A Legacy of Gentlemen Politics

It has been quite some time since Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon appeared and speak in the public. And there he was last week at the Meng Eng Soo open day, speaking in front of a large crowd. There was a sense of astonishment when he was there speaking since he has retired from politics.

It was also a rare occasion as both the former and the current Chief Minister attended the event.

As it is a norm that the Chief Minister attends the annual event, it was unusual when it was heard that only one state exco confirms his attendance.

Hence, the Clan Council decided to invite the former Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to grace the event.

It was supposed that Tan Sri Dr Koh agreed to attend the event after he was notified that Lim Guan Eng is not able to make it as Dr Koh is not interested in getting into any confrontation.

However, the Clan Council Chairman was caught in an awkward situation when Lim Guan Eng confirmed his attendance at the last minute. Even the current Chief Minister didn’t come prepared in a dress code, possibly because it was an eleventh hour decision. As the organizing committee has clearly published in the news that the attire for the event is traditional attire whether you are Chinese, Malay, Indian or any other race. Lim Guan Eng came wearing a t-shirt.

As said, it was a really extraordinary occasion as both Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Lim Guan Eng was given the stage to speak.

From the speeches, it was very obvious that there is a huge contrast between the character of the two individuals. One is a mild-mannered gentleman with positive and humble words while the other is a skeptic with sarcasms.

In his speech, the Chief Minister kept on boasting on how he have contributed to the names of the road, the allocations and their contributions. His choice of message is to accentuate his importance towards Penang.

On the other hand, the former Chief Minister gave appreciation and tribute to every single person from the former state EXCOs, the government officers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), individuals and generally the people of Penang towards achieving the UNESCO World Heritage status. His choice of message is to emphasize the hard work of every single person for Penang.

In fact, it seems like it has already been a norm that in almost every speeches that the Chief Minister gave, contain elements of politicking. Even at Jalan Pintal Tali last week, in his usual combative style, he simply cannot avoid talking about the ‘pink diamond’.

That is the huge contrast between the current and the former.

We ought to question ourselves, which type of leader do we prefer?

Or probably we should ask do we want a leader who makes every individual in the community relevant? Or do we want a politician who politicizes everything to make sure he wins the elections?

Do we want a combative culture where we argue and debate every single day?

In ‘New Politics’, we want the right thing to work. We want the right thing to happen. We want the right political culture to be practiced.

As many that know Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, I believe they would agree that he has left a legacy of positive and gentlemen politics in Penang.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 14th July 2017.

绅士政治典范

丹斯里许子根博士已经有很长一段时间没有现身公众场合及公开致词。由于他已经退出政坛,所以上个星期他在名英祠开放日向群众演说时,难免令人感到讶异。

那也是槟州前任首席部长,和现任首席部长一起出席活动的罕见场面。

槟州首席部长出席名英祠开放日是一个年度惯例,但今年听说原本只有一位行政议员答应出席活动,那是十分不寻常的情况。

因此,槟州各姓氏宗亲联合委员会决定邀请前首长丹斯里许子根博士出席活动,为场面增添光辉。

据了解,丹斯里许子根获知林冠英无法出席活动后,才答应出席,因为许子根不想卷入任何争端。

哪知,林冠英最后一分钟才表示要出席活动,令宗联委主席陷入尴尬局面。从现任首席部长没有依照大会的穿着要求出席活动来看,可知这是他最后一刻的决定。因为大会早前已经清楚说明,不论是华人、马来人、印度人或其他种族,都一律必须穿上传统服装出席活动,但林冠英只穿一件T恤赴会。

正如我所说,当天是一个非常特别的时刻,因为许子根与林冠英在同一个舞台上致词。

从演说中,可看出两人的性格存在如此巨大的差异。一位是温文儒雅的绅士,发表的是积极和谦虚的言论,而另一位是言辞中充满讽刺的疑神疑鬼人士。

首席部长在致词时,不断吹嘘他如何为道路命名、拨款和州政府的贡献。他传达的信息,尽是强调他对槟城的重要性。

另一方面,前首长赞扬每一位前朝行政议员、政府官员,非政府组织,乃至每一个槟城人,对他们成功争取联合国教科文组织颁布的世界文化遗产地位表示感谢。他传达的信息当中,强调每个人对槟城的辛勤付出。

相反的,现任首席部长的每一场演讲,都非政治化课题不可。即使在义福街举行的名英祠开放日,他也无法不谈“粉红钻石”,并展开一贯的战斗风格。

那就是现任和前任之间的巨大对比。

我们应该问问自己,我们比较喜欢哪类型的领导人?

