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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Truth Lies in the eye of the beholder

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What is Truth?

What are broken promises? Are broken promises only broken promises when it's your opponent that makes them?

Image hosting by PhotobucketFrom NaSTy Pee (Saturday, May 10)

How 'bout when it's you and your cohorts that make promises you can't - or won't - keep? Are they still lies?
(many versions of the truth, and more, in the full post)

What if it's your friends in Government that make statements that are either blatant lies, or half-truths, trying to obscure the whole-truth. Are they still lies? Or political expediency not amounting to a lie?

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today continued with his bold reform agenda
by announcing that the Anti-Corruption Agency will be made a fully independent

He also announced other reforms today to boost the fight against corruption, including passing new laws to protect whistleblowers and witnesses.

(source: Malaysiakini - April 21, 2008)

In Parliament this past week:

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz told the house this morning that the government had no plan to enact the Act, as well as the Freedom of Information Act.

"We have no plan to enact any of these acts because although we have the Official Secrets Act, the cabinet can decide on anything that need to be declassified at anytime," he said in replying to a supplementary question from Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (PAS-Kota Raja) during the question session.

Siti Mariah had asked Nazri whether the government would enact the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

However when met later at the Parliament lobby, Mohd Nazri said he was misconstrued over his reply in the House.

"What I meant is that we have no intention to amend any existing Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act is not even an Act yet," he said.

(source: Malaysiakini - May 8, 2008)

So, is there going to actually be a Witness/Whistleblower Protection Act? Rather inconclusive, based on what Nazri said. But here's the thing - when has cabinet ever declassified any documents, even though they supposedly have the power to.

Promises. That's all... promises. And until proven otherwise, these remain as unkept promises. Meaning that BN is equally as capable of not fulfilling its promises. Just like their opponents, whom they frequently accuse of not doing so.

This is just one recent example, and Walski's sure there are many more such examples. But here's one recent promise, that we should keep an eye on.

The Works Ministry will review highway concessions which may result in lower toll rates.

Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed said he would call for a detailed study to be carried out before reviewing the concession agreements.

Some of the important factors to be considered were the traffic volume forecasts, toll rates and period of the concession, he said.

“We will compare the toll collections, and maintenance and operational costs, as well as ‘heavy’ maintenance costs,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Heavy maintenance, he said, referred to scheduled maintenance to resurface the entire highway while normal maintenance involved patching up potholes.

Mohd Zin said there was a toll review mechanism clause in the concession agreements which prevented concessionaires from raising toll rates as they pleased.

“If the traffic volume hits a certain level, then the toll increase can be averted,” he said.

He said the study would be completed within three months
(source: The Star - May 8, 2008)

Walski will be keeping his eyes peeled for the start of such a review, whose commencement was not mentioned. The Star report above mentions that it "would be completed within 3 months", while the Malaysiakini version stated that "the review exercise referred to in the Dewan Rakyat will be completed in three months' time".

Assuming both versions convey the same meaning, that would mean we would know the results of the review by around August 8, 2008. Mark that date, kiddies.

Unlike the biodegradable nature of print media, the Internet, unfortunately, has a long memory... terrabytes worth... and then some. Let's see how the BN-led Government lives up to this latest promise. And whether the Witness/Whistleblower Protection Act will be tabled soon.

Until such time, Walski will maintain that the Government, too, is capable of falling short on their promises. So it would be wise for these idiots to not simply point fingers at others. Because when you point one finger at someone, four other fingers point back at your own self.

Truth, like Beauty, it seems, Lies in the eyes of the beholder...