Thursday, August 26, 2010

Abuse of power: PM's Dept funding defeated BN candidates

Viktor Wong,

The BN - under the guise and funding of the Prime Minister's Department - has appointed all the defeated BN election candidates as parliamentary and state constituency coordinators.

The landmark 2008 general election saw the Barisan Nasional losing many seats in both the federal Parliament and the state legislative assemblies. Needless to say, the ruling coalition also lost a few prized states to the Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

But although more than two years have passed, the BN federal government is insistent on not recognizing the mandates given by the people.

And to avenge the people's mandates, the BN under the guise of the Prime Minister's Department has appointed all the defeated BN election candidates as parliamentary and state constituency coordinators.

The job of these coordinators is to manage their respective "constituencies", with the PM's Department providing them annual grants and allocations similar to those enjoyed by the sitting BN MPs and state assemblymen.

It goes without saying that such generosity has resulted in smaller annual grants, allocations and other funding for the Pakatan elected representatives, even though this is clearly a violation of the people's wishes and against their constitutional rights.

And to make sure that the defeated BN candidates are motivated to serve their respective "constituencies" and not laze around, the PM's department has allocated a large amount of funds in the form of salaries and given them grand titles such as "Federal Representative to the parliamentary/KADUN" or "the Prime Minister's Department representative to the parliamentary/KADUN" areas.

Such a move by the BN clearly reflects their refusal to recognize the democratic process. Is it not also an improper use of government funds and taxpayers' money? If BN wants to maintain their "lost" consituencies, should not the money come from their own coffers?

Instead of using public money to finance these so-called coordinators, would not the funds be put to better use to help the poor, finance a much-needed project or community development. Mind you, the final bill is quite staggering because we are talking about hundreds of lost seats.

No wonder, allocations for the PM’s Department alone for 2010 has been escalating and is now a whopping RM12 billion. The huge increases in the Department’s budget in 2009 and 2010 have never been seen before. The combined operating and development expenditure for 2009 was RM14 billion or nearly double the RM7.1 billion allocated for 2008. The total for 2005 was a mere RM4.1 billion in comparison.

It is time for the BN federal government to come clean and make public the accounts and transactions of these allocations to their defeated candidates now posing as coordinators.

The practice should be stopped immediately and the funds diverted to them so far must be accounted for. Steps should also be taken to make sure that those who are really elected by the people get access to the people's money and rightful allocations made to them so that they can carry out projects for their constituents.

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