Why I went rogue on #UndiRosak

29 Jan 2018 / 07:50 H.

    I THINK many who have seen videos of me talking on forums and panels know that I am horrible at public speaking. So, I will write of my ties with Pakatan Harapan.
    When I was 16 in 1999, I spent my holidays with a relative in Subang Jaya. My younger brother and I, along with two cousins, were roped in for election campaign work by my relative, who was hyped up on the Reformasi agenda.
    So, if you lived in SS19, SS17 or SS18 in 1999, chances are your mailbox was stuffed by one of four of us, driven around by my relative.
    If you were in SS19, chances are you saw us at Keadilan's ceramah in a corner house, wearing T-shirts sporting the image of Irene Fernandez, co-founder of Tenaganita and a former supreme council member of this new political party later to be known as PKR.
    Us kids were still handing out fliers to the crowd while Irene talked about the raid on her office and abuse of power.
    In 2004, I was studying in UiTM Shah Alam, and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad came to give a speech one night – remember how you couldn't have politics on campus? Yeah.

    I didn't pay any attention, but what I do recall is him giving us the next day off from classes. I was 20, and not eligible to vote.
    The 2008 general election was my first experience voting. On the eve of election, my mother told me that a relative wanted to talk to me – I was the only voter in our family at the time in Shah Alam.
    It seemed that the Umno candidate was her old classmate, and she asked if I could vote for him. My answer?
    Sorry, but this decision was too important. The morning of March 8, I decided to walk to my polling station. It was rather nostalgic, since it was the same walk I had taken when I was in SRK Section 6 primary school. I took my wallet, checked my IC, and plugged my ears with my iPod blaring Dixie Chick's Not Ready To Make Nice.
    I went to the wrong polling station and had to walk to the right one – a rookie mistake. I voted for Khalid Samad. And he won. Selangor fell to Pakatan. That night, I think the entire town was stunned into silence that Pakatan actually won the state.
    Fast forward a bit, and Anna Har comes up with a documentary, Selepas Tsunami, of the changes in Selangor – and the presenter is activist Haris Ibrahim.
    He expounds the changes the state has seen under a new regime, as well as the waste of resources in the past, featuring hearings of the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency.
    For GE 2013, I became so vested in helping Pakatan win, I volunteered for free at PKR's headquarters, and ended up handling the party's Twitter account, Demi Rakyat. I was so vested, that the night before the election, I took a room at a nearby hotel rather than drive back home.
    This time around, two of my brothers also voted. Mum prepared a family lunch with all of us, and then I went back to work at PKR HQ. That night, I was the one tweeting the results out of their Merchant Square building.
    And when Khalid Samad won, I celebrated by going down for a cigarette. People were cheering, hoping that this time, Pakatan would take over the federal government.
    They didn't.
    So let's fast forward to now – Pakatan Harapan, a decade as a credible opposition, has now officially nominated Mahathir, ignoring the open letter from activists who had helped them since 2008 – including Tenaganita and Haris Ibrahim.
    I had begun questioning the things Pakatan MPs were saying, asking where was their shadow cabinet, telling them things were not all rosy on the ground, the best way I thought I could – through my columns. Seems, it all fell on deaf ears.
    Me using the #undirosak platform, is me being at the tipping point of no longer caring about what happens to them in the next general election.
    Because, we did not leave Pakatan Harapan – Pakatan Harapan left us.
    Hafidz Baharom is a public relations practitioner. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com


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