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Selasa, 18 Februari 2014

Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


Ex-PM Mahathir sounds like a broken record

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 07:10 PM PST

Malaysiakini

The Kajang by-election has triggered a crapshoot.

With something like three weeks to go to nomination day, the campaign is already awash in the hogwash that tells you the silly season’s here – earlier than usual.

By now we well know that any contest in which the stakes are high and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim is involved tends to attract mad hatters, like moths to flame.

It’s not that Anwar is a contributor to the crap; it’s just that he’s so unfailing a cause for the emission of the drivel that tells you the madding season has begun.

Presently, the most prolific peddler of poppycork is former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Even at an age that is supposed to bring on a mellow equanimity, the scent of Anwar can be counted on to make the octogenarian Mahathir’s nostrils twitch, like a tapir’s when browsing for food.

As gleefully as a hog after truffles, the former prime minister the past few weeks has dug up every unthinking cliché about Anwar for regurgitation without aid of the rhetorical contrivances that can render the jaded the gleam of wit.

Anwar, the agent of America; Anwar, the sly dodger of court action; Anwar, the PM-aspirant who’s barely MB material; Anwar, the sexual deviant but pretender to Islamic rectitude; Anwar, the justice exponent but hidden repressor of liberty; Anwar, the apparent meritocrat but latent promoter of nepotism; Anwar, the bogus financial czar and tool of the IMF and World Bank; Anwar, the public Islamist but covert Jew lover, and so on and so forth.

The range of these defamations must want to make Anwar say with the poet Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I’m large, I contain multitudes.”

But the only multitudes that matter these days are the ones that turn up for his stumps on the election circuit.

From Permatang Pauh to Pasir Gudang, from Kajang to Kota Kinabalu, the attendances at the opposition leader’s ceramah have not receded. And this is what appears to give his adversaries sleeplessness.

Anwar’s decision to go for a seat in the Selangor legislature has given his ally turned adversary Mahathir the insomnia that can cause memory loss.

Echoing Liow

Last week, Mahathir, taking the cue from MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, blamed Anwar for Operation Lallang.

Operation Lallang, launched in October 1987, involved the detention of over 100 politicians and social activists and the banning of several newspapers in what has come to be regarded as one of the darkest chapters of Malaysian history.

Anwar was education minister at the time while Mahathir was both prime minister and home affairs minister.

Mahathir has previously tried to dodge responsibility for that episode by claiming that it was the police who had insisted on the repression, conveniently forgetting that the Internal Security Act only allowed for detentions under the signature of the home minister.

If Mahathir’s disclaimer of responsibility is taken at face value, then it meant that at the time of ISA arrests, Malaysia was a police state, not a parliamentary democracy.

With regards to Operation Lallang, Anwar’s links extended only to the fact that his ministry was responsible for the placement of non-Mandarin speaking personnel in government-aided Chinese schools.

The decision led to protest demonstrations by Chinese educationists. Umno Youth responded with a menacing display of chauvinism. Tensions ran high and the government reacted with a spate of detentions and newspaper bans.

Last week, newly elected MCA chief Liow, in his first foray into Kajang, which seat is likely to be contested by his party, reminded Chinese voters that it was Anwar’s actions that had led to Operation Lallang.

Mahathir, 88, promptly seconded Liow’s view until Anwar countered by saying that he was in charge of the education portfolio and not home affairs under whose imprimatur the ISA arrests occurred.

Under pressure from DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who was the opposition leader in 1987 and who tartly reminded Mahathir that he had signed the detentions orders as home minister, the ex-PM admitted responsibility, citing advanced age for his memory lapses.

However, a retentive memory for old canards was at work when Mahathir, pressing the attack against Anwar, trotted out all the hoary old charges against his nemesis, from western tool to latent sexual predator.

He sounded like a stuck record, spinning endlessly in the grooves of a discredited past.

This is what gives Mahathir and his ilk goose pimples: while their target, Anwar, is taken up with what to do about the future, they are reflexively fixated on the past.

That is why, for the latter, the Kajang by-election is a crapshoot while for their adversary it is the signpost to a better future – for Selangorians, at least.

