Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flagrant Use Of Public Funds

(click to enlarge)

I was left fuming at the very sight of these two full-page advertisements; the one on the left was published in yesterday's The Star and the right one in today's copy. Although I do not hail from Selangor or currently live in the state and would be in anyway affected by such flagrant use of public funds, as a responsible citizen, I find it unfathomable that public funds are wasted in such manner.

You and I know for a fact that full-page coloured advertisements are not cheap and runs into the thousands of ringgit and this is only for ONE page, for ONE day, for ONE newspaper. Here, we have TWO advertisements and let's not get into how many newspapers they were advertised in! That would amount to a lot of money considering the advertisements' sole purpose is just to "kiss ass" however hard they try to tell us it isn't.

To be fair, Selangor is not the only state to do this and I've seen similar advertisements by the Malacca and Kedah state governments but Selangor is a repeat offender, and a frequent one at that. It is stated at the bottom that the greetings come from "The Government and People of the State of Selangor Darul Ehsan". Come on, do you really think the people of Selangor actually welcome such advertisements? Do you really think that the advertisements actually came from them except maybe for the money used to pay for these advertisements which were irresponsibly taken from public funds?

Maybe the Menteri Besar and the members of his government were generous and courteous enough to dig into their own pockets to pay for these meaningless advertisements but I really doubt it. Even if they did, wouldn't the money have been more well spent if donated to a worthy cause like Hospice to aid them in providing palliative care for those in need or the Malaysian AIDS Council to spread awareness of this deadly disease or even provide scholarships for the needy? Ask anyone on the streets and the answer you will get is that they would prefer the money to be spent more wisely on better public amenities rather than being wasted on such advertisements.

The public sector is not the only one guilty of spending crazy money on wasteful and meaningless things. The private sector is equally irresponsible when it comes to spending money for such meaningless trivialties. When our Prime Minister came to office, he declared that all these wasteful pleasantries were not needed and must come to an immediate stop. My question is, has it stopped or has it in fact gotten worse? I do not recall so many of such advertisements in the past especially by the state governments. Remember the message of condolences that flooded the newspapers when the First Lady passed away? I'm sure she would have preferred the money used for those advertisements donated to cancer research, breast cancer awareness or promoting the batik industry, no? She would definitely not have agreed to such wasteful deeds which is akin to burning money.

It is unbecoming of these public servants spending our hard-earned money in such manner and then tell us we need to pay more through increased taxes so they can continue in their irresponsible ways. We sincerely do not appreciate you showing your "sincerest appreciation" this way. It is time to speak up, people of Selangor. It is time to speak up, Malaysians. Enough is enough.

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