Views from the ground on the election
Posted on May 4, 2011, Wednesday
There have been many views expressed by the party leaders and members but little has been heard from the man-on-the street who holds the voting power.
The Borneo Post interviewed several young Chinese from different backgrounds on their opinions about SUPP and the BN in general.
Marlene Lim, a pharmacist and managing director of MerveilleuxM Production said SUPP need to make a radical move if they are to remain relevant in politics.
She believed that the locals have stated it loud and clear what they want from the politician, but unfortunately their requests were not put through or being advocated.
“Finger pointing and claiming that people are ungrateful or that the Chinese are not supportive should stop, and SUPP should list down one by one what are the issues that are strongly affecting the people now and what can be done to get the people’s trust back,” she said.
For example, she said, what the people want are equal opportunities in business, education, employment, good health and a welfare system.
“Needless to say, corruption issue seemed to be the number one concern among the voters. So what is SUPP’s approach on this? If they are unable to tackle this issue on behalf of the people, then are they still relevant to Sarawak’s politics,” Marlene questioned.
She said the people supported the opposition for free because they believe in the cause the opposition is fighting for.
“If money matters as to keep SUPP relevant in Sarawak, then sad to say, SUPP is no longer needed by the people.
“A good political party is one that do not necessary agree with everything that the government puts forward and would actually promote constructive questioning and listen to people’s opinions and suggestions,” she added.
Marlene stressed that SUPP must also change their somewhat arrogant attitude towards the people.
“This needs to change. SUPP should maintain their humble and trustworthy attitude, before election, during election, and after election. Their approach towards any election campaign should also change,” she stressed.
She hoped for the next upcoming election, SUPP would use a tactic that is more hip, urban and relevant, that sincerely represent the politicians and the cause that they are fighting for.
Perhaps a good public debate and discussion forum would benefit them, provided it is well marketed and targeted.
“I used to be a big fan of SUPP and it is sad to see the situation that it has gotten himself into. Nevertheless, this is a good change, a good experience, and it is all part of a good political playing field.
“I believe we all should feel grateful and lucky to have experienced this, without having to go through serious consequences such as an unwanted bloody riot and such.”
A veteran local feature writer, Samuel Yong, 48, strongly believed that the people including the Chinese still have strong faith in the present BN government including SUPP.
However, he said several new approaches must be taken especially with regards to development projects and provision of funds.
“SUPP in particular must be brave, honest and able to voice the people’s views and aspirations, apart from being daring in the fight against corruption. The Chinese community gradually rejected SUPP because the party seems to be a ‘yesman’.
“It is not about how old the leader is. In fact, the Chinese respect the elders and the defeat of Datuk Patinggi Dr George Chan is not because he is old. In fact, Dr Chan is a good and caring leader,” he said.
However, he said the Chinese community is very farsighted and want leaders that are free from corruption and abuse of power.
“The Chinese hates candy or instant noodles politicians that announce and approve development projects before state or general election is carried out.”
“Give projects automatically and not before election. It should not be given as a gift to the people, because development is the responsibility of the government to the people who paid taxes,” he said, adding that roads must be in good state and the people should enjoy the basic amenities like water and electricity supplies.
In terms of education, the Chinese had been known for giving priority to education and the development of Mandarin.
He said there is no denial that the Chinese community benefitted from the government education’s policy and projects.
“However, there is much to be done and regretfully many a times, the projects were announced before election. If the government is really sincere, change the style of giving education fund, make it an annual grant and not before elections,” he suggested.
Samuel added that although the Chinese in general are happy with the business and economic opportunities made available by the government, there is also much to be done to counter the high cost of living and problems of rising cost of goods including houses.
“Consider making available more low cost houses by constructing more flats or apartments for sale or rent by those in the low and middle income groups,” he said adding that at the moment those earning less than RM3,000 per month will find it difficult to own a house.
Meanwhile, a pork seller and a member of SUPP, Yii Shi Yiing, 47, also agreed to the call made by several parties that SUPP should revamp itself and get more young but experienced leaders to run the party.
“SUPP has a lot of highly educated young members. Andy Chia (the former Pujut state assemblyman) should remain but those 60 years and above should give way to the young ones.
“Andy Chia kalah not because people don’t like him but SUPP is not a one man show but a team work,” he said.
He believed that the disastrous outing of the SUPP in the recent state election is because the Chinese especially the new voters have faith in the 1Malaysia concept introduced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Actually we, the Chinese community, not that we don’t like SUPP. In fact, we are not really concern how many Chinese are in the Cabinet and become ministers and of course it is nice to have Chinese representatives in the Cabinet but the most important thing is they must be capable and not too old, in the spirit of 1Malaysia, we welcome other races,” he said.
He pointed out that the Kelabits, though a minority but under the 1Malaysia concept, the Prime Minister appointed Datuk Seri Idris Jala because he is capable and was made Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
“We need someone who is capable and hardworking and since the 2006 election, in the spirit of 1Malaysia, we looking forward to someone really capable, like Idris Jala to represent us in the Cabinet be it at state or federal
levels,” he said.
Yii added that, undeniably the former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Dr George Chan had made immense contribution in his thirty years service in politics but sadly he has to go.
In the last state election, SUPP suffered the biggest casualty when it lost 13 of its 19 seats to the opposition (12 to DAP and one to PKR) and its president Dr Chan lost his fortress at Piasau to DAP candidate Ling Sie Kiong by 1,590 votes.
BN retained its two-thirds majority when it captured 55 of the 71 seats contested.
PBB retained its unbeaten record with 35 seats, SUPP won 6, PRS 8 and SPDP 6.
SUPP also lost its five seats in Kuching, three in Sibu, two in Miri and one each in Sarikei, Bintangor and Bintulu.