Jepun pun malu bila kerajaannya menindas

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 07:04 PM PST

TMI

Maka ramailah orang memperleceh Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, kerana dia percaya imigresen Jepun dipengaruhi oleh anasir pro-BN atau pro-Najib sehingga menyekatnya masuk ke negara itu.

Dia terpaksa balik bodoh sahaja ke tanah air.

Mungkin justeru kes fitnah yang dikenakan kepadanya menyebabkan kerajaan Jepun melarangnya masuk.

Dia ke Jepun untuk bercakap tentang Islam dan demokrasi yang dikendalikan oleh NGO Jepun sendiri.

Sejak dia keluar daripada sekolah Sungai Buloh, sudah beberapa kali dia masuk ke Jepun, tiada apa-apa sekatan.

Sebelum pecah isu Kajang ini pula, dia dilarang masuk, dan kerajaan Jepun gagal memberi alasan.

Apabila dia mengesyaki anasir tertentu dari negara ini mempengaruhi Jepun, ramailah jurubodek Umno dan kerajaan Najib mempelupuh Anwar sebagai orang yang gelojoh mempolitikkan apa saja demi kepentingannya dan politiknya.

Bagi mereka, Anwar adalah orang yang paling tidak berguna, dan logiknya geng anti-Anwar itulah wargenegara kita yang paling berguna, paling benar dan tiada cacat.

Tentulah Jepun ada alasan kukuh untuk melarang Anwar masuk.

Anwar sekadar menyatakan bahawa Jepun tidak pernah antinya dan merasa ajaib apabila tiba-tiba dilarang masuk.

Tentulah pihak tertentu di Jepun terkeliru.

Tiba-tiba datang orang dari Jepun yang berkaitan dengan jemputan ke atas Anwar itu meminta maaf kepada Anwar atas tindakan imigresen Jepun yang dikiranya memalukan Jepun dan rakyat Jepun.

Tindakan kerajaan Jepun itu dibantah oleh orang Jepun.

Lalu mereka menganjurkan satu majlis lain, meminta Anwar jangan serik untuk ke Jepun lagi.

Mereka meminta Anwar memberi jaminan akan hadir juga pada tarikh yang mereka tetapkan itu, dan Anwar pun bersetuju untuk ke Jepun semula.

Apa terjadi kepada tempelak konco anti-Anwar tadi?

Dalam kes di imigresen Jepun ini, Anwar dimalukan dan menjadi mangsa penindasan.

Penindas jelasnya ialah imigresen Jepun.

Masyarakat Jepun malu menjadi pihak yang menindas dan bangun membela sesiapa saja yang dirasakan ditindas dan tidak diberi layanan yang adil.

Dalam kes Anwar ini, rakyat Jepun mengeluarkan belanja datang ke Kuala Lumpur, meminta maaf kepada Anwar.

Habis duit mereka untuk menebus malu itu. Tiada apa ertinya duit dibandingkan rasa malu dan jati diri.

Apakah bagi orang Malaysia, kejadian ke atas rakyatnya bukan satu penindasan dan tidakkah ia sengaja memberi malu kepada rakyat kita?

Jika Malaysia sebuah negara bermaruah dan rakyatnya merdeka dan bermaruah, maka ia tidak akan benarkan sesiapa dengan sesenang itu memalukan rakyatnya.

Jangankan ketua pembangkang di Parlimen dimalukan, hatta seorang Orang Asli yang tidak pernah bersekolah dan tidak tahu memakai kasut pun jika dimalukan, maka bangsa yang bermaruah mesti mengutuk penindasan dan tidak menafikan keadilan.

Itulah bezanya Jepun dengan orang kita yang separuh masak maruahnya. Jepun benci kepada penindasan, sekalipun terhadap orang asing.

Tetapi ada orang di Malaysia bukan sahaja tidak peka kepada keadilan dan penindasan, suka pula Anwar ditindas.

Adalah benar Anwar banyak menyusahkan Perdana Menteri dan kerajaan Malaysia.

Dia penentang ulung Umno dan BN, tetapi bukankah dia rakyat kita dan ketua pembangkang yang diiktiraf oleh Parlimen?

Ketua pembangkang adalah Perdana Menteri menunggu. Maka suka pula rakyatnya ditindas.

Mungkin kerajaan tidak terasa untuk membelanya, kerana itu adalah masalahnya.

