Are children encouraged to protest?

Children are often perceived as our precious jewels of our future. Too precious that we shield them away from the realities of life.

Realities as in what is really happening in the world of adult life. The controversies, the politics and the problems that adults might have caused that might destroy their future.

Perhaps, adults feel that children is too young to understand what is happening in the world of adult. Or perhaps that they are innocent that they see the root cause of the problems too easily.

When children appears and participates in protest, certain groups will criticise that these people are misusing children in activism. That happens last week when a MBPP councillor criticised NGOs for getting children to participate in the advocacy against climate change.

That brings up the question, are children allowed to protest? If yes, what is considered a right cause for children to participate in activism? If environment and climate change is about the future of the kids, aren’t they allowed to protest?

Which is right for kids to protest, and which is not?

I grew up in an environment where I was taught to study well in school, make a good career and have a great family. I believe most of my generations do grew up that way as well.

Not to say that the environment that I grew up is incorrect or bad, but I believe it is lacking the lessons about the society and community.

Doing well in our education is mostly about ourselves, but lessons on the society is about the community as a whole. It is not only caring and developing ourselves, but the world that we live in.

Looking thoroughly, does our education system prepare ourselves to be adults? Malaysia is now debating and preparing the reduction of voting age to 18 years old. We might be prepared technically, afterall, it is just amending the voter list to more voters. But are the 18 year olds prepare in terms of understanding of the governance and political system.

It is of utmost importance when we are dealing with the problems of environment and climate change. Aren’t we supposed to have the mentality whereby the earlier a child understands about it, the easier we can prevent actions that destructs the environment.

Imagine, everything that a children would love to have, from toys to drinks to gadgets, things that they use might heavily affects the environment. Single-use plastics in foods and beverages, toys that were made using unsustainable products, simple actions that might pollute the environment. If the children understands the cause of the destruction of our earth, it would be easier for them to cultivate habits that prevents it.

We just look at the many children of the world who are well-informed. They can be nurtured and taught to be great leaders of the future.

Greta Thunberg, at age 15, begin protesting outside the Swedish parliament about the need for immediate action to combat climate change.

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, spoke about the urgency of immediate action against climate change at the United Nations General Assembly at age 15. He said, “What’s at stake right now is the existence of my generation.”

At 11 years old, Mari Copeny is helping kids to embrace their power through equal opportunity. She said, “I’m 11. My generation will fix this mess of a government. Watch us.”

Teenager Sonita Alizadeh is an Afghan activist who has been vocal against forced and child marriages.

Melati and Isabel Wijsen has been campaigning against the usage of single-use plastics at the age of 10 and 12 respectively.

Many other children and teenagers like Jamie Margolin, Shawn DeAngelo, Asean Johnson, Katie Eder and a lot more has played an important role in the respective activism towards the betterment of our world.

These kids has put many adults to shame. Simply said, they are merely speaking for what they know, and what they love.

If we look into adults, many many doesn’t even understand what they have fought for, or they dont even bother to know.

Reverting back to the MBPP councillor that has criticised the actions of children participating in the protest, she must not forgot the current government leaders are the ones that was part of the Bersih protest who brought kids along.

They were also the ones who had kids in programmes that promotes Penang Transport Master Plan.

Instead of speaking against children, they should teach kids to walk their talk. And be fair towards their words.

As a matter of fact, kids already has access towards the many issues of the world through the powers of internet and social media. According to research, kids have been spending more than four hours a day looking at screens. We have already lost the ability to keep the anything away from them. Worst is, the internet is flooded of negativity and fake information. Instead of shielding it away from them, we educate them the truth.

Keeping activism out of children’s reach does not protect them. It shortchanges them, by underpreparing them for life.

If we want our children to grow up to be thoughtful and engaged citizens, we should help them be part of social change now.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 4th June 2019.

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.

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.

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.

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.