Our privacy in a new Malaysia?

Smartphones, social media and technology have become part of our lives. I simply cannot imagine any of us able to live a day without using any gadgets. Imagine what was the first thing that we do when we wake up in the morning, we check our smartphones and social media. When we drive out from home and we forgot our smartphone, even the charger or power bank, we will definitely turn around and get it. Smartphones have changed our lives. That is our lives in the current era. 

But there are always trade-offs with things that we love. For smartphones and social media, we are giving away our personal data and information. Everytime we use it, it collects data from us. The phone numbers that we call or receive from; our text messages; our locations; what have we browsed in the internet; our photos, videos and depending on what apps we are using, our private information such as financial data, passwords, schedules could be accessible to certain people.

Privacy has been a worldwide concern which many tech companies were created to protect more personal privacy. Even the iPhone is using privacy as its unique selling point in their latest model.

But it seems this privacy issues has just recently grabbed the attention of Malaysians last week when the MACC commissioner, Latheefa Koya released a so-called wiretapped phone conversation that is assumed to be the former Prime Minister, his wife and other government officials.

This creates a question on how secure our privacy is. Bear in mind that this wiretapped phone conversation is deemed to be five years ago. Either there are a lot of wiretapped data being kept knowingly or the government has the ability to retrieve such data even if it is years back. And yet many of us are criticising China for their lack of privacy. Is our government protecting the privacy of its citizens? China is known for the government’s implementation of mass surveillance which is a network of monitoring systems to ‘supervise’ the lives of their citizens. While Malaysia may not be as advanced as that, to what extent is the government monitoring our lives?

Some may argue that this is important for the case. Yes, I agree that it could be a clue to the investigation of cases related to the former Prime Minister.

But what if this happens to you? I do believe that you are not a criminal or against any laws. So what if it was a private conversation between you and your business partners discussing business strategies being wiretapped and being released to your competitors? What if your intimate conversation between you and your spouse were released unknowingly? What if you were sending your bank pincode to your wife or husband?

Let’s say if you have nothing to hide and you have no issue of your phone calls being wiretapped. You’re innocent, so what are you afraid of? But why is this information being released now?

The former PM was arrested by the MACC on July 2018, trials and investigations have begun since then. Why didn’t the MACC find such information back then? Does MACC need such a long period to obtain the information? Is MACC that inefficient?

Even if they have found a clue now, why does the MACC commissioner, Latheefa Koya have to release it publicly in a press conference? What is the motive? She graduated with a Bachelor of Law in 1997. For so many decades she has earned a degree in law, and doesn’t she understand the term sub judice? Isn’t the case under judicial consideration and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere? Or is she bringing the case to the court of public opinion?

Making me question the motive even more is the fact that she is also famous for being a human rights activist. For those who know about Article 12 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

For someone who has fought so much for human rights, doesn’t she know about this declaration? I have doubts. Isn’t she going against human rights now?

Oh, and so happened it is the beginning of the Kimanis by-election, and it made everyone discuss it. Whether what is the motive, you think about it.

The timing, our privacy, a new Malaysia? We have to figure it out.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 14th January 2020.

The indication of Tanjung Piai

After a gruelling three weeks or so of battling in the Tanjung Piai by-elections, finally we are back to our day-to-day works again. It was a devastating results for Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, only managing to obtain only 1,707 votes from the Tanjung Piai voters. Nevertheless there was much lesson to experience from this by-election and learn about the current political scenario of Malaysia.

Based on the results of Tanjung Piai, we can see that the Malaysian political system, political style will remain for quite some time.

The way politics were conducted by political parties will still be the same especially in times of elections. Identity politics will still be used, particularly in terms of ethnicity when it comes to campaigning for votes. It seems that there are certain community that feels that Muslims are to be protected with special privileges. It is still as though that only a person with the same ethnicity will only protect one of their own. Why haven’t we really thought that even Malays can protect Chinese and Indians; or Chinese can also protect the Malay and Indians? Or why don’t we have that mindset that whoever is elected, is a Malaysian, and to entrust his or her ability to protect every Malaysian?

