We have a water crisis, so a Cabinet committee headed by
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri
Anwar Ibrahim is formed.
This high-level committee, with its
clout, is supposedly to end our problems
at the crack of the whip.
After all, Works Minister Datuk Seri S.
Samy Vellu and other relevant authorities sit on the panel.
This is in addition to the countless daily meetings that are presumably being
held by the Selangor Waterworks
Department and Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd.
Going by the pledges made following the brainstorming sessions of these bodies, the days of trickling murky
water from our taps are to end
After all, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk
Abu Hassan Omar has boldly said that
water rationing would not go beyond 24
hours from now.
So far, that doesn't seem to be the
case. In fact, we are now told that
water cuts will continue.
There seems to be no end to the
finger-pointing, as blame is being
shifted from the JBA to the Selangor state government.
The press, meanwhile, continues to get
more phone calls from the angry public.
It's easier, after all, to get through
to the newsroom than the JBA.
Perhaps another committee needs to be
formed to study how the efficiency and
productivity of the JBA hotline
operators can be enhanced.
In Sabah, the drought has led to a food
shortage in certain parts of the state's
vast rural areas.
And what do we hear? The state natural
disaster and relief management committee headed by Datuk Khalil Jamalul, in another tale of bureaucratic red tape, says it cannot send
food aid to the 200 drought-stricken
Never mind that the rivers have dried up
and fires have destroyed nearly 15,000ha
of crops and forest reserves.
The committee, according to reports, needs to assess the situation further. In other words, more meetings and more committees.
Out of desperation, Deputy Chief
Minister Datuk Joseph Kurup had
to use his assemblyman's allocation
to send food and water supplies to
the desperate families.
Village development and security leaders have been told to “closely monitor
the drought situation.''
Taking away the euphemism, it simply
means do nothing, just watch and send
your reports to the various
The relevant committees will then
discuss whether the state's emergency
funds for food can finally be used.
Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, who spends a lot of time reading up management books, is fond of telling his friends that Malaysians
spend too much time at meetings.
The problem with Malaysians, he says, is
that we love to talk.
“So at the village level, there is the
Umno, PAS, Youth and mosque committee
“In fact, at functions, there are even
jawatankuasa cuci mangkuk and
periuk a committee to wash cutlery and crockery,'' he said in one interview.
Of course, there will be separate
committees to handle the bunga
manggar, lion dances and Indian
Along with all these committees
sub-committees would come politicking and elections for the various
Yet, foreigners still tell us that we
are not democratic enough despite the
year-round elections for all
Just flip through the souvenir programme
when you attend a typical Malaysian function and look at the long list of committees.
Never mind our obsession with committees
and meetings if it leads to better
co-ordination. What can be better than
to get all those who call the shots to
sit down over one or two afternoons and
make quick decisions.
Excluding the Prime Minister's
Department, there are 23 ministries with their ministers, deputies, parliamentary secretaries, political secretaries and other officials, all catering for a population of just 20 million people.
The word in the grapevine is there will
be additional ministries. This is
besides the various committees headed by the respective state executive councillors.
Some mentris besar also double up as
presidents of their municipal councils
with the councillors under their charge.
The MBs and chief ministers also head
the state-level National Economic Action
Everyone knew that the streets of Kuala
Lumpur were dirty but our bureaucrats
noticed the problem only after the Prime Minister complained.
Another high-level committee was
subsequently formed. With other more
pressing matters cropping up, there have been fewer meetings, presumably.
Numerous committees have been formed to
tackle the sugar shortage, water shortage, flour shortage and the economic problems.
Imagine the number of meetings our
elected representatives have to
If they have to be present at every sitting of the Dewan Rakyat as some constituents demand nothing will get done. The paper work will just sit in the trays.
Well, at least, we now know that there
will be more water tankers, ultrasource
facilities and possibly pipes linking
the federal capital and water-rich
According to Samy Vellu, his proposed National Water Council has received lukewarm response from the states.
What more can the thirsty consumers ask for? Could the council be formed and an inaugural meeting held
It will be good, however, if someone could come up with a solution to provide just a day of uninterrupted water
My parents, who have been reluctant to visit me in the city, have finally agreed to do so.
Will they be pleased when they see
familiar surroundings in the federal
capital what with home grown vegetables,
roaming chickens, washing at the riverside and
homes with wells.