So what are we voting for?

The by-elections seems not stopping in Malaysia. In just less than a year, we will be having six by-elections in the country.

After Balakong, Seri Setia, Sungai Kandis, Port Dickson, we are now entering Cameron Highlands this week and soon, Semenyih.

As we experience through these periods, I always ponder, how does people actually vote during the elections, whether it is the general election or by-election. What are the people voting for actually?

Do the people vote for a political party because of their ideology and their stands on various current issues?

Do we vote for the ability of an elected representative that speak our voices in the right platforms?

Do the people vote for the manifestos and promises made in the elections?

Or does the people simply vote for one party because of their hatred and disappointment towards another party?

Nevertheless, I believe the manifesto of Pakatan Harapan and the disappointment towards Barisan Nasional has contributed the most towards the results of the 2018 general elections.

The change of the government has made Malaysians so hopeful towards the ‘Malaysia Baru’.

As the Cameron Highlands by-election is currently going on and soon to happen in Semenyih, I think it is a good time to revisit the winning choice of Malaysians in general.

Throughout the period since May 2018, there are contradictory statements, u-turns or simply implementing the same policies as the previous administration, but just a change of name.

The National Higher Education Fund Corporation or better known as PTPTN has backed down from a promise to allow borrowers to only begin servicing their loans once their salary hits RM4,000.

Tolls were promised to be abolished but until today, only the toll collection for motorcyclist that passes by both the bridges in Penang is abolished. Before we forget, the Sungai Nyior toll in Penang is still operating since the Pakatan took over in 2008.

When the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir gave his debate speech in the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, he mentioned in his speech that, “…It is within this context that the new government of Malaysia has pledged to ratify all remaining core UN instruments related to the protection of human rights.” As we know it later, the new government of Malaysia decided not to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which is a one of the human rights instrument of the United Nations.

The Prime Minister who is a fan of national cars proposed for a 3rd national car project. Well, he stated that the private sector has to implement and fund it as Putrajaya does not have the ability to do so. But then in the early January, the Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof announced a RM20 million fund by his ministry to research the 3rd national car project.

Remember how Pakatan Harapan has criticised cash handouts including Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) has the elements of political bribery to the people? It seems like a little change of the name and the categories has changed cash handouts to be helpful for the people’s livelihood. It is now known to help ease the people’s cost of living.

Same goes to how the DAP has always criticised Biro Tatanegara (BTN) of its role of inciting racism, disunity, bigotry and intolerance. It was then indeed abolished in August 2018, but in October 2018, the Youth and Sports Minister that a new programme will replace the BTN.

The people have voted against cronyism, nepotism and corruption in the GE, but in the Bersatu’s AGM last year, its Vice President Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman suggested that the party should use its position as the government of the day to channel resources and projects to division chiefs so that it could win elections “by hook or by crook”.

Looking at the happenings in less than a year, we should really think twice and think again of the elected representatives that we have chosen. It is not about the political party, but whether does that individual have the ability to build the nation. If every Malaysian votes for a capable person regardless of the political background, despite who wins, we will end up with both a good government and a good opposition. I still think that is the best way to vote for.

When Malaysians are hoping for positive changes in the country, when Malaysians are giving hopes to a ‘New Malaysia’; it seems like all they got is the same old Malaysia.

A hope for 2019, a positive politics

2018 has been a roller coaster ride in the political arena. Pakatan Harapan taking over the government; political frogs; high profile politicians charged to court; by-elections; nasty and funny statements by ministers; u-turn of decisions has been highlighting the news.

It was also a year that most Malaysians have never been so hopeful for our nation. ‘Malaysia Baru’ as they said. Being a Malaysian, I too have put my hopes on positive changes not only by the Government, but by the nation as a whole.

As we look forward towards the new year, many of us would commit resolutions of our own. Besides personal resolutions, I have put down a list of political resolution that I wanted to share with fellow Malaysians.


1) Positive Politics

We have had too much of negative politics through the past decade. Character assassination, political gossips, baseless arguments and personal attacks are all too common. Whether it is in the Parliament, the media, social media or even a discussion in a coffee shop could turn into negative vibes. Looking at the relationship between Member of Parliaments (MP) despite from different political party makes no sense that the political arena looks so negative. The lunch of Khairy, Nurul and Rafizi; and the meet up of Hishamuddin and Azmin’s families in Morocco signifies that politics is indeed positive. It is the irresponsible politicians and people that are causing chaos among Malaysians.

2) Put an end to the politics of race and religion

Race and religion has been a trouble for Malaysia since decades ago. The issue of Sri Maha Mariamman temple and ICERD are cases that implied the problem still exists; and probably getting worse. We cannot deny that there are problems of poverty, financial constraints, unemployment, education, and other social issues among the people. And these issues are blind towards race or religion. It happens in each race, religion or community. What we need is an economic policy on the basis of income and the inequality between social classes, regardless of race and religion. As we are facing a globalised world, we need to compete with other nations as one; and not causing internal conflicts within.

3) Drown the voice of extremists

We have no room for extremists that threaten a lady promoting beer legally; kills a firefighter who is on duty; or people who simply threaten others simply because their needs are not fulfilled. We have so much to build, develop and work together for the nation that we don’t have time to solve the unnecessary problems of extremists. The moderates must come together and drown the voices of the extremists.