或许,我们应该问问自己,我们想要一个能够连接社会中每一个人的领导人?还是想要一个凡事政治化的政客,以确保他本身赢得选举?

我们想拥抱战斗文化,每天吵架和争辩吗?

在“新政治”中,我们希望做正确的事。我们想要看到正确的事情所产生的正面效果,我们要实践正确的政治文化。

我相信许多认识丹斯里许子根博士的人,都同意他已经为槟城留下了积极和绅士作风的政治典范。

The Change that Changed DAP

Change in the dictionary generally means “the process or end result of becoming different.

When people talks about change, we are always hoping to change for the better. That is what Malaysians were hoping for in the governance of the nation. We wanted a more transparent, effective, progressive and a better government.

It was that hope for a change that has mobilized probably a historic voter turnout in the 2013 general elections.

It was the ‘Ubah’ spirit that DAP has instilled in many people; that has urged our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to come out and vote.

There were many first-time voters; there were many who drove back to their hometowns to vote; and there were also many who flew back to Malaysia to fulfill their responsibilities as voters. All for the hope of change.

The word ‘change’ in government can be very subjective and have different interpretations. Change can possibly mean a change of leaders. It can also mean a change of different political party governing the nation. Or it means a change of new, progressive ways of governing the nation irrespective of who wins the elections.

Recent happenings on several issues has incited doubts in how people perceived ‘change’ as campaigned by the DAP.

There were cases where DAP’s actions contradicts with what they have fought for in the Parliament.
One of the obvious contradictions can be seen when we compare the Malaysia Stadium Corporation Act which was passed in 2010 in the Parliament and the Penang Stadium and Open Area Enactment that was passed in the State Assembly last May. Both the act and the enactment are pretty much similar which is to further improve the management of sports facilities with the exception of a few sections. The main difference though is that one is a federal law, and the other is a state law.

When the Malaysia Stadium Corporation Act was tabled in the Parliament in 2010, the then DAP Seremban MP, John Fernandez questioned the absolute power of the Minister in appointing the Chairman of the Stadium Corporation; but in Penang, the Chief Minister is the Chairman of the Penang Stadium and Open Area Corporation himself.

In the same Parliament motion, YB Ngeh Koo Ham of DAP objected for the section of the “protection from legal actions” in the Malaysia Stadium Corporation Act; but in Penang, the DAP-led state Government passes a similar law with the section that includes protection from personal liability.
There was so much irony on what they have campaigned for ‘change’, but they were practicing the same thing that they have objected for in the Federal Government.

There is probably one change in the enactment though is that the DAP-led State Government added an “Open Area” as the responsibility of the corporation, which would mean the Chairman who is also the Chief Minister having even more power towards the lands of Penang despite there are already controversies in regards to land matters.

There were also many occasions where we see how the DAP objected when it was the act of the Barisan Nasional, but was considered noble when it is the act of the DAP.

Freedom of Information and speech was one of the agendas when the DAP campaigned in the election. They have also boasted their action when they passed the Freedom of Information (FOI) Enactment in Penang. Today, it seems that the FOI has become a tool to hide documents rather than opening it up. Gerakan has applied to gain access to over 20 documents but we never gain access to any one of it.

The Federal Government was accused of selling the nation to China when huge investments were brought into the country; but when the Penang Government applied for loan from China, it was claimed that it was for the best interest of the state.

The DAP was so against the UMNO that they have vowed not to award the state projects to companies owned by UMNO members. Few weeks back, Zarul Ahmad, the chairman of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd which was awarded to build an undersea tunnel and three major roads in Penang admitted that he is an UMNO member.

There are other ironies, such as the open tender in state government projects, the public car park charges, restoring local government elections, cleaner, greener and many others.

It is not about the right or wrong regarding the decisions on the said issues; but it is a matter of the meaning of ‘change’ is perceived by the DAP.

Yes, there is indeed change, the DAP changed.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 30th June 2017.