Tetapi janganlah jadi bangsa yang setuju kepada penindasan, sekalipun terhadap orang yang kita benci.

Apa yang terjadi adalah, rakyat Jepun mengajar kerajaannya dan jangan kata ia tidak mengajar maruah rakyat Malaysia yang separuh masak!

Anwar: BN the main enemy in Kajang polls

Posted: 17 Feb 2014 11:08 PM PST

Malaysiakini

The BN "remains the main enemy" in the Kajang by-election even though Zaid Ibrahim has decided to join the fray as an independent candidate.

Expressing this view at a press conference today, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said he does not underestimate the strength of the BN in the contest for the state seat on March 23.

“I think the issue is the enormous machinery, funds and (use of the) media by the BN," he said.

"I think we have to be realistic enough to … accept the fact that, once they announce the candidate, the BN will go full fledged into a massive campaign and we would have to deal with it."

Anwar, who will be contesting in the by-election, added Zaid had a right to contest according to democratic practices and it was up to the people of Kajang to decide.

However, Anwar questioned the apparent flip-flopping by Zaid (right) who had initially supported him to become the next Selangor Menteri Besar.

“I read two weeks ago he supported me to become menteri besar then two weeks after that, he now does not support me to become a state assemblyperson.

“How to become menteri besar without first becoming a state assemblyperson?

“He is a lawyer, perhaps he can answer, ask him,” said Anwar.

Zaid, who last Sunday announced his candidacy, said a vote for him would be a vote to retain the current Selangor Menter Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Since then, netizens have highlighted Zaid’s contradictory stances, pointing a posting he made on Twitter on Feb 2 which read: “Anwar Ibrahim made the right decision to become menteri besar. The tiger must face a lion only then the rakyat will be comfortable”.

Anwar had in recent weeks hinted he may replace Abdul Khalid as the state’s new chief executive but has to date refused to clearly confirm the matter.

Sudden entry

Yesterday, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution questioned whether Zaid was being proxy for Umno with his sudden entry into the contest.

The remarks appear to have piqued Zaid, who lashed out at Anwar on Twitter.

“PKR’s Saifuddin (right) says Umno is behind me, that I am a plant. That’s trademark Anwar. Always humiliate your opponent. Truth is, I am not (a plant).

“Anwar behaves like he is invincible and can walk on water. But he knows Kajang is different. He can ridicule me but he is scared!” Zaid said in a series of postings.

However, Anwar brushed aside the criticism, saying that he would not be so busy in Kajang if he was being overconfident.

“I never said I am invincible or overconfident or otherwise I won't be seen there day after day.

“In politics, we cannot make assumptions that people will support us without engaging them.

“So I accept the criticism and in several dialogues and speeches I have responded when clarification is asked,” he said.

On BN’s side, the seat is traditionally contested by MCA but the federal ruling coalition has yet to announce its candidate.

Nomination day for the Kajang by-election is set for March 11 while polling day is fixed for March 23.

More than 20,000 expected to be declared bankrupt in 2013 due to price hikes, says Anwar

Posted: 17 Feb 2014 11:05 PM PST

TMI

The number of Malaysians declared bankrupt last year is expected to exceed 20,000 as the rising cost of living and hikes in prices of goods and services put a strain on spending, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic).

Citing statistics from the Insolvency Department, the opposition leader revealed that 16,306 people, or an average of 1,812 a month, were declared bankrupt in the first nine months of last year.

In the same period, more than 27,432 bankrupt petitions were filed in the courts.

In contrast, 19,575 people, or an average of 1,631 people a month, were declared bankrupt in 2012.

“It is clear that the average number of monthly bankruptcies from January to September last year is 11% higher than the same period in 2012.

“I anticipate when the full data for 2012 is published, over 20,000 bankruptcy cases will be reported due to the increase in the price of goods and cost of living,” Anwar said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters today.

The Insolvency Department is expected to release the additional data from October to December 2013 next month.

Anwar said data from the Central Bank also showed that banks had disbursed a “record number” of personal and credit card loans last year amounting to RM139 billion, compared with RM124 billion last year and RM67 billion in 2006.

He also noted of the total bankruptcies reported in 2012, 48.4% were Malays, 33.2% Chinese and 14.1% Indians.

