(fz.com) - So many things, so many scandals not solved. Slowly it adds up. Change doesn't happen overnight lah! Everything takes time to rot. And it takes time for people to realise and to decide enough is enough," said Chong Eng, referring to Penang voters.
WALKING into the Ng Yam Huat food court in Bukit Mertajam, the woman dressed in a simple pink dress with greying hair seemed like a local celebrity. She waved at the hawkers who greeted her, and shook hands with food stall patrons as she walked passed.
One thing was certain: everyone, young or old, knew who she was. Many MPs require an entourage with them before anyone realises they are "important". But the same case does not apply for Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng. After all, she has held the seat for 14 years and is a very familiar face in this part of Penang.
She greets the fz.com team and sits down, and moments later, a man dressed in green joins us.
"This is my husband Guna," she says, by way of introduction. Like her, her husband too seemed simple, with a friendly smile on his face. Soon after they both order their hot "Neslo kosong", and Chong Eng stresses that the views presented will be solely hers, we begin our interview.
Change was a long time coming
For someone who has been in the political field in Penang for close to two decades, the tsunami effect in 2008 didn't come as a shock at all to Chong Eng. Instead, she strongly believes that it was inevitable as change was a long time coming.
"This is built up since 1990s I think. So many things, so many scandals not solved. Slowly it adds up. Change doesn't happen overnight lah! Everything takes time to rot. And it takes time for people to realise and to decide enough is enough," said Chong Eng, referring to Penang voters.
The Chinese had given up hope on MCA a long time ago, she says and the trend was followed by the Indians with MIC, backing up her statements by quoting results from the last election.
"Now it is only the Malays. When are they going to realise that Umno is not their defender? A lot of Malays already realise, especially (those in the) urban (areas)," she said excitedly relating an experience during the recent Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat where police officers gave her a thumbs up.
The veteran Member of Parliament added that people were not afraid that a change of government will bring chaos anymore and the ruling coalition's scare tactic of using other countries such as Egypt as an example of what could happen was ineffective.
"Barisan is so desperate they have to have Perkasa. While Bersih and anti-Lynas is emerging, they have Perkasa. They don't move forward … they still play race and try to bring in royalty. The effect is so small," she quipped.
Despite their fairly exemplary report card, the current Penang state government has gotten criticism from various sects especially the opposition, for several problems in the state, especially housing and traffic.
"The problem like traffic and housing is a problem that is left behind. Not that they (BN) have nothing to do with it at all.
"They are the federal government. Traffic is under the federal government, that's why the state government is finding it difficult to do something. Even housing, especially low cost housing and people's housing (Projek Perumahan Rakyat). Federal supposed to build, the state will provide land. We are willing to provide land as long as you tell us where you want to build," she argued.
She did state however that people were pretty understanding about the problems, but in no way was it an excuse for Pakatan to put those issues aside for now.
"People are willing to have patience because they understand these are accumulated problems for umpteenth years so you cannot expect Pakatan to solve it in five years. These are inherited problems.
"It takes time, but now I realise that the top must be clean. If the top is not clean, Chinese say lah if the top issenget, the bottom cannot be straight," she added.