Thinking Malaysians are tired of being told to be grateful to the government for their jobs and the amenities they enjoy. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's notion of gratitude only reflects the warped thinking of the Barisan Nasional.
Mahathir can be justified in demanding gratitude from the people if the money expended for the welfare of the people and the well-being of the nation had come from the coffers of the Barisan Nasional. It is the peopleís money - which very often is not used very wisely - that is involved in providing the facilities and the amenities. There have been instances of lavish spending without accountability, resulting in colossal wastage.
It is about time he learns to express gratitude to the people. He cannot claim to be the sole miracle-worker who has brought development to Malaysia. Without the people's co-operation and hard work and contribution, Malaysia could not have chalked up impressive economic growth rates.Without Malaysians being sensible and responsible, Malaysia would not have been a peaceful and harmonious place, held up as a model of multi-ethnic living. All this could not have been achieved solely by the government without the conscious efforts of citizens.
He should be grateful to the people for what he is. Without their will, he is nobody. He remains the prime minister of the country at the pleasure of the people. He should never forget this.
He must also learn to remember with gratitude that it is the people's money that is funding his palatial mansion. The millions of ringgit spent for his luxurious living would have gone a long way in providing low-cost housing and affordable healthcare for all. The needs of the poor have taken second place in the rush to complete Putrajaya.
Instead of telling the people to be grateful to the government, it is time the government expresses its gratitude to the people for being given the opportunity to serve. Governments are formed to serve the people with sincerity and humility.
If the Barisan government cannot do this without displaying its arrogance,
then itís time to make way for others who can.
19 February 1999