Anwar dan YB Azmin mengajak pendengar menghayati semangat Ramadhan dalam melakukan perubahan yang besar, di samping mengulas isu-isu yang lain.

Saya kekal dengan isu yang paling saya mahir – mengulas pengkhianatan Umno terhadap orang Melayu dalam bidang ekonomi. Saya ada menyentuh perbezaan pendekatan sasaran ekuiti 30% yang dibawa Umno yang tidak mempunyai apa-apa erti kepada rakyat terbanyak, berbanding pendekatan Keadilan yang mensasarkan pendapatan isi rumah minima sebanyak RM4,000 dalam tempoh 5 tahun berkuasa.

Ceramahnya bagus, makannya bagus – yang tak bagus memandu pulang ke Terengganu. Sampai di rumah bateri telefon sudah habis dan mak ayah tidak mendengar ketukan pintu, mujurlah ada plag elektrik di luar, sempat caj kembali bateri.

Half Year Economic Performance: PR Promises RM4,000 Minimum Household Income Within 5 Years of Administration

The nation’s economic figures released yesterday were as anticipated. The growth of 8.9% in the second quarter and 10.1% in the first quarter, while commendable, came on the back of a contraction of 1.7% in 2009.  Compared to Indonesia and Singapore, our half year economic growth provides a glimpse of our comparative prosperity vis-a-vis our neighbours’ in the future, if reforms are not carried out immediately.

Singapore is expected to grow at 13% to 15% for 2010, compared to Malaysia’s growth forecast of 6% to 7% by the end of the year. On the other hand, Indonesia is anticipated to register a growth of above 6% for 2010, continuing a 4.6% growth in 2009 when Malaysia was in recession.

FIGURES MASK GRIM REALITIES

The disconnect between an announcement of stellar economic performance and realities on the ground is symptomatic of an economic management that is unable to eradicate income inequality in society. The adage that in Malaysia the rich get richer and the poor become poorer comes to mind each time the economic disparity in our society is discussed.

There is not going to be much celebration on the streets as the economic reality for the majority of Malaysian households is different, especially when they have had to put up with a few price hikes in the last two years. This remains a key concern for Pakatan Rakyat, that while cost of living continues to rise, 2.4 million families or 40% of the households earn less than RM2,300 per month. They form the poorest section of our society and 75% of this group are Malay/bumiputra families.

Low wages continue to put pressure on Malaysians as they grapple with steadily rising cost of living. The majority of graduates entering the job market struggle to pay for the bills, let alone to save.

The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) released by the Prime Minister’s Department on 17 August 2010 did not indicate a roadmap to close this disparity. It promises massive improvement to the economy, tripling the Gross National Income to RM1.7 trillion in 2020 from RM600 billion in 2009. It claims that this will translate to an income per capita of RM49,500 by 2020 – on the back of 3.3 million new jobs to be created.

ETP TARGETS UNATTAINABLE

This sounds credible as a plan, similar to other plans previously unveiled by Barisan Nasional. It has become standard modus operandi that the Federal Government throws a lot of big numbers and hides behind assumptions and premises that eventually are proven wrong.

In order to achieve these targets, Malaysia requires RM2.2 trillion new investments, 92% of which is expected to come from private sectors. 75% of this 92% is projected to come from domestic direct investments while the rest is from FDI.

This is where the projections and assumptions are not grounded on reality. Announcing a set of ambitious economic targets to be built almost entirely on private investments is irresponsible to say the least, when Malaysia has been relying on pump priming for the past 12 years and private investment growth was minimal. This is akin to planning for the impossible and ignoring past track records for the sake of an announcement.

Similarly, a promise of 3.3 million new jobs and income per capita of RM49,500 by 2020 is detached from the hardship of the people for the last 10 years. The reality is 34% of our workforce earns below the poverty line (less than RM700 per month) and the average salary increase for the last one decade is only at 2.6% (compared to 10% for Indonesia in between 2007 to 2009).

The act of perpetually throwing new numbers to distract the public’s attention from economic realities on the ground perpetuates the habitual refusal to address the root cause of the problems. I am confident that the public will quickly conclude that ETP is another instance in a long line of public relations gestures meant to delude the public when the realities on the ground hardly changes over the past two years.

PR TARGET OF RM4,000 FOR EACH FAMILY

That is why I have always emphasised economic programmes that can alleviate the poverty of the people such that there is no disconnect between the supposedly good performance of the economy with the realities on the ground.

A staggering two-thirds of our population survive on a household income of below RM4,000 a month. These four million families will continue to face hardship due to the rising cost of living, unless priorities are given to increase their income level drastically and quickly.

Therefore, after a series of consultations and studies, Keadilan has agreed to set a target of RM4,000 minimum household income within the first five years of Pakatan Rakyat’s federal administration as our flagship economic target . This policy proposal will be brought to Pakatan Rakyat’s leadership council for further deliberation.

Keadilan will work with its partners within the framework of Pakatan Rakyat government to implement a series of policies to step change the level of wages in the country to achieve a minimum household income of RM4,000. These policies include strong commitment to plug leakages, determination and honesty to fight corruption, reforms of the judiciary and public institutions to bring back the credibility and promoting transparency and accountability to attract new FDIs.

