Saturday, April 10, 2010

No more Thatcherist policies!

I have a single-mother friend who works hard to earn RM3,000 a month. She rents a tiny apartment for RM550 and doesn't own any vehicles. Her monthly traveling expenses fluctuate between RM150-220. On top of her own household expenditure she pays her 70-year-old mother a monthly allowance of RM350. She also has to repay an old credit card debt dating back years, which leaves her with just enough to scrape by each month.

Doesn't her mother qualify for welfare, I ask her. Yes, but the amount on offer is RM100 a year. That might have been worth something 50 years ago.

My friend is just one among millions of working Malaysians who can barely make ends meet in a world of shrinking job opportunities and ballooning inflation. There's absolutely no way she could ever aspire to become a BN minister and gain access to virtually unlimited unofficial "commissions."

This is essentially how a feudalistic rightwing economy is structured. The greatest number support with their blood, sweat and tears a tiny, privileged and utterly spoilt handful who think nothing of squandering millions just to boost their own inflated egos and play the ketuanan game to the hilt.

Mahathir turned Umno into an ultra-racist party driven by arrogance and greed. He created and befriended tycoons and developers while completely overlooking ordinary citizens. In England this kind of economic policy was dubbed Thatcherism.

It's time for a radical swing to the left. We desperately need an economic policy that truly serves the public - not just private capital interests. The longer Umno remains in power, the harder life will get for the majority of the working class.

Extravagant monuments to megalomaniacal egos - coupled with unabashed looting of the public purse by the ruling elite and their capitalist cronies - have brought Malaysia close to moral and financial bankruptcy.

The only route to salvation lies in banishing Umno/BN from power. Next week, the campaign for Ulu Selangor begins in earnest. A defeat for Pakatan Rakyat would mean almost certain doom for the rakyat's aspirations. A triumphant BN will continue working around the clock to sabotage, undermine and buy over weak elements from the political opposition - until it regains its two-thirds majority in parliament.

If that happens, Umno/BN will be in a position to ensure that a tsunami like the one on 8 March 2008 will never again happen. They will risk worldwide criticism and ostracism by imprisoning key opposition leaders and silencing the critics. Malaysia will become an undisguised police state and potential wealth-generators will migrate in droves, leaving the rest of us to fester in a political backwater akin to Burma and Zimbabwe.

Voters of Ulu Selangor, it's our sacred duty to whack the shit out of Umno/BN on April 25th.