During the by-election campaign, we still notice Ministers, Deputy Ministers and government officials “turun padang” to the constituency to make announcements of development projects be it major or minor. Re-tarring roads are so common that it is a “must-thing” to do in every elections. Despite that, we surely welcome such developments, but why now? Why does it only happens during by-elections? Do we only need by-elections to happen so that the respective constituencies to be given attention? What has the elected representatives been doing?

Negative politics, criticism, and attacking is such a norm in elections that it is as though people vote based on who is the lesser devil. We are focusing so less on who can deliver better progress, who have the better capability to represent the people.

As far as I have read about politics about 20 years ago, politics were played that way back then, and it is still now.

The Tanjung Piai by-election results is also giving a clear indication that a third force, independent party or independent candidate will not strive in Malaysian politics for quite some time. The total number of votes combined among the independent parties and candidates, couldn’t even secure the deposit.

The battle within the two major coalition, Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan will continue until Malaysian voters can accept the rise of a third force, but when?

Based on the campaign and response from the voters of Tanjung Piai, building a third force that really matters in Malaysia will require a huge effort and political education among the public.

It makes us ponder, how does the Tanjung Piai voters voted in this by-election? Are they voting because Barisan Nasional can bring them development? Or are they voting because they are angry towards the rule of Pakatan Harapan? Did any of them ponder if there is an alternative choice that can voice out for them?

I think we still have a long way to go to achieve an effective and matured democractic country.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 19th November 2019.

The ninth by-election. A different feeling. A different thought.

Last Saturday was the nomination day for the Tanjung Piai by-election. The feeling was different. There were no supporters that come from another political party. We only come from different places; but from the same political party which was formed since 1968.

Frankly, I was feeling anxious on the night before the nomination day although I am not the candidate. Feeling worried yet excited. Worried of ourselves not being able to garner the morale and momentum needed for the two weeks campaign. There were even some members who were feeling doubtful of us even developing the campaign mood for the by-elections.

But that Saturday was totally different and motivating. We woke up as early as 5am to get things prepared for our candidate to be nominated. The morning started with a little quiet and sober moment; more like a gathering of party members. 

As our crowd begin to swell with more and more members, small chats developed into members motivating each other; and further continued with small chants. When our candidate, Wendy Subramaniam arrives, the group gets even more excited and soon each of us leading our members into shouting war cries. 

“Satu Hati, Undi Wendy, Satu Hati, Undi Wendy”

Before that, we have the strength and voices of coalition partners shouting together. But we have never tested our own strength before, individually. That Saturday, we have seen our own strength, ourselves. Members standing under the hot sun for three hours at least, not moving away; continued cheering until the candidate was successfully nominated. That Saturday, it was simply exhilarating and motivating.

Weeks before that, I have been actively getting involved in the preparation for the by-election.

Although most of the operational structure is similar, there is a sense of distinct in this one’s.

Obviously, it is the first time in 50 years, we are using our own triangular logo once again for elections.

We are no longer working together in a coalition party this time around. Despite not having the benefit of coalition parties assisting us in the elections, I do see several benefits though.

We do not have to go through the hassle of negotiating with coalition partners anymore. It could sometimes be problematic with partners who do not go along with what you believe in, and those who are demanding can be troublesome.

We are also forcing ourselves to move forward with a truly Malaysian ideology. Previously, we depend on race-based parties to campaign within their own respective racial community. Today, we have to go to the ground despite which race our campaigners are, we campaign as Malaysians. We need to prove that we do not need a leader from a race to fight for the rights of the same race. Similarly goes to religion. That is because we are advocating for the benefit of all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or gender.

We were definitely taking a huge risk and challenge to contest in this by-election as an alternative force. But I feel that it should be a risk that should be taken. 

We have to introduce the idea of a viable alternative choice for the people. The two huge coalitions has been fighting and politicking too much in the country that I think many important agendas for the people have been forsaken. 

Both coalition has been striving and arguing for the sake of toppling the other and gain power. That is when I thought we need a stronger alternative choice to be developed, and not only Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia.

Even if Pakatan Harapan retains the seat or Barisan Nasional manage to swing the seat, it wouldn’t make any difference in the Government. Pakatan Harapan will still be the Government, and Barisan Nasional will still be the Opposition.