改变行动党的改变

词典中对于“改变”的解释是:“一件事变得不同的过程或最终结果”。

当我们谈论改变时,是希望一切事物变得更美好。大马人民希望在国家治理方面,拥有一个更透明、更有效率、更进

步的政府,因此,2013年大选,正是基于选民期盼改变,而激发起历史性的投票率。

当时,行动党向民众灌输“Ubah(改变)”精神,呼吁我们的家人、朋友、邻居和同事出来投票。

很多第一次投票的选民,开车回到自己的家乡投票;还有很多人回国履行选民责任,他们全都抱着改变的希望。

在政府内,“改变”一词可以是非常主观的,具有不同的解释。改变可能是改换领袖,也可能是改由不同的政党来执政

,或由赢得选举的政党,通过革新的方式治理国家。

最近发生的几个事件,引起人们怀疑行动党展开的“改变”运动究竟是什么?在某些情况下,行动党的行为与他们在国

会中所争取的一切自相矛盾。

让我们比较一下2010年在国会通过的马来西亚体育馆机构法令,和今年5月在州议会通过的槟州体育馆和空地机构法令

。两个法令十分相似,都是要进一步改善体育设施的管理,主要分别只是在于一个是联邦法令,另一个是州法令。

当马来西亚体育馆机构法令于2010年在国会提交时,时任行动党芙蓉区国会议员约翰费尔南德斯(John Fernandez)

质疑部长在任命体育馆机构主席方面的绝对权力。但是在槟城,首席部长本身就是槟州体育馆和空地机构主席。

在同一个国会提案中,行动党的倪可汉反对马来西亚体育馆机构法令中的豁免于法律行动的一部分;但在槟城,行动党

领导的州政府通过了类似的法令,其中包括了豁免于个人责任的部分。言行不一的行动党,是双重标准的政党。

他们展开的“改变”运动充满讽刺意味。他们反对中央政府,但当他们是政府时,他们也沿用中央政府的行事方式。

这个法令只有一个改变,就是行动党州政府也将“空地”列为机构的责任,这代表也是槟州首席部长的机构主席,对槟

州土地掌握更大的权力,尽管槟州土地事件已存在许多争议。

我们也在很多场合看到行动党如何反对国阵的行为,但当行动党做出同样的举动时,就自认是清高的。

资讯自由法和和言论自由是行动党的大选政纲之一,当他们执政后,也在槟州大肆宣传颁布了资讯自由法(FOI)。但

是今天的槟州资讯自由法,似乎是用来隐瞒而非开放文件的工具。民政党曾申请20多个文件,但是我们却连一个也从

未获得浏览。

当马来西亚引入大量中国资金时,中央政府被指控出卖国家主权给中国;但是当槟州政府向中国申请贷款时,槟州政府

自称是为了槟州的利益。

行动党对巫统反对到底,以至他们发誓不会将槟州的发展项目颁布给巫统党员所拥有的公司。但是几周前,获得槟州

海底隧道与三条高速公路工程的Consortium Zenith 建筑公司董事主席再鲁阿末,承认他本身是巫统党员。

此外,还有许多充满讽刺性的地方,比如槟州政府的公开招标、公共泊车位收费、恢复地方政府选举、“更清洁,更绿

意的槟州”等等。

上述课题并非存在对或错的问题,但却是行动党一直以来所追求的“改变”呀。

是的,确实有改变,是行动党变了。

Throw the bad apples, but keep the good ones.

Youth, or the millennial that are born from the 1980s to the 2000s makes up about 7.2 million of the Malaysian population. In terms of voting rights, they would have made a growing political power with such numbers of people in the nation.

Unfortunately, despite of that, there are still over 4 million Malaysians that have yet to register as voters.

We could have blamed the political system that does not allow automatic registration of Malaysians as voters. But if we were to look at the numbers, it is quite obvious that many weren’t even interested in the voting process, let alone participating in the governance process. Registration of voters is not automatic in our nation yet, but it is not as difficult as we could imagine as well.

Of course, there are also a huge number of youth who are concerned and cared for our country, if we look at the number of people who participated in various demonstrations, and how people shared and commented on social media. There can be arguments on what was shared on social media is true or not; but the amount of discussion in the digital world shows that they care.

When I met up with youth from various backgrounds in these recent years, there are many that have extensive knowledge about politics and governance. But I also find a troubling trend in the general knowledge about the government in a certain group of youth.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between a local, state and federal government; let alone which aspects those each of the government controls.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between a State Assemblyman and a Member of Parliament; let alone their roles and responsibilities.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between one political party from another; let alone what ideologies that they advocate for.

It really makes me think of how sure they were in making decisions during the elections.

