Rakyat Sarawak : Undi Pakatan Rakyat

Rakyat Sarawak : Undi Pakatan Rakyat

Friday, July 25, 2008

So what do we really think about what's been happening?

Clockwise from top left: Hamdan, Dionne, Bernice, and Nigel. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

JULY 25 — We’ve heard from the politicians — from both sides — and we’ve read the theories and commentaries of various political pundits. But what does the average Malaysian think about what has been happening in the country over the last six months? We asked people in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties for their thoughts.


Dionne Bain is a 26-year-old account manager at a recruitment firm whose interest in local politics was piqued after the general election. She relates her apprehensions about the current political climate to SHANNON TEOH.

“I may not have been very politically aware before March 8 — I wasn't even registered to vote — but as things stand now, I see the situation as partly a victory, partly a tragedy. In my line of work as a manager with a recruitment firm, I see the talent pool of the country from close up."

"When they feel that the future is uncertain or job prospects are not positive, they start thinking of working in other countries or migrating altogether. It doesn't take a genius to realise that the current brain drain is due to an obvious reluctance on the part of both employers and employees."

“But yet at the same time, the political competition means that BN has to buck up and clean out the house. Read more...


Bernice Chee, 31, decided to take a radical leap of faith and quit her job behind a computer screen to become a gym owner the same year her fellow statesmen radically voted in the DAP to power. The newly-empowered Penangite shares her political portrait of Malaysia with DEBRA CHONG.

“Election 2008. The opposition had a strong show of hands, the nation voted, and we voiced our dissatisfaction with the current administration in a just and legal way. Honestly, it made me into a more informed rakyat. I did not use to bother much about the happenings in the political scene. "

“I believe this was a long time coming. Over the years, I could see and feel a build-up of frustration in the people. We are just citizens of a country, looking to make a living, and going about our everyday life. Yet, we are made to suffer the red tape, corruption from within all ranks, and every now and then, issues on racism and religion."

“The current governing bodies feel threatened by the loss of some power, and seem to have lost their focus. Instead, states which are now opposition-ruled are feeling the squeeze as projects are being put on hold indefinitely, and budgets are being cut. Read more...


Nigel Skelchy, 44, co-owner of Just Heavenly, which is an extraordinary bakery, tells DEBRA CHONG that life in Malaysia is like a box of chocolates.

“I'm optimistic. I'm probably one of the few people who is optimistic regarding the situation in the country. I believe it’s a good thing, what we're going through at the moment. It's a bit of a growing-up process; it's almost like all the angst in the last generation that was bottled up is now all coming to the fore, so this can of worms has been opened, but you know, the can of worms needs to be cleared."

“So, while I think it's a good thing, I also think that we need a strong leader to come forward and fire up the imagination of the public, someone we can believe in. I'm not sure that there is any at the moment."

“There are people who are good orators, there are people who have very good ideas, but at the end of the day the system doesn't allow them to come together and come up with a solution for this country. I think the system is much too interested in looking after itself, I think the people are much too interested in looking after their own positions because the system has been set up such that it all depends on the say-so of one or a few people."

“We're pretty much an oligarchy; we haven't achieved democracy yet. There's no system of checks and balances, our institutions are weak and really there doesn't seem to be any political will on the part of our present government to correct that. Read more...


Having grown up in Kelantan, 52-year-old Hamdan Ali considers himself a bit more politically-inclined than your average Malaysian since the state government has actually changed hands several times. The ex-entrepreneur tells SHANNON TEOH we need a change as soon as possible.

“Even though we were ruled by someone other than Perikatan or BN, we had faith in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as he was an excellent leader. But after that, things went off the wire."

“You could say that even before the March 8 polls, there were already indications of what was going to happen but the ruling party never realised this and, in fact, they still do not realise that there is a desire, maybe not for a major change but for the government to buckle up its belt and do something."

“I'm saying this as someone who's been voting for Perikatan or BN all my life until the 12th general election. The reason is that initially, Abdullah gave us some good indications of his administration. He said things like wanting people to ‘work with me, not for me’. But then later, when the then-Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and MIC secretary-general Datuk S. Sothinathan spoke up and criticised the government for de-accrediting degrees from Crimea State Medical University — the Ukrainian school that has a large number of Malaysian Indian graduates — he was suspended for three months."

“So due to his bad performance, I feel Pak Lah should step down now. The longer he takes, the longer we have to wait for the change to happen and we need this change as soon as possible. Things haven't gone downhill the way they did in Zimbabwe maybe, we're probably more like Brazil five years ago. But something needs to be done soon or we will not achieve Vision 2020.


From:The Malaysian Insider