But if an alternative force is given the mandate, it will give another viable voice of the people in the Parliament. It also serves as a warning to politicians not to politicised matters and focus too much on power struggle.

I believe Malaysians need to make a difference in our nation’s political scenario, we need to push the politicians to fight for the people, and not fighting over power. And that is when an alternative choice is needed.

That Saturday, changed our morale and momentum. Next Saturday, we will depend on Malaysians to change the mentality of our politicians.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 5th November 2019.

A third choice?

Decisions are one of the things that we do most everyday, whether we notice it or not. From very small decisions like what to wear and what to eat; to huge decisions such as which job to apply, which car or house to buy.

Whether it is making simple day-to-day decisions or big decisions in life, we make decisions based on valid reasons.

When we make decision on what time to take a shower very much depending on what time we have to go to work or what time is our appointment. 

When we are to decide what to eat for lunch, depends on what is available at that time, what does our tastebuds love or maybe when it is during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, then we have to take vegetarian food.

These are much simpler decisions that we make daily, but it still has a valid reason and choices out there.

Making bigger decisions might require longer and more in-depth process though, for example when we buy a car.

The first thought is usually the budget, how much can we afford the car. Then we consider the practicality of it, whether how big our family is, what kind of terrain to we usually drive by, do we carry a lot of things daily, or how efficient is the after-sales service of the company?

We will also look into the technical aspects; how fast can the car go, is it cost-efficient when it comes to petrol, is it environmental-friendly, does it connects to my handheld-device, and many other things.

Or some may decide more on the aesthetic part of it, such as the design, the colour, the type of the rim or the lights.

This of course, comes with a lot of choices. 

But when we decide on who is our representative in the Parliament and State Assembly; and who to govern our country, do we have choices?

Since the first general election in 1955, there is only one coalition that won the majority of the Parliament seats in the country and rules the Government, which is the Alliance, and subsequently formed the Barisan Nasional.

There was a sudden shock for the ruling party in 1969 where they lost a significant number of seats although they still remain as the Government; until in the 1990s that we see a stronger opposition coalition beginning to start-up. Then, it was the Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah and Gagasan Rakyat that came out to contest against Barisan Nasional. The coalition subsequently breaks up though and some of the parties came up with Barisan Alternatif to run against the ruling party in the 1999 and 2004 general elections.

The opposition coalition kept evolving and grew into Pakatan Rakyat; then Pakatan Harapan, and as we all knew it, they won in the 2018 general elections.

Since the 2008 general elections, Malaysians made a two-party system came true, whereby we have a significant strength among the opposition Member of Parliaments.

Despite all the scandals, corruption and negativity in politics; I think the political scenario gives a good hope for democracy in Malaysia. From having only one significant choice of a political party; we have grown to a two stronger choices of political parties.

But are we able to grow even further in democracy by having more stronger political parties in Malaysia? Do we have more choices when it comes to choosing who to represent us in the Dewan Rakyat? Do we really want just a two party system where we are forced to vote either one of the two which may not be suitable?

A third choice may sound ideal, but is it able to grow in our country? 

Usually, third parties face an uphill battle in terms of electoral success due to political system in a democratic country like Malaysia. Even in instances where the potential supporter may align themselves most with a certain third party, in the face of overwhelming odds against impacting an election, it makes more sense just to stay home or back a coalition party in compromise.

Growing into a stronger two-party system has also created more political bickering than ever in our country. Politicians are quarreling and criticizing each other just because they are not from the same party. Due to the strength of both coalition, the petty bickering seems non-stopping. The Government has forgotten about their responsibility of ruling, and the opposition has forgotten about their role of monitoring. What these two huge coalition focuses is to topple each other in the next general elections. 

Probably it is high time that we advocate for a stronger third party to arise. A third choice to remind the roles of the Government and the opposition. A third choice to remind that we have to make the country better, and not the political party better.

When we choose to buy a car and a house, we consider with so much details and choices. I think the same should be done when we choose who to govern our country.

What truly matters is not which party controls the government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 8th October 2019.

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.