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.

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.

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.

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.

Who has deviated? PAS? DAP? PH?

Four years before, 505 is a date where many remembered as a day that many had high hopes for a change for the better. I am sure many have wanted better leaders and a better government, not a better politician.

Four years after, we may not have a change of who leads the government, but we see a change in stands towards many issues. We see inconsistencies in the Pakatan Harapan.

Early this week, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng has criticised PAS that they have deviated from its political struggle. It was also mentioned that DAP and Pakatan Harapan were consistent in their struggle and that BN still remained the pact’s enemy and it would go all out against them in the next polls.

To me, PAS has been consistent with their objectives since its formation in 1951. According to Farish A. Noor, an academician who has written about the history of PAS stated that, ‘From the day PAS was formed, in November 1951, the long-term goal of creating an Islamic state in Malaysia has been the beacon that has driven successive generations of PAS leaders and members ever forward. Until today, PAS has still remained fighting for their main objective.’

I wonder what does Lim Guan Eng means when he spoke about the deviation. And I wonder what does he means when he mentions that DAP and PH is being consistent in their struggle.

When Lim Guan Eng was charged in the court on corruption charges, they said there is no need for him to go on leave. But in Johor, when the state EXCO was charged with corruption charges, Lim Kit Siang pushes for the state EXCO and Menteri Besar to go on leave. And the Menteri Besar was not even the one who is being charged.

When they begin to rule the state, they said they will plant 1.5 million trees by 2015. Today, we see ‘Botak Hills’, deforestation, mangrove forests were destroyed to make way for reclamation, and huge trees along the roads were being removed.

When they were the Penang’s opposition party, they put up banners, calls for press conferences, urged the public to Save Gurney Drive from reclamation. Today, they reclaimed the exact spot that they were standing during the press conference.

When Tun Dr. Mahathir led the nation as the Prime Minister, the DAP criticised and condemned the former Prime Minister so aggressively. Today, they sat together claiming that they are fighting for the same cause. How can a man who has developed a mindset for over 80 years, changes it within just a few years?

They shouted, campaigned and stated that they are against Hudud law. But what formal actions have they taken against the proposal of the Hudud law. There’s no legal action, they did not even debated in the Parliament, as in the hansard during the last Parliament’s session.

They severed ties with PAS and instructed PAS reps in Penang to quit from the government. But in Selangor, they were cooperating with each other to stay put as the state government.

They knew from the beginning that PAS’ aims is to create an Islamic state, but yet they chose to form a pact with each other, for what? For the sake of winning the elections?

Probably there is only one thing consistent in DAP and PH, which is to win the elections, gain power, and topple Barisan Nasional from the government. If this is their main objective, maybe we have to think again.

We have to think again; who has really deviated, who has really changed? Is DAP really for the people? Or for the power?

In politics, many words, sentences, speeches were made rhetorically to gain popularity. But leaders must keep in mind that they have to be consistent in their views, stands and objectives. Otherwise, they will be deemed as unreliable and inconsistent. We are not definitely looking forward to have such people leading our nation and state.

Think twice, my friends. We must remind Malaysians and the politicians that election is not only for the sake of winning power.

Politics and election is about crafting a better future for the people, delivering promises made, and giving hopes for brighter days ahead.

It is time that we need to build a better nation with new politics.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 5th May 2017.

Malaysia Needs New Politics

Malaysia needs your help. Your help to move Malaysia forward.

In 2008, many of us were frustrated with the government then; and in the elections many of us voted to reaffirm that Malaysians demanded a better government. Least was expected, as history was written, Malaysians were suddenly awakened by the election results.

In 2013, with full of hopes for a better state and nation, Malaysians came out with a record-breaking voter turnout. It was indeed a record-breaking feat as the Pakatan Harapan won the most ever seats.
Led by DAP, they maintained their governance in the Penang state.

Nine years later, we were disappointed; we were discouraged and disillusioned. Some felt cheated. The hopes and dreams given by the DAP remains only hopes and dreams that were not materialised.

Not because that they failed to take control of the federal government, but because we believe they did not walk the talk.

There were many occasions and incidences that proves the DAP is not any better than those that they have criticized.

Some say they were the lesser devil among all devils. They may be the lesser devil, but what if they were given bigger power? If they were given bigger power, who knows… Even if they may be the lesser devil, they are still a devil.

