As the state government, it seems that Kelantan PAS’ management priority has been the public caning of convicts — especially adulterers and drinkers — and the segregation of men from women.
It looks like they do not have more urgent matters to take care of.
But, Kelantan is the poorest state in the country, and by right the poverty issue should be given priority by the state government.
Many young Kelantanese are out of job as their state lacks economic prospects to churn out sufficient employment opportunities.
The state is also no stranger to annual floods, and I was told some of the flood victims are still putting up in tents today.
The Lojing Highlands is an ecological disaster, its native ecosystem completely raped by illegal logging activities.
Drug addiction and crime are serious, and the people in Kelantan are living in constant fear.
Any sound-minded manager facing similar problems will probably have a hard night’s sleep.
But, I never heard of the state government launching any major program to reduce poverty, transform the state’s economy, mitigate the perennial floods, protect the natural environment and battle the problems of crime and drug addiction.
All that I read several days ago was the municipal council issuing summons to the organizers of a fund-raising charity show and slapping a ban on Muslim women performing on the stage.
Soon afterward, the state legislative assembly passed the amendment bill to pave way for public caning: six strokes each for adultery, alcoholism and anal sex.
Even though public caning of convicts contravenes the Federal Constitution, that would not deter the Islamist party from pressing ahead with this unethical punishment by limiting the number of strokes to not more than six.
Who knows if the RUU355 eventually gets the parliamentary nod some day, they will increase the punishment to a hundred strokes!
The weird thing is, the PAS government seems to be only interested in the people’s moral problem and will do everything possible to intervene in their moral options, including their sexual behaviors, drinking and eating (observation of fasting during Ramadan).
Should the state government put more emphasis on public matters or the moral values of private citizens?
Even if public caning is really that effective in eradicating adultery and drinking, will the many problems of the state such as poverty, joblessness, floods, ecological crisis and crime be all solved?
The management approach of intervening in the morality of private citizens was practiced thousands of years ago at a time the human society was yet able to segregate public and private domains and when moral problem was blamed for all human vices.
As human society progressed, people learned to separate public and private lives and the privacy of individuals began to get respected, unless such privacy also infringed upon the lives of other individuals. People’s morality should be a matter of the family, education and religion, not the government’s.
It is hard to understand why the PAS government in Kelantan has shown so much zeal for the people’s private lives but not the sickly public sector.
I have come up with the following two postulations:
1. That the state government lacks modern management concept and is still running the state with millennia-old thinking and religious teachings.
2. That the state government severely lacks the ability to manage, and has attempted to divert public attention from its inability to address problems related to poverty and development by courting their favor with religious ideologies so that they will overlook the pressing dilemma.
The horrifying fact is, they made the people of Kelantan their guinea pigs.