Let Us Express Our Rights

By A. Jeyaraj

Make Politicians Work for Us

During the Annual General Meeting of Lim Garden Residents Association (LGRA), the residents felt that there seemed to be no end to their problems. The residents realised that since the election is around the corner, politicians would come by to solicit for votes and they should make use of the politicians and get things done.

This time around LGRA would prepare its own manifesto and ask potential candidates to make a pledge that they would incorporate this manifesto into theirs. The residents would only vote for candidates who are prepared to fight for their cause.

Three main areas of concern in Lim Garden are:

  • Annual flooding
  • Absence of a sewage system
  • Upgrading of drainage system
  • Abandoned houses.

In the quest for a better Malaysia, people here must be able to compel politicians to serve them. One of the biggest challenges facing Malaysians is their inclination to idolise the politicians once the latter are elected to power. We must change this mentality and make politicians work for us. Until and unless this happens, we will continue to face the same problems.

We, the voters are at fault for the problems we face. We did not let our politicians know what we want. It is time we let the politicians know that they must work for the interest of the voters.

All residents associations (RAs) must prepare their own manifestos and inform those standing for election that the residents will only vote for the candidate who accepts their manifestos. During social functions our elected representatives seem to be friendly and helpful, but, in reality, it is difficult to contact them. I am writing this from my personal experience. They cannot be contacted or are too busy to meet you.

It is up to us to make politicians realise that they cannot take voters for granted anymore. We must let them know that we know our rights.

In addition to specific issues in their housing estates, RAs must also include issues that are common to all, such as:

  • Second general hospital for Ipoh.
  • Solve acute parking problems and traffic jams.
  • Integrated public transport.
  • Buses must serve the people and not the other way round. It is ridiculous for a person to travel 20km to take an express bus.
  • Annual allocation must be given to all state assemblymen and MPs, regardless of their political affiliation. All of us pay our taxes and must be treated equally.
  • Before every state assembly/parliament sitting, state assemblymen/MPs must ask their constituents whether they have any issues to raise.
  • After every assembly/parliament sitting, state assemblymen/MPs must inform their constituents issues that were discussed and how they affect them.

Our Mayor is appointed by the Menteri Besar (MB) and as such he has no authority to do anything unilaterally. He must get approval from the MB. Complaints regarding Ipoh City Council must also be directed to the state assemblymen for action. Since most of the councillors are political appointees, they are only answerable to their parties and are not interested in the welfare of residents in their zones. Most of the councillors are not familiar with their zones and are unaware of the goings-on.

During Pangkor Dialogue 2017, Michael Earl Cornett Sr, Mayor of Oklahoma City was invited to give a talk. He is the first mayor to be elected for four terms. His most notable achievement is transforming Oklahoma City into a place where obesity should not thrive. Cornet set about rebuilding the city around the pedestrian rather than the car. He made presentation of the improvements he had made to the city with photos of before and after. He could do this because he was elected. Can we dream of this happening in Ipoh?

Meanwhile, there is a campaign calling for voters to boycott the upcoming general elections by deliberately spoiling their votes. The campaign is known as UndiRosak. They choose neither Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan and prefer to spoil their votes on polling day. Spoiling your votes will not solve our problem. If this group is serious, then it must come out and make the change it wants.

Individually we cannot do much, but collectively we can make our elected representatives do what we want. As a responsible citizen it is our duty to vote and make the change. Together we can excel.

In his first address to the nation, after being elected as President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa said, “I’m a servant of the people”. Our politicians should do the same.

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