What is our political priority?

We are putting the wrong priorities. We are doing it wrong.

The recent decision of the Government to discontinue the Penang ferry has caused an uproar among the public as well as the political arena. There were a mixture of opinions and views regarding this matter.

Some said that it is high time for us to change to a new ferry as the old one has been operating for decades. It is a sign of advancement and improvement. 

Some feel that there is a need to protect the heritage and historical elements of the ferry, and thus must continue with the same type of ferry, perhaps by rebuilding a new, similar version.

 Well, of course the politicians took this opportunity to politicise this matter. Some turned this into a ‘Save the Ferry’ campaign. 

The publicity and awareness has turned many publics into taking the opportunity to take one final ride on the old ferry. I wonder if it might result in a “Penang ferry” cluster in a couple of weeks to come. I hope not.

Regardless of what the final decision may be, I think such decisions will always have a mix of different opinions. As long as the Government made a decision that covers different aspects of analysis, I think it is fair enough to just make it happen. We wouldn’t be able to please every single person. But of course I am not sure whether the Government decides it though, only they know the best. 

But the way we are focusing on the issue and making it as though it is a matter of life and death is ridiculous. This shouldn’t be the priority at this current moment.

The news of Minister Khairy Jamaluddin falling off the pothole when riding his bicycle has also caused a big issue in the social media. Even the Public Works Department (JKR) has to make a public apology to the Minister.

If that is the only pothole throughout the whole of Malaysia, then I will agree that it makes sense for the JKR to make that apology. But come on, we have so many potholes throughout the nation then I don’t think we will ever finish counting it.

I wonder if the Government has any statistics or data of accidents caused by potholes. I am sure there will be a huge number of them. Did the JKR then apologise to all the Malaysians that were affected by the potholes?

And of course JKR is not fully responsible for all potholes in Malaysia though. We know some road maintenance is the responsibility of the local councils. Some are caused by the maintenance works of TNB and other departments that require them to dig holes on the roads.

We do not need these departments to apologise, we just need them to focus on solving the problems that they are supposed to be in charge of, and they would save their time apologising and doing public relations’ damage control.

What JKR has done is as though they are fearful of the Minister. I may agree that Ministers are their bosses to a certain extent, and that we must respect leaders who are running our nation. But the culture of putting Ministers and politicians at a super VIP level must stop. 

Don’t the politicians always claim that the “people are the bosses”, or does that only happen during the elections? If the people are the bosses, why didn’t the JKR apologise to the people?

It is already 2021 now, perhaps we should review our priorities, and put the right ones on top.

This article is published in Kwong Wah Yit Poh in Chinese dated 5th January 2021.