He expressed shock that 21% or 4,100 of them were below the age of 34 years and that failure to make timely repayment for cars, housing and credit card loans were among the purported reasons for the bankruptcies.

“Most Malaysians, especially Malays, are faced with financial hardship due to the escalating rise in living costs compared with the rise in incomes.

“As a result, they were forced to supplement their daily expenses either through personal loans or credit cards, which then exposes them to the risk of bankruptcy due to the higher interest rates offered by these loans,” he said.

Malaysians are struggling with rising cost of goods and services after Putrajaya cut subsidies for petrol and sugar as part of its subsidy rationalisation programme to tackle the government’s chronic budget deficit.

Many people participated in a New Year’s Eve rally at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur to protest against the price hikes. Following widespread unhappiness over the rising cost of goods and services, Putrajaya announced early this year it had formed a cabinet committee to address the issue.

How One Country Emerged From the Arab Spring With a Democratic State

Posted: 17 Feb 2014 10:02 PM PST

The Nation

In Tunisia, secularists and Islamists produced a landmark constitution — without Western interference.

Tunisians have shattered the dogma that citizens of the Arab world must either accept a secular authoritarian status quo or submit to Islamist authoritarian rule.

When Tunisians rose up in peaceful protest from December 2010 to January 2011 to oust former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, they inspired Egyptians, Libyans and Syrians to take to the streets against their own autocratic leaders. None of the uprisings in any of those countries have ended in anything resembling democracy. Even in Egypt, the country whose path has most closely followed Tunisia's, the secular/Islamist divide has led to bloodshed and trauma.

But in Tunisia, politicians with vastly different agendas managed to come together to approve a new constitution, with 200 out of 216 votes, on January 26.

"To avoid violence, Islamists should be integrated into the political system. The policy of eliminating and ignoring the Other has never been effective," says Mohamed Bennour, a spokesman for the social-democratic Ettakatol party, which went into coalition with the Islamists. "A large part of [the Islamist party] Ennahda rejects the Other, but so do many members of the secularist parties."

The new Constitution is not secularist, but neither does it impose an Islamist state. It combines many of the progressive values of the previous regime with more democratic rights and freedoms. The right to free healthcare and free education is guaranteed. Equality between the sexes is preserved; the legal system will not be derived from Sharia; torture is outlawed; and there's a greater separation of powers than in the past. As far as religion is concerned, the Constitution remains ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations, but that was the price of consensus. Many battles have been left to fight another day.

"I think so far we succeeded to find this common ground between Islamists and secularists," says Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahda party. "We have to look for a marriage between the two models."

The birth of Tunisia's democratic republic was all the more symbolic in that it occurred in the very same week that Egypt lurched ever further into military dictatorship, with the army giving its blessing to Field Marshal Abdul-Fatteh el-Sisi's likely presidential bid.

"I think this sends a very powerful message," says Rory McCarthy, a doctoral candidate at St. Antony's College, Oxford, regarding the new Constitution. McCarthy, who is researching Islamist activism in Tunisia, adds: "Particularly when violence and instability have gripped the other Arab Spring countries."

Tunisia's exceptional success is at least partly attributable to the fact that it has never drawn the same degree of attention from the outside world as most other countries in the region. While the uprisings in Libya and Syria were quickly internationalized, Tunisia's uprising and subsequent political transition have been overwhelmingly organic. The small North African nation has neither vast amounts of oil or gas, nor a shared border with Israel. Multinational oil executives were not working behind the scenes to better mold the contours of the new republic to suit their own interests. "I think the West has shown incredible double standards in the way it's said it has tried to promote democracy in the Middle East," McCarthy observes.

Two other significant factors easing Tunisia's metamorphosis to democracy have been its deep history of progressivism and its strong institutions. Though the founder of the post-independence republic, President Habib Bourguiba, was no democrat, his development model allowed for the emergence of a sizable educated middle class that is arguably one of the preconditions for democracy. Women's rights likewise took a great leap forward with Bourguiba's 1956 Code of Personal Status, and those gains have been consolidated this time around, with some additions. For example, gender parity in Parliament is enshrined in the new Constitution, meaning Tunisian women—conservatives and liberals alike—will continue to play a larger role in political life than in most Western countries.

