1. This evening I had coffee with a friend from the Social &Welfare Department. He said he was just on his way home from Kuala Pilah, attending Dato’ Norhayati (State Exco for welfare and women affairs) function. I asked him about the function he attended and that triggered a long chat about the function.
2. According to him, Dato’ Norhayati speech touched about what the State Government had done for people’s benefits. One of them was widening up the Social Security Net (SSN) so that more poor people could be grope in to receive monthly give outs from the Social &Welfare Department. According to Dato’ Norhayati this shows the State is stable and prosperous. Widening up the SSN is a State initiative so that more people will benefit.
3. What Dato’ Norhayati said in her speech was actually a mere repetition of what Menteri Besar always said in his speech. According to my friend, Negeri Sembilan is on top of the list for having the most number of recipients for Social Welfare’s monthly give outs. The number is 28,000 people and the number keeps on increasing by day. The effort to review the recipients’ list proved to be futile as the State Director of Social Welfare is afraid that he or she be lambasted by the State for taking the names out of recipients’ list.
4. Is this something we should be proud of or something that we should be sorry for? The State argues that this is done solely for poor peoples’ benefits. At the same time statistically it shows Negeri Sembilan has the most numbers of poor people compared to other States.
5. In my humble opinion, if this is the case, we do not have the cause to be proud and happy. We are actually living in a State where a large segment of its citizens living under the poverty line. At another angle of seeing it, we do not have a comprehensive program that works to bring people out of poverty. The Federal Government program of 1 AZAM does not show any successful and demonstrable effect in eradicating poverty in Negeri Sembilan. We just give monthly give outs to people and hope them to be happy with what they received. The State so far has yet to come out with development programs to develop these poor people out of the poverty even though the Menteri Besar always boasts for having a huge financial reserves. The sickening part is, Malays forms the huge part of recipients who receives monthly give outs!
6. So my friends within and outside UMNO. Is this something that we can be proud of or something that we should be sorry for?