They shouted against corruption. But today there are some of them charged for corruption.

They shouted against cronyism. But today there were many claims of deals with huge corporate individuals.

They claimed to have solved the flood problem within 9 months. But today, after nine years, the flood seems to be getting worse.

They promised to plant a million trees. But today more trees were chopped off than planting of trees.

They promised to build more low medium cost houses for Penangites. But today, more luxurious condominiums and properties were built instead.

They promised for a more transparent government and they implemented the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). But today it seems that it was used to hide more information.

Nine years later, the certain DAP politicians is just the same as the politicians that they have criticized.

At a time when there are lesser options, the people must create their own options. We must show the politicians what we demand from them, rather than given a choice of who to choose from.

We must show them that politics have to be revolutionized. It is the end of the era where politicians knows-it-all. It is high time that the politicians should really listen to the people.

It is time where we need to get rid of unhealthy political practices.

It is time where we need to strengthen our democracy.

It is time where we need to elect people who can voice out with conscience in the Parliament and State Assembly; rather than just toeing the party line.

It is time where we need to elect real good people who can play their role rightly whether they were elected into the government or the opposition.

It is time where we need to elect people based on their personal capability and not solely considering their political affiliation.

It is time where we need to learn from the leadership of people like Justin Trudeau, Bernie Sanders, Sadiq Khan, Yuriko Koike and many others.

It is time where the people sets the values of our nation’s leaders and elected representatives.

It is time where we need to introduce New Politics.

As many have predicted that the elections could not be very far away, the most probably within more or less a year.

And therefore, I am requesting for your help. We have work to do. We need to have the boldness and energy to craft new frontiers in our country.

It is a transformation that needs a huge effort; at every level from the very grassroots; we need to campaign to make Malaysia, a nation with economic, social, racial and environmental justice.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 21st April 2017.

Double Standard Practice

In life, we always hate people who practices double standard. They treat different people of different groups, differently. Generally, the community dislike such people as they treat different people or groups unequally depending on the status or position.

It is even worse when we have political leaders practicing the ‘double-standard’ way. Not only that they are treating people unequally; but they are showing the community that it is a norm to do it.
Recently, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detained several individuals for investigation over a corruption case in Johor which involves the officers and the son of the state’s Housing and Local Government EXCO. MACC has believed that the suspects played a part in a land scandal.

In response to the issue, the great YB Lim Kit Siang called for Johor’s Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri Khaled Nordin to go on leave pending the MACC investigation into the corruption linked to land conversion case.

We are really not sure how on what basis that such a long-time politician in urging such actions to be taken.

First of all, the case in involves the son of a Johor State Exco member and not the Menteri Besar.
Secondly, the Johor State Exco, Abdul Latif Bandi has taken leave from his position in the government to allow the investigation to be done without any interference.

Back to the north; in Penang, all Penangites knew that the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was charged in court over a land issue as well. But no leaders from DAP has called for the Chief Minister to go on leave from his position.

In the south, it was not the Menteri Besar of Johor nor his officers or son investigated for the case; but Lim Kit Siang calls for him to go on leave. In the north, the Chief Minister was investigated and charged to court for the land issue; and yet Lim kept quiet about it. It is such an obvious double standard practice by the DAP leader.

The double standard practices by DAP has also been shown towards the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir. When Tun Dr. M was still the Prime Minister, the DAP especially Lim Kit Siang has so much hatred towards him that they criticised every public policy and actions that Dr. Mahathir has taken. It seems that the government that Dr. Mahathir led is so bad.

And today, when Tun decides to form a political party to challenge UMNO, and suddenly he was deemed as a good politician, and the DAP leaders start to cooperate together with him.

Probably, as ‘true politicians’, the DAP leaders were right. They were playing politics all the way from the beginning just to make sure they survive and win politically. They were playing so much politics that they probably ignored developing the community.

Probably the old leaders have dementia that they cannot remember what they have said and preached previously.

For whatever reason they are practicing double standards, as leaders, they are showing a bad example for the community. For those who look up to them, they might think it is a right thing to do.
Our community is already sick with so many social issues happening around. We must not keep on encouraging the people to do the wrong thing.

