So what are we voting for?

The by-elections seem not to be 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 these periods, I always ponder, how do 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 speaks our voices on the right platforms? 

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

Or do 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 have been 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 motorcyclists that passes by both the bridges in Penang is abolished. Before we forget, the Sungai Nyior toll in Penang has been operating since 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 the national carmaker, proposed 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 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) as 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) for 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 announced 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 that individual has 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. 

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.