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It's now officially confirmed. I will be standing as the DAP parliamentary candidate for Petaling Jaya Utara. I will be contesting against a very strong opponent, Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun who is not only the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry for Women, Family & Community Affairs, but also MCA Wanita Deputy Chief designated for higher positions.
It will be a tough battle, and I dare say that the BN candidate has an edge having been the incumbent for two terms. Particularly, we lost by a massive 13,000 votes in the 2004 elections. However, with greater awareness among the PJ electorate of the deteriorating national cirumstances - from crime, to inflation, to integrity, to governance and to leadership, there is a fighting chance of making it - but if and only if, discerning Malaysians turn up in force to vote.
The following are 5 important reasons why voters should opt for me and DAP candidates in the Petaling Jaya. Spread the word and vote for change.
1. The role of a Member of Parliament (MP) or State Legislative Assembly (SA)
We are committed to the principle that a member of Parliament's ultimate responsibility is towards the national policies and legislations to be debated and enacted in parliament. At the same time, the role of a state assemblyman is to enact state laws in the state assembly.
Where there have been areas of unjust policies or even bad legislation which needs to be updated or reformed, it is the duty of the MP or SA to propose the necessary changes. You can be assured that in this regard, DAP MPs and SAs will do so without fear or favour.
A good MP does not hide from responsibility to its constituents in the parliament. Examples are aplenty, with the disgraceful episode(s) of BN MPs insulting women ('bocor', 'terowong') and the handicapped ('Tuhan dah ajar dia'). MPs across the divide must unite to reprimand such atrocious behaviour, instead of being conspiciously absent from the Dewan, despite being in the vicinity when a vote is called.
Other BN MPs cannot escape blame for the persistence of such behaviour and more, among their colleagues over the years.
2. Serving the Constituency
At the same time, it cannot be denied that it is very important for an MP, particularly in Malaysia to serve the specific needs of the local constituency.
However, serving the constituency cannot be limited to issues such as mending potholes, fixing street lamps and unclogging drains, or for that matter, 'donations' in kind and cash to local residents' associations and societies. It also doesn't mean that an elected opposition MP or SA does or cannot not play the role of improving roads or street lamps – Teresa Kok and Tan Kok Wai are perfect examples of dedicated MPs who keep their constituencies ticking.
On the other hand, an MP or state assemblyperson in Malaysia has the extra heavy responsibility of monitoring and check the all-powerful local councils. Malaysia has no democratically elected local government, but instead has one which is based on a system of political patronage where local BN party leaders are appointed councillors.
As a result, we read of all kinds of abuses by the local councils with MBPJ being a prime culprit. Examples of corruption, abuse and sheer arrogance are once again aplenty, and you would probably have read the various columns in The Sun over the years. Some of the recent examples are the illegal siphoning of “donations” to an illegal “sports club”, attempts to develop open spaces and green lungs by consipiring with developers, official launching of a mega-PJ Exchange project by the Selangor Menteri Besar without the necessary approvals and traffic analysis, illegal privatisation of billboards etc.
The BN MPs and state assemblymen have unfortunately “closed one-eye” and maintained “an elegant silence” over the entire period either by claiming ignorance, or providing convenient and non-committal empty promises of “looking into the issue”.
3. National interest and the future of our country
Most importantly, your vote represents not only that of your constituency but also that of the nation.
It is not necessary to elaborate here on the issues affecting the nation today such as an crime, declining real income, weak and poor governance, racial disintegration, corruption, Islamic state etc.
While DAP would not have an opportunity to form the government in the next elections, it is critical that there should be a much stronger opposition to check the abuses by a hegemonic government, in our case, one with 91% control of the Parliament. Only when the voices of the people are heard, will the government of the day be more sensitive towards the needs of the Rakyat.
What makes the situation more dire politically, is the fact that constituencies have been gerrymandered extensively to make it ultra difficult for DAP to make major headway in terms of actual seats increase, despite a possible hefty increase in votes. Former opposition strongholds such as Kota Melaka or Bukit Bintang has been redelineated nearly beyond recognition.
Petaling Jaya Utara, despite DAP losing by a massive 13,000 votes the last elections remains one of a handful (literally) of seats in which we have a decent chance of wresting from BN. This is because, being a largely educated urban constituency, the number of swing voters who are attuned to national issues, is very high. Many constituents are contemplating or have already decided that their children's future should no longer be in this country which we so love.
As such, we are making a serious concerted effort to win in this constituency.
4. Position on key issues and more importantly, actions taken
With so many disturbing events affecting the country, what are the MP or state assemblymen's positions on these issues? Are they in agreement with UMNO's “ketuanan Melayu” approach or the statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak that “Malaysia is Islamic state,... it was never, never a secular state”, which the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi himself concurred?
More importantly, if the MP or SA disagrees with such policies and practices, what are the concrete actions he or she has taken to improve the state of affairs? An MP or political party's responsibility to the rakyat is not to disagree “privately” with the major wrongs in this country, but goes along with it anyway. The President of MCA goes to the extent of publicly declaring that “UMNO is our best partner.... why end such a beautiful friendship” less than six months ago!
On the other hand, the DAP leadership as well as the team in Petaling Jaya, have put ourselves under public scrutiny by placing our opinions and policies for public scrutiny, e.g., in a regularly updated website or blog. When the Government does the right thing, we won't hesitate to commend them, and likewise, if something's wrong, then we won't hesitate to censure and provide alternative constructive proposals. Without the pressure applied by the DAP on the Government over the years, I dare not imagine the state the country will be in today (yes, it can still get worse).
To conclude, the DAP candidates including myself, have nothing to gain (and much to lose) from offering ourselves as candidates in the General Elections besides hoping that we will be given the opportunity to serve the community and make Malaysia a better country for all Malaysians.
In the coming general elections, the primary consideration for Malaysians must be to vote for both the future of our children and country.
We certainly look forward to your support! ;-)