TO most Malaysians, 2018 had been a significant year. At the dawn of 2019, theSun talked to a number of them for their reflections on the year and their hopes as well as aspirations for the new year.
Dr Xavier Jayakumar, Water, Land and Natural Resources minister
2018 has brought an unprecedented change with the hope of Malaysia Baru. My wish for 2019 is for our country to continue its momentum forward with the people appreciating our unique wildlife and treasuring water as a source of life.
Maria Chin Abdullah, Petaling Jaya MP
2018 was a very important year for all Malaysians because for the first time in 61 years, Malaysians were united in our cause to bring in a reform agenda and to get rid of corrupt leaders. Malaysians had dreamt and fought for an inclusive and democratic nation and GE14 paved the way for change to take place.
For me, this signalled the need to strengthen our institutions and regain respect for the rule of law based on our Federal Constitution. We are a nation that has shown love and compassion for fellow Malaysians and respect for our diverse multicultural society. Let us all continue to stay resilient against racism, discrimination and extremism.
The government, its agencies and various stakeholders including NGOs and civil society organisations must continue to work together to push the reform agenda forward.
The new year of 2019 must bring us closer towards reducing poverty. The urban poor in particular are finding it harder and harder to meet the rising cost of living and there is no social safety net to help cushion the economic burden. The issue of poverty does not only involve wages, the state of the economy and prices of goods but is intricately linked to having access to basic social services like health, housing, transport and education.
My hope is that the new year will bring forward a holistic approach that will make it easier for those trapped by poverty to break free and lead a life of dignity.
Datuk Seri M. Ramachelvam, Bar Council IPCMC task force chairman
My hope for 2019 is for the government to institute the promised institutional and legal reforms expeditiously. These reforms are necessary for Malaysia Baru to become a reality. Without the requisite institutional and legal reforms, the progress of the nation will be held back by the negative legacies of the past.
The endemic corruption, rent-seeking, leakage and abuse have to be addressed through reforms of our institutions, laws, practices and policies.
Therefore, it is imperative that the Report of the Institutional Reform Committee be made public to enable the public to know the recommen-dations made to the government and to monitor the implementation of the recommendations by the govern-ment.
I would like to see the implementation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, which has disciplinary and enforcement powers. The other hope is for the government to implement the recommendations of the Independent Committee on the Management of Foreign Labour, which will bring about much-needed reform for migrants, refugees, stateless persons, foreign spouses and employers in our country. It is important that the basic and fundamental rights of the marginalised and vulnerable population in our country be protected.
Let us make 2019 a year of harmony and inclusivity for everyone in Malaysia, including migrants and refugees.
Tan Siok Choo, theSun columnist, economist
Having ended Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule, Pakatan Harapan now faces three major challenges – eliminating the politics of race and religion, transforming an economy overly-dependent on fluctuating prices of oil, palm oil and low-skilled foreign labour while revamping the near-dysfunctional public education system.
Vimala Perumal, film director
2018 has been a great year for me. I am glad to say my movie Vedigundu Pasangge (Rowdy Folks), has created history by becoming the highest-grossing Malaysian Tamil film, raking in more than RM1.3 million at the box office. I believe the record was meant to be broken.
This year, I will be directing a horror comedy that deals with modern communication. I have done comedies before but it will be my first attempt at horror comedy.