One of the arguments put forward by the supporters of the Penang South Reclamation project is that if more land is not created to put up new factories, the children of Penangites will not be able to find jobs in Penang. They would then leave the state and their old folks behind to fend for themselves.
This is but a cheapskate fear tactic. Those who say this must have their heads buried in the sand. What percentage of employees in the industrial zones in Penang are Penang-born? How many of them are Malaysians from other states or foreigners from other countries?
People moving from one place to another in search of greener pastures is an age-old practice. If that were not the case, practically all the countries in the world would not have multi-ethnic populations. And moving across state boundaries for work purposes is not uncommon these days.
So this is not a matter of concern at all. As they say in Malay “ini perkara biasa”.
What is of concern are politicians who cannot find jobs in their own states or whose political jobs in those states have been terminated by their employers – the voters – or who are sent by their political parties on missions to greener pastures across state borders to look for jobs for the party’s survival and other agendas. We always see such politician “job hunters” around, and we have a couple of them in Penang too.
These state-border crossing, job-hunting politicians are on missions for their political parties. That is their top agenda – the party. If after making promises to do this and that for the good of their new state, they are “employed” by the voters of the state, can they really empathise with the people of their new state? Can they understand the issues and needs of their new state? Will they have respect for the people of the state and work together with them, or will they push their weight and political agendas around, bullying the local people?
When the party’s interests take precedence over everything else and when there is a need to justify projects that don’t go down well with the local communities, the local people are told stories like “if the islands are not made for setting up factories, the young job seekers in Penang will leave their old parents behind and move to other states”.
The politicians and their parties begin to act like the states belong to them and so they think it is their right to do what they want, under the guise of working for the “good” of the state!
Perhaps it is time for the natives of the states to ponder on the viability of giving political jobs to people from outside the states as they cannot relate to things local, they cannot feel like the locals do, they cannot empathise with the locals, they don’t understand local culture. Rather, having landed the political jobs, they feel they have a right to impose their will on the locals. They are not shy to even question the ‘gratitude’ of the locals to them for bringing ‘development’!
What about their own gratitude to the local people for giving them the political jobs which they could not get in their home states or which were denied them after they were expelled?
Perhaps it is time for locals in each state not to employ politicians who are not local-born and who have resided elsewhere all their lives and who suddenly arrive as elections draw near and plead to be given jobs – and after getting such jobs they develop a disdain for the locals who do not take their ‘development’ plans lying down. – The Malaysian Insight