Bourguiba also had the foresight to keep the military small and well away from politics, a tradition that has been mostly respected. While Egyptian citizens have been conditioned to regard the military as their savior, Tunisians praised their army for its neutrality in the chaos of early 2011.

Tunisia broke decisively with the strongman-led police state of the country's past in large part thanks to the work of the civilian commission that drafted the road map for the first stage of the transition. Political scientist Alfred Stepan of Columbia University has described the 2011 commission led by legal expert Yadh Ben Achour as "one of the most effective consensus-building bodies in the history of 'crafted' democratic transitions."

* * *

The transition has not been without serious, even wrenching tensions. When two Tunisian secularist parties agreed to an alliance with the Ennahda party after the October 2011 elections for Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly, many denounced them as traitors. The troika brought together Ennahda, which had won just over 40 percent of the seats, with Mustafar Ben Jaafar's Ettakatol party and the Congress Party for the Republic (CPR), founded by Moncef Marzouki. What followed were two of the most politically jarring years in Tunisia's post-independence history.

While the Ennaha party was able to retain all of its MPs, its coalition partners shed members frustrated by the subordinate role their parties played within the alliance. The CPR started with twenty-nine MPs; today it has only eleven. The Ettakatol party fared slightly better, losing seven out of twenty seats.

The much-maligned troika finally had its moment in the sun on January 27, when outgoing Prime Minister Ali Larayedh, a member of the Ennahda party, was joined by his secularist allies, Speaker Ben Jaafar and President Marzouki, to put their three signatures to the new Constitution.

The mood in the Assembly was one of shared victory. After more than two years of conflict, frustration and sometimes ridiculous moments, the Assembly finally had something to be proud of. Marzouki, who has often been derided for his political awkwardness, was looking particularly cheerful as he gave the V-for-victory sign after signing.

"Those who called us traitors are in the process of reconsidering their analysis," Bennour says. He notes that joining the alliance was a difficult choice, but it has been crucial to "saving democracy," in his words, paving the way for a consensus by helping keep dialogue open. At the same time, the troika's political opponents played an undeniable role in shaping the final document, waging a lengthy power struggle to win major concessions.

"The troika is finished—it's a mess," says Mongi Rahoui, head of the leftist Popular Front. Like many secularists, he criticizes the troika for using the Ben Ali–era system of patronage to its own advantage rather than reforming it. There were many accusations of interference in the judiciary; magistrates protested an attempt by Ennahda MPs to pass legislation they perceived as undermining judicial independence. The opposition argued that the government was firing regional governors to replace them with appointees based on their loyalty to the movement, just as Ben Ali had done.

The troika also mishandled the ongoing social unrest in the volatile marginalized regions, with key figures in the Ennahda party accusing union leaders and leftist activists of manipulating strikes and protests to wage what they disparaged as a "counterrevolution." Tensions were high throughout 2012, rising even more after security forces violently suppressed protests over social injustice in the northern town of Siliana in November 2012.

The anti-government anger erupted after the assassination of Chokri Belaid, a grassroots leader and lawyer, on February 6, 2013, outside his home in Tunis. A radical secular leftist, Belaid had been a fierce critic of the Islamists and was at the forefront of the uprising against Ben Ali. The killing led to some of the biggest nationwide protests in the country's history, with demonstrators calling on the troika to step down.

As a result, the first Ennahda prime minister, Hamadi Jebali, did resign. When the party's Ali Larayedh, who had been interior minister in Jebali's government, became the new prime minister, it was perceived as a further provocation by many in the opposition. Larayedh had clashed publicly with Belaid in the months leading up to his death and was seen as having been responsible for the violence in Siliana.

An even deeper political crisis was triggered by a second assassination on July 25, 2013, this time of opposition MP and Arab nationalist Mohamed Brahmi. The troika, the opposition argued, was clinging to power that it no longer legitimately held. The Ennahda party, meanwhile, heavily influenced by the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, derided the protest movement as a plot to force it from office.