The country must move away from concepts and economic promises that had never been achieved or translated well to benefit the public. The 30% equity promise by Umno remains unfulfilled and hardly has any effect on Malay families grappling with low wages and high cost of living. Yet it is bandied as a cornerstone of gift from Umno to the public.

Keadilan’s gift is more straight-forward and easily translatable to dollars and sens to the public. Under a Pakatan Rakyat government, there will not be a family which earns below RM4,000 within the first five years of our administration.

YB DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

LEADER OF OPPOSITION

19 AUGUST 2010

YM Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin

(Originally written on 14 September 2008, reposted)

So Pete got himself busted with ISA again – it’s de javu. The first time Pete went to ISA in 2001 (if I am not mistaken), I was in the thick of things. Now I just pray he will be fine, but he is a tough boy (sometimes too tough for his own good) so he will be fine this time too.

I first met YM Raja Petra from afar in 1992, he was the emcee for the Old Boys Weekend Annual Concert in Hargreaves Hall that year. I remember him commented out loud that Nahar Hakimi (Class of 92) was quite a jambu when introducing the present boys’ band to the crowd.

Our path crossed again because of what happened in 1998. It was a co-incidence really – I was in the UK and was already doing some groundwork contacting MPs etc. to highlight the issues in the UK and Europe, he needed help with Free Anwar Campaign. He needed a writer; someone to feed him news constantly and as he correctly expected – one day he would need a spare webmaster when he eventually is arrested under ISA.

We never met until I came back in 2003, but we were constantly in touch. I called him, he SMS me and when the going got tough for his family here, Pete and Kak Marina decided to send their two sons to the UK to try to make a living. I helped place them with a keADILan supporter in Manchester, a very nice chap by the name of Abang Saufi who tried their level best to make life easy for the two boys, knowing the sacrifice that their parents were doing in Malaysia (and life was tough financially for Pete at the time).

You see, we were the unwanted lot those days – nobody wanted to associate let alone help anyone with a keADILan tag on their forehead; so 2-3 of us had to look after each other.

When he was taken in in 2001, we had agreed before hand that “the show must go on” (maybe in tribute to hockey team’s mantra “Rain or Shine” ha ha). For 52 days I was manning the Free Anwar Campaign website from London, the news kept on flowing despite Pete’s arrest. Until now I chuckled once in a while how it must have baffled them then that there was a back up and Pete’s arrest did not shutdown the website.

Luckily Pete was released after 52 days – it was a great relief. First, because we were all concerned about his safety. Second, I began to fret if he were to be detained under the customary 2-year sentence in Kamunting and I would have to maintain the website for longer than necessary (those days you have to use Dreamweaver to come up with the html page and manually link and upload the files to the internet on a dial up connection!)

But we can only plan and Allah’s disposal is the finality.

Life goes on and I came back without any brouhaha and spent another one year being very close to Pete. Even from the time I was abroad, I had written for Suara Keadilan and Pete was the editor – so we continued writing until we parted ways in late 2003.

There were a few times we went on demonstration together – and after one such demo against the war on Iraq in 2003, Pete and I went for a nasi ayam in Ampang. That was the last time we saw each other until another co-incidence brought our path briefly together again in 2007.

In October 2007, arwah Ben insisted that I joined him for a meeting of concerned activists with YTM Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh at his residence in Ampang, where I met Pete and Kak Marina again. It took him a while to recognise me since I put on a lot of weight (so he claimed!).

I was supposed to have a berbuka puasa with YB Machang and a few others last Wednesday and Pete was actually there, but had to cancel last minute because things in office dragged on. If I had gone, I would have met him before he got arrested.

After I withdrew from official partisan politics, I kept to myself and concentrated on my work and the boys in MCKK. In politics, rumours dominate the day – there was one time I think Pete must have thought that I sold out.

Some of my batchmates, in the early days, asked me why I foolishly did what I did knowing the risk to myself and family. In public, you would passionately explain your ideals and how what you were doing were the most patriotic thing a citizen should have done.

But the truth is always simpler – it’s the friendship and MCKK. I never met Raja Petra in person but decided to help him nevertheless; because he was an MCKK brother in distress. He needed help and on top of that he was actually doing a pretty decent thing – trying to uphold the truth. If I, a fellow MCKK boy did not help him, then what chance would he have. All the years writing many articles and news for Suara Keadilan and Free Anwar Campaign was simply because the editor for both was Raja Petra Kamaruddin – a fellow MCKK in distress.

And the truth is – it was the same motive that had driven me to my political activism circa 1998 – 2003 in the first place – Anwar Ibrahim was a fellow budak koleq, whom I thought had been victimised.

That is how powerful the MCKK bond in my book – I am sure too if one day calamity befalls me, there are others who will put their neck the way many of us had put for other MCKK boys before.

Pete reminds me of Peter Pan and Wendy. Pete never grows up, I always joke that he is trapped in his hippie youth – still thinking about a crusade against everything. It’s always about adventure and excitement to him I guess. If Pete was Peter Pan, many of us were Wendy. We aged faster than him and after a while craved less and less for adventure – so while Pete continued, we withdrew. But like Wendy, we never turned back on the past and never did once we sell out.

I pray that he will be fine (but he’s a tough boy so he will be fine). I tell myself that I will make an effort to see him and buy him a drink and nasi ayam when he comes out eventually.

We should all pray for him too regardless of what we think of his approach.