If the political leaders cannot show a good practice in life; maybe it is time for the people from the grassroots to teach the leaders what is right. We should take the initiative to tell them that their actions are not right.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 10th March 2017.

Love Penang is not just a lip service. Prove it with actions.

Love is probably one of the words that are used often around the world. And it is definitely a popular word in Penang recently especially last week during the Valentine’s Day.

Every living being in this world experiences love since the day they were born. The ‘love experience’ is different in everyone and in every different phase of life.

When we were born, we feel the love from our parents through their care and nurture. When we start to grow up, we have friendships to love. To a certain point of time, some will have partners, get married and have a family on their own.

We all know love can only be proved through actions.

But there are also many people who talks only about love but doesn’t show it in their actions. These are one of the causes of arguments and relationship issues.

If we are not cautious, we might end up having ‘love issues’ with the DAP leaders. The Penang State Government that they are representing now has recently launched an ‘I Love Penang’ campaign. It appeared to be a long-term campaign by DAP as we can see that the slogan were used in many different events across Penang.

Just because a minister has a thought about converting Penang into a federal territory and talks about it in an interview, DAP launched such a massive campaign against it. Did they realise not that, the idea was not officially proposed. Even if it was officially proposed, it requires a very tough process to pass through.

Article 1(2) of our federal constitution states that Penang is one of the 13 states in the federation and Article 2 states that even merely altering the boundaries of any state requires consent of that particular state and the Conference of Rulers.

It is almost impossible to make such amendments even if Barisan Nasional were to gain power in the state again.

As usual, DAP are so immersed into politicking that they grab any single opportunity from the words of people to turn it into a political issue. And this time, the words of Tengku Adnan Mansor which didn’t even made it to the ‘official table’.

When the DAP launched the ‘I Love Penang’ campaign, again that they have forgotten that there are still many issues that were not solved by them yet. By not solving them, it is just a proof that their campaign is just a lip service.

Hill deforestation, flood issues, traffic congestions, sales of heritage sites to foreigners, unsustainable development, lack of low medium cost houses, loss of foreign direct investments (FDI), closure of factories, and many other local issues which affects the livelihood of the people.

Amusingly, there are even some DAP leaders who still blames the previous state government for the mistakes done today. It has been nine years the DAP has taken over the Penang state government. After nine years, if they are still blaming the previous state government for the problems of today, they can only blame themselves. They are slapping themselves as it shows that their ‘love’ is without ‘actions’.

On the matter of turning Penang into a federal territory, I am confident that Gerakan Penang will not allow it to happen as well. As to my personal stand, I strongly believe that Penang should always stay as a state of its own.

Let us not be swayed away by the way DAP play politics and focus on what we need to do to really love Penang. To Love Penang, we need to save Penang.

Let’s not merely say that we love Penang; let us show the truth by our actions.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 25th February 2017.

Don’t scold during the harmonious Chinese New Year celebrations

With just a blink of an eye, the Chinese New Year is about to end. The time flies simply so fast, so quick; that 15 days of celebrations is just a short moment.

The short moment that we have is a previous moment where it is one of the occasion for our friends and family to gather for a reunion.

In Malaysia, it is particularly unique when we celebrate the Chinese New Year. Not only the Chinese celebrates the occasion; but every other races comes together to celebrate. I feel it is even more special for a Malay-majority nation to observe the Chinese New Year with public holidays and we are one of the very few countries to do it. Among the other countries that observes the celebration as a public holiday are China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea and a few others.

As a Chinese, I believe many of us know that there are many rituals and customs during the Chinese New Year. One of the basic things is to usher the New Year with many positive messages and words. Our houses are decorated with bright colours especially red. Positive messages in red couplets are displayed. Beautiful greetings in Chinese New Year cards, emails, text messages were delivered to family and friends. All these are done is to hope that our family, friends and ourselves have a good year ahead. POSITIVITY is the key during the occasion. These are one of the things that we should do, but there are also things that we shouldn’t do.

I remember that my elders used to remind me and my cousins that we must not argue or scold during the CNY. We are supposed to create a happy environment. When we meet people, we must wish each other good luck, prosperity, good health, happiness and many other nice words.

This time around, there are many political leaders even trying to politicise such a harmonious occasion. I’ve been to some of the CNY events in the community, and certain DAP leaders who are up on the stage, simply just talk about politics throughout their speech. Even in the official CNY messages, politicising it and bringing negativity into it.