But Rahoui, one of the most outspoken secularist MPs, explains that the opposition was able to win important concessions in the Constitution only thanks to its decision to take the battle outside the Assembly. The final version was improved in several respects compared with a draft from June 2013, he says: judicial independence and freedom of speech were reinforced; accusing someone of apostasy was outlawed; and changes were made to the structure of the constitutional court. "It's true that the power was tilted in favor of the fundamentalists, but the democratic forces were able to unite, little by little," Rahoui says. "We were able to change the Constitution to one that reflects the diversity of Tunisian society and is an expression of Tunisia's pluralism."

* * *

Today, excitement over the constitution is tempered by economic hardship. Newly acquired political freedoms are widely perceived as having come at the price of economic stability and security. Unemployment has risen from 13 percent in 2011 to 15.7 percent by late 2013, and ordinary Tunisians are also hurting from rising food prices. "Tunisia is in a grave crisis, and the Constituent Assembly is one of the causes," says Beji Caid Essebsi, who served as interim prime minister in the months leading up to the 2011 elections. Essebsi argues that the Islamists' coalition partners failed to use their full clout to make the Ennahda party stay within the limitations of the mandate it had won.

But others stress the ground that Ennahda has been willing to cede—even when faced with resistance from its own base. Ghannouchi, the Islamist leader, is credited with having overcome opposition within his own movement to the process of national dialogue. "Now the vast majority of Ennahda are satisfied with the concessions made by the leaders of Ennahda, but in the beginning this satisfaction was not very widespread," Ghannouchi says. The Ennahda leader's political astuteness allowed him to build support within his party for a process some other prominent Islamists condemned as caving in unnecessarily to secularist pressure.

"[Ghannouchi] has members who are less reasonable," Essebsi acknowledges. "I think that now he has gained control over things."

Yet the differences within Ennahda persist. McCarthy cites several examples of dissension during January's debates over constitutional amendments. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the most conservative Islamist MPs oppose democracy, he adds: "I think Ennahda regards democracy as a guarantee—a way to prevent another wave of repression, as we saw under Ben Ali in the 1990s and 2000s."

With the Constitution's passage seeming to mark at least a temporary détente between Islamists and secularists over questions of national identity, many Tunisians are hoping their politicians will now begin to address the social inequalities that sparked the uprising in the first place.

[PRESS STATEMENT] Peningkatan Jumlah Muflis dan 7 Keutamaan Setempat di Kajang

Posted: 17 Feb 2014 07:54 PM PST

PRESS STATEMENT

18 FEBRUARY 2014

Peningkatan Jumlah Muflis dan Pinjaman Peribadi, Manifestasi Kesempitan Hidup Rakyat

Statistik Jabatan Insolvensi Malaysia terkini menunjukkan bahawa semenjak bulan Januari hingga September 2013, seramai 16,306 orang telah diisytiharkan muflis atau purata 1,812 orang setiap bulan. Pada tempoh yang sama juga, sebanyak 27,432 petisyen kebankrapan telah difailkan di mahkamah. Statistik selebihnya, iaitu untuk Oktober hingga Disember 2013 bakal dikeluarkan pihak Jabatan sekitar bulan Mac 2014 nanti.

Pada tahun 2012, sejumlah 19,575 orang telah diisytiharkan muflis atau purata sebanyak 1,631 orang telah muflis setiap bulan sepanjang 2012. Jelas, kadar purata bilangan muflis bulanan pada Januari hingga September 2013 sebanyak 1,812 adalah 11% lebih tinggi berbanding kadar purata bulanan 2012 sebanyak 1,631. Sekiranya data untuk keseluruhan 2013 dikeluarkan nanti, saya menjangkakan bahawa lebih daripada 20,000 kes muflis akan dilaporkan untuk 2013 akibat kenaikan harga barang dan kos sara hidup, kesan daripada pengurangan subsidi.

Fenomena muflis ini bukan sahaja tertumpu kepada Semenanjung Malaysia, bahkan telah menular ke seluruh negara, terutama sekali di kawasan bandar. Merujuk kepada kenyataan akhbar (Utusan Malaysia 2 Disember 2014), Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Hjh Nancy Shukri; Kuching, Miri dan Sibu, masing-masing telah mencatatkan sebanyak 6,925 , 4,058 dan 2,557 kes-kes muflis.