4) Political knowledge and awareness

With due credit to many young Malaysians, we have seen an increase of concern about politics and government. Thanks to social media, the youth have started to discuss and take part in the political process, which is voting in the elections. As much as the political awareness brought by social media; it has also impeded the political maturity in the same process. Fake news and half truths particularly in social media has caused many misunderstandings about politics. We must play a role to share the knowledge about politics and the truth.

5) Youth empowerment and participation

Although I have mentioned that the youth is now more concerned about politics than ever; but there is still lack of empowerment and participation. I believe youth should be encouraged and allowed not only to vote in the elections, but to participate actively in the government’s decision making process. Public policies and ideas can be formulated through the views of the young people. They should also be given the opportunity to participate in the governance process so that more would understand clearer about government. Not only that fresher ideas will be formulated; but the young people will also make better and informed decisions in the elections when they get more involved.

6) A Green Economy

When many nations have started worrying about environment, it is sad but the truth that many Malaysians are not aware of the threats. Probably it is due to the efforts of protecting the Mother Nature has a cost to it, and it is taking convenience away of from the people. Paying 20 cents for plastic bags or no-plastics day; banning of smoking in public areas; reducing usage of straws; non-usage of polystyrene products. These are all positive measures, but it may seem like a trouble to some. Our current priority is too focused on development that is causing harm to the green.

Imagine if we can create a ‘green economy’ where we can protect the environment and at the same time generating economic benefits. We should start a conversation about it and begin implementing practical ideas.

An article is definitely not enough to raise my agenda and concerns for the nation. All I can put down are my thoughts of what is critical and important at the moment. Largely, what we need is a brand new politics, a positive politics.

If you share my thoughts, do spend some time and we can brainstorm more ideas and actions.

For the next 365 days, it is up to us on how to write the history of our nation. It is our call whether we are taking action to make things better or just sit and worry what might happen to us.

Well, to me, action is a must, and we should do it together.

Let us look forward 2019, and wish you a Happy New Year.

To move Malaysia forward, we should craft better politics

After being in a hiatus for a certain period to prepare for the general elections then, I am given the opportunity to write for Kwong Wah again.

While thinking of a topic to deliberate, I recalled to an article which I have wrote in July 2015 entitled, “Politics isn’t only about winning elections.”

Three and a half years after that article was published, I still believe that the mentality of politicians still haven’t change that much despite the political changes that has happened in Malaysia.

The actions and words of many politicians still explains how important is staying in power and winning elections is to them. – Negotiations in forming of government, the possibility of forming a unity government between different parties, the lobbying for ministerships, jumping from one party to another.

As much as how typical politicians’ behaviour remains, the mistrust of the people towards politicians remains as well. The recent general elections has shown that the people have become disappointed with the political process. They have become disappointed with the typical politicians and are looking for something new.

Hence, they have bet their chances in Pakatan Harapan and the Malaysia Baru, in hopes of achieving something better for the nation.

Putting their bet and believing that the Prime Minister and Prime Minister-in-waiting is a changed man; they wanted to see changes in the nation. The people expects the duo would lead the nation to positive changes. With due respect to them, let us be reminded that the political heroes of today is the same person that were criticised and condemned in the past.

Both of them has risen as a star during the early 80s, where Tun Dr. Mahathir became the PM in 1981 and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was elected as the Member of Parliament in 1982.

During that time Francois Mitterrand is elected as the French President; Princess Diana was married to Prince Charles, subsequently Prince William is born; Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th US President; MS-DOS operating system was released by Microsoft; the first CD Player was sold to consumers and Pierre Trudeau was the Prime Minister of Canada.

Since then, Francois Mitterrand, Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana has passed away. Prince William is now married with three children. MS-DOS was replaced by numerous other operating systems and is now obsolete. CD player is now in a decline with the invention of other data storage format. Even Pierre Trudeau’s son is now the Prime Minister of Canada.

Not only both Dr. M and DSAI has surpassed those periods, but it seems like it is the beginning of their legacy. But whether the legacy will be last or not will depend on their actions for the next few years.

I believe a good political legacy needs a mentality whereby, ‘politics isn’t only about winning elections.’ Political actions and decisions should not be based on whether it will benefit any individual or party in the elections. As Taipei mayor, Ko Wen-je has stated in his campaign video, “Do the right thing, do things right’.

When we decide to the right thing right, that includes making decisions that may be unpopular but important for the nation and the people. This period of change is a good time to advocate to reject extreme elements and push for real political reforms; and not merely to make their opponents look bad, to show that they have fulfill their election manifesto or just to change the colour of school shoes.

Malaysia Baru should mean to lay a foundation for a new generation of leaders to continue moving Malaysia forward. And that begins from a good political culture.

During the general elections, my campaign was all about creating better politics. It is driven by issues and serious debates; not political gossip, reckless political attacks or character assassination. Politics should be all about generating positivity. This is what the new generation politics should be all about.

Thus again I reiterate, politics isn’t only about winning general elections. Therefore, though the general elections has been over, I will continue the revolution of crafting a better politics. And the first step is to bring it into Gerakan.

To move Malaysia forward, we should move new and better politics.

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.