As the millennial voters mature, and some might have voted their third election as young adults, which is the age where young people would start their transition to become consistent voters; they must understand the different levels of governments, the roles of elected representatives and the ideologies that they stand for. And not voting merely because we dislike the other party for their weaknesses.

Only then, we can elect an effective government and also opposition, no matter who wins in the respective constituencies.

We, the young voters must learn how to be pragmatic for the sake of the nation’s betterment, and not be a political pawn.

We must not be fooled by the promises of stars and moon, which is usually not practical in achieving it.

Just look at how DAP has played politics all along. In the early 1990s, they were desperately going against PAS and their Islamist agenda as though they were sworn enemies.

Then in the 1998, DAP formed the Barisan Alternatif coalition which includes PAS but left the coalition after the September 11 attacks realising that they were losing supports to the fear of an Islamic state.

In 2008, they came back to join with PAS again to form the Pakatan Rakyat together with the PKR and subsequently they manage to create a setback to the BN during the elections.

Today, they drew a clear line with PAS again after the RUU 355 issue and formed another new coalition without PAS, the Pakatan Harapan.

If we look at the period of the DAP-PAS separation and cooperation; it is usually around the general elections. It is rather obvious that the actions were made for the sake of winning votes in the elections.

Remember how the DAP played the issue of probably using the PAS logo to contest in the 2013 elections?
And how they convinced the non-Muslim voters to vote for PAS?

Now the great Lim Kit Siang can hold Tun Dr Mahathir’s hand and formed a coalition after bashing each other for almost half a century.

Are we going to put more hopes in a political party that changes its stand from time to time and keeps focusing on their opponents’ weaknesses; all for the sake of winning elections?

They have governed the state of Penang for nine years now. We have seen double standard practices, promises unkept, and it seems that only a group of political elites and corporates are benefitting from the policies of Penang.

Barisan Nasional may not be perfect, and they have bad apples in it as well. But are we going to forsake good apples in the party? No matter which political party it may be, throw out the bad apples and keep the good apples. Then we shall not be afraid of whoever wins the election and forms the government.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 16th June 2017.

扔掉坏苹果,保留好苹果

从1980年代到2000年代出生的青年或千禧一代,占了马来西亚人口约720万人。在投票权方面,他们的政治力量不断增长。

不幸的是,仍有400多万名马来西亚人尚未登记成为选民。

我们可以指责缺乏让大马公民自动登记为选民的政治制度,但是这个数字显示,许多人对投票不感兴趣,更不用说参与施政了。选民登记在我国仍未自动化,但登记成为选民的程序,也不是想像中困难。

当然,如果我们总览参加各场示威的人数,以及人们如何在社交媒体分享和评论,就可看出仍有很多青年关心国家。尽管他们在社交媒体分享的内容是否真实仍有待证实,但在数码世界中大量的议题讨论,反映了他们对国家的关心。

近年来,我与来自不同背景的青年见面时,有很多人谈论政治和施政。但是,我也发现部分青年对政府的认知令人不安。

我曾遇见不会区分地方政府、州政府和中央政府的人,妄论每个政府所管治的范围。

我曾遇见不会分辨国会议员和州议员的人,妄论他们的角色和责任。

我曾遇见无法区分不同政党的人,更妄论各党的政治理念了。

我怀疑他们能否在选举中,做出他们所确定的决定。

随着千禧一代选民日趋成熟,他们当中可能有人已经投第三次票了,这是年轻人开始过渡到履行责任的选民的年龄;他们必须了解不同层次的政府、人民代议士的角色以及他们所代表的政治理念,而非因为我们不喜欢另一个政党而投选对方。

唯有这样,无论谁在哪一个选区胜出,我们都可以选出有效率的政府和反对党。

我们身为年轻的选民,必须学习如何务实地改善国家,而别成为政治棋子。

我们别被花言巧语愚弄,这些甜言蜜语通常是不切实际的。

看看民主行动党一路来如何玩弄政治吧。在1990年代初期,他们拼命反对伊斯兰党和他们的伊斯兰教议程,两党就像死对头。

然后在1998年,行动党组成了包括伊斯兰党在内的替代阵线,但在911恐袭后,他们意识到即将失去害怕伊斯兰国的支持者,而离开了替代阵线。

2008年,他们再次回头与伊斯兰党和公正党结盟,组成人民联盟,随后他们在选举中挫伤了国阵。

今天,他们再次因355法令修正案与伊斯兰党划清界限,并另组一个没有伊斯兰党的新联盟,即希望联盟。

审视行动党和伊斯兰党的分分合合;通常都落在大选将近的日期。很明显,这些都只是为了赢得选举而做出的动作。

还记得行动党如何在2013年选举中玩弄课题,表示可能在伊斯兰党的旗帜下竞选吗?以及他们如何说服非穆斯林投票给伊斯兰党吗?

