Voices of the urban few

03 Jul 2019 / 11:55 H.

It has been just over a year since the Pakatan Harapan coalition formed the new government of Malaysia. Along with its declaration to undo the mistakes of the past government, the coalition has avowed to 60 promises, which it made to the people. These are compiled in a manifesto called “Buku Harapan” and comprises five “pillars” - Reducing the people’s burden; Institutional and political reform; Spurring sustainable and equitable economic growth; Returning Sabah and Sarawak to the status accorded to the states by the Malaysia Agreement 1963 act; and Creating a Malaysia that is inclusive, moderate and respected globally.

While much has been written in lengths about these pledges by political analysts and media reporters, UrbanX shares a fraction of the peoples’ sentiments, of young urbanites on a handful of the promises, yet to be fulfilled.

Promise 6: Abolish tolls

“I think the issue of Pakatan Harapan’s promise with toll abolishment might be the easiest indicator that they were putting the horse before the cart when making these promises. I’m not sure if that’s the right saying. Think about it. How are these highways going to be maintained if tolls are abolished? Will it be paid through public coffers despite the nation’s overwhelming debt?” - Darren L.

Promise 8: Improving the quality and coverage of public transport

“Everyone in KL seems to have their own car, but carpooling is somehow not a priority? You will hear the radios etc. harp on about carpooling and taking public transport, and there are those who do both. The irony here being if you actually carpool or use public transport, you’ll see that there is still massive problems with congestion, especially if you take something like the LRT.”- A. Kamaruddin

“And we aren’t even talking about coverage. There are still areas in KL and Selangor that are unreachable via public transport. And, not to mention the amount of research on all the different routes, rail lines, which type of public transport is needed to get from point A to B. User-friendly isn’t the first word that comes to mind.” - Lim L.H.

“You also have a Prime Minister who wants to make a third national car. Not taking into account how the last two national cars floundered; this means flooding the roads with even more cars. Yes, they are also supposedly looking into developing the rail sector, but you can’t have your national car cake and eat the public transportation cake too.” - A. Kamaruddin

Promise 11: Restore the dignity of the Malays and Malay institution

“I’m not sure what there is to restore or how the government can restore something that wasn’t compromised to begin with. If anything, the confidence Malays have in themselves and the ‘Malay institution’ has to be bolstered. As a Malay, I don’t think we’re under siege, and I know others like me. But you can’t deny an overwhelming majority are easily led astray by people that like to ‘jerit’ (shout) about them being under attack.” - A. Kamaruddin

Promise 38: Advancing the interests of Orang Asal in Peninsular Malaysia

“You can start by helping them protect their land from greedy businessmen and politicians. Oh, but that would be hard, because businesses and politics have been in bed together for a long time. These might not be a problem for the hip, bubble tea-drinking KL urbanite, but land encroachment and the ‘screwing over’ (being taken advantage of/treated unfairly may sound more sophisticated and ‘accepted’) of the indigenous folk is how the rest of the world will judge us.” Melanie S.K.

Promise 39: Balancing economic growth with environmental protection

“I think people tend to confuse urbanisation with ‘progress’ and think take them as the same thing. Here’s an example - take Taman Sri Gombak, which lies before the highway towards Genting. In the ‘90s, the area comprised countless amounts of trees. Now, most of these trees have given way for ‘economic development’, and everything is drab and grey. It’s important that a distinction is made between urbanisation and maintaining the environment”. - Andrew K.

Promise 43: Making Sabah and Sarawak a model of harmonious society

“Sabah and Sarawak aren’t completely racism-free states, but the issue of race, ethnicity, heritage and what have you, is so far back behind the heads of most ‘Borneans’ that it might as well not exist for most. The situation is the exact reverse in Peninsular. You can’t look at even apartment listings without being slapped in the face with racism veiled under the guise of ‘preferences’. It’s everywhere and is easily, without a doubt, the prime cause of societal rifts in Peninsular communities. Because it is so entrenched, especially casual racism, there isn’t a clear-cut way to make the two Borneo states a model of harmony for West Malaysia. Perhaps work backwards and undo the damage caused by policies, fear-mongering, ethnic divide and conquer etc. that was started during the colonial era”. - M. Bujang


Buku Harapan

Some call it the “Book of Hope” or the PH Manifesto, which is a declaration of the current government’s goals, promises and pledges. It contains:

* 5 Pillars - Reduce the people’s burden (10); Institutional and Political Reform (19); Spur Sustainable and Equitable Economic Growth (10); Return Sabah and Sarawak to the Status Accorded by the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (9); Create a Malaysia that is Inclusive, Moderate and Respected Globally (12).

* 10 Promises In 100 Days - refer

* 60 Promises in 5 Years - refer

* 5 Special Pledges - For Felda Settlers; the Indian Community; Women; Youth; and Senior Citizens.


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