GE14: More of the same regardless of who wins?

A view of Miri city overlooking its beaches.

Commentary

The Year of the Dog is now in full swing, and soon Malaysian voters will be going to the polls to decide who will govern the country for the next five years, a decision that will have a huge impact on the country’s future.

Despite being the talk of the town for months, a date has yet to be confirmed for the 14th General Election (GE14). Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has hinted GE14 would be held before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Date aside, political pundits have been actively giving their thoughts on who will win in GE14. Some have said that Barisan Nasional (BN) is expecting an easy majority win based on its excellent record in the previous election.

The question is, regardless of who wins, will the winning representatives from BN or Pakatan Harapan (PH), actually deliver the best for the sake of the people’s interest?

With the current economic situation, the rakyat for sure want to see more done that doesn’t just revolve around matters of repairing damaged roads or supplying blue water tanks to rural areas.

The people want a capable and effective politician to serve them regardless of the colour of their political banner.

These politicians must first understand what the rakyat needs before they stand for election.

Sometimes, nominating parachutes candidates might be too risky for political parties as they lack knowledge of the local community’s interests.

In the course of voting in Miri in the previous two elections including the last state election, this writer has witnessed BN candidates for Pujut and Piasau losing to the opposition party. The Piasau seat was later won back by BN through Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), while the Miri parliamentary seat was won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) Miri chief Dr Teo Yeo Keng.

Quite frankly, this writer has had enough with politicians paying lip service to development issues or the need for basic facilities to fish for votes during the election campaign period. It’s time for them to roll up their sleeves and get down to the nitty-gritty.

The rakyat is stressed over the upward spiralling cost of living, GST, and more people especially young couples not being able to afford a home even though there are so-called low-cost housing schemes. It is no secret residential property prices have risen beyond the means of most ordinary wage earners.

Even Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg admitted earlier this month that the prices of houses in the state are extremely high and out of the reach of most home buyers.

To encourage more young people to vote, political parties, be they opposition or government, should look into these matters and pay attention to the people’s interest.

For sure we don’t want voters, especially the youth, shying away from voting. According to the Election Commission, there are 14.62 million voters in the country, of which 42 per cent are aged between 21 and 39-years-old.

The opposition as well as those in government should tackle urgent and long-standing issues, such as the flash floods that inundate residential or low-lying areas every time the landas season comes around.

Take for example, the growing residential and commercial area of Taman Tunku which since 2010 has been experiencing damaging flash floods when rainy season arrives due to its clogged drainage system.

Residents are fed up with having to deal with flash floods that occur even if it has only rained for a few hours.

Another perennial issue in Miri is the poor road conditions, especially within the residential areas, which are pockmarked with potholes such as in Taman Ceria, Permyjaya and Tudan Desaras.

For the record, Tudan, Permyjaya has at about 100,000 in population and it is located 35km from the city centre.

The rakyat knows that to maintain and repair these infrastructures need time and consume a lot of funds. But patience can only last for so long. What we want to see is the effort to tackle the problems more effectively.

The current government and the opposition are fully aware of these issues. There should be no more excuses for not getting things done. — DayakDaily