现在,伟大的林吉祥更可以握住敦马的手,两人在成为近半个世纪的死对头后,决定组成政治联盟。

我们是否应该把希望投放在一个不断改变立场、不断关注对手的弱点、所作所为只为了赢得选举的政党?

他们执政槟州九年以来,我们看到了许多双重标准、不守承诺的做法,而且似乎只有一小撮的政治精英和企业受益于槟州政策。

国阵可能不完美,国阵当中也有坏苹果,但是我们需要因而放弃所有的好苹果吗?不管哪个政党,都应该抛掉坏苹果,保留好苹果。这么一来,我们就不必担心谁赢得选举并组成政府。

Sense of Purpose

In this world, I rarely hear of any person who has never graduated from a university making a commencement address to graduating students. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg could be the only two exceptions.

It was only last week when Mark Zuckerberg made his commencement address at Harvard and it gives me the inspiration and hope of doing what may seem a long journey.

The key points of his speech were the challenge of creating a purpose. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

When we look at ourselves, our families, our friends and our community, doesn’t it look pretty much the same?

Many wakes up in the morning, rush to work, brash through the traffic hour, back from work, rest for a couple of hours, sleep, and the same thing runs all over again on the next day. Sometimes they spend some rest, family time or some hobbies in the weekends.

There is this story of when John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded, “Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

The janitor could have grumbled about his job and low pay throughout his entire working life. But this janitor at the NASA space center decided to create a sense of purpose for himself. What if nobody cleans the space center, it becomes dirty and messes up the working environment? It could have influenced the health and working attitude of the engineers and astronauts. These small things could have made an impact to the mission of putting man on the moon.

This is what that has kept our society moving forward. It is our challenge, not only to create new jobs, but to create a renewed sense of purpose.

Pursuing meaningful projects together is one way to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

Meaningful projects can come in different forms.

The driver who chauffeured our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman around could have been seen just as a driver to some. But many never thought that he was the one that drove Tunku to important meetings that makes our nation’s independence successful.

The janitor at the Malaysia’s badminton training facility could have been only a cleaner, but he plays an important role ensuring the hygiene of the place, so that the players would not get ill.

The industrial sector of Penang would has been developed not only because of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu; there are also his team of advisors, the state EXCOs, their assistants, and moreover the people of Penang who have put their tears and sweat working in the factories.

Many jobs could have been seen as job for us to earn a living. But if we put the sense of purpose into it, we could do great things.

As Mark Zuckerberg has said to the millenials who have just graduated, we have to also tell ourselves that it’s our turn to do great things.

We do not have to be a highly educated or attain a high level of skills to do great things. Use what we know and turn into a sense of purpose; then we could do great things.

What about putting our time educating poor children who have lack of access to education?

What if we could educate drivers to have a better driving etiquette? We could have reduce traffic jams and accidents.

How about getting the employees of a factory to conduct environmental friendly practices? Pollutions may have been reduced.

What if we could spend time discussing ideas and solutions for the community’s problems; and submits it to the government? This is what we call citizen participation; and this could be a new political culture that we can cultivate.

I believe these aims are achievable. Let’s do them all in a way that gives everyone in our society a role to be better; in creating a better city and community. Let’s do big things, not only to create progress, but to create purpose.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 2nd June 2017.

使命感

在这个世界上,极少有辍学生向大学生发表毕业典礼演讲的机会,史蒂夫乔布斯(Steve Jobs)和马克扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)可能是仅有的两个例外。

就在上个星期,马克扎克伯格在哈佛毕业典礼上演讲,其内容给我未来漫长的旅途带来许多灵感和希望。

他的演讲重点,是人生必须创造使命感。我们这一代的挑战,正是如何创造人人都有使命感的世界。

当我们看回自己、家人、朋友和整个社会,是不是看起来都几乎是一样的?