I agree that many Malaysians are having a difficult time with the increment of cost of living especially when families need to purchase lots of household items for the celebrations. But why can’t CNY messages be as simple as wishing Malaysians a better livelihood throughout the year ahead, hoping for our nation to develop in the coming months.

It is a matter of fact that we are facing many challenges ahead, but we are already working hard to strive through most of the time. Can’t we just put a few days off from the people to enjoy the time with the family and friends?

Even in the online news portal, Malaysiakini, tends to spin the story of the lion dance troupe who refused to perform for the Prime Minister during the Parti Gerakan national CNY open house.

Lion dance is a culture that has been practiced in Malaysia for generations. We all know well that part of the performance in the lion dance is to peel the mandarin oranges or pomelos and serves it to the guest of honour. And in the case during the Parti Gerakan CNY open house, the lion dance performer were crouching and peeling the fruits for the PM. It definitely will take some time to do a good peeling of it.

How can such a news portal spins it to a story of the lion dance troupe disrespecting the PM? How unprofessional can they be?

I wonder if they can live a day without spinning, twisting and politicking.
Again we must remind ourselves; it is not only about comparing who is the lesser devil; we must think and compare who is able to deliver better as the nation’s leaders.

And before we end the 15 days of celebration, let me wish everyone again a Happy Chinese New Year. May all Malaysians be blessed with prosperity, good luck, health and happiness!

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

The Courage to Aspire 2017

It is the end of the year again and another new year approaching.

The end of the year is a time for celebrations and holidays to many. People take breaks to reward themselves after a year of working hard in whatever they do. It is also a time for reflection and looking forward for a fresh start in the new, upcoming year. We reflect on what we have achieved or done wrong over the year so we will learn lessons from it.

A new year, with its new delights and challenges, are upon all of us.

Looking at the politics in our nation for the past year, the problem of politics today is with its tribal, confrontational style. Politicians from different political parties fight with each other for the sake of politicking.

Politics is a process that happens in any nation that nobody can avoids. Our problem is not that we are engrossed with too much politics, but we do not have enough of healthy, constructive politics.

We have come to a point where many of us have become very individualistic.

The political elites strive to stay to gain power.

The middle-class are too busy climbing the ladder, trying to achieve success.

The poors are struggling to put food on the table.

Our nation is in hunger of change. But what are the changes that are needed? Does changing the government really works to change the community and our livelihood?

Politically speaking, making a change to our community does not happen by only changing the government. The more important step is to change the mentality of ourselves and including the political leaders.

It is easy to become cynical or impatient about ‘change’ especially with the current political situation in our nation. However, all is not lost. Change does not happen in a day, week or month. Sometimes, it takes years. I believe that we can make a difference by beginning from ourselves.

I believe that we have come to a certain extent that we need to look for an alternative ideology. We need a politics that encompasses grassroots democracy and collaborative decision-making of the people.

The first step is to change within ourselves; to change our mentality about politics. We need a political innovation; where we innovate our mentality to get into a politics that inspires real progress and development.

Politics is not about competing with each other or who wins the elections and assumes power. Election comes every few years; there will be winners and losers. Whoever wins, we must ensure that the elected ones bring real progress to the nation, instead of taking advantage of the power they hold.

To achieve this; is definitely a rough and tough journey; and requires an effort together to make it a reality. We may be from different political divide, we may have different political stand, we may come from different backgound. But let us not give up, and let me invite you to have this courage to aspire; to walk this journey together; by putting it as our 2017 resolution.

In this coming year ahead, let us begin a political innovation whereby politics is

not about who wins or loses in the elections;

not about who controls more power;

not about who is the lesser devil or who is more corrupted; Instead, we must compare who is able to deliver better as the leader of the nation;

not about political gossip, personal attacks, character assassinations;

not about confrontational debates and arguments;

It is simply about transforming our nation economically, socially, environmentally and politically.

It is simply driven by addressing the real issues and problems faced by the people

It is plainly about working on a journey together for a progressive nation, to be better together.

This 2017, I call for this fellowship towards a journey together. Let this fellowship have the courage to aspire a resolution to craft a new political mentality towards a first-world nation. A mentality to work politics in a new way to be better together.

Happy New Year!

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 30th December 2016.