Hope for change still flickers in 2016

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Cartoon by Zunar/Malaysiakini

There is so much that our country could have achieved if our resources had been used for the benefit of the Rakyat, says Teo Chuen Tick.

2016 has greeted us Malaysians, and I believe many of us rooting for change feel a sense of despondency as we survey our nation’s political landscape.

Yes, we will have to live with the current prime minister and government, much as we find him morally deficient in the financial management of our country’s resources! Friends and family members who are not so idealistic point out that our country is not at the bottom of the heap. At least I still have the freedom to write a critical piece about the government of the day and live to read about it tomorrow (provided it is published in the alternative media).

I am a naturalised Penangite, and I am happy to note that the Lim Guan Eng-led state government is apparently responding to unhappiness over its handling of some major projects that have an impact on the lives of the residents of Penang. Whether this is a knee-jerk reaction or otherwise will be borne out by its actions in the coming months – when its promise of consulting and referring to the wishes of the rakyat will be tested.

I believe and hope the voices of dissent, if not heeded by the Umnoputras of previous state governments, have at least found a responsive ear in Lim Guan Eng. This is important; many of us rooting for change may not be politically active but we do follow political developments closely.

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We do not wish to go back to a state government that bulldozes its way through the opposition of the rakyat. If we had wanted the situation to be like that, we could have stayed with the Umnoputras and Penang would not have been starved of development funds like it is now.

The Sarawak state elections is upon us but by all accounts, the opposition could be in for a rout. Well, I can live with that. If indeed Chief Minister Adenan can command the confidence of the Sarawak voters, then so be it. That is, after all, the essence of a democracy. Yes, I am disgusted at what is happening at the federal level but if the Sarawakians choose to differentiate between a popular Adenan and a corrupt federal system, I will just have to live with it.

The only aspect that I am not at ease with is how the Election Commission is showing its bias by carving out more seats apparently in BN areas in the redelineation exercise it carried out in Sarawak. But then again, this is hardly new.

Can the Rakyat rooting for change hope for some semblance of unity in the opposition front? With the PKR still insisting that Pas is in the opposition despite all facts to the contrary, I believe the best hope for change we can look forward to is if DAP and Amanah are able to forge ahead with their alliance.

I will discount PKR as a reliable partner for the opposition front, and I believe PKR will be punished by Sarawakian voters when state polls are called. Let’s hope this will jolt the PKR leadership to its senses.

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I will continue to hope that change will come to our beloved country – no, not because I am not grateful for what we have now, but more because the Umnoputras have sold us short.

There is so much that our country could have achieved if our resources had been used for the benefit of the Rakyat rather than the situation we have now, when handouts are given out to try and keep a large segment of the population addicted to these cash giveaways. A quick fix that does not go to the root of improving the welfare of the underprivileged Rakyat.

Still, we should not lose hope. We can become a proud nation – where all rakyat are indeed one, where fairness, justice and democracy are the order of the day.

Teo Chuen Tick, who retired as a teacher trainer after 34 years in service, is interested in political developments in Malaysia. A long-time Aliran reader, he recently became an Aliran member as part of his ‘retirement project’ to give something back to society.

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