Statistik Jabatan Insolvensi Malaysia untuk 2012 juga menyebut bahawa daripada jumlah muflis tersebut, 48.4% adalah berbangsa Melayu, 33.2% Cina dan 14.1% India. Mengejutkan juga bahawa sebanyak 4,100 (21%) adalah berumur di bawah 34 tahun. Antara penyebab utama muflis yang dilaporkan adalah kegagalan membayar pinjaman kenderaan, perumahan dan kad kredit.

Angka Bank Negara juga menyatakan bahawa pada tahun 2013, bank-bank di Malaysia telah mencatatkan jumlah tertinggi (semenjak 2006) untuk pinjaman peribadi dan kad kredit iaitu pada jumlah RM 139 billion berbanding RM 124 billion (2012) dan RM 67 billion (2006).

Boleh dirumuskan bahawa rakyat terbanyak, terutama sekali bangsa Melayu, sedang berhadapan dengan kesempitan kewangan akibat kadar kenaikan kos sara hidup yang lebih tinggi daripada kadar kenaikan pendapatan. Akibatnya, rakyat terpaksa menampung perbelanjaan harian samada melalui penambahan pinjaman peribadi ataupun kad kredit yang akhirnya mendedahkan mereka kepada risiko untuk menjadi muflis kerana terdedah kepada kadar faedah yang tinggi.

Penambahan pinjaman sebegini adalah disebakan oleh penyusutan pendapatan lebihan akibat kenaikan kos sara hidup dan bukannya semata-mata disebabkan oleh kegagalan rakyat menguruskan kewangan peribadi.

TUJUH KEUTAMAAN SETEMPAT KAJANG YANG BAKAL DIBERI PERHATIAN KHUSUS

Saya berpeluang mendekati penduduk di Kajang sejak beberapa minggu lalu untuk mendengar sendiri masalah dan harapan mereka. KEADILAN juga telah membuat satu kajiselidik dengan pengundi berdaftar di Kajang untuk mengenalpasti isu-isu setempat yang wajar mendapat pembelaan.

Saya berpuashati bila mana maklumbalas yang saya dapati semasa bersua muka dengan penduduk disahkan oleh kajiselidik yang dijalankan.

Dapatan utama dari pengalaman saya berinteraksi dengan penduduk menunjukkan bahawa tiga perkara utama yang memerlukan perhatian segera di Kajang adalah soal keselamatan penduduk akibat jenayah yang makin meningkat, masalah kesesakan trafik dan soal kebersihan setempat serta kesihatan.

Ini bertepatan dengan kajiselidik yang menyenaraikan keutamaan isu-isu setempat seperti berikut (% menunjukkan jumlah responden yang bersetuju ia isu yang paling utama untuk diberi perhatian):

1. Keselamatan dan jenayah – 42%

2. Kesesakan trafik – 38%

3. Pengurusan sampah dan kebersihan – 30%

4. Masalah sosial – 20%

5. Bantuan kepada keluarga berpendapatan rendah – 16%

6. Pengurusan gerai penjaja dan peniaga kecil – 12%

7. Perkhidmatan Majlis Perbandaran Kajang – 11%

Saya akan terus mendekati penduduk Kajang untuk berbincang mengenai harapan dan kaedah yang boleh digunakan untuk menyelesaikan isu setempat ini. Saya yakin bahawa jalan yang terbaik ialah dengan melibatkan masyarakat setempat dengan memberdayakan mereka menguruskan hal ehwal masyarakat setempat.

Saya juga telah berbincang dengan Institut Rakyat supaya satu kajian perbandingan khusus dibuat serta merta untuk mengkaji amalan terbaik (best practices) yang digunapakai di tempat-tempat lain dalam menangani beberapa masalah yang perlu diberikan keutamaan di Kajang. Hasil dari kajian itu akan dibentangkan dan dibincangkan bersama penduduk supaya kita dapat menggembleng tenaga semua pihak untuk menjadikan Kajang selamat, bersih dan lancar.

Sudah tentu isu-isu nasional yang mendesak seperti kenaikan harga barang, peluang pekerjaan, perumahan yang diluar kemampuan rakyat dan gaji yang tidak meningkat memerlukan pembelaan berterusan.

Saya berharap usaha yang berterusan untuk menyelesaikan tujuh keutamaan setempat yang saya gariskan akan melonjakkan Kajang sebagai salah sebuah bandar satelit terbaik di negara ini.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

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