很多人早上醒来,就急着上班,匆匆忙忙,下班回来,休息几个小时,就睡觉了。同样的事情日复一日。有时候,他们在周末休憩、享受天伦之乐或自己的嗜好。

当约翰肯尼迪参观美国宇航局太空中心的时候,他看到一名拿着扫帚的清洁工人,就问他在做什么?清洁工人回答:“总统先生,我正在帮助一个人登陆月球。”

清洁工人大可在自己的一生中不断抱怨工作和工资,但美国宇航局太空中心的这名清洁工人,决定为自己创造一个使命感–如果没有人清理太空中心,环境变得脏兮兮该怎么办?这可能会影响工程师和宇航员的健康和工作情绪,这些小事情可能会影响到登陆月球的任务。

这正是我们社会不断进步的主因,我们的挑战不只是创造新的工作机会,而且要创造全新的使命感。

一起追求有意义的项目,是创造一个人人都有使命感的世界的一种方法。

有意义的项目,可以不同的形式存在。

我们的第一任首相东姑阿都拉曼的司机,可能只被一些人视为一名司机而已,但他们从未想过,就是他把国父载送到各大重要的会议,才让我们的国家成功争取独立。

马来西亚羽毛球训练场的清洁工人,也在确保场所卫生方面扮演重要的角色–避免球员生病。

槟州工业不是由敦林苍祐一个人开发的,还包括了他的顾问团队、行政议员、他们的助理,还有许多在工厂里奋斗的槟城人。

许多工作本来是我们的谋生手段,但是,如果我们有使命感,就可以干出一番伟大的事业。

正如马克扎克伯格向刚毕业的千禧世代所说的,我们也要告诉自己,现在是轮到我们做一番伟大事业的时候了。

要做大事,我们不必先接受高等教育或学会高水平的技能。把我们所懂得的一切转变成使命感,那么,我们就可以做一番伟大的事业了。

不如我们把时间献给那些没机会接受教育的穷孩子?

不如我们教授人们更好的驾驶礼仪?我们可从而减少交通阻塞和交通意外。

不如让工厂的员工学习环保?污染可能因而减少。

不如花一点时间讨论社会问题及解决方案,然后提交给政府?这就是我们所说的公民参与,这也可能是我们可培养的新政治文化。

我相信这些目标都是可以实现的。让我们一起努力,让社会中的每个人扮演更重要的角色,一起创造更美好的城市和社区。

一起来做大事吧!不仅要追求进步,而且要创造使命感。

Challenging the Status Quo

Throughout the years, I’ve written quite a number of times in articles and introduced “new politics” to people that I have met. It is all about participating in a healthier and matured politics. “New politics” is a progress in politics that we should be pursuing at.

As progressive people living in a progressive community, we have always wanted improvements. We have campaigned for change in the government. Yes, I agree that we need a change, or rather, transformation.
In our life, we need transformations; to make improvements in the community, state and nation for the better.

But how do we define real change? I believe it is a good time to review our definition as we have already experienced a change of leadership in the government.

Eight years after the “ubah” factor swept the General Election, we should think again, where are we today? How much have we improved after a different political party took the lead in Penang?

Are we experiencing the type of change that we have sought after? Or is the change only a change of a different political party managing the administration?

Does the political system and way of conducting matters in politics still the same? Are we still facing the same problems as we have faced previously?

I think different groups of people will have different answers as everyone have different needs.

To me, I don’t see changes significant enough. There may be some huge publicity over some changes that have been done. That is because the real change needs to come from a political transformation or changes in the way of Malaysians practice politics.

If we want real change, we need to challenge the status quo in the politics.

Ask ourselves…

Do we Malaysian’s really want politicians who tell us hard truths about what it will take to solve our intractable problems? Or do we want politicians who tell us sweet lies?

Do we really want politicians who, because they are authentic, will sometimes say the politically incorrect thing; but doing the right thing? Or do we want politicians who are so fake that they say one thing, and do another?

Do we want politicians who earn our trust and are not owned by a certain elite group? Of do we want politicians who develop the state for only a special group of people?

Do we want politicians who take governing seriously rather than contesting in the elections for the sake of becoming an elected representative only? And running away to other constituencies when the existing ones do not favour them anymore?

Do we want politicians who are polarizing people into groups due to their race, religion or political beliefs? Or do we want politician who does not look into people’s differences, and instead uniting the people despite of our diversity?

