Thursday, March 31, 2011

Soldier with Maid in Tow

The above has been in wide circulation. It shows a young Singaporean soldier, in full uniform, trailed by a maid lugging his rucksack. This photo, gone viral in Singapore has triggered a debate: are the island city-state's well-off youth too pampered to defend their nation? Methinks, it’s no big deal. After all, since Singapore has always been dependent on other countries’ talent pool, why should the army be any different? They can always rely on Filipino women (I am assuming it is a Filipino domesitc helper in the picture but it can also be Indonesian, Cambodian, Sri Lankan or any nationality for that matter) to enlist in the Singapore Army. Anyway, Singapore is a safe haven and it’s not as if they are at war or likely to go to war anytime soon. Maybe, it’s time for Singapore to consider having a mercenary army instead?

Nazri Aziz (above photo) has told MPs that handing out aid or gifts during by-elections is not a form of bribery and is a permissible practise (Star, March 30, 2011, p N24). He actually described it as “financial assistance”. Nazri had pointed out that a 1981 court case involving the Pengkalan Kota by-election between Teoh Teik Huat and Lim Kean Siew had ruled that it was not an offence but in line with the responsibility of the government to ensure development and allocate funds regardless of whether there was an election.

But Transparency International Malaysia responded one day later to dispute this and insisting that any form of election handouts to voters is “outright” corruption; there should be no exception to the definition (The Malaysian Insider, March 31, 2011). As TI-M president, Paul Low (above photo) maintained: “Of course, it is a bribe”.

Like BN politicians who do not like to be told they are wrong, he shot back a churlish retort on the same day – he told TI-M to “shut up”! Testy, isn’t he? Besides, the truth hurts.

It’s interesting to note that the Election Commission has been silent on this matter. So too MACC. Then again, are you surprised? Nazri made that stand to protect Najib – the latter has been unashamedly giving away freebies during election time. BN bribing the populace to garner votes is an all-too-familiar story in Bolehland!

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