LAST_UPDATEMon, 25 Jun 2018 11pm

Worry Not Of The Election Date, But What Has Been Delivered To You

Pic: Malaysian TimesPic: Malaysian Times

THE 14th General Elections (GE14) is causing so much buzz and anxiety among Malaysians from all walks of life. Everywhere I go, the first question I get is, “When is the GE14?”

The GE14 will certainly take place. No doubt about it. It will take place before April 2018. Trust me. But my question is not about when the elections will be. It is about are we being really served accordingly by the elected representatives or even the local councillors?

I certainly feel that the service level rendered by the elected members of the assembly is not up to the expectations of the people. I am neither separating the opposition from the ruling party, nor am I being biased. I certainly feel that more can be done if we reduce the politics and start working with the people’s interest at heart.

My strongest suggestion is to invite every politician, regardless of being a federal or state level elected member, to please go down to the field and feel the pulse of the people. I am living in a well-established urban township. We daily deal with pot holes, faulty traffic lights and street lamps, illegal hawkers, leaking sewers, illegally hung banners and buntings and many other issues. My question is basically how many politicians are on the ground to handle such issues which are the daily bread and butter issues of the ‘rakyat’?

How I wish the politicians would come down daily to monitor the garbage woes of the residents. Look at the housing estates in Petaling Jaya, Kenny Hills, or Damansara Heights or anywhere – Kelantan, Trengganu or even Putrajaya? Garden wastes are lying everywhere. Bulky wastes not collected. Illegal dumps at most of the areas especially near low cost housing areas.

How I wish that the local or federal politician would make daily rounds and tackle these issues, thus putting the pressure on the local authorities and the waste management concessionaires and contractors?

Studies have shown that the Malaysian society is very concerned with issues regarding safety, environment, cost of living and transportation. Can the Ministers make daily rounds to visit the railway, LRT, MRT and ERL stations to see what is happening on the ground? Why must it be the Prime Minister making these visits? How many Ministers or local politicians have actually visited a taxi stand or bus terminal and experienced what the ‘rakyat’ go through every day? Or is it that they have not been reported by the media?

How many politicians make surprise visits to government hospitals, markets, Road Transport Departments (JPJ’s), Landfills, Waste Transfer Station, or even a school, where bullying is so rampant? I read recently more than 300 schools are now declared “hotspots” for bullying.

When will our politicians start visiting the sundry shops selling cheap liquors especially in the rural places, and put a stop to it? When will the Environment Minister drive up to Cameron Highlands, where illegal land clearing is being carried out on the weekends and in the night, and nab the irresponsible contractors in the realms of the media? Imagine how the ‘rakyat’ will then feel towards the politician? No doubt, the rating of the politician will soar and more Malaysians will have greater respect and trust as well as support towards their leaders.

Is there a politician who has visited any market in the country on a normal day when it is not election season, in order to improve the conditions of the building as well as its tenants, and also to experience the woes of the ‘rakyat’ in dealing with the increase in the prices of the food and basic necessities coupled with GST. A good example is the lifts in the Taman Tun Dr Ismail market is out of order most of the time. Imagine a market in an affluent setting has leaking pipes and faulty toilets, with dripping water welcoming the drivers who wants to park? Has someone visited the driving schools in the country?

What is the condition of their cafeterias and the toilets? How many town halls in the country have a functional function hall which can host a wedding or a function?
In a recent event, I heard an elected member of parliament lamenting that if he attends to the “pot-holes, rubbish and faulty street lights, he will not have time to attend to the bigger issues that he raises in the Parliament. While I agree to him, I also want him to campaign for the coming elections stating these laments, let’s see what happens to his chances!

Election dates are fixed. As citizens, we should not worry, when is the election, but worry how the elected members of the parliament or state assemblyman react, respond and mitigate the ground issues of every citizen. Bullying, gangsterism, rising crime, single mother issues, urban housing issues, rising food costs, never rising salary of the private sectors, corruption, abandoned children, rising urban poverty, lack of proper playing field for the growing children, rising medical costs, rising suicides among the youth, poor environmental enforcement are some of the issues which needs immediate action and attention by every elected representative.

The visit by the politicians to a crime infested area would certainly draw a lot of action from the local police stations, too. Through this site and field visit, the politician would certainly understand the ground issue and would be able to represent the people in an effective and powerful manner.

By conducting such ground site visits, I am certain the taxi drivers, railway operators, market vendors, waste management companies/contractors, police, local authorities and all the relevant enforcement agencies will be alert and on the ball, thus making sure the ‘rakyat’ get the best attention and appropriate action for their daily bread and butter issues.

“Turun Padang” is not new phenomenon. Malaysians are always surprised by the Prime Minister’s visit to the railway stations and bazaars; I think this should be imposed as the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for every politician and Minister. Please come down from your office and get engaged with the daily issues of Malaysians if you want to be re-elected or remembered by your electorates. Malaysians are very caring and they will adore and support you if you visit them rather than having them (the electorates) visit you at your respective operations centres.

While I know this is a daunting task, do remember that you are not alone in the cabinet. You have deputy ministers, local assemblymen, political secretaries and senior civil servants who can also complement these visits. If every drain in the nation is visited and proper measures are put in place by the politicians and the local authorities, I am pretty sure we can bid goodbye to floods.

We can also reduce the problem of foreign traders overruling our markets by visiting the markets regularly. There is no need to fly miles away to the other side of the world to visit Vienna or Switzerland or London to study the people’s problems. Just make a visit across the Causeway to our neighbouring Singapore. That will give every politician a good grasp of the issues and also appropriate solutions to manage such issues at hand.

Malaysians are simple people. Don’t stay away from them or only visit them before the election. Visit them regularly and you will be surprised by the results. We will surely not be worried about elections, if every leader were to take it upon him or her to serve the people selflessly. Instead, we will see a greater nation, greater people and greater leaders. If every politicians “turun padang” this be an inspiration for our Prime Minister to announce the election even sooner.

Ravindran Raman Kutty
The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer.
- The Malaysian Times