We have to be reminded that we do not need to specifically champion for the cause of a specific race when we champion for Malaysians as one. We do not have to fight for Indian, Malay, Chinese or the rights of any race when we are fighting for the rights of Malaysians.

Today, the era of ‘government-knows-it-best’ is over. With lack of quality education in the past, many of our forefathers leaves the job of governing the nation to the few high educated ones. In those days, our great grandparents may not have the luxury of access to knowledge to know what is governing all about.

And today, with developments of our nation, the literacy rate of Malaysians have improved with the easy access of education and information. Most of us today have a basic understanding of public policies and governance. Many are able to give ideas and suggestions to the government to make a better community and nation.

It used to be a top-down approach. It is now a bottom-up approach. We, the citizens play an important role in making whether our nation is good or bad.

We, the citizen plays and important role in shaping the politics of today and what type of politicians should lead the government.

Coming back to the definition of ‘change’; perhaps change of leadership in the government is not as effective as we can imagine that helps us to improve our community and nation. Perhaps what we need is a group of people with fresh and more progressive minds to challenge the status quo of politics.

Challenging the status quo for the better needs a huge effort. We need to push new frontiers in political practice for the sake of being better together.

We have to do it together.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 19th May 2017.

挑战现状

多年来,我的文章多次提及“新政治”,而我也不断向人们解说这个概念,主要推动人民参与健康成熟的政治。“新政治”是我们应该追求的进步政治。

生活在一个进步的社会,我们一直都希望追求进步,改善生活。我们也曾为改变政府而努力,是的,我同意政府需要改变,或者更准确地说–是需要转型。

我们的生活也需要转型,以便改善社会、州属和国家的现状。

但什么是真正意义上的改变?我相信现在是检讨这个定义的好时机,因为我们已曾经历槟州的政权变化。

“改变(Ubah)”因素横扫选票八年后,我们今天再想一想,我们取得了什么成就?由不同的政党领导槟城之后,我们的生活改善了多少?

这是我们希望得到的改变吗?或实际上只是换了一个政党当政府而已?政治制度和政府的办事方式依然不变吗?我们依然面临与以前同样的问题吗?

我认为不同的群体,会有不同的答案,因为每个人的需求都不一样。

对我而言,我看不到显著的改变,很多事实都被汹涌澎湃的宣传淹没了。真正的改变,必须来自于政治转型,或改变马来西亚的政治风气。

如果我们想获得真正的改变,我们就必须挑战政治现状。

扪心自问……

我们身为马来西亚人,是想要告诉我们如何解决残酷难题的政治人物呢?还是需要甜言蜜语的政治人物?

我们可接受基于真心坦白,有时发表政治不正确言论,但做正确的事的政治人物吗?或者我们需要说一套,做一套的假惺惺政治人物?

我们想要不属于精英阶级,但获得我们信任的政治人物吗?或我们想要只为某些特定团体的利益而发展州属的政治人物?

我们理想的政治人物,是认真施政的类型,或只热衷于赢得选举?在他的选区不支持他的时候,就逃跑到其他选区上阵?

我们是否需要以种族、宗教和政治倾向来分裂人民,促使群众极端化的政治人物?或者我们想要一视同仁,多元化地团结人民的政治人物?

我们不得不提醒自己,当我们为马来西亚人民斗争的时候,我们不需要为特定的族群而斗争;我们只需为马来西亚人民的权利而斗争,我们不必区分印裔、巫裔、华裔或任何族群的权利。

今天,“政府最了不起”的时代已经结束了。以前由于缺乏优质教育,先辈选择把治理国家的任务,留给少数受过高等教育的精英阶级。在那个时代,我们的先辈没有机会去了解治理国家的概念。

今天,随着我国发展进步,马来西亚人民普遍受教育,并能轻易获取资讯,因此我们这一代对公共政策和治理有基本的了解。许多人能够在如何打造更美好的社会和国家方面,给予政府许多想法和建议。

总之,以前是自上而下,现在是自下而上,大马人民在决定国家前景方面,扮演了重要的角色。

大马人民今天在塑造政治风气方面,也扮演着重要的角色,我们可决定由什么样的政治人物来当政府。

谈回“改变”的定义,也许换政府并不如我们想像般,能有效地改善国家和社会。也许我们需要的是一群有新鲜进步想法的人,以便挑战政治现状。

挑战现状需要奋斗,我们必须推动政治改革,一起追求更美好的明